Anorak Man - Roland Beaney

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Caring for the Environment - December 2011

If anyone thinks that recycling is a recent innovation then lets go back a few years. To the days when people returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the shop who then sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized and refilled, so they could be used again. That's what you call recycling. They walked up stairs, because they didn't have electric escalators in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go shopping.
Back then, they washed the baby's nappies because they didn't have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling electric dryer-- wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. That's proper recycling. They had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. The TV had a 9 inch screen (remember them?). In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn't have electric machines to do everything for them. When they packaged a fragile item to send by post, they used old newspapers as packing, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn, they used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a gym to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got blunt. Back then, people took the bus and children rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical socket in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances and they didn't need a computerized digi box to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space to order a Pizza, they walked to the shop. So don't tell me that recycling is new. Perhaps we should be looking at how it was done then before spending big money trying to save the environment now. Please let me know if you remember those days.   

Playground Games - November 2011

Who remembers those mid morning and lunchtime breaks at school when we were sent out into the playground? There were no computers but we still had hours of fun whatever the weather playing games and most of them we used to organise ourselves without any help from adults. After school when we had finished our homework we played more games in the park or in our gardens.  I remember tying ropes to posts so that groups of us could skip together, I also remember playing Hide and Seek- when one of the group would cover their eyes and count up to twenty while the rest of us would hide and the last one to be found would be the winner. Hopscotch was a popular game for the girls on the pathways and Conkers for the boys. We also played Leapfrog or Piggy Back, I Spy- (with my little eye), Blind Man's Bluff- where one player is designated as "it" (usually me) These games have lain dormant in my head for many years but I was reminded of them recently when I found a study from Professor Jackie Marsh and Dr Julia Bishop of the School of Education, University of Sheffield. They are conducting a study funded by the British Academy involving research into people's memories of street and playground games they played.  If you have fond memories of games you used to play or even if you still play them today please write to me at or visit the Facebook page at  where you can find out more about the project and how they are conducting research on adults memories of playground games, rhymes and activities from the 1950s and 1960s. Is anyone going to admit to playing Knock down ginger or was it Postman's Knock?

Birds - October 2011

A garden without birds would be a dull place, I love to watch the birds squabbling over the fat balls hanging in the tree and its fascinating to watch them swinging on the peanut feeder, but best of all the scenes in the bird bath are a treat to watch through the kitchen window while I do the washing up. Feeding the garden birds is a popular activity, over half of the adults in the UK feed birds and that's a lot of extra help for the birds. Providing them with supplementary food will bring them closer to you so that you can marvel at their fascinating behaviour and wonderful colours. It also rewards them for sharing their lives with us and the extra nibbles we provide them in the winter could be the difference between life and death for them. Feeding  the birds is also an ideal way to get children interested in wildlife and there is so much going on. One day a sparrow hawk swooped down to take a dove for his lunch just as I was walking up the garden, the sparrow hawk flew off and the dove looked a bit bemused but he was lucky and only lost a few feathers. On another occasion we were watching the baby blue tits emerging from their nest when a magpie flew down for his lunch but amazingly he hopped right past the blue tits and headed for the bird bath. Feeding the birds can't provide all the natural proteins and vitamins that adult and young birds need, so its important to create and manage the garden to provide a source of natural foods as I found out one day when I saw a blackbird eating my raspberries. If you provide the right conditions your garden will be visited year round by a host of different birds and you too can marvel and get lots of enjoyment watching them even though they may take some of your prize fruit.

