Friday, 4 January 2019


You're old when a bed costs same as your first house

I don’t usually take much notice of the marketing material that falls out of the daily paper.
This could be viewed as a terrible admission from someone who in a previous life as an editor encouraged inserts because of the revenue they earned our newspaper group.
Now I find them slightly annoying and often provocative. Do I REALLY need that side-panel bath for ease of access (answers on a postcard please)?
But one recent glossy insert caught my attention. It was a 20-page brochure for a furniture firm.
As I flicked through, my eyes settled on a bed. I have to admit that as beds go it was OK. And, most pleasing, the cost had been reduced. From £16,170 to £14,500. Yes, that’s right- a bed for £14,500.
You realise you’re getting old and wrinkly when a bed costs the same as your first marital home. That’s how much we paid for a lovely little three-bedroomed detached house in the middle of commuter-belt Bishop’s Stortford 40 years ago.

My rant earlier this month about PETA and the village called Wool got a response from my reader.
“I entirely agree,” he said. “Every time I put my sprouts into boiling water I ask myself ‘How can I do this to living vegetables? When I could be cooking meat that is long dead.’”
Controversial but at least someone reads my work. Thank you.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

The scandal that is 11,000 empty MOD houses

What a scandal it is that more than 11,000 Ministry of Defence homes across the UK are sitting empty, costing the taxpayer (that’s you and me) more than £25m a year in rent and maintenance?
The MOD says it is doing its best to reduce the numbers but has to budget for thousands of service family house moves every year.
Part of the current situation appears to be the 1996 sale and leaseback deal between the MoD and Annington Property Limited of over 55,000 residential properties.
The MoD agreed to rent homes back from the property company for 200 years. Yes, that’s right, 200 years.
Now I realise the MOD needs some “spares” for when members of the forces and their families have to move in a hurry but surely not 11,000 properties.
The homelessness situation faced by some members of the general public is at crisis point and the government appears to be ignoring a way to help ease that situation.

My reader got in touch with a response to my PETA piece on December 6: “I entirely agree. Every time I put my sprouts into boiling water I ask myself ‘How can I do this to living vegetables?’ When I could be cooking meat that is long dead.”

Thursday, 6 December 2018


Pulling the wool (vegan, of course) over our eyes

Animal rights activists have been mocked, correctly in my opinion, for asking the 1,000-year-old village of Wool to change its name to ‘Vegan Wool’.
The Dorset village has faced calls from PETA to change its name in an “animal friendly update” despite the fact the name of derives from the ancient word for well.
The vegan organisation wrote to Wool’s parish council asking for the change to be made.
Elisa Allen, director of PETA, said the change would “put Wool in the spotlight and promote kindness to sheep”.
She said wool “stolen from a sheep” is a “product of extreme cruelty” and if it is done incorrectly it can leave sheep with “large, bloody wounds”.
She wrote: “With a simple name change, your village can take a stand against this cruelty and remind everyone that it’s easy to stay warm and be warm-hearted to sheep by choosing vegan wool and other animal-free materials.”
What a load of absolute tosh. I have the feeling that this was purely and simply a publicity-generating exercise by PETA.
Of course the people behind this organisation, and its supporters, are perfectly entitled to their opinions.
But if they want to be taken seriously they should stick to presenting the facts behind their beliefs and not undertaking ridiculous PR campaigns.
By the way – PETA’s letter was posted by the parish council on Facebook to get feedback from residents and was widely ridiculed.
Mags Snook wrote: “I wonder whether Woolston, a suburb in Southampton has also had this hassle…or Lambeth, or Woolwich.”
In a statement, Dorset County Council said: “We would like to say that we are immensely proud of Dorset's heritage which includes many unusual place names like Shitterton, Scratchy Bottom and Knackers Hole, to name but a few!”
I bet the Parish Council in Ham, Glos. can’t wait for its letter from PETA.