Stop press. I can exclusively confirm that I am, in fact, not dead.
A few kindly folk have wondered whether I'd been slurped into a peat bog during a particularly reckless bout of worrying, or if I'd finally succumbed to the ravages of tertiary syphilis or some other sad tiding. Gladly, none of these conditions obtain, and my muteness is in large part attributable to the sunshine which has lately basted the south-east of England (accordingly, I resemble a traditionally broiled Scotsman. Dominant shade: lobster off-puce). My timing couldn't have been worse. The "Yes" campaign for Scottish independence launched, met with the acid cynicism in the press. Strathclyde Police's quiescent Operation Rubicon roused itself to arrest and charge Andy Coulson for perjury, allegedly committed during his evidence for the defence in HM Advocate v. Sheridan and Sheridan.
Time to shake off the Pimm's-soaked fug, pick the mint from my gums, and get back to it.