Yawning - September 2011

There are many theories that attempt to explain why we yawn but non of them have ever been substantiated. One theory is that yawning occurs when blood contains increased amounts of carbon dioxide and therefore becomes in need of the influx of oxygen. Another reason given is the desire to stretch our muscles because yawns are often accompanied by the urge to stretch. A new study from Dr Andrew Gallup of Princeton University, New Jersey and his co-author Omar Eldakar of the university of Arizona has revealed that yawning is the body's way of controlling brain temperature. Their research is suggesting that yawning is more than a sign of tiredness or boredom but could be a natural mechanism to cool the brain. These experts spent winter and summer watching and measuring hundreds of people yawning and found that people were more likely to yawn in the winter. As yawning is contagious and other people nearby usually join in when we start yawning it made me wonder how often these experts yawned themselves while they were watching other people yawn? I get accused of yawning when I’m bored and my wife says that I often yawn when she’s talking to me.  Its not only us humans that yawn, most animals yawn too, even my goldfish yawn. So if your brain is getting a bit overheated, start yawning. I'm off to tell my wife that when I yawn while we go out shopping, its not boredom, its my hot brain.

Bottled Water - August 2011

Why do people pay so much for bottled water when you can get it free out of a tap? Since 2010 it has been a legal requirement for restaurants to serve tap water free to any customers that request it yet most people still elect to buy it in a bottle. Is bottled water really so much better to drink than tap water? Back in the 1970s we were told not to drink tap water when we went abroad on holiday but today water from the taps is supposed to be pure and safe to drink. Why is it so dear? petrol has to be drilled, pumped, refined, shipped, transported and is taxed heavily yet petrol is still cheaper than bottled water. The label on the bottle says that the water has spent many years being filtered by layers of organic eco friendly rock in mountain streams, how do they prove that? making it purer and better to drink than tap water, yet as soon as is removed from the stream it has to be drunk within a few weeks? Do you remember when we had water fountains everywhere? we used to press a lever and up gushed a fountain of water to drink and then someone decided they were un-hygienic and they all disappeared. I drank it from fountains many times yet I never became ill after drinking from them. Perhaps it was because someone decided they could make more money from us by selling it in bottles. Bottled water produces millions of tons of plastic waste per year and although the plastic bottles can be recycled many are thrown away littering our countryside and oceans becoming a risk to wildlife because the plastic doesn't decay. If you don't like the taste of tap water you can buy inexpensive filters that will turn most tap water sparkling fresh at a fraction of the cost. Did you know that bacteria from you mouth can contaminate the contents of your bottle so if you drink from them directly and store it for later, be careful. Me? I think I will stick to tap water, its cheaper and it saves me from carrying huge quantities of water home from the shops.

Floor Pie - August 2011

My wife has regularly made a point of telling my friends that my cooking skills are awful, so I was very interested to see a poll commissioned by Italian pasta brand Giovanni Rana, that many dinner party devotees have a nasty habit of serving their dinner guests food that has been cooked badly and often dropped on the floor. I've had problems tossing pancakes when they either get stuck to the ceiling or come down in bits all over the floor, I had to scrape the bits off the ceiling and place it back into the frying pan before my wife found out. According to this poll of 2,000 British consumers though, 15 percent admitted to serving "floor pie", that's food that had fallen on the floor, 10 percent knowingly made feasts for guests using out of date food and 13 percent said they had accidentally poisoned themselves and their guests with their cooking. At least my "ceiling pancake" didn't poison anyone. A few people also admitted defrosting food with irons, hairdryers and sun beds. The study also found men to be marginally more experimental in the kitchen than women, 26 percent versus 24 percent but the male experimentation comes at a cost, with 27 percent managing to set their kitchen or house on fire while on cooking duty and a further 21 percent admitting to having singed their eyebrows or burned off some hair in the process. The study also revealed that one third of Britons still can't master basic techniques, like boiling an egg while men pretended to cook food from scratch when they actually bought food ready prepared from the shop. Now come on you guys and own up if you've ever been guilty any this. Perhaps my cooking skills are not that bad after all and my wife should give me more credit!. 

