Sherlock and the mystery of missing reality

According to a report I read in this very newspaper, the Police are searching for a thief in a pizza costume who stole two bottles of beer from a Barry take-away.

Or, he may have stolen two pizzas while wearing a bottle of beer costume. I’m a bit confused.

In fact for the last couple of weeks, my brain has been suffering from a severe case of bamboozled befuddlement.

I’ve no doubt you’ll be feeling the same way, if you also sat through “The Final Problem”, the last episode of “Sherlock” series 4.

While it was being broadcast, I was glued to the TV – my own sticky fault for trying to combine viewing with putting together a plastic model aeroplane kit – but by the time it ended I hadn’t the slightest idea what had occurred during the previous 90 minutes. Or why it had occurred.

And indeed, to whom it all occurred and who it was who caused it all to occur. You can safely assume I had no idea what was occurrin’.

Most of the action took place in a series of rooms deep below a remote, James Bond style high-security prison located somewhere in the North Atlantic – which anyone who knows Tenby would have immediately recognised as St. Catherine’s Island.

The plot was deliberately convoluted, full of tricks, twists and even some downright cheating.

One minute Holmes and Watson were jumping out of a window to escape an explosion. A moment later they were on board a fishing boat out at sea.

Wholly implausible – Batman!

When no explanation was given, I realised the Great Detective we’ve all admired in fiction and film had become a self-indulgent conman.

Apparently, the series writers sometimes concoct their storylines on train journeys between Cardiff and London. On the evidence of the last episode, they ran out of ideas at Bristol Parkway.

If the series returns, instead of featuring criminals so fiendishly clever they can talk for ages to the ‘brilliant’ Sherlock from behind their six-inch thick glass prison wall without him realising there is no glass *, the storylines should be more rooted in reality.

Sherlock could try solving the mystery of the pizza thief dressed as a beer bottle. Or he could conclude whether a beer bottle thief found dead wearing a pizza costume was murdered . . . or if he topped himself!

*Winner: ’That Really Takes The Biscuit’ Award 2017.

A cautionary tale for men

I have to confess that until I did my research, I thought Burns Night was an episode of Casualty.

Casualty has been running for 30 years. A mate of mine does walk-on parts and he’s played ‘Man lying on trolley’ since it first started.

The way things are with the NHS these days, a patient lying on a trolley for 30 years isn’t unusual . . .

Burns Night celebrates the birth of Scotland’s greatest poet – Robbie Burns, born in 1759. That’s more than 250 years ago. Just think, if he was alive today . . . he’d be in a hell of a state!

It may come as a surprise to you that Robbie Burns died at the age of 37. It certainly came as a surprise to him!

Robbie Burns had three great loves in his life – Haggis, whiskey and women!

He over-indulged in all three and they eventually did him in.

The constant diet of haggis wore out his digestive system. The non-stop drinking wore out his liver. And his bedroom antics eventually wore out his . . . . appetite for haggis and whiskey!

Burns suppers have been part of Scottish life for 200 years. ‘Burnt suppers’ have been part of my life since the first time I came home late from the pub.

Men never learn, do they?

Talk about a dying art!

The art of conversation is a dying one, and I witnessed this first hand while at a dinner function a few nights back.

A group of eight friends were round the table, every single one of them on their mobile phones while their food was in front of them.

Holding an actual conversation with another human being, face to face, appears to be becoming a dying art.

I am convinced that before long many people won’t actually talk to each other at all.

It is also becoming a hazard to walk through any town or city too, without dodging people who are walking and texting at the same time.

They seem to think it is their divine right to walk in a straight line while everyone dives out of their way to let them through.

I recently read that around 1800 pedestrians were treated for accidents cause while walking and using their mobile phones last year.

I also read that one patient, a 14-year-old boy, fell 8ft off a bridge while texting and walking at the same time.

So, next time you are eating out, count the number of phones being used around the table and tell me if I’m wrong.

