by W H Auden
Night Mail This is the Night Mail crossing the border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner and the girl next door.
Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb:
The gradient's against her, but she's on time.
Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder
Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,
Snorting noisily as she passes
Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.
Birds turn their heads as she approaches,
Stare from the bushes at her blank-faced coaches.
Sheep-dogs cannot turn her course;
They slumber on with paws across.
In the farm she passes no one wakes,
But a jug in the bedroom gently shakes.
Dawn freshens, the climb is done.
Down towards Glasgow she descends
Towards the steam tugs yelping down the glade of cranes,
Towards the fields of apparatus, the furnaces
Set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen.
All Scotland waits for her:
In the dark glens, beside the pale-green sea lochs
Men long for news.
Letters of thanks, letters from banks,
Letters of joy from the girl and the boy,
Receipted bills and invitations
To inspect new stock or visit relations,
And applications for situations
And timid lovers' declarations
And gossip, gossip from all the nations,
News circumstantial, news financial,
Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,
Letters with faces scrawled in the margin,
Letters from uncles, cousins, and aunts,
Letters to Scotland from the South of France,
Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands
Notes from overseas to Hebrides
Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,
The chatty, the catty, the boring, adoring,
The cold and official and the heart's outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The typed and the printed and the spelt all wrong.
Thousands are still asleep
Dreaming of terrifying monsters,
Or of friendly tea beside the band at Cranston's or Crawford's:
Asleep in working Glasgow, asleep in well-set Edinburgh,
Asleep in granite Aberdeen,
They continue their dreams,
And shall wake soon and long for letters,
And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart,
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
In an article taken from October 2012:
Is the UK's loss of 50 million starlings since the 1960s due to our reliance on antidepressants?
Above: Mesmerizing Swarm of Starlings
In a wildlife special, Ellie Austin looks at how an explosion in drug-taking might be harming Britain's birds
By Ellie Austin 28 October 2014
. Last year an astonishing 50 million prescriptions were written in the UK for anti-depressant drugs such as Prozac. Essential, perhaps, for our wellbeing, but could this explosion in drug-taking be damaging the health of our bird population?
One expert, who’s studied the effects of passive Prozac-taking on starlings, says it’s changed not only their feeding habits but also their interest in mating. “Females who’d been on it were not interested in the male birds we introduced them to,” says Dr Kathryn Arnold, an ecologist from the University of York. “They sat in the middle of the cage not interested at all.”
Arnold’s research, which is investigated on BBC2’s Autumnwatch, took her to sewage works where birds flock to feed. “They’re a really great place to watch birds because they’re attracted by all the worms and invertebrates that live there,” says Arnold. “I started thinking, ‘What about what’s in the sewage?’ If you or I take a headache pill for instance, a high proportion of it ends up being excreted completely unchanged.”
It’s not the first time that concerns have been raised about the environmental impact of medicine. Scientists have linked reduced fertility in male fish to synthetic oestrogen from the contraceptive pill found in waste water. With a significant rise in the use of anti- depressants (the UK has recorded a five-fold in demand since 1991), this seemed another logical choice for investigation.
"We came up with antidepressants because they've been very heavily prescribed and because their function is to change human behaviour. The brain structure of birds is similar to ours so there are strong reasons to think that Prozac would have similar effects on them.”
Her first step was to measure the level of Prozac present in earthworms living in sewage. It was tiny – between three and five per cent of the average human dosage. She then fed worms containing the same concentration of the drug to 24 captive starlings and monitored their behaviour over six months – the equivalent of a winter in the wild.
As expected, the birds began to display side effects similar to those reported by humans prescribed Prozac. “The major finding was a loss of appetite. Compared with the control birds who hadn’t had any Prozac, they ate much less and snacked throughout the day. The problem then is that they’re less likely to survive long, dark winter’s nights.”
It wasn’t just food that lost its appeal. The birds’ libido also plummeted. “One female was given the choice of two different males. The control females were interacting with them but the females who’d been on Prozac – not interested.”
However, in one significant area, the starlings’ reaction to the drug didn’t mimic its effect on the human brain – their mood remained unchanged. “Antidepressants reduce anxiety in humans but we can’t ask a bird if it’s anxious; we have to measure it in a behavioural way. We present them with an unfamiliar object and see how they react.
If a bird is bold, it’ll carry on feeding, even though there’s something strange in its food bowl. But we found no effect on boldness, which is what we'd expected."
There are possible explanations. "Maybe we were measuring it the wrong way and that wasn't a particularly stressful task. If we repeated it we’d use a different method or different novel object. Or it could be that there are enough variations between bird and human brains that Prozac works in a slightly different way.”
Arnold’s findings are particularly significant given the sharp drop in Britain’s starling population. Estimates suggest that their numbers have fallen by four-fifths since 1979 – a decline largely attributed to farming practices and their effect on feeding habits. But could drugs meant for human consumption also be having an unwitting impact on bird behaviour?
Autumnwatch presenter Chris Packham warns there may be no simple answer: “This change in behaviour could impact negatively on their ecology. We know for instance we’ve lost 50 million starlings in the UK since the 1960s. Pharmaceuticals could play a part. The next stage of the work is to look at wild starlings to check if they also have chemical residue in their bodies.”
This is exactly what Arnold intends to do. She's adamant, however, that any future findings shouldn't be interpreted as an attack either on antidepressants or the waste-disposal industry. "I'm not saying that if you're depressed, don't take Prozac. Sewage treatment works are really good sources of food for birds. We're certainly not saying they should be covered over."
So, how do we protect Britain's starlings from becoming collateral damage in our ongoing battle with mental health? The key, says Arnold, is for ecologists and drug manufacturers to join forces. "Science needs to deliver better estimates of the environmental risks posed by pharmaceuticals. The effects we've measured so far are quite subtle. These aren’t big die-offs but they could have a negative impact on wildlife. We need to find out whether they are. It’s going to get worse so we need to get a handle on it.”
HISTORIC OSCARS 2017
HISTORIC FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Hollywood’s brightest stars and freshest faces descended on the Dolby Theatre Sunday night for the 89th Academy Awards ceremony.
The biggest shock in Oscars 89 year history took place on Sunday night when the wrong Best Picture winner, La La Land, was announced by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway when Moonlight had actually won the award.
Bonnie and Clyde stars Beatty and Dunaway announced La La Land had taken the best picture prize and the producers were in the middle of their acceptance speech. Meanwhile, officials went on stage after they realised something was wrong. The Music Producer Jordan Horowitz says: "Guys, I’m sorry, no, there’s a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won best picture. I’m going to be really proud to hand this to my friends from Moonlight."
The Moonlight team come on stage and the Oscar is handed over.
Warren Beatty explains: "I want to tell you what happened. I opened the envelope, and it said Emma Stone, La La Land. That’s why I took such a long look at Faye, and at you (the audience), I wasn’t trying to be funny."
It appears Warren Beatty didn't just have the wrong card, he had somehow been handed the envelope for the entirely wrong category... an envelope that says 'Actress in a Leading Role'.
HERE ARE THE ROGHT WINNERS
“Moonlight” - WINNER
Actor in a leading role
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea” - WINNER
Actress in a leading role
Emma Stone, “La La Land” - WINNER
Actor in a supporting role
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight” - WINNER
Actress in a supporting role
Viola Davis, “Fences” - WINNER
Animated feature film
“Zootopia” - WINNER
“La La Land” - WINNER
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” - WINNER
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land” - WINNER
“O.J.: Made in America” - WINNER
Documentary (short subject)
“The White Helmets” - WINNER
“Hacksaw Ridge” - WINNER
Foreign language film
“The Salesman” - WINNER
Makeup and hairstyling
“Suicide Squad” - WINNER
Music (original score)
“La La Land” - WINNER
Music (original song)
“City Of Stars” from “La La Land,” Music by Justin Hurwitz, lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul - WINNER
“La La Land” - WINNER
Short film (animated)
“Piper” - WINNER
Short film (live action)
“Sing” - WINNER
“Arrival” - WINNER
“Hacksaw Ridge” - WINNER
“The Jungle Book” - WINNER
Writing (adapted screenplay)
“Moonlight” - WINNER
Writing (original screenplay)
“Manchester by the Sea” - WINNER
AUNTIE LIZ’S MUDDY DAY
By Liz Woolley
“Ridiculous idea to go to Carsington Water for the day with three kids in the new car ... It will be fine, I thought, I have bin bags, mum has baby wipes we're all good. How wrong I was!!! Christian face plants the mud, absolutely covered, as we're thinking about how to sort him out, Binobi runs up without wellies, feet covered in mud, he's got stuck and left them behind. Jazzy runs up also covered having rescued his wellies!!! Whilst I'm trying to do some damage limitation Steve Hodgkinson comes out with the classic comment of the day 'It's like wearing 3 bloody condoms going out with you lot, best contraception ever!' Helpful !!!” Liz Wooley – Facebook
The photograph is of Auntie Liz’s brand new shiny red car!"