Gender Divide - July 2011

Back in the 1060s there was supposed to have been a sexual revolution for equality between the sexes.  So what happened to it then? if there is a strange noise in the night in my house its still the man that has to get up to investigate and its still the man that has to check the oil or water in the car. A study commissioned by electrical goods maker Philips by the director of the Centre for Gender studios at Aberdeen University shows that nothing has changed much since the swinging sixties and the gender divide is bigger than ever. The survey found that many tasks are still divided between females and males in much the same way as before the sixties revolution. Its still the mans job to mow the lawn, unblock the toilet and wash the car while the woman's job includes washing clothes, doing the ironing, dusting, cleaning and replacing the toilet roll. I am also eager to point out that it is the man that is more likely to be delegated tasks of bravery and courage, while the woman can still spend much of her time in the kitchen. I must admit though that in my house its the woman's job to remove spiders and my job to make the bed and do the washing up. So things are slightly different here, but I am not sure what I will do if my wife told me to do the ironing as she had to repair the car. Is there still a strict gender divide in your house or could the man be left holding the baby while the woman unblocks the toilet? Write and tell me at 

Phoning Home - June 2011

Why is it that we pay lots of money to go on holiday to far off destinations to have a break from our daily routine and then spend lots of money to keep in touch with home? As soon as you get off the plane you see people on their mobile phones ringing home or sending e-mails. Its now so easy to phone or e-mail from anywhere in the world that for many people its the first thing they do when they get off the plane. For many people though when they receive their bill it can be quite a shock unless they plan carefully before they leave home and check the "roaming" costs for using their phone in the country they are visiting. It can be very expensive especially if you use the internet on your phone. The EU have stepped in and asked networks to cut their charges and to cap data charges when roaming and you should get a warning from you network when you are getting near to the limit but your bill can still mount up. Before you go, check with your network to find out what the charges will be for the countries you are visiting and and ask them what special deals they have. Your network may have an arrangement with a particular company in the country you are visiting so make sure that you use that network. Remember that some phones automatically access the internet to check for such things as e-mails or the time clock. If you need to access the internet then try to use an internet cafe rather than use your phone but if you must use your phone then find out if the hotel has free Wi-Fi. You can also use this to call home via Skype. 

Hoarders - May 2011

I've always wondered why we leave our treasured cars worth many thousands of pounds outside on the road all night while we fill up our garages with junk and lock them up. Most of us hate to part with anything and according to website, Netcycler who surveyed 2000 adults, most of us keep items because we don't know what to do with them. I've got a collection of old mobile phones that I should send for recycling but I just can't get round to doing it, they bring back so many memories. What do you do with all those old vinyl records, tapes and CDs? I've go them stacked away somewhere but I'll never play them again and how many people still have a teasmaid or one of those fondue sets that were so popular many years ago. There are lots of recycling site springing up on the internet now that give you the opportunity to "give away" your old junk to someone that can make use of it, many of the sites are local and typing into your browser will take you to a UK site where you can search for your town. So what am I waiting for??? I've got a cheese plant, remember them? its now reached the ceiling, but its been with us for 25 years and it become part of the family!  I hope it gets a good home. 

Goldfish - May 2011

We share our house with two goldfish called Ollie and Stan. We once made a resolution that we would not have any more pets. We do have lots of goldfish in the pond outside but these two were homeless and we had to adopt them. They now zoom around their tank like a couple of kamikaze seals doing all sorts of amazing stunts. They have their own toothbrush, (used for cleaning their bridge) and a pair of chopsticks (for moving things around in their tank). Many people think that goldfish have very short memories but I can now confirm from personal experience now that this is not true. Experiments on goldfish have proved that they do have longer memories than many people believe and they are especially good at remembering when it is feeding time, according to my wife, just like me. 

DIY - April 2011

Are we losing interest in DIY or are we just too busy or too lazy to carry out DIY tasks around the house? According to the latest results of a poll by Masking tape manufacturer Frog Tape that I received this week, half of the men polled admitted to budging a DIY job because they hated decorating. Do these household tasks get left for another day or do we call in a professional to do them for us? Apparently many men can't be bothered to paint behind the wardrobes, not a good idea if you decide to move it to the other side of the room at a later date. Others can't be bothered to use a spirit level when they put the shelves back up. I do this all the time,  not because I am too lazy but because I can never find the spirit level. I'm always losing my tools, I put them down and they seem to disappear into a bottomless pit only to appear again when the job is completed. Many men say they are too proud to ask for help but I am not and when I ask my wife for help she always tells me that she is too busy and disappears. I wonder why? Apparently 61% of women say they are happy to have a go at painting and decorating, when I mentioned this to my wife she said that she was too busy doing my washing. Good advice from the sponsors of the poll, "A half-hearted attempt won't do your home any favours" and I totally agree with that. 