Razor sharp wit and a true professional

“To see Phil’s hold an audience in the palm of his hand is witness to a true stand up comedian at the top of his game. Like his famous cwtshes, Phil appears warm and cuddly but beneath the skin lies a razor sharp wit and a true professional.”

Matthew Glyn Jones – TV & Radio script writer.

The things we learned in 2016

It’s been a couple of weeks since 2017 swept in through the front door and took up residence in the back bedroom, so let’s reflect on what I learned during 2016.

David Bowie sadly died in January. Being the ultimate trendsetter, dozens of other celebrities decided to emulate him and left this ‘mortal coil’.

Not to be confused with Myrtle Coyle, who runs our local laundrette and motorcycle repair business!

We lost Prince, the artiste formerly known as breathing.

Donald Trump was elected President of the USA. Sales of nuclear bunkers and weapons skyrocketed in the days afterwards. Even hippies, tree-huggers and conscientious objectors said, “Gimme a gun!”

The UK voted to leave the EU in a controversial referendum. Doom-mongers said fire and brimstone would fall from the sky as a result. Hmm. I think we’d have read about it in the ‘papers if it had.

Pokemon Go was launched, and hundreds of people walked the streets like zombies with their phones in front of their faces. Business as usual, then.

Moments after Andy Murray won Wimbledon and was asked how he felt, he couldn’t contain his exuberance and excitement and replied (quietly mumble), “Yeah, not bad thanks.”

Fidel Castro passed away after being Cuba’s leader for almost 60 years. Close, but no cigar!

Oscar Pistorious was jailed for shooting his girlfriend through a bathroom door. He claimed it was an accident. The worst bathroom-related accident I’ve had involved a broken light switch, my mis-judged aim and a soggy toilet roll.

The millions of people who tuned in to watch the Summer Olympics in Brazil were nuts! I rang the BBC to complain about their endless hours of coverage, but got cut off after five rings.

The new Samsung Note 7 phones were withdrawn from sale because they were prone to catching fire. I only discovered this when I felt a burning sensation in my trousers . . . while watching ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire!’

Iain Duncan Smith resigned as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He tried to sign on at the Jobcentre, but was sanctioned for six months for leaving his last job of his own accord.

Bob Dylan was the first musician to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. You see, the times they are a-changing. They sent him a certificate but Bob dropped it, so now it’s blowing in the wind.

I love a story with a happy ending

It’s amazing the good things that can happen when a community pulls together.

Last week I followed a story on social media that attracted so much attention I was truly moved to discover the love and camaraderie from people all over who helped to find a missing young cocker spaniel called Maddie.

It all started on Sunday, when Catherine Edwards’ daughter Cara took Maddie the spaniel for a walk in Llangennech rugby fields.

Poor Maddie was attacked by another dog and ran away for her own safety, and so started her great adventure.

The family were desperate to find her and Cath’s son Josh gathered up his rugby mates from Llangennech and joined her husband Nigel in the hunt for missing Maddie.

She was spotted by builders in Pontarddulais, then on the Fforest Road and even the owners of the Fforest Post Office joined in the hunt.

There were more sightings in Llangennech and even an offer of searching for Maddie with a drone.

The RSPCA team at Llys Nini Animal Centre reported 47,000 people following Maddie’s story on their website.

For three nights, Maddie was still missing.

By chance, as Nigel parked up to search for her on Day Four, out of the hedge popped Maddie, a little worse for wear but very pleased to be reunited with her family. I love a story with a happy ending.

Taking note of useful ideas

Creativity can be such a blessing and even a curse at times. For as long as I can remember, I have always carried around a little black book, solely for the purpose of writing things down. Well, what else would you use it for?

Things that pop in my head from time to time such as shopping list reminders, ideas that need to be worked on, funny things I see whilst out and about and often things that I overhear in conversation.

Often if I don’t write them down, they are forgotten and disappear into the ether, to be lost forever. Which has happened on many occasions, therefore the little black book is so important.