Background: Liz is one of my eight fantastic nieces and nephews (one of which is no longer with us (physically that is, but is so in every other way). Unusually, they all have amazing partners and children too. To go to generations beyond that is difficult because I do not have the contact.
IS IT REAL?
David Raynor’s photograph of a model O Gauge engine. Notice the “Raynor” truck. Two things I like about it. Firstly the engineering accuracy, skills and creativity of model builders. I marvel at it because like painting and DIY I cannot do it and get a satisfactory result. What I like about model railways are is they are like creative writing, with the creation of a fictitious world.
Secondly, David took this photograph on his tablet. The quality of photo is excellent.
With thanks to David Raynor for the photograph
Watching these magnificent gorillas from feet away, it is hard to believe they are being slaughtered in vast numbers because of mobile phones and games consoles.
The animals are being poached for bushmeat by militia groups and miners digging for an ore called coltan.
It contains tantalum, used to make capacitors in modern electronic devices.
Much of the globe’s coltan is mined here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Wildlife observers have witnessed whole families of gorillas being massacred by thugs with machine guns.
Eastern lowland gorillas, which are only found in the Congo, were recently added to the critically endangered species Red List, one step from extinction.
They are the largest primates on the planet.
Mirror journalist Tom Parry visits the eastern lowland gorilla
Twenty years ago, before the Congo civil war – which has left 5.4 million people dead and still rumbles on today – there were 18,000. Now there are estimated to be just 3,800 left in the wild.
That is a population decline of 80% in a single generation.
Today the struggling rangers in the east of the Congo are begging for international assistance, or these magnificent animals could be gone for ever.
John Kahekwa, who recently received the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa, tells me: “Twenty years ago, many tourists used to come gorilla trekking here.
“But the country has gone backwards so now the road is worn away and there are few facilities. We receive very few visitors.
“We very much want people to come back here, because the money from tourism will boost the local economy.”
NEWARK IS HAPPIEST PLACE TO LIVE IN UK
A Nottinghamshire district has been named as the happiest place in England.
Newark and Sherwood - which covers Sherwood Forest and the towns of Newark-on-Trent, Southwell and Ollerton - has come out top in the government's national happiness survey.
Residents have rated their happiness at an impress 8.11 out of 10; a huge rise as the area was languishing in mid-table last year.
Mum-of-two Carly Tull (has daughter Poppy) said the area was a "great place" to raise a family.
The 37-year-old teacher, who lives in the Fernwood estate, said: "We are lucky to have several excellent primary and secondary schools which we can send our children to as well as having brilliant leisure facilities here in Newark which offer activities for the whole family at very reasonable prices.
"I think employment opportunities are good and house prices, compared to the rest of the country, are still low giving families much better value for money.
"Here on Fernwood, we also have great childcare facilities which mean more people can go out to work knowing that the children are well looked after and happy."
Teenager Laycie Beck said she loves living in Newark because the town is filled with lots of history and culture.
The 17-year-old said: "Whenever I leave my house I see something amazing, whether it's the old Market Place, the Castle or even the River Trent.
"The fact Newark is the home of so many historic features encourages people to come and see our town, which means as the occupants we feel appreciated and thankful to live where we live."
People in Nottingham are the least happy in our area, according to the survey, giving themselves an average rating of just 7.36 out of 10.
In Mansfield it is 7.40, in Bassetlaw 7.48, in Ashfield 7.59, in Gedling 7.68, in Rushcliffe 7.70 and in Broxtowe 7.85.
The least happy place in England is East Northamptonshire, where people rated their happiness at 7.01 out of 10.
Last year's least happy place, Bolsover in Derbyshire, has risen 24 places up the charts.
In terms of major cities, people in London, Cardiff, Leeds and Edinburgh are all equally happy, at 7.41 out of 10.
People in Birmingham are close behind, followed by Derby, Leicester and Nottingham in that order.
Hull is further down the list, followed by Bristol, Newcastle and Manchester - with Liverpool bottom of the pile.
Nottinghamshire it's the city-dwellers that are the least happy, closely followed by residents of Ashfield (sorry Hucknall folks) who scored 7.59 out of 10. East Northamptonshire is the least happy in England at 7.01 out of 10
Note: As I did item about findings that happiest people are those without clothes, does this mean all the people around Newark walk around naked.
The data was collected by the Office for National Statistics in the year to the end of September last year - meaning it included the run-up to, and fall-out from, the EU referendum.
Happiest places in England...
Newark and Sherwood: 8.11
Castle Point: 7.96
Least happiest places in England...
East Northamptonshire: 7.01
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Whilst carrying out some research I found the following at: www.radiolondon.co.uk
Geriatric Top Twenty
1 Excerpt from a Geriatric Operation Keith West
2 These Boots Give Me Arthritis Nancy Sinatra
3 A Whiter Shade of Hair Procol Hairem
4 Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Walker Herman's Hormones
5 Talkin' 'Bout My Medication The Who
6 Bald Thing The Troggs
7 Born to Be Mild Steppenwolf
8 Remember Bonking With the Band? The Shangri-Las
9 Botox Around the Clock Bill Haley
10 Let the Heartburn Begin Long John Baldy
11 Hippy Hip Replace Swingin' Blue Jeans
12 The Napping Song Shirley Ellis
13 Matthew and Grandson Cat Stevens
14 Woolly Pully Sam the Sham
15 Reach Out I'll Be Under the Chair The Thin on Tops
16 Papa Got a Kidney Stone The Temptations
17 Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Bob Dylan
18 Sticks And Stannahs Warm Sounds
19 Got to get you onto my Lift Cliff Bennett
20 Creak Alley Grandmamas & Grandpapas
The originals were:
1 Excerpt from a Teenage Operation Keith West
2 These Boots were made for Walking Nancy Sinatra
3 A Whiter Shade of Pale Procol Harum
4 Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter Herman's Hermits
5 Talkin' 'Bout My Generation The Who
6 Wild Thing The Troggs
7 Born to Be Wild Steppenwolf
8 Remember Walking In The Sand? The Shangri-Las
9 Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley
10 Let the Heartaches Begin Long John Baldy
11 Hippy Hippy Shake Swingin' Blue Jeans
12 The Clapping Song Shirley Ellis
13 Matthew and Son Cat Stevens
14 Woolly Bully Sam the Sham
15 Reach Out I'll Be There Four Tops
16 Papa Was A Rolling Stone The Temptations
17 Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat Bob Dylan
18 Sticks And Stones Warm Sounds
19 Got to get you into my Life Cliff Bennett
20 Creeque Ally Mamas & Papas
THE GOLDEN AGE OF JACKIE THE COMIC
Jackie magazine launched in January 1964 and continued for 29 years. The launch issue sold a staggering 696,662 copies but the ‘Golden Decade’ was in the 1970’s when it was nationally recognised as the Teen Bible. Weekly sales had risen to an average of 850,000 by 1972 before the best-selling issue ever hit the streets in October 1972 to coincide with the UK Tour by David Cassidy.
1,144,834 copies of Jackie with the FREE pull-out David Cassidy poster were snapped up by eager teenage girls and this was almost repeated a year later when Jackie answered the pleas of the Donny Osmond fans….but there must have been slightly more Cassidy fans as the Osmond-issue only sold 1,064,419 copies!
By 2005, these millions of Jackie Girls were now self- respecting ladies of 40, 50 or 60 and that was when Carlton Books with a Proposal published the ‘Best Of’ for the adult retro market. 100,000 copies flew off the shelf followed by further sales of 50,000 copies of Best of Jackie Annuals in 2006.
Virgin/EMI, publishers of the ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ CD Series had been monitoring the Jackie Book sales and released “The Jackie Album” for Christmas 2007.
Projected sales for the 70’s inspired triple Jackie CD Collection were estimated at 80-100,000. With a PR Campaign fronted by ex-Jackie-editor Nina Myskow aided and abetted by best- selling author and ex D.C. Thomson employee Jacqueline Wilson, Jackie – The Album sold a staggering 400,000 copies and reached No.3 in the Album Charts.