Changing a light bulb - March 2011

 How many men does it take to change a light bulb? A question that has caused arguments for century's and the answer to this question for the town of Beccles in Suffolk recently was 15 months and six men.  Unfortunately for the council the light went out yet again two days later. So much for long life bulbs. According to the council the street light is very close to overhead power lines and the power company has to attend for safety reasons. But no one has explained why the lamp positioned so close to a power line in the first place? In Surrey a light was damaged two years ago and a new one was put up, yet it has never shone because it has never been connected up to the electricity supply. A man turns up from time to time to change the bulb even though a resident has told him that the bulb is ok, the lamp just needs connecting to the electricity supply. Why doesn't the man tell his boss the real problem? Many years ago workmen planted trees all along a road in Kent, when told by a resident that the one of the trees was too close to a telegraph pole the workmen said their boss told them to put it there and that's where it had to go. Now, the tree has grown above the poll and every time the wind blows the phones get cut off and the BT engineer has to be called in regularly to repair the line. So why can't they cut the tree down to save money? after all, the pole was there before the tree. If anyone has any idea about the number of men it takes to change a light bulb, please e-mail me at 

Plastic shopping bags - February 2011

I was getting out of my car in a supermarket car park several years ago when I first noticed the mess that those plastic shopping bags caused. Several trees and a fence were covered with them. Soon afterwards a plastic bag blew up into a tree outside my house and part of it still there now torn to shreds. These plastic bags seem to last forever. When my mother went shopping she would never leave home without a reusable shopping bag. Then the supermarkets started supplying plastic bags and the reusable shopping bag almost disappeared. I read an article recently where the author said, "There is one simple action we can all take that will have an enormous impact on the health of our planet and its inhabitants, the next time you shop, don't leave the store carrying a plastic bag. If everyone did this, one of the most lethal polluters created by man would be removed from circulation". Then I read another article that said that these bags could all be recycled and in small numbers would not cause too much damage but unfortunately, they are still being used in large numbers and they can't be recycled when they are clinging on to trees and fences. Recently I watched a customer fill 12 plastic bags in one shopping trolley with most of them only partly full.. Personally I would be very happy if they disappeared forever and the old reusable shopping bags returned. Remember, when you go shopping, take a reusable bag with you.

Spikes - January 2011

Officials in Shandong province, Yantai, China have devised a spectacular way to stop people hogging park benches. They installed a coin-operated meter alongside the bench and if you stay too long on the bench without feeding the meter with coins, dozens of spikes shoot through the seat. According to an  official they have to make sure that the facility is shared out evenly and this stops people grabbing a bench and staying there all day. I pity the poor guy that falls asleep on the bench, it must be a bit of a shock if he overstays his allotted time. I can't imagine that happening here although the doors of those coin operated conveniences that were popular a few years ago in town centres used to fly open when you overstayed your time. Thankfully spikes were not used. Perhaps this is an answer to the age old problem where tourists at holiday resorts get up early to requisition all the sun beds for the day. 

Health Fears - January 2011

My wife keeps telling me that I eat too much, especially between meals, she cooks me a meal and then when I finish eating I head for the refrigerator for a snack. Apparently my wife's concern is normal as there are many wives and girlfriends who worry about the health of their partners. Their main concern is stress at work where their partners work long hours under too much pressure and sometimes take work home because they can't complete it. They also worry that their partners don't take enough exercise, eat too much fatty food and don't get enough sleep. Engage Mutual who commissioned the study said that women had many concerns about their partners lifestyle and pressure at work was seen as the biggest issue. Some women hadn't mentioned their worries to their partners but had started buying healthier food and subtly changed their partners lifestyles without telling them. So if your wife has booked you into a gym or a sporting activity for a present or cleared all the junk food from the house then be grateful to her as she is worried about your health, enjoy your healthy exercise and don't become a couch potato.  

