I was asked a
brilliant question the other day - although my other half has a different
opinion about the "brilliance" of the query. We were on
our way to the car and he has rules about what subjects we discuss
while confined in such close quarters. This quickly became another
banned topic - right before the mother-in-law and just after the kids!
1. I would like
all newsagents to position a bin at the newsstand so that I may empty
my newspapers, magazines and periodicals of the annoying bumph stuffed
in between their pages before I take them home. Furthermore the unread
bumph could be recycled. Although it would probably just end up being
reproduced into more unread bumph....
First, let me
begin my New Year's article by thanking Charlie of Co. Durham for
the lovely 2003 calendar he sent to me and the interesting newspaper
clippings that accompanied it. And I would also like to take this
opportunity to relay to Charlie that the grand total of full cups
of coffee noted on last year's calendar was an impressive 113. I actually
circled the dates I was served a full-up cuppa as Charlie suggested.
Unfortunately I omitted to make note of the less than full cups so
that I had a truer study. Rest assured I will be doing both throughout
It's that time
of year again. The time of year where I defrost an assortment
of Saint Sarah Lee's deserts and pop the store-bought mince pies out
of their cosy little containers and into the oven for a hasty warming.
Incidentally, you'd be surprised at how many people ask if I've made
them myself due to the appetising aroma wafting about the house when
I do this. It always produces a hysterical laughing fit from any member
of the household who happens to be within earshot of the question
Before I have
even popped a store-bought mince pie into my mouth I am being advised
as to how to lose my unsightly weight leading up to the Christmas
merriment so that I can fit into my festive frock. And in the same
breath, how to shed the inevitable pounds I will gain afterwards so
that I can fit into my not so festive usual attire.
For days (it
seems more like weeks) we've been barraged by media coverage of the
Miss Universe contestants. The fact that they can walk and chew
gum seems to merit page after page of reporting. The fact that they
perform such fetes while wearing stiletto heals and a smile is evidently
And just when
you thought I wasn't going to mention the fire-fighter's strike...
a word about the fire-fighter's strike ... it's ironic that
our elected government who get a personal expense account worth more
than most people earn (fire-fighters included) on top of their generous
salary, have the audacity to state that they won't be blackmailed
into wage negotiations! All right for some, eh?
me set the scene for you ...
Is it just
a coincidence that in the same week we are informed of an effort to
have eateries divulge the calorie content of their food items, McDonalds
has to close up a few shops?
I have an American
disposition. And despite that I have lived in England for more years
than I did in the USA, I will always be a Yank through and through.
I had hardly recovered
from the image of John Major and the reprehensible Edwina Currie in
a love tryst thanks to her hideously over hyped book (did it never
occur to the dim-witted woman that the public didn't need her to set
the record straight? That a large majority of us were quite happy
with that particular record sitting askew!)
condescending about household cleaning products that have been impregnated
with aromatic health ingredients. You know, washing up liquid with
tea tree and peppermint in the mixture, lemon zest in toilet bowl
cleansers or calming fragrances in laundry detergents.
As well as getting
myself in a lather over my domestic situation, I am in an even bigger
frenzy due to my highly talented, ever accessible and much venerated
hairdresser announcing that she is expecting a baby!
It has long
been established that I am the queen of complaint. What's more, I
believe I fully deserve the title...
we're on the subject of complaints, I heard a doozey while in
an Ely florist last week that threatened to snatch my title.
Of all the
so called free, get-rich-quick schemes I get delivered through my
door - the chance at winning a stupendous sum of money, winning lottery
numbers, offers to pay my entire mortgage - the one that really insults
my intelligence is when I'm offered the chance of a two week stay
in a luxury house or cottage as a prize!
We live in a world
of contradictions. Speed limits are legally enforced on the roads
despite that cars are manufactured to go twice, and in some cases
three, times faster.
What is the
world coming to when a parent has to shield their young from furniture
advertising for fear of exposing them to illicit material?
It's a well documented
fact that I am not an energetic person. I complain bitterly if I have
to walk more than half a mile in any direction, no matter what the
purpose of the outing is.
I'm not one
for anniversaries or special commemorations. Other than celebrating
my children's birthdays, I can honestly say that I am content to allow
a particular date to pass with nary a notice. An idiosyncrasy that
has caused a few hurt feelings in the past, I can tell you.
I never knew
I needed so much help or assistance when out shopping...
no sooner are the GCSE results out, the criticizing
begins. It's as inevitable as night following day.
while on the subject of grades
Ok, this may
be the only time I allow someone else the floor so make the most of
it. But I just couldn't pass this up...
In spite of
the frightening thought that there are actually people in this world
as unhinged as this, I still loved the news article that an obese
American filed a multi-million dollar suit against fast food establishments
such as McDonald's, Burger king and the likes for gratuitously encouraging
him to stuff his face with their unhealthy grub, thus causing his
frequent complaints and protests concerning retail facilities in our
area, I am still, nevertheless, hell bent on supporting local enterprises.
that this summer has provided us with much of an opportunity, but
how can folk still sunbathe with all the information available to
them concerning skin cancer, premature aging and sun strokes?
It's been a
while since I've complained about the service in this country, so
never been fooled by the television adverts that depict women with
flawless complexions, silky smooth hair or rake thin bodies professing
that some wonder-product gave them the kit.
You might recall
my earlier comments concerning the amount of household waste my family
and I produce each week. And how we almost have more refuse bags stacked
at the end of our drive than is collected from the entire street!
action has come about because a father complained that his daughter
is injured when forced to listen to public school teachers leading
students daily in a pledge that includes the assertion that there
is a God.
national pride in our World Cup football team. Ignore the money-wasting
fracas surrounding President Blair and his media manipulating, ego
It is advised
that the CFC's contained in these domestic appliances are a problem
to the atmosphere and therefore it is no longer legal to crush them
or recycle them to poorer countries as we have done in the past. But
this all-important section of the contract dealing with new disposal
requirements somehow went unnoticed by the assigned minister and we
are now saddled with ever increasing icebox heaps for infinity.