To date, Virgin/EMI has released 9 x Jackie Triple CD Collections with a combined sale of 1,120,000 copies with the latest CD – Jackie Pin-Ups released in November 2013.
Jackie was published by D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd of Dundee (the Dandy & Beano publishers) from 11 January 1964 until its closure on 3 July 1993—a total of 1534 issues
The world's eight richest billionaires
1. Bill Gates (US): co-founder of Microsoft $75bn
2. Amancio Ortega (Spain): founder of Zara owner Inditex $67bn
3. Warren Buffett (US): largest shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway $60.8bn
4. Carlos Slim Helu (Mexico): owner of Grupo Carso $50bn
5. Jeff Bezos (US): founder and chief executive of Amazon $45.2bn
6. Mark Zuckerberg (US): co-founder and chief executive of Facebook $44.6bn
7. Larry Ellison (US): co-founder and chief executive of Oracle $43.6bn
8. Michael Bloomberg (US): owner of Bloomberg LP $40bn
Source: Forbes billionaires' list, March 2016
WORLD’S LARGEST CIRCULATION MAGAZINES (In millions per issue)
This is a countdown of the 10 highest circulating magazines in the world Monthly worldwide circulation figures
Note all are paid for copies except #1 & #2 which are given away free
#10 – People 3.5 million
People is one of the largest magazines in America, with a readership of over 45 million adults. In 2011, it pulled in more ad revenue than any other American magazine, with $997 million. T
#9 – Family Circle 4 million
While magazines like People prefer to publish stories pertaining to celebrities and the entertainment industry, magazines like Family Circle are a little more modest. Family Circle is an American magazine that specializes in topics pertaining to home economics and women’s interests. Circulation around 4 million issues per year.
#8 – National Geographic 4.1 million
In 2013, it was recorded to have circulated 6.8 million units across the world.
#7 – Good Housekeeping 4.3 million
Good Housekeeping is the second women’s magazine on our list. T
#6 – Reader’s Digest 7 Million
#5 – Better Homes & Gardens 7.6 milion
As you have probably noticed by now, magazines that relate to home economics tend to become pretty popular. Better Homes & Gardens is, objectively, the most popular home economics magazines in the world.
#4 – Game Informer – 8.1 million
Compared to a lot of the other magazines on this list, Game Informer is practically a newborn. baby Game Informer is the most popular video game magazine in the country, and its popularity has exploded as the game industry has done the same. In 2015 alone, nearly 7 million copies were put into circulation.
#3 – AARP The Magazine – 22.5 million
This may seem surprising at first, but it makes a lot of sense once you really think about it. AAARP The Magazine is sent on a bi-monthly basis to every single member of the AARP. (For those who are uninformed, the AARP, or the American Association of Retired People, is a membership senior interest organization.) This lifestyle magazine is actually the most largely circulated magazine in the entirety of the United States, with over 23 million copies circulated in 2015 alone.
#2 – Awake! – 55 million per month (Given free)
Awake! is a bi-monthly religious magazine published by Jehovah’s Witnesses, and it is the second most widely circulated magazine in the entire world. Although some Americans reading this may not be familiar with Awake!, keep in mind that this magazine is currently available in over 100 languages, and printed in 19 different countries. It’s been said that around 55 million copies are circulated every two months. The magazine’s first issue came in 1919, and it primarily contains articles relating to biblical history, health, and nature. As far as distribution goes, Awake! is mostly passed out the old fashioned way. Most copies are directly handed to individuals during house-to-house ministry, or left in public places like libraries and bus terminals.
#1 – The Watchtower - 59 million per month (Given free)
Watchtower is a religious magazine published by Jehovah’s Witnesses, with around 59 million copies being circulated per bimonthly run.
Highest UK magazine circulation National Trust Magazine 2,165,142
REASONS FOR TAX RETURNS BEING LATE
31ST January is the deadline for getting your 2015/2016 Tax return in to HMRC. There is a £100 penalty if you miss that deadline which increases as time goes on. Here are the HMRC’s Top Ten of (I suppose) Worst Excuses received for not filing by January 2016 deadline.
1. My tax return was on my yacht, which caught fire.
2. A wasp in my car caused me to have an accident and my tax return, which was inside, was destroyed.
3. My wife helps me with my tax return, but she had a headache for ten days.
4. My dog ate my tax return...and all of the reminders.
5. I couldn't complete my tax return, because my husband left me and took our accountant with him. I am currently trying to find a new accountant.
6. My child scribbled all over the tax return, so I wasn't able to send it back.
7. I work for myself, but a colleague borrowed my tax return to photocopy it and lost it.
8. My husband told me the deadline was the 31 March.
9. My internet connection failed.
10. The postman doesn’t deliver to my house.
… and the previous two years:
1. My tax papers were left in the shed and the rat ate them
2. I’m not a paperwork orientated person – I always relied on my sister to complete my returns but we have now fallen out
3. My accountant has been ill
4. My dog ate my tax return
5.I will be abroad on deadline day with no internet access so will be unable to file
6. My laptop broke, so did my washing machine
7. My niece had moved in – she made the house so untidy I could not find my log in details to complete my return online
8. My husband ran over my laptop
9. I had an argument with my wife and went to Italy for 5 years
10. I had a cold which took a long time to go
1. My pet goldfish died (self-employed builder)
2. I had a run-in with a cow (Midlands farmer)
3. After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else (London woman)
4. My wife won’t give me my mail (self-employed trader)
5. My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him (Leicester hairdresser)
6. I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play (Coventry writer)
7. My bad back means I can’t go upstairs. That’s where my tax return is (a working taxi driver)
8. I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land (South East man)
9. Our business doesn’t really do anything (Kent financial services firm)
10. I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns (London accountant)
RABBI LIONEL BLUE
I LEARNED SO MUCH ABOUT HOW TO DEAL WITH LIFE FROM HIM
Lionel Blue taught me so much over the years I used to listen to him on Thought for the Day on the car radio going to work. Also with his books and we actually saw him speaking at the Playhouse, Nottingham. He helped me so much, humorously giving tips for dealing with life.
Sadly he died this week Here is his obituary from the BBC site.
Obituary: Rabbi Lionel Blue Died 19 December 2016
Rabbi Lionel Blue's combination of wit, humility and compassion appealed to and entertained those of all beliefs and of none.
For nearly 30 years, he was a regular on BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day, always ending his homily with a humorous story, often gleaned from experiences in his own Jewish community.
Lionel Blue was born in London's East End on 6 January 1930, the son of a master tailor of Russian descent.
He was evacuated to a variety of places during the war and later went to grammar school in north London and then to Balliol College, Oxford, where he gained a degree in history.
He abandoned an early interest in theology for communism after hearing horrific stories from fellow Jews who had fled Hitler's persecution.
While at university, the realisation that he was homosexual drove him to a nervous breakdown, during which he tried to take his own life. He became attached to the idea of becoming an Anglican monk but rediscovered his own faith at a service in 1950.
After much agonising, he decided to become a rabbi, prompting his mother to remark that she had spend all her time trying to get him out of the ghetto and now he was jumping back in.
He managed to appeal to those of all religions and of none
He became the European director of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and, for many years, lectured at a rabbinical college in London.
Often distrusted by the Jewish establishment, Lionel Blue always described himself as a very reformed Rabbi. He had, in his own words, "jumped over the wall of my ghetto".
He liked meeting Christians, Muslims and people of other religions. Indeed, he went regularly into retreat at a Roman Catholic monastery, and he wrote for a Roman Catholic newspaper. This ecumenical approach enabled him to cross the barriers between those of different faiths.
He began openly discussing his sexuality with friends in the late 1960s and came out in 1980, the first rabbi to do so. He had several long-term relationships and, in his later years, therapy helped him to overcome the remains of his guilt.
Making sense of life, both his own and those of listeners, was a constant theme. He mixed his opinions on politics, usually the Middle East conflict, with homely advice on succeeding in exams, the loneliness of the new year, making up after rows and airport fatigue. It was this essential humanity that touched the hearts of listeners.
In his early seventies he suffered a series of small heart attacks, epileptic seizures and had surgery for cancer. But he dealt with his physical problems in typical style, taking a one-man show to the Edinburgh fringe and making light of them on Thought for the Day.
