With another birthday looming, I've been leaving my usual discreet notes on the caregiver's laptop, suggesting gift ideas for an ageing gentleman with the jaded palate of a prehistoric turtle.

Once, I was easy to please.

"Cognac," I would automatically respond to the caregiver of the day.

Alas, nowadays a nightcap cognac results only in indigestion, so it's been replaced with a comforting, milky chocolate drink.

Unfortunately, gift-wrapping cocoa - no matter how fancy the ribbon - isn't going to raise much enthusiasm from anybody on my special day, so I've been diligently scanning the internet, seeking something more amusing for my loved ones to offer.

Being neither of sound mind nor sound body any more, I am attracted to some of the more edgy consumer trinkets out there, so naturally I became excited when I stumbled on the "Roswell watch".

Roswell is to America what Camelot is to Britain - both locations still spewing out half-baked mythology, wrapped in tenuously stretched factual information.

The latest addition to the Roswell myth is a book written by Anne Jacobsen, a supposedly respected investigative reporter, called Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base.

Her theory, explaining how "aliens" turned up dead on the airbase at Roswell following the crash-landing nearby of a "flying saucer", is as wacky as most other accounts.

Jacobsen suggests it was a Soviet plot, involving sending a captured Nazi experimental flying wing aircraft called a Horten 229 to America, stuffed full of grotesquely deformed children. The idea was that the incident would create mass hysteria in a country mesmerised by UFOs.

The Horten aircraft existed in 1945, but none fell into Russian hands and it had neither the fuel nor the engine capacity to reach the US.

The military establishment at Roswell was the research base for high-altitude balloon flights, suggesting that if grotesquely deformed children's bodies had ended up in the military base's morgue, it's more likely they'd been sent aloft earlier by the Americans themselves, in some ghastly experimental flight that ended in tragedy.

In the meantime, I'm hoping the "Roswell watch" will turn up for my birthday, complete with a face made of baked New Mexico sand, displaying the skeletal remains of aliens instead of numerals.

What more could a weary old cynic ask for in a world still eager to be beguiled by fairydust?