National Quirks - December 2010

Our obsession with the weather is one of the many quirks that make Britain unique. Queuing, visiting the seaside on a cold rainy day hoping to get a sun tan, walking along the promenade wearing socks with sandals are other quirks that adds to the unique character of Britain. One of our biggest quirks is being able to do Tommy Copper impersonations, more than a third of people in a poll claim to be able to take off the great comedian. If you have any quirks to share please send them to  and for now here are some Tommy Cooper jokes to use at your party and don't forget to say, "just like that"

A woman told her doctor, "I've got a bad back." 'The doctor said, "It's old age."  The woman said, "I want a second opinion." 'The doctor says, "OK. you're ugly as well."

A man walked into the doctor's, he said "I've hurt my arm in several places."
The doctor said, "'well don't go to those places anymore."

I went to the doctors the other day and I said, "have you got anything for wind?"
So he gave me a kite.

Two Aerials meet on a roof - fall in love - get married. 
The ceremony was rubbish but the reception was brilliant

I got home from work and the wife said,  "I'm very sorry dear, but the cat's eaten your dinner." I said, "Don't worry,  I'll get you a new cat."

I went into a butchers and I said, "I'll have a pound of sausages." He said, "I'm very sorry sir, we only serve kilos in here." I said, "Okay then I'll have a pound of kilos."

So I said to the doctor. "People keep taking the Mickey out of me because I keep thinking I'm a cricket ball." 'The doctor said "Howzat?" I said, "don't you start."

So I knocked on the door at this bed & Breakfast and a lady stuck her head out of the window and said: "What do you want," I said, "I want to stay here."  She said, "Well stay there and shut the window."

Family Meals - November 2010

We always sit at a dinning table together to eat our meals but it seems that hectic lives and long working hours makes this a rare event in most houses today. One in ten families never eat an evening meal together. Another 10 per cent only eat together once a week while one in five families admit that they spend under 10 minutes at the table before rushing off on other business. The dining table seems to be disappearing from many houses and the meal is often delivered in a tray to be eaten while they relax in an arm chair in front of the television. The television plays an important part in the family meal now with more than a third  watching it while they eat their meals while other family members make phone calls, send text messages or play computer games . If one in five families admit to spending only 10 minutes at the table, how do they manage to do all this and still find the time to eat their meal? Despite all this the survey of 3000 adults by Bisto says that two thirds of children would like a traditional family dinner together and almost three quarters of families want to make more effort to get everyone eating together. 

Luxury - October 2010


I had a new bathroom suite fitted recently and that made me think how lucky I was to enjoy a bit of luxury. We have a completely different idea today as to what poverty is compared with our grandparents. Today, most of us have a bathroom equipped with a flush toilet, bath with hot and cold running water, a shower and central heating radiator or towel rail to dry the towels on. If you go back to the 1950s most people only had an outside toilet and a hot bath was a luxury. Could you imagine having to go outside in your night clothes on a cold wet night to use your toilet? It was so cold out there in the winter and often the toilet would freeze up, so can you imagine what that did to your body.  Many people didn't have a bath so they had to have a strip wash out of the sink in the kitchen or out of a bucket. For a shower you stood out into the garden where someone would tip a bucket of soapy water over you which they had just used to wash themselves. Very few people had running hot water so they would boil their water in the copper on the stove and tip it into a tin bath in front of the fire, not the best place to be taking a bath if visitors arrived. A copper was not a policeman but a big tank that was used to heat water. The lucky one's had a bathroom with cold running water taps that were so big you could get your toe stuck up them and if you were lucky you could have some hot water left over from the washing. So when you slip in your steamy bath tonight with nothing to distract you but the sound of trickling water and the soothing smell of natural juniper and thyme bath therapy spare a few thoughts for your grandparents.