SEE SANTA FLY
THROUGH THE SKY
ON 21ST DECEMBER
ON PRACTISE RUN
Taken from; www. netmums.com
Good news if your kids are DESPERATE to see Santa this year. If they look up in the sky later this month, they just might see his sleigh flying overhead.
OK - it's not actually Santa's sleigh (our little secret).
Instead, the International Space Station (ISS) will be passing over the UK a few days before Christmas. It's the largest Space Station laboratory ever built and orbits the earth at 17,500mph.
Flying at an altitude of roughly 200 miles, as it reflects light from the sun it looks like a bright light (or indeed Santa's sleigh) as it cruises past.
So why not pretend to your kids that it's Father Christmas on a practice run before his big night delivering presents all round the world.
When will the ISS pass over the UK? You'll need to be quick to catch the fly past ...
The ISS will do a 'low pass' over the UK on 21 December between 5pm and 5.02pm, going from west to east.
If you want to see it higher up in the sky, there will be a 'medium altitude' pass from west to east on 19 December. Get your kids looking up at the sky between 5.07pm and 5.10pm.
There's also the chance to see Santa even earlier - the ISS will be doing another 'low pass' on 18 December between 6pm and 6.02pm.
Where can I see the ISS fly over? As the UK is a relatively small country, we'll all be able to follow its progress at the same time. If you're elsewhere in the world, you can look up your location and sign up for alerts.
You can also check Meteorwatch.org for more information on when the ISS will be passing overhead. On the website it advises, 'Spotting the station is very easy and you don't need any special equipment. You only need your eyes!'
And follow @VirtualAstro on Twitter who regularly posts about ISS positions
ANDY MURRAY WINS BBC SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
This blog tries to avoid giving opinion. Its primary purposes are to inform and entertain. But I am making an exception in thhis case. I believe Andy Murray is a worthy and obvious winner of this trophy.
He has achieved so much not only this year, where he has just gone on and on achieving but throughout his career.
Secondly, one of the criteria for the BBC Sports Personality winner seems to be the importance of having no personality. Again a worthy winner. Sorry, Andy. But he is getting much better. Hopefully this win will help bring him out of his shell
MIRACLES DO HAPPEN
A little girl born with feet the size of a fingernail is being hailed as the world's smallest surviving premature baby.
Emilia Grabarczyk was only 8.6 inches (22cm) long and weighed 8 ounces (229 grams) when she was born at a hospital in the western German city of Witten nine months ago.
Her tiny foot was only 1.2 inches (3cm) long.
In comparison, a large banana weighs about 7 ounces while an orange is 6 ounces.
Doctors have described her as the "little fighter" and her survival as a "medical sensation" while German media said she was the lightest premature baby ever born in the world.
The early birth was followed by a period of uncertainty. Emilia was born so early that it led to subsequent complications.
There was an increased risk of hyperactivity and learning difficulties. Emilia even survived abdominal surgery at a weight of just 12 ounces.
Yet luckily for the girl, there are no signs of serious disability.
She was initially fed with a tiny tube. The doctors used a cotton bud soaked in sugar water to soothe her and relieve pains.
Her birth at the Maria Hospital came after doctors decided with her parents Lukas, 34, and Sabine, 30, to deliver the baby by Caesarean section at the 26th week of pregnancy.
The record for the smallest baby was said to be held by Rumaisa Rahman, who was born in the Loyola University Medical Centre in the US city of Chicago in 2004 when her mum was only 25 weeks pregnant.
At birth, Rumaisa was 8 inches tall and weighed 8.6 ounces.
Professor Dr Sven Schiermeier, chief physician of obstetrics, said that Emilia would have died in the womb if they hadn't delivered her early as the placenta was not sufficient for her nutrition.
For comparison, the doctor said that usually a foetus in the 26th week of pregnancy would have weighed around 21 ounces.
For Lukas and Sabine, there was no question as to whether they would give the child a chance even if the odds for survival were low.
"There were many difficult days and many tears, but she clearly wanted to survive," the mother said.
Right now, Emilia weighs 106 ounces and seems to be in much better physical condition.
Dr. Bahman Gharavi, Head of Children and Youth Clinic at the hospital, said the Emilia's birth was truly unique.
The doctor said that the survival of the baby was only possible thanks to the joint effort of paediatricians, gynaecologists and paediatric surgeons.
"Even children with a birth weight of 14 ounces rarely survive. We have to thank Emilia as well for her own survival," he said.
"She is a little fighter.
"For more than six months, it was unclear whether she would survive. Only in recent weeks she is getting more robust."
HEINZ BEANZ TV AD BANNED
In 2016 we loved the theme tune to a new comedy series called “Mum”. We loved the comedy too. The song was Anna Kendrick - Cups (Pitch Perfect's “When I'm Gone”). The video featured a waitress singing to the backing of customers banging all sorts of items. See the video.
Heinz Beanz did a bit of a take off using their tins to produce the music in a TV ad. But the TV ad has been banned as the following item on BBC News explains.
A Heinz beans advert showing how to beat out a song on tin cans has been banned for health and safety reasons.
The advertisement featured young people and adults using empty or full tins to make the rhythm of a song, with the catchline "#Learn the CanSong".
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that mistakes might be made that could lead to people cutting their hands or fingers.
Kraft Heinz denied that the advertising campaign posed a risk.
Flipping and twirling
Three viewers complained that the TV advert could encourage unsafe practice and six believed it featured behaviour that could be dangerous for children to copy.
The ASA said it was unlikely that consumers would be as proficient as the actors at flipping and twirling the cans around.
It said mistakes might be made with an empty can, given the manoeuvres required and the lack of instructions.
"For the reasons given and because the ad did not include information on how to ensure consumer safety when recreating the song, we concluded that the ad condoned and encouraged behaviour that prejudiced health or safety," the decision continued.
"We told Heinz to ensure that future ads did not condone or encourage behaviour that prejudiced health and safety, including behaviour that could be dangerous for children to emulate, for example by featuring open tin cans being used to play music."
The ASA ordered Heinz not to broadcast the advert again in its current form
DO CHILDREN WATCH ENOUGH TV
Pre-school children are "glued to their screens for four hours a day", says the front page of the Daily Mail.
According to Ofcom figures, they are online for 71 minutes - and spend another three hours watching television and playing computer games.
"The findings are very, very worrying," the literacy adviser Sue Palmer tells the paper. "There are so many other things that kids of that age should be doing."
The Times puts a different spin on the Ofcom data. "Children turn off TV and log on instead," reads its headline.
The paper says youngsters aged 5 to 15 spend 15 hours a week online, an increase of over an hour on last year.
Meanwhile, TV viewing dropped by more than an hour to just under 15 hours.
"Children's lives are increasingly digital," says Jane Rumble, director of market intelligence at Ofcom.
However, television is still popular - as a letter in the Daily Telegraph proves.
"On Monday I told my 13-year-old son - whose time would be totally consumed by television or any other screen given the opportunity - that for the first time in his life and mine there would be a supermoon," writes James Fenner from London.
"His reply: 'Cool - what time is it on?'"
20 MONTH OLD EWAN HAS SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT THIS LOOK OUT FOR HIS EMERGENCY BONUS BLOG WHICH WILL BE POSTED SATURDAY
SUPERMOON - TONIGHT
14th NOVEMBER 2016
11 FACTS ABOUT SUPRTMOON
1 Its distance will be approximately 221,525 miles from the earth and it would take around 170 years to walk.
2 There are on average 6 supermoons a year. Tonight’s is the closest the moon will be to the earth since 1948, which was 21 years before the first moon landing.
3 The moon will appear 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than usual.
4 This is the second of three supermoons in a row with the next being on Dec 14th.
5 Its real name is a perigee-syzygy moon, the term supermoon was coined 37 years ago by astrologer Richard Nolle.
6 Any full moon can appear orange or red as dust and particles in the atmosphere filter out colours with a shorter wavelength.
7 The lunar cycle is 29.5 days. That’s why we can have two full moons in one calendar month. The second full moon is actually called a Blue moon.
8 1948 was a special year as the LP record was first introduced to the world, the London Olympics was held, the NHS was established and most important of all Shakin Stevens was born.
9 Tides will be a little higher
10 The best time to see Monday’s supermoon in the UK will be at about 4.45pm, although the moon was actually at its closest at 11.22am.