Throughout the house I probably have no fewer that 60 such books. I even have one on the bedside table as good ideas have a habit of popping into my head just before I fall off to sleep.

The only thing is – I wish I had better handwriting, as often I write so fast it’s not always easy to work out what I have written and that causes a great deal of frustration.

This exercise can be a great source of pleasure and entertainment in years to come as looking back will often churn up colourful memories.

But then, nostalgia is not what it used to be, is it?

We’re paying a price for others’ decisions

Adults are expected to take responsibility for their own actions. Whenever we do something rash, stupid or violent, what takes just a few moments could lead to long-lasting consequences.

Yet some people think they can do whatever they want and get away with it, not having to pay the price for their behaviour. Like the man who appeared in court charged with murdering his parents and begged the judge to be merciful because he was an orphan. That’s called ‘Having your cake and eating it’.

It’s not just individuals who create a problem then refuse to take any responsibility for it.  Many local councils have been doing exactly that since they stopped weekly bin collections.

This caused an explosion in the rodent population which is almost out of control in some areas.

There was a time when, if your home was invaded by rodents, you could call your local civic centre and they’d send out ‘The rat catcher’ to sort out the problem. This, like weekly bin collections, was a service we were all entitled to, paid for by our council taxes.

Then, after fortnightly bin collections were introduced and rodents suddenly had access to a never-ending food supply, more and more householders began contacting their council Pest Control Departments.

Everyone could see this would happen except the councils themselves, who, having created the problem then had the brass nerve to start charging us a fee to get rid of the rodents!

But the situation is a lot worse now, as many councils no longer employ ‘Rat catchers’. So if you have a rodent problem, you have to pay a private company to sort it out. Thanks for nothing!

Currently, someone I know has a furry creature scratching around inside his kitchen extension roof. The pest control firm he called out think it’s probably a squirrel – or it might be a rat.  Either way it’s quite unpleasant. Hopefully the problem will be quickly solved.

But here’s what’s worrying.  The pest control man not only confirmed that there are more rats about since councils stopped weekly bin collections, but to save money, many councils no longer bait their sewers with rat poison every Sunday as they regularly used to do.

The result? Take a wild guess!

To recap: Council Taxes increase every year, yet some important services our councils should provide get less and less. I smell a rat!

Shining example of Welsh talent

It’s only the second week in January and my diary for the next few months is already looking rather demanding, but I’m not complaining, it just means that my time management skills are being put to the test. Thankfully, modern technology is greatly assisting, especially ‘Catch Up TV’, meaning that I can ensure that I don’t miss any of my favourite TV programs.

Last Saturday night, there was one such programme that I truly didn’t want to miss.  Let It Shine, where Gary Barlow starts his search for a new boy band.

My reason for watching this programme were probably different to most, as over the past few years I have seen some tremendous talent coming through the popular Welsh Factor Academy & Talent Show.

Appearing on Let It Shine last Saturday was Nicky Price from Neath. A 17-year-old down to earth young man with a humble attitude and a stunning voice, who I have seen grow in strength and confidence over the past few years.

If you saw the show, you would have seen Nicky shine and impress the judges, securing him a place in the next stage of the competition. Watch this space!

New year – new you?

January has got a lot to answer for. I got a lot of things in the sales, including a black eye and two broken ribs.

I also started my diet again after reading a new medical report that almost 90% of 40 to 60 year olds are overweight, and in danger of heart attacks and diabetes. It frightened me so much that I’ve started jogging to McDonalds.

I decided a check up was in order, new year, new me and all that. But there is now a four week wait to see my GP. Bit of a waste of time I think, as I’ve only got a 24 hour bug.

Top of my bucket list is now managing to get an appointment to see my GP before I die.

This is the time of year when you tell everyone what a great Christmas you had, until the credit and store card bills drop through the door.  I’ve returned all of mine with a note to forward them on to Santa, after all, doesn’t he brings all of the presents?