I have never
been to Las Vegas Nevada, USA, even though I lived practically a stones
throw from "Sin City" throughout my entire youth. But I
have heard the stories!
What a shame
there are troublemakers so lacking in self-control that they snap
in half 37 beautiful and thriving trees in the Jubilee Gardens, because,
undoubtedly, they were bored!
reminder that the Farmland Museum and Denny Abbey will be holding
their Royal memorabilia display this coming Sunday afternoon June
2nd, from 12:00 noon to 5pm.
And while on the
subject of my postbag
I'd like to take this opportunity to
bring Charlie in Co. Durham up to date on the coffee situation. He
kindly sent me a beautiful calendar at the beginning of the year so
that I could keep track of the days I'm served a full cup of coffee.
Unfortunately I've only been able to circle six dates so far.
that my opinion of former United States President Bill Clinton is
a well-known fact given that I never had a kind word to say about
him during his entire stint at the Whitehouse and often used this
space to vent my utter contempt for the man.
All is not
well. I mean really not well!
my luck (well, really it's just my family's luck) that whispering
is the method de jour for taming the beast from within. It seems that
it's out with loud orders of coercion and in with calm tones and easy
But this week I'm absolutely bombarded with good stuff to write about. So much so that cramming it all into my allotted space is going to be difficult.
So I'll waste no more time and get on with it.
I'll begin with the most important matter. I want to thank a reader by the name of Brenda who sent me a very touching newspaper article featuring Histon High Street in the 1950's. She keenly spotted a picture of the shop our dear departed Nanna ran and was thoughtful enough to send me the page. I have put your card and the clipping with the things left to me by Nanna. Very warm thanks from the family as well as myself.
And, on a less
personal note: I think I've cracked the mystification concerning
how our elected government and local councils are able to plough onwards
despite such overwhelming unrest amongst their constituents.
And next on my
list of spleen venting
what's up with professional football
and its players these days?
It had to happen.
I knew it was only a matter of time before the party was over - and
I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a man was behind the shake-up
an Englishman? He wouldn't know his Stetson from a sou'wester. And
as for his aptitude as a leader
he ranks just below another American
President, Jimmy Carter, a former peanut farmer and only slightly
ahead of President Ronald Reagan the actor cum well, actor!
Now, I know
the Internet is a handy thing. I mean, if it weren't for such modern
technology I wouldn't be able to entertain friends and family back
home from the comforts of my desk here.
his handling of the MMR dilemma - you know, inflict a questionable
treatment on the country's infants, regardless of its uncertainty
and then go underground when it comes to affirming your own conduct
- his president-ness Tony Blair has decided to solve the nationwide
problem of dodgy train service, congested roads and non-existent bus
routes (for him, that is) by acquiring a private jet, comically referred
to as Blair Force 1! The bona fide President has a cute little tax
deduction called Air force 1 - must be where he got the idea!
I suppose the
answer to this is obvious to some, but
what exactly is a Feng Shui garden?
Now, I know I have a
reputation for being a bit of a whinge-bag. And for the most part,
that's true. But I am also a big enough person to offer praise when
It took me ages
to get over the absurd "Free Deirdre Rashid " campaign carried
out by a few fixated Coronation Street viewers. In fact, I still find
it difficult to watch the programme without breaking into a guffaw,
such was the hilarity of some folk actually writing to their MP's
to get the fictitious character freed from a fictitious jail.
one thing that gets my goat quicker than anything else, it's bad service
- of any kind. Of course, if you've read this article more than once,
you already now this. But I seem to have suffered a rash of episodes
lately that makes it worth repeating the point.
I owe a great debt of gratitude
to Sue Simpson of Newmarket for her kindness in helping two old codgers
with a heavy load.
It's bad enough that
I have gone up another age category box when filling out forms. In
the last year I have had to force myself not to lie - or plead absent-mindedness
- when ticking the new grouping I now belong to, such is my devastation.
But it would be impossible to maintain the fib since my date of birth
is also required on most forms, and as I am lousy at math, I'd end
up making myself even older. And really, when you lie about your age
how many years do you cut off? I mean, is ten too few, is twenty just
asking to be pittied? And what's the point in only taking off five
years, even that's too old when you're my age. You see, I wouldn't
know where to begin, so I don't bother.
It was interesting
to read that the UK postal delivery business is to be opened up to
full competition by the year 2006. And the first stage of the deregulation
begins as early as April this year.
I almost lost
complete faith in all mankind this week when I happened upon a display
of St. Valentine's Day cards in a city shop.
Mike Tyson's recent 'troubles' have damaged pro boxing attitudes irreparably
and are playing right into the hands of anti-boxing protesters.
So, Prince Harry
has been a bad boy! Actually, I should have said, so what, Prince
Harry's been a bad boy!
I find it astonishing
that President "his country's going to hell in a hand basket"
Blair can justify such arrogance when actively enforcing the multi-jab
MMR, yet vehemently refusing to establish whether or not he and his
wife have had the same procedure carried out on their toddler.
There's a craze
sweeping the nation, or perhaps it's just my neck of the woods. But
lately I have had an ever-increasing amount of home shopping catalogues
pushed through my letterbox. And it's quickly becoming a nuisance.
I wonder if there
are others like myself who seem to spend more time trying to decipher
instructions that accompany Christmas gifts than using them.
the chagrin of my daughter I am in utter disgust at what's passing
for youthful, female fashion these days.