11 NASA said the next full moon that will look this big won’t occur until November 25, 2034.
CHINESE SINGLES DAY 11.11
TODAY I DISCOVERED WHAT CHINESE SINGLES DAY IS ALL ABOY. Here is a clipping taken from the Daily Telegraph that explains it all.
What is China's Singles Day and how does it compare to Black Friday?
Singles Day, the biggest online shopping day in history
Lauren Davidson, property editor Emily Allen Ashley Armstrong, retail correspondent
11 NOVEMBER 2016 • 10:55AM
Forget tiny little Black Friday. Single's Day, the world's biggest online shopping day of the year, has just finished with Chinese shoppers spending $17.8bn (£14.2bn) in 24 hours.
More than $12bn was spent on shopping website Alibaba in the first 12 hours of Singles Day this year. It surpassed $7bn in the first two hours alone, and that's just one website...
What is Singles Day?
Singles Day started as an obscure "anti-Valentine's" celebration for single people in China back in the 1990s, but it has spawned into the world's biggest online shopping day. It takes place in China on November 11 every year.
What does that have to do with single people?
Astute readers will have noticed that the November 11 is written 11.11, or one-one-one-one.
Known in China as "bare sticks holiday" because of how it looks numerically, Singles Day began as an anti-Valentine's Day in the 1990s when students at Nanjing University started celebrating their singledom.
It was then adopted by e-commerce giant Alibaba (China's Amazon equivalent) in 2009 and it has now become a day when everyone, regardless of their single status buys themselves gifts.
It's also known as Bachelors' Day because of China's gender imbalance. The country's one-child policy, which it recently said it will bring to an end, along with the cultural and economic pressures for that child to be a son, has led to a male surplus.
In 2011, official Chinese data showed that there were 20m more men than women under the age of 30. By 2020, sociologists expect that discrepancy to have widened to 35m. By 2030, it is estimated that one-in-four Chinese men in their late 30s will never have married.
Singles Day, China
How did Singles Day become a shopping holiday?
Alibaba chiefs spotted the commercial opportunity in Singles Day back in 2009 and began launching “Double 11” deals just as online shopping was starting to explode. It was also seen as a chance to boost sales in the lull between China’s Golden Week national holiday in October and the Christmas season.
In that first year consumers spent 50m yuan (around £5m) and 27 merchants offered discounts. By 2011 – which was dubbed the Singles Day of the Century because it was 11.11.11 – more than £500m was spent across Alibaba's platform during the day.
When sales almost quadrupled the following year, Alibaba trademarked Singles Day. Some of the featured sales centre around singledom, such as boyfriend pillows and single travel tickets, but the day has now widened to an all-inclusive shopping holiday.
The Hangzhou-based firm, founded by eccentric businessman and China's second richest man Jack Ma, now refers to Singles Day as the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.
So is Singles Day is bigger than Black Friday?
Singles Day laughs in the face of Black Friday. Last year, Chinese consumers treated themselves to almost £11.4bn worth of goods from Alibaba in just 24 hours. This year, Alibaba surpassed that total within 15 hours.
This resulted in 467 million parcels being delivered after 710 million payments were made, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua. That was an increase of 60 per cent on 2014, and more than double the total online sales from Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined in the US in 2015, according to a report by Fortune.
What will Singles Day look like this year?
Alibaba has started showcasing its promotions earlier this year, starting with a live-streamed, eight-hour fashion show from Shanghai which took place on October 23, as well as a virtual reality shopping experience.
KPMG had reckoned that sales this year could exceed $20bn, driven by Hong Kong and Taiwan adopting the event for the first time this year, via its online marketplace Tmall, and purchases made by China's rural growing middle classes.
"Given the continual growth in popularity of Chinese Singles’ Day, there is no doubt that sales this year will be bigger than ever. It reinforces the growing buying power of the Chinese consumer and the increasing prominence of the date in the retail calendar", Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG said.
It's also hosting a star-studded Super Bowl-type gala in Shenzhen just hours before the sales bonanza starts on November 11. It's extravaganza will be given an extra dose of British glamour as David Beckham and Victoria Beckham made a public appearance.
The retired football star stepped into the breach after US pop sensation and Alibaba "global ambassador" Katy Perry pulled out of the event citing a "family emergency".
It's not just about Alibaba though. Rival Chinese firm JD.com also gets in on the act, and last year American and European brands like Zara and Macy's offered discounts.
How much does each person spend?
Growth of the world's second-largest economy has slowed markedly over the past few years and last summer, China devalued its currency for the first time in two decades which saw billions wiped off its stock market.
Despite that, a 2015 survey of 1,000 Chinese internet users, conducted by Nielsen, found that the average consumer planned to spend 1,761 yuan (£181) during Singles Day - or 22 per cent more than 2014. This year is expected to be no different.
Mobile shopping is big business in China with around 1.3bn smartphone users in China. Around 37pc of Chinese shoppers buy products using their phones, compared to the global average of 13pc.
Will Singles Day be coming to the UK?
The potential to take part in the multibillion shopping event has encouraged some British retailers to take part. Last year, Topshop sales surged by 900pc and is seen as a way for the fashion retailer to grow awareness in China.
Fung Global expects sales of British brands to surge this year, driven by a tailwind from Chinese online shoppers' demands for overseas goods.
Likewise, a number of British brands, including Whittard of Chelsea, Marks & Spencer, Asos and Waitrose, have marketplaces on Alibaba's Tmall site.
Sainsbury's has used a virtual reality promotion tool on Tmall before which allows shoppers to see a 360 degree live broadcast of a London supermarket as they shopped. The event was the second most popular promotion since Sainsbury's live broadcasted an afternoon tea party on the Queen's birthday.
Burberry has a store on Tmall
The Hut Group, which owns beauty sites and Protein World, said it expects sales to double compared to last year with brands offering 40pc off haircare products. Meanwhile, vitamin retailer Holland & Barrett is hoping to make £1m from the event alone this year, double its takings last year after trading on Tmall just a few months before Singles Day.
British luxury brand Burberry also has a Tmall store and last year drove demand with personalised cashmere scarves during the shopping event, but didn't discount its products.
However, the event is unlikely to take hold in the UK as it falls on Armistice Day. "It would be incredibly distasteful to run a shopping event in Britain during Remembrance services", one retailer said.
DONALD TRUMP ELECTED 45th PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
So Donald Trump has won. How did he do that, then? There goes the chance for me to see the first female USA president in my life time.
One wonders where that leaves the world now. The thing I cling to is that early in the campaign someone said to me that it did not matter as his advisers will keep him on track. Just look at Ronald Reagan.
We will soon find out.
And what about the pollsters? They so got it wrong as they constantly seem to do these days. The results seem to automatically go the opposite to the pollster’s prediction.
To apologise to my grandchildren for being part of the generation that f***** up the world seems futile, but what else do I say to them. Will they ever trust the 18-110 year olds ever again?
ICONIC AFGHAN GIRL
PHOTOGRAPH BY STEVE McCURRY
One of the best and iconic portrait photographs and magazine covers is a photograph of an "Afghan girl". A 12-year-old girl taken in 1984 in a refugee camp in north-west Pakistan. The photographer was Steve McCurry and the photograph became an iconic National Geographic Magazine cover.
McCurry is a superb photographer, having produce a great deal of work for National Geographic Magazine and published many books. I have been to seminars he has held showing his amazing work.
But the girl, now in her 40s has been arrested in Pakistan and McCurry is trying to help her. Here is part of the news story as reported on the BBC News website.
“A photographer who took the iconic National Geographic image of an Afghan refugee in 1985 has vowed to do "anything possible" to help after reports she has been arrested.
Officials say "green-eyed girl" Sharbat Gula has been detained in Pakistan on suspicion of holding fake ID papers.
She could face a fine and up to 14 years in jail.
Photographer Steve McCurry posted to Instagram that this was "an egregious violation of her human rights".
He wrote: "We are doing everything we can to get the facts by contacting our colleagues and friends in the area.
"I am committed to doing anything and everything possible to provide legal and financial support for her and her family.
"I object to this action by the authorities in the strongest possible terms. She has suffered throughout her entire life."
Pakistan recently launched a crackdown against fake identity papers. Thousands of Afghan refugees living in Pakistan who have tried to dodge its computerised system.
Mrs Gula allegedly applied for an identity card in April 2014, using the name Sharbat Bibi.
An official from the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) said three staff who issued Mrs Gula's ID have been missing since the alleged fraud was reported.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) are seeking those staff members and are also looking for Mrs Gula's husband.