Labels - September 2010

When I became a vegetarian I started taking an interest in the labels on food packages. I needed to satisfy myself that I was buying food that was suitable for my vegetarian diet. I had heard that there were some unusual instructions on food labels and it didn't take me long to build up a collection of them. One of the first one's I spotted was a bag of Doritos and the label informed me of the following: "You could be a winner, no purchase necessary, details inside" So does that mean that I can open the bag to check the details without purchasing it?  Next there was a pie with the warning, "Product will be hot after heating" did I not expect it to be?  Another classic was a label: "Warning - contains nuts" on a packet of peanuts, Ah, well that's what I bought it for. I found a food container with a label on the base telling me not to turn it upside down, but its was too late. When I went for a swim at an outdoor pool there was a warning sign, "Caution, deep water" am I mad, would I not expect deep water at a swimming pool? Back in the shop I found a packet of Christmas lights with a label - "For indoor and outdoor use only" so I stood there pondering on where else I would use them. Any ideas?  It has become much easier to identify Vegetarian food now as well as for other diets but it would be a good idea to think carefully before labeling. If you've seen a funny label please tell me about it by e-mailing me at 

Getting Lost - August 2010

Have you ever been completely lost? It first happened to me when I was a young child. I suddenly found myself all alone with lots of people around but my mum had gone. It didn't take long for her to find me but it was very frightening while it lasted. I once got lost walking around Venice, every corner and bridge looked the same and to make it worse there was a coach waiting for me and I thought I was going to miss it.  Motorists regularly get lost, in fact men spend the equivalent of a journey from London to Newcastle driving around lost every year. That's a lot of petrol to waste. The under 25s get lost more often than the over 55s even though they are more likely to carry a sat-nav. The last time I got lost was when I was diverted off the Motorway as it was closed due to an accident. I had no idea where I was going and as there was nowhere to park to get a map out. I played "follow the leader" down country lanes until I found myself alone and realised that I had followed the wrong "leader".  Its funny how everyone seems to disappear when you want to find someone to ask directions. Some people are too stubborn to ask for help and many drive around for half an hour before asking someone for directions. Several years ago a driver drove round and round London on the M25, not realising that he was going round in circles and going nowhere, I bet that happens a lot. There was also a guy who supported a northern football team who were playing Gillingham in Kent and he ended up heading for Gillingham in Dorset many miles from where he was supposed to be and when he arrived at the correct destination he had missed most of the game. Are you good at finding your way around or do you rely on a passenger to give directions? Have you ever missed your exit on the Motorway and driven on for miles to the next? Men have the best sense of direction while women are more happy to ask the way. Thanks to motor insurer Sheila's Wheels for the figures. 

Love your neighbours - July 2010

Do you get annoyed when your neighbours get their lawnmowers out early on Sunday morning to cut their grass?  According to a survey on  the things we hate the most about our neighbours by DIY chain B&Q. many people think that work in the garden should not start until 9.25 and some think it should be as late as 11am. Among the other things we hate about our neighbours include drilling, hammering, lighting bonfires and believe it or not singing!  It would rather listen to my neighbours singing than hear them having an argument. Bonfires are not so common these days but they seem to have been replaced by the smell of burning from a BBQ. I am not sure if its the burning of the fuel or the burning of the sausages that makes the worst smell. Why do people spend lots of money on a BBQ and use it only a few times a year? Perhaps they should save their money and cook their sausages and burgers indoors and pass them to their guests through the kitchen window. 

