Comic’s magic raises a smile

You’ll need an Ordnance Survey Map, a pair of stout boots and a packed lunch to get to the end of this week’s article, because I’m going to lead you all over the place.

I’d lead you a ‘merry dance’, but I’ve got two left feet, so my shoes are (expensively) made by a team of elderly footwear craftsmen. Who said that’s a load of old cobblers?

Before new things annoy me in 2017, I have a few concerns left over from 2016 . . .

Why does the female announcer on Radio 2 programme trailers speak as if she’s addressing six-year olds?

Her delivery’s so patronising, after she gushes “To-MORROW night, RAY-dio Two PREE-sents ROBBB-bie Williams in an EXCLUUU-sive concert RECOR-ded at BBC’s MAI-da VALE studios!”

I wait for her to continue, “But, remember children, you can ONLY listen if you eat ALL your greens AND brush your teeth first!”

Why does much of Great Britain close down for two weeks at Christmas?

Not everyone has all that time off, I know. Hospital staff, the emergency services, the police, power and utility workers etc carry on working. For which we should all be grateful.

But millions add their holiday entitlement to the Bank Holidays scattered like fallen Christmas tree pines across the last week of December and the first week of January, so they can lay on the sofa for a fortnight scoffing mince pies, watching wall-to-wall repeats of “Only Fools And Horses” on the “You’ve Seen Them All Before At Least 50 Times” Channel.

If the Three Wise Men had foreseen this is how we’d spend Christmas today, they’d have been wiser to stay at home.

Finally, why did the Grim Reaper choose 2016 to go on such a spectacular rampage through the ranks of celebrities?

It seemed we lost one every day. However, the performer whose death affected me most over the Christmas period actually died in 2003.

On Boxing Day, BBC 4 showed “Bob Monkhouse: The Last Stand”, the comedian’s final performance, filmed in front of an audience of young comedians, who clearly adored the man and his brilliant material.

I watched it with a mixture of poignancy and admiration for a true pro. It was impossible to tell how ill he was, because his love for life and the art of making people laugh shone through.

Try and find it online and start 2017 with a smile. Happy New Year!

Importance of friends

Having caught up with some much-needed sleep following this years New Year’s Eve get-together, it’s safe to say that time spent with true friends can be just the tonic you need.

On New Year’s Eve as we all sat relaxing and chatting around the table, my young God-daughter Isla came out with a statement that stopped us all in our tracks. “It’s important to have friends.”

A young soul, with an insight far beyond her years reminded us as to what was truly important.

I’m sure you will all agree that being surrounded by the right friends can have a positive influence on our health and wellbeing.

As we all head into 2017, many of us with a long list of future plans and goals to achieve, it’s the people we are closest to that will help us to make the journey worthwhile.

In addition to this, a plan of positive things to look forward to gives us purpose which in itself has health benefits.

We are, without doubt, at our most vulnerable once we have achieved – and have nothing else to aim for or look forward to.

For me, by the end of the week, it’s most likely that I will have broken at least three of my New Year resolutions and probably four of The 10 Commandments.

But by this time next month, I will be using the original notches that came with my belt. With some friendly encouragement of course . . .

Releasing my spirit of adventure

We all like a bit of a surprise from time to time and I got just that this Christmas as my brother bought me a day with a survival in the wilderness adventure course.

In a nutshell, the course is designed to ensure that participants experience the art of making oneself comfortable in a wilderness environment, using traditional skills and modern survival equipment.

For the record – I have no desire to become the next Bear Grylls or being a master of bush craft, but in the spirit of adventure will embrace the experience nonetheless. Am I being prepared for things to come?

Does my brother know something that I don’t?

Or is this just one of those things that you give to someone that’s hard to buy a present for?

Up to this point, I’m unable to work this out and, in addition to this, I am unsure as to where or how these skills will be put to good use – taking into account my line of work. This could all end in tears. Just sayin . . .