The celebrated "Afghan girl" picture of then-12-year-old Mrs Gula was taken in 1984 in a refugee camp in north-west Pakistan, during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. It led to one of the most recognisable magazine covers ever printed.
In 2002, Mr McCurry tracked his subject down after 17 years of searching.
At that time, Mrs Gula was living in a remote Afghan village with her baker husband and three daughters.
Mr McCurry arranged funding for her biggest wish - to go on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca with her family.
She has since moved back to Pakistan, to the Peshawar region near the Afghan border.”
Gula was one of the students in an informal school in the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in 1984. Gula's photograph was taken by National Geographic Society photographer Steve McCurry on Kodachrome 64 color slide film, with a Nikon FM2 camera and Nikon 105mm Ai-S F2.5 lens. The pre-print photo retouching was done by Graphic Art Service, based in Marietta, Georgia. McCurry did not record the name of the person he had photographed.
The picture, titled Afghan Girl, appeared on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic. The image of her face, with a red scarf draped loosely over her head and her eyes staring directly into the camera was named "the most recognized photograph" in the history of the magazine, and the cover itself is one of the most famous of the National Geographic American Photo magazine says the image has an "unusual combination of grittiness and glamour". Her green eyes are the subject of frequent commentary.
PHIL COLLINS' CONCERT SELLS OUT IN 15 SECONDS
Phil Collins fans have been left devastated after tickets for the singer's comeback tour sold out within seconds. Tickets were released at 9am on 21 October for his 2017 shows, but many were unable to purchase prompting touts to hike-up prices to as much as £2,000 ($1,636) on the secondary marketplace.
Collins, 65, will break his retirement to perform a five-night residency at London's Royal Albert Hall in June before moving onto Cologne and Paris. Fans rushed to websites like Ticketmaster to snap up seats but were furious after being re-directed to the company's secondary website Get Me In, which allows users to sell tickets for higher prices.
Criticising the ticket prices on Get Me In, where tickets range from between £253 to £2,000 for one Royal Albert Hall date, one unimpressed consumer tweeted: "How is anyone ever supposed to get tickets for an event below the price of a monthly mortgage payment! #tickettouts #philcollins #soldout," while another said: "Only reason #PhilCollins is sold out is ticket master put tickets on 'get me in' at £700 each loads there."
Interest in Collins' tour is sky-high given it will be the iconic singer's first set of live shows in 10 years. Explaining his decision to emerge from retirement, Collins said: "I thought I would retire quietly. But thanks to the fans, my family and support from some extraordinary artists I have rediscovered my passion for music and performing. It's time to do it all again and I'm excited. It just feels right."
THE OBAMA'S ON THE FRONT PAGE OF ESSENCE MAGAZINE
President and Michelle Obama’s Legacy Lives on in October 2016 Issue of ESSENCE
Those who know me well know that having experienced a nasty marriage break up by my parents I admire the family unit especially when headed up with a good mother and father and grandparent relationship. The Obama's are a fine example, in fact one of the best.
After eight incredible, tumultuous, unforgettable years in the White House, the Obamas are preparing for their final days, and ESSENCE Magazine wants to send the First Family off with a hug and a salute.
President and Michelle Obama cover the October issue of ESSENCE magazine, in which they talk about their life in the White House, the state of the nation and the legacy they hope to leave behind.
“…I can unequivocally say that America is better off now than we were when we came into office. By almost every economic measure, we’re better off,” President Obama said. “But having said that, we still have a lot of work to do.”
While the Obamas are hoping that their initiatives—My Brother’s Keeper, Let’s Move, Let Girls Learn, to name a few—will live on, the couple hopes to hold on to the memories that they’ve made during their eight years in DC.
“The memories that last ultimately are the family memories,” President Obama said. "Some of my fondest memories of the White House are just being with the girls on a summer night and walking the dogs around the South Lawn, talking and listening to them, trying to get Bo to move because sometimes it’s hot.”
While the Obamas have undoubtedly brought a refreshing change to the White House—and politics in general—Mrs. Obama says that she hopes their visibility will continue to inspire Black boys and girls.
50 years ago John & Moira Hodgkinson married 1st October 1966
1 800 years ago: King John of England dies at Newark-on-Trent and is succeeded by his nine-year-old son Henry. (19th Oct 1216)
2 90 years ago:- on 14th Oct 1926 the children’s book Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne was first published
3 40 years ago:- on 4th Oct 1976 the InterCity 125 High Speed Train service began operating in the UK.
4 30 years ago:- on 9th Oct 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera premiered in London.
5 30 years ago:- on 29th Oct 1986 the M25 orbital motorway around Greater London was officially opened.
6 30 years ago: The Australian TV soap Neighbours is launched on BBC1. 27th Oct 1986
7 50 years ago: Aberfan disaster: A slag heap collapses on the village of Aberfan in Wales, killing 144 people, mostly schoolchildren. (21st Oct 1966)
8 30 years ago: The MetroCentre Gateshead opened, Among the MetroCentre's tenants is Marks & Spencer, whose department store there is its first out of town outlet. (14th Oct 1986)
9 30 years ago: The first edition of The Independent newspaper is published in London. (7th Oct 1986)
10 40 years ago: The Damned release New Rose, the first ever single marketed as "punk rock". (22nd Oct 1976)
CITY TRAFFIC SLOWER THAN HORSE AND CART
So often studies are carried out, often expensive studies and you think, that is so obvious I could have told them that without a study.
Such a study is reported on the front page of The Sunday Times today. The study proves my thoughts that we spend thousands and thousands more on transport than we did over 100 years ago and have created a huge dependency on oil, but travel is no more efficient. Something is not quite right somewhere. Here's the articlE:
CITY TRAFFIC SLOWER THAN HORSE AND CART
Mark Hookham, Transport Correspondent October 16 2016, The Sunday Times
London is worst hit, with drivers last year wasting on average 101 hours in jams
Congestion for motorists has jumped by up to 40% in four years as Britain’s traffic-choked roads grind to a halt, new figures reveal.
The worsening gridlock has been blamed on the growth of white van deliveries, caused by internet shopping, the squeezing of road-space by segregated cycle lanes, increasing numbers of mini-cabs and badly planned roadworks.
Business chiefs in northern England are urging the chancellor, Philip Hammond, to use next month’s autumn statement to fund more road schemes, while Lord Wolfson, the Tory peer and boss of Next, warned that millions were wasting “countless hours in needless traffic”.
In an analysis for The Sunday Times, Inrix, a traffic information company, examined congestion over four years in 18 urban areas, which include more than 50% of the UK population. Drivers in those areas spent on average an extra 12.4 hours a year stuck in rush-hour traffic jams in 2015, compared to 2012.
London is worst hit, with drivers last year wasting on average 101 hours — more than 12 working days — stuck in rush-hour traffic, up 40% from 72 hours in 2012.
TOP 13 DEAD CELEBRITY EARNERS 2016
This is the Forbes (US) list of dead celebrities earnings for 2016. I believe it is US biased. Interesting to see that Marilyn Munro – Actress (6) Stieg Larson – Writer (12), Jimi Hendrix – Muician (13), Bruce Lee – Actor (14), Jenni Rivera – Musician (15) were all in the 2013 list but no longer appear.
I also wonder how they deal with people like Shakespeare Charles Dickens and Beatrix Potter. I suppose all their works are out of copyright.
1. Michael Jackson - Musician £672.8m
2 Charles Schulz Snoopy Cartoonist £39m
3 Arnold Palmer - Golfer £32.6m
4 Elvis Presley - Musician £22m
5 Prince - Musician £20.5m
6 Bob Marley - Musician £17.1m
7 Theodore Seuss Geisel - Author (Dr Seuss The Cat In The Hat £16.3m
8 John Lennon - Musician £9.7m
9 Albert Einstein £9.3m
10 Bettie Page- Glamour Model £8.9m
11 David Bowie $8.5m
12 Steve McQueen £7.3m
13 Elizabeth Taylor £6.5m
Last month, The Bank Of England began circulating a new, smaller £5 note made of plastic polymer. While some of the earliest notes are fetching huge fees from collectors, it turns out they’re proving useful in other ways – particularly for vinyl enthusiasts.
It’s long been known that you can make a DIY gramophone with a needle and a cone of paper, but there's a neat simplicity in the way a new fiver makes a nifty little needle for your record player. Its made possible due to the material and shape of the note, which enables it to hold its form and get in between the grooves on the record.