Slow service - June 2010

So you go out to a restaurant for a meal and the service is slow. What do you do?  Wait patiently or complain. A guy sat down and ordered his meal. He waited over an hour for service and all the time he could see takeaways being shipped out to customers at home. He got a bit peeved with that and used his mobile to ring the restaurant, making out he was at home he asked how long it would take for a takeaway to be delivered. He was told 45 minutes for up to five miles. "So why have I been waiting for over an hour for my meal to be delivered at my table in your restaurant when you can deliver a takeaway five miles away to my home in 45 minutes?" Perhaps he should have ordered a takeaway on his phone and asked for it to be delivered to his table in the restaurant as it would probably have been delivered a lot quicker. Did you know that 60 per cent of meals eaten in Britain are of overseas origin? Chinese Italian, French and American food is more likely to be your choice while Mexican, Greek, Turkish and Thai food gives us the most cosmopolitan choice of foods on earth. Now what happened to Peas pudding and faggots? 

Disappearing Pubs - May 2010

When I was a young lad my parents enjoyed visiting  the countryside and we usually ended up in a lovely country pub for a drink and I always had a packet of cheeselets as a treat. They had smokeless children's rooms where I could eat my cheeselets and drink my lemonade or in the summer we could sit in the gardens. I never saw anyone drunk, in fact there was a lovely family atmosphere in them. Now many of these old pubs are closing and are becoming an eyesore. Some are being converted into houses and restaurants as It seems that no one uses pubs any more. These pubs were a meeting place where friendships were made and some of the rooms  were used for various clubs to hold their meetings or sports events. I've played Table Tennis, darts, bar billiards, Skittles and Bat and Trap and these sports are disappearing as the pubs close. People will soon be buying all their booze in Supermarkets and drinking it at home while they watch the television. I wonder what people will do in the future when pubs become a thing of the past? Perhaps someone will have a bright idea to open a few pubs again. 

Netwalking - May 2010

There is a new danger emerging on our roads called netwalking. This is when a person goes out walking with their mobile phones in front of their faces writing test messages, e-mailing and surfing the internet. It's becoming a big hazard to motorists because these people even cross the road while looking at websites, watching films and TV shows on their mobile phones. Some people have even been studying social network sites while negotiating traffic.  Researchers who called the new trend "netwalking" said that careless netwalkers were putting themselves and others in danger. According to the study as many as 15 per cent of Britons have already been hit or had a near miss on the roads while using their phones. Many people said that they used their mobiles without realising it while they crossed a road because it had become a habit while many more claimed arrogantly that they were capable of doing two things at once. Mike Pickard, at esure car insurance said, "Mobile technology has revolutionised the way we communicate but it can have a detrimental impact on our day to day lives." Advice to pedestrians is to leave their mobiles in their pockets or bags and concentrate on what they are doing especially on busy highways. 

Things that annoy me - April 2010

I get really annoyed when I open the bathroom cabinet and the contents fall out into a sink full of water even though they were packed away neatly. I also get angry when I rush out of the bathroom to answer the phone and the door handle lodges itself into my pocket and brings me to a sharp halt ripping my pocket. Why does the phone always have to ring when I'm in the bathroom? then when I answer it, the caller's given up, leaving a message on my answer phone. Then it rings again as soon as I return to the bathroom to tell me that there is a message waiting for me. Why do leads always tangle themselves up into massive knots?  and why do peas keep defying gravity to jump off my plate and leave gravy stains all down my shirt, something that only happens if I've put a clean shirt on? Why does the vacuum cleaner wheel keep falling off and why do birds drop something on my car as soon as I've just finished cleaning it. Have you noticed that everything seem to go wrong and take twice as long  when you're in a hurry and why does my wife keep telling me to stop moaning all the time?  