It doesn’t quite provide the 'warmer' tones that vinyl buyers often boast about, but its pretty mind-blowing nonetheless. Here, it's demonstrated by YouTube user Michael Ridge, who uses the note to play the apt choice of Abba's ‘Money Money Money’.
Ben Smith's 401st marathon under way
About 350 runners will be accompanying Ben Smith on his 401st marathon from Bristol to Portishead and back
Ben Smith has raised £250,000 for charity through his exploits
A runner who battled a back injury is set to complete his challenge of completing 401 marathons in 401 days.
Ben Smith, 34, began his charity attempt on 1 September 2015 and ran 284 consecutive marathons in 284 days.
He then developed an umbilical hernia in June which forced him to stop for 10 days to recover before resuming and making up the lost mileage.
Mr Smith, from Portishead, was joined by about 350 people who set off with him at 10:00 BST on his 401st marathon.
He reached his fundraising target of £250,000 as he arrived the halfway point in Portishead earlier.
"We've just had some great news, I'm gonna cry, now... you can still keep donating," he said.
The return loop from Millennium Square in Bristol to Portishead is expected to take the runners about seven hours to complete.
Before setting off, he said he was feeling "nervous but excited" and expected the run to be emotional.
By time Ben Smith finishes his challenge he will have covered 10,506.2 miles
"I'm actually aching today, my legs have been alright for the last 101 days and typical, last day, legs ache, back aches, but I've got one day left," he said.
"I'm doing this to raise £250,000 for two anti-bullying charities, I was bullied for eight years of my life at school.
"It affected my confidence and self-esteem and that led to me trying to take my own life when I was 18."
401 marathons in 401 days
2,528,500 calories burned
£250,000+ raised in sponsorship
10,506 total distance, in miles
9,485 people who've run with Ben along the way
309 locations throughout the UK
101 schools visited
After coming out as gay, the runner wanted to raise awareness of the damage caused by bullying and to support his chosen charities, Kidscape and Stonewall.
He said: "A key objective of The 401 Challenge has been to involve as many people as possible and create opportunities for children, young people and adults to discuss the difficult topics of bullying and sexuality."
After the final marathon, his team have put together a three-month "cool down" involving a month of back-to-back half marathons, followed by a month of 10km runs and a month of daily 5km runs.
Last Sunday I did a car boot with my daughter. We've done many in the past, but took a record amount of money even though it was pouring with rain when we set out and nearly did not go.
The secret is do not be too greedy.
But it is not the money that is the best thing, it is people watching. I love it. Everyone there is a priceless gem of a character for a book. Eveyone totally different to the other person. Wonderful. Why do they buy these things? What's their relationships and private life all aboutt? What gives them a buzz?
I love looking round at the stalls of the other booters. I actual bought a book for 25p which I will use for further articles on this site.
VIVA THE CAR BOOT
ROBIN HOOD WAY POPPIES & PIGS
On Thursday it was the Autumn Equinox. The first day of Autumn. A gloriously sunny day. I did a 14 mile walk - Hucknall - Newstead - Portland Training College - Blidworth - Ravenshead - Papplewick - Linby - Hucknall.
We walked quite a bit of the Robin Hood Way.
The Robin Hood Way runs for 168 kilometres (104 mi).
The Robin Hood way commemorates the famous folklore figure Robin Hood and starts from Nottingham Castle running to Edwinstowe. Its passes through Sherwood Forest taking in Clumber Park, Farnsfield, Greasley, Kimberley, Rainworth, Creswell Crags, Kirton and Bothamsall.
The original route of 84 miles from Nottingham Castle to Edwinstowe Church was opened in 1985 with the intention of linking all the places in Nottinghamshire with connections to the legend of Robin Hood. However these are well scattered around the County so since there are also several Country Parks and other interesting places it seemed obvious to include them in order to add to the appeal of the Way.
I always thought Robin Hood was fictitious but I must have been wrong as these places proved: PAPPLEWICK CHURCH This is the church where legend says that Robin Hood’s minstrel AlanaDale was married by Little John. Note also this church contains early medieval grave slabs for forest wardens. They are carved with bow and arrow, sling, knife and hunting horn.
ROBIN HOOD’S STABLES A well hidden cave in the sandstone near the Lodge of Papplewick Hall, is said to be the place where Robin Hood hid his horses when visiting Nottingham. This is on PRIVATE LAND. Permission to view may be obtained in advance only by SAE and written application to The Occupier, Re Robin Hood’s Stables, The Hermitage, Blidworth Way Papplewick, Nottingham NG15 8FR
FOUNTAIN DALE This is an area well worth a visit park your car at the Greenwood Craft Centre adjacent to the Portland Training College Gift Shop. Many stories relate the circumstances of the famous first meeting between Robin Hood and Friar Tuck, which is reputed to have happened in this Dale. One tells of how Robin came across the Friar asleep by the stream where he was fishing. He woke him and forced the Friar to ferry him across the water on his back. Half way across the Friar tipped Robin into the water and a fight began that lasted for hours. At the end of it both men were utterly exhausted but each had earned the other’s respect and they became firm friends. Another states the two men met in the middle of a narrow bridge over the stream. Neither would concede passage, so a fight with quarter staff’s began. The outcome was the same as previously mentioned. A further story states that the Friar found Robin wounded and delirious, unable to return to his camp in Sherwood. Friar Tuck nursed him back to health and during this period of convalescence their friendship developed. They became allies and the Friar returned with Robin to join his Robber Band.
The Friar is supposed to have lived as a hermit in a cave which was sited in the area of Cave Pond. Friar Tuck’s Well is also in the Dale, this can still be seen though it is now somewhat overgrown. Through the dale once ran an old forest road and at a point along this track, according to legend, was a tax point, where the Sheriff’s Men collected revenue for King John from the local forest folk.
One of my favourite flowers is the poppy and I was amazed to see them still in full bloom on our walk. Also there were so many pigs and piglets in the fields, free range. Pork and apple sauce must be in vogue.
The little piglets ran away from the fence as we walked the path at the side. But as we stood they came running back and stood looking us up and down. So funny
TOP TWENT MOST POPULAR TWITTERS
My website is new and I am desperate to get users to sign up for my Newsletter. I checked out who has most followers on Twitter here, courtesy of Twitters (the numbers are changing all the time). I am struggling to get any subscribers where as Katy Perry has 93,006,658 followers and even Kim Kardashian West has 48,104,726 followers. Looking at the list it appears you have to be a young attractive female with a good music track and video. Totally opposite to what I am. Or am I, would any one notice, you can disguise lots on the internet..
1 KATY PERRY 93,006,658
2 Justin Bieber 88,263,478
3 Taylor Swift 80,985,329
4 Barack Obama 77,513,755
5 Rihanna 65,980,799
6 YouTube 64,086,058
7 Lady Gaga 63,671,220
8 Ellen DeGeneres 62,325,982
9 Twitter 56,889,819
10 Justin Timberlake 56,623,263
11 Kim Kardashian West 48,104,726
12 Britney Spears 47,660,441
13 Cristiano Ronaldo 46,977,136
14 Selena Gomez 45,807,053
15 15. jimmy fallon 42,814,354
16 16. CNN Breaking News 42,367,920
17 17. Ariana Grande 41,953,115
18 18. Instagram 40,418,231
19 19. Shakira 40,092,072
20 20. Demi Lovato 38,650,434
This week has been London Fashion Week.
I make no apologies for over using the word ‘passionate’ today. Giles Brandreth says if you look at people who live to be in their ‘90s the secret appears to be they all have a passion about something.
He sites as a perfect example the Queen who is passionate about her subjects and her duties. Then there is Prince Philip. I will leave you to decide his passion. Margaret Thatcher was passionate about politics, she died when she was no longer involved. But the theory falls apart with Steve Jobs,
I am passionate about so many things. My wife, my family, writing, music, humour, lists, walking, books and magazines and newspapers.
Magazines and newspapers have been a passion of mine since long before I can remember. I find a magazine skilfully edited and put together with amazing words, pictures, photographs and even adverts a piece of art equivalent to a priceless painting.
Sad I know and it takes all sorts but an excellent publication really excites me.And it is all down to the ability of the editor.
The best editor of all time, my heroine has to be Alexandra Shulman, OBE, Editor in Chief of UK Vogue. She is fantastic at her craft. She is streets ahead of any other magazine editor or creator there is or has ever been around. Everything she touches is magic. I so love the style of Vogue and yet the subject is not my bag.
In June 2016 it was 100years since Vogue was first published. She headed up a team to produce a celebratory 100 year edition and managed to get Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge to model for the front cover. Wow..What an achievement.
The issue sold out and is now fetching between £100 and £150 a copy on Ebay.
Madame Tussauds separates it Brad Pitt and Angelina following their split.
Madame Tussauds London has separated its waxworks of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie following their split.
The Hollywood power couple had previously stood side by side in the tourist attraction, but have been moved apart after Jolie filed for divorce.
The current works of Pitt and Jolie were unveiled to honour Pitt’s 50th birthday in 2013, replacing the original models which debuted in 2005.
“We reacted quickly to yesterday’s news of the separation of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and their plans to divorce by mirroring the separation in the attraction,” said a Madame Tussauds spokesperson.
“The couple’s wax figures, which were launched in 2013, have been split up and are now featured at a respectful distance from each other.
“Angelina is keeping Nicole Kidman company and Brad Pitt is with his several time co-star Morgan Freeman.”
The couple had been together for 14 years after meeting on the set of 2005 film Mr and Mrs Smith, and were married in 2014.
The pair have six children together, 15 year-old Maddox, 12 year-old Pax, 11 year-old Zahara, 10 year-old Shiloh, and eight year-old twins Knox and Vivienne.
Brad Pitt ‘furious’ with Angelina Jolie over divorce: ‘She’s unleashed hell’
Brad Pitt speaks out after Angelina Jolie files for divorce: ‘I am very saddened’
Angelina Jolie files for divorce from Brad Pitt after two years of marriage
Jolie has reportedly requested physical custody of their children but is not asking for child maintenance.
In a statement, Pitt said: “I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well being of our kids. I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time.”
BAKE OFF CRUMBLES
Sorry for stealing a newspaper headline but it says it all.
On 13th September 2016, millions of Brits woke with much the same crushing sense of dread that it had all not been a dream, as those disappointed by the EU referendum experience in June.
They were faced with the realisation that 'Bake Off' would be moving from its home of six years at the BBC to Channel 4 - without presenters Mel and Sue. So crushed were many of the show's cult viewers, they likened it to the largest political shift seen in Britain for decades.
Yes, the BBC lost the contract to broadcast The Great British Bake Off.
Channel 4 has signed a three year deal with Love Productions, which makes the hit show currently shown on BBC 1. The corporation offered Love Productions £15m per year to keep the show, but the company would not accept offers under £25m.
Love Productions said talks with the BBC had been taking place for a year, with a last-ditch meeting on Monday.
GIRL IN THIS ICONIC VJ DAY PHOTO DIES AT 92
Times Sq Kiss
11 September 2016 • 10:06am
The nurse captured kissing a sailor on V-J Day in Times Square, one of the most celebrated photographs of the 20th century, has died.
Greta Friedman was 21 years old on August 14, 1945. After reporting to work at a dentist's office, she heard the news: Japan had surrendered, and World War II was coming to an end.
She wandered into Times Square when a passing sailor locked her in an unexpected embrace.
“I did not see him approaching, and before I know it I was in this vice grip,” she told CBS news in a 2012 interview.
Alfred Eisenstaedt, the photojournalist, snapped a photograph that was published in Life magazine and went on to capture public imagination.
A slightly lesser-known photograph of the kiss, taken by Victor Jorgensen, was also published in Life.
Multiple women claimed to have been the "nurse" in question, and it was decades before it emerged that it had been Friedman.
The image she helped spawn has since been displayed on posters, memorabilia and re-created in a life-sized statue.
Friedman died on Thursday 9th September 2016 at the age of 92, her son Joshua said, after contracting pneumonia. She had been in an assisted-living facility and in poor health for two years, he said.
Many men claimed to have been the sailor in the photograph as well.
One of them, George Mendonsa, has been widely to have the strongest claim.
Both Friedman and Mendonsa said the kiss lasted mere moments before they went their separate ways to celebrate the end of the war.
TRAILBLAZING PILOT AMELIA EARHART DIED A CASTAWAY
Trailblazing pilot Amelia Earhart died a castaway on a remote South Pacific island pleading to be saved.
That’s the opinion of researchers who have been probing her mysterious disappearance for 22 years.
Compelling evidence has emerged that suggests she survived for days longer than originally thought.
Earhart and Noonan left Papua New Guinea on July 2, 1937, during a quest to circumnavigate the world along an equatorial route. Four months into their journey, they were never seen again.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has long believed Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan landed on or close to Nikumaroro Island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati.
Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
They were routed to touch down on Howland Island some 350 miles away, but landed as they were running low on fuel, according to TIGHAR’s theory.
Nikumaroro, also known as Gardner Island, is an uninhabited atoll in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles southwest of Hawaii.
During a presentation in the United States last month, TIGHAR’s Ric Gillespie claimed to have evidence that Earhart made more than 100 radio distress calls from the island between 2-6 July 1937 – some of which were picked up as far away as Texas and Melbourne.
Nikumaroro Island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati
Gillespie believes Earhart landed her Lockheed Electra on Nikumaroro with some fuel in the tank, thus allowing her to make the radio transmissions.
“People started hearing radio distress calls from the airplane and they were verified,” he said.
One person who claims to have heard one of Earhart’s calls was a then 16-year-old girl listening to the radio at her home in Florida.
The teenager transcribed Earhart’s at times confusing call for help, which included the words New York repeated several times.
One of the last calls, the radio bearings of which crossed to Nikumaroro Island, mentioned rising waters, Gillespie said, leading him to believe the plane had crash-landed partially in the sea.
TIGHAR believes an injured Earhart and possibly Noonan lived for some time on the island – which was last inhabited in 1892 – drinking rainwater and eating clams, turtles, fish and birds.
Earhart was declared legally dead on 5 January 1939
The group believes Earhart died at a makeshift campsite at the island’s southeast end and that her plane was swept over the edge of the reef, which surrounds it.
Earhart was legally declared dead on 5 January 1939, with the US government concluding she had run out of fuel and crashed at sea.
Another theory as to what became of Earhart claims she was a spy and was shot down by the Japanese (or captured after a crash or forced landing) and taken prisoner.
BOO TO STUPID MACDOLDS
Littlejohn in the Daily Mail comments as follows:
“In Skegness, police charged a mobility scooter user with drunk-driving when he staged a protest at a drive-in McDonald’s. Officers were called after staff at the burger restaurant said they wouldn’t serve 62 year old Michael Green because he wasn’t driving a car. He wouldn’t budge until they gave him a quarter-pounder with cheese.
Mr Green refused a breathalyser and was arrested for being drunk in charge of a carriage under the 1872 Licensing Act – which was intended to apply to anyone riding a bike, a horse or a cart pulled by a cow. After realising that mobility scooters didn’t exist in 1872, Crown prosecutors wisely decided the case was not in the public interest.
All of this could have been avoided , of course, if Maccy D’s had simply sold him a hamburger.”
This was not a scene from a BBC 2 recreation of classic sit coms Fools and Horses but real life.
I am behind the mobility scooter user all the way, its bad enough as an abled bodied person trying to make your way to the front of the McDonalds counter.
But no food is worth it. All that was needed was a dash of common sense from any one of the three parties:
1) From McDonalds staff, as Littlejohn suggested - what dire consequence would have befallen them if they had served the guy?
2) From the police, shouldn’t they have made McDonalds see sense or at least accuse them of wasting police time.
3) And finally the poor guy on the mobility scooter - shouldn’t he just have rode away from the situation taking his business to Burger King who may be better at customer relations
Just imagine the world if we all applied a little common sense and not just the Crown Prosecution Service.
OFFSHORE PIRATE RADIO STATIONS OF '60s
Radio Atlanta/ Radio Caroline South
Both "Carolines" merge
King Radio Renamed Radio 390
In Sept '64 Sutch changes to City
Swinging Radio England
* First Broadcast Date may be start of test transmissiond may be first official programme broadcast
RIO 2016 OLYMPICS
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When I was a lad at school around 13 years old, our Maths teacher used to call me Wol. At the end of the year as we were moving up a class I plucked up courage to ask why he called me Wol. He told meit was thename of the deslexic owl in Winnie the Pooh. With my Harry Potter glasses he said I looked like the Wise Old Owl in the Winnie the Pooh stories.
Being the vain person I am I took it as a compliment
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