The UK's most welcoming City - March 2010

With the Olympics coming up it looks as though the people of London will have to take some tips on how to be more welcoming from the people of Southampton. According to hotel chain Jury's Inn Londoners are the most unwelcoming people in Britain. Natives of the Capital were also slammed for their inability to make friendly conversation and lack of basic manners and politeness. London was also criticized for having the worst customer services in its stores. Apparently Londoners are too busy rushing around and leading hectic lives to hold open a door, give up a seat on a tube or bus or offer assistance and they also forget to say thank you or even smile. Glasgow was the second most unwelcoming city and third was Bradford where its residents more likely will queue jump if given the chance. Birmingham were fourth and Liverpool fifth and with Manchester, Aberdeen and Wolverhampton in the list of unwelcoming cities it seems that northern cities have a lot to learn. Top of the welcoming cities is Southampton where residents believe it is most important to have good manners and the shop staff were rated as the friendliness in the country. The friendly people of Southampton wouldn't think twice about helping someone to lift heavy shopping into the boot of their car and hardly ever forget to say their Ps and Qs. South coast cities did very well in the poll with Brighton,  Plymouth and Portsmouth coming in the top 10. So perhaps Southerners are not that bad. So if you are a resident of Southampton then be prepared to give a few tips to our friends in London. I'm off to do my shopping now, Southampton of course! I wonder if anyone will do a poll to find out where the most welcoming traffic wardens are.

High Call out Charges - February 2010

Call out charges made by some large companies can be very high and the prospect of being charged £100 plus can be a bit frightening for some people. Many firms will charge a large fee to inspect a problem with new equipment they have fitted into your home and if the engineer decides that it was caused by your neglect. they will make a charge. Normally you will not know if it is your fault until the engineer arrives and then it is too late. Recently I rang my Mother in Law who is now in her 80s and I could hardly hear her because the line was so bad. When I asked her about it, she told me that it was like that every time the wind blew.  We were then cut off completely and a BT robot voice told me that the other person had put the phone down. Suddenly we were reconnected, she was still talking and had no idea that I hadn't heard what she had been saying.  I had to ask her to repeat everything and she thought that I had been ignoring her. She told me that the telephone had been like that for weeks and it was going to cost £127 to call out a BT engineer. I rang BT and the lady did a line test and told me that they couldn't find a fault but then said that doesn't mean that there isn't a fault. I was getting a bit confused and told her that there was definitely a problem and they need to send an engineer. She said that if they send an engineer to her house and it was due to faulty equipment within her home  there would be a charge of £127. Now that is a lot of money for an 80 year old to pay out. Luckily when the engineer arrived it only took a few minutes for him to decide that the fault was due to a tree that had been planted alongside the telephone pole. Not the best place to put a tree and now every time the wind blows the engineer has to go up the tree to reconnect the line but no one will cut the tree down. I wonder what would have happened if she didn't want to risk losing £127 and then needed the phone in an emergency, BT and other firms should realise that if they are going to make these hefty call out charges they should allow for an honest mistake. 

Personal Grooming - January 2010

I have a lot of surveys sent to me but the one that came in recently was one of the most surprising that I have ever received. It claims that men are now taking longer than women to do their personal grooming. Simon Comins, Superdrug’s director of toiletries, which conducted the poll of 3,000 people, said: “Once upon a time it was cool for men to appear rough and ready, looking like they hadn’t spend more than a couple of minutes getting ready, but these days, everyone appreciates a man who takes care of his appearance, smells nice and looks like he's made an effort to look good". The study shows that men dedicate an average of 83 minutes a day to their personal grooming which includes cleansing, toning and moisturising, shaving, styling hair and choosing clothes. This is four minutes longer than it takes a woman. He also spends 23 minutes in the shower every morning and 18 minutes shaving. Choosing an outfit is also a timely operation for blokes who want to look their best – taking 13 minutes compared to 10 minutes for women. The ladies now appreciate a man who takes care of his appearance and smells nice. In the past rugged men such as Liam Gallagher, Brad Pitt and Russell Crowe were favoured but now the David Beckham, and Cristiano Ronaldo look is what pleases the ladies. I am very much in favour of seeing  men looking smarter but not so sure about 23 minute showers. Will they get to work on time? It would be nice if we return to the days when men travelled in smart clothes instead of trainers and casuals but I am still not convinced that men will ever take longer than a lady to do their grooming. If I spend 23 minutes in the shower my wife will not be pleased especially if I spend a further 18 minutes shaving. 

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