Did I miss something important?

On Saturday mornings, when I wander around the millionaire’s playground of Ammanford, I visit the same places in the exact same order every week, otherwise I feel unsettled.

Don’t laugh. We all have our funny little ways.
You’ve just remembered what yours are, haven’t you?

First thing on Saturdays, I fill up at the petrol station – they have a wide selection of hot snacks and pastries – before shopping at the supermarket.
Then I stop at the newsagents for my newspaper, before buying cod and chips at the chippy.

Obviously, if I did these things in the wrong order, I could end up eating fish and chips out of my newspaper while pushing a supermarket trolley.

But on May 19th, I felt really unsettled.

I was the only customer at the petrol station. On a Saturday!

The supermarket had so few shoppers, the unoccupied check-out girls were gossiping and yawning. That gives you some idea how exciting their gossip was.

I also felt unsettled at the usually busy chippy, because there was only one other customer and he wore a Union Jack top hat, Union Jack suit, Union Jack bow-tie and Union Jack boots.

Okay, he might have been in some weird Spice Girls ’n’ Slademash-up tribute band, but I decided not to ask and hurried home with my cod and chips.

I felt I was missing out on something important that was keeping people at home, which I found very frustrating.

But not as frustrating as the traffic on the M4 later in the day as I drove to a gig just outside Windsor.

It took me more than four hours to get there.
I don’t usually like performing at wedding do’s – but the happy couple and their families gave me a right royal reception.

As for their house? Honestly, it was like a palace . . .

Great advancement – but are things better?

Isn’t this time of year uplifting?

It’s much easier to wake up in the morning when the sun is streaming through the window and the birds are singing.

Having said that, it’s not easy getting a good night’s sleep in a strange bed.
This week’s column comes to you from a hotel room a long way from home. Life on the road is far from glamorous.

Last night, the maid in my hotel room just turned my bed down. She’s not the first woman to do that either.

Traveling and being away from home has become a way of life, but modern technology has helped in such a way that staying in touch with family and friends is easier than ever.

I regularly Skype call my Cocker Spaniel when I’m away.
How times have changed over the past 20 years . . .

Think about it, we didn’t have all this technology back then. It was so much harder to stay in touch. Or was this a good thing? Did we talk more face to face?

Technology may be moving on, but things are far from perfect.
The traffic in our towns and cities remain a battleground and seem to be getting worse.

Swansea, Llanelli and even Ammanford have turned into a war zone recently and there are many frustrated drivers, including myself, close to breaking point.

I remember my grandad always used to say, “You’ve got to pick your battles.”
Which is why he was dishonourably discharged from the Army.

This really is a study in silliness

In the mood for a story?

Then I’ll begin . . .

One day, Mister Sillyread a silly newspaper article that was much sillier than the silliest thing he’d ever done.

It was a study by the University Of Lincoln into the Mister Menand Little Missbooks, created by Roger Hargreaves 47 years ago and which have sold more than 120 million copies.

Bizarrely, the study branded the books ‘sexist’ because the female characters are less powerful than the males – no doubt Mister Strongcame in for particular criticism – and the Little Misses are saved by the Mister Men in more thanhalfof their stories, while the Mister Men are only saved in one thirdof them.

Furthermore, the female characters were given an average of 53.5 wordsin their stories while the male characters had 61.5.

Remember, your taxes helped pay for this national scandal to be uncovered!
Reality check!

Hundreds of children’s stories feature a ‘damsel in distress’ rescued by the proverbial ‘knight in shining armour’.

Adult female fiction often replaces ‘knights’ with ‘handsome young doctors’ and no-one complains.

Except perhaps uglyyoung doctors.

This forensically-detailed research was done by academics with degrees that entitle them to engage in highly specialised work . . . like analysing every word in books written for very small children.

The University’s website states that it is engaged in ‘world-leading research projects’ and in the latest national research assessments it received a £2 million additionalincrease.

If that’s only a ‘top-up’, what’s their totalincome and why is it being used to denigrate much-loved children’s characters who’ll be treasured long after these findings have been filed away and forgotten?

In the wake of this ludicrously pointless study, I’ve got an idea for two new books in the series . . .

“Little Miss I Really Should Get A Proper Job” & “Mister Some Academics Have Far Too Much Time On Their Hands”.


Show some respect and give us balanced debate

Do you have an opinion?

Does it matter?

The world is constantly changing and so are opinions, which we often find challenging due to the fact that we also have our own opinions.

We are fortunate to be living in a country that, in the main, grants us freedom of speech and more and more people are now stepping up to the plate and confidently speaking up, which can so often be a double-edged sword.

We have discovered that social media is great for putting your opinion across, but it also gives idiots a voice, too . . . far too often without any repercussions.

This, in itself, is a modern day curse and I have personally witnessed the downside to such shenanigans.

Friendly debate will soon be a thing of the past, if our politicians, world and industry leaders don’t control their emotions and show evidence of professional respect, while setting an example for generations to come.
Education is key for a balanced debate and there IS always two sides to an argument (did you see what I did there?).

As a comedian I’m often asked, “What happens to jokes that aren’t funny? Well, they become politicians!”

Storm in a teacup makes a mug of us with ‘political correctness’.

Mind-bogglingly daft decisions are made every day in the name of the second most annoying two words in the English language ’Political Correctness’- themostannoying two words being ‘Piers Morgan’.

Although I’ll never stop crusading against small-minded people whose battle cry is “I don’t like it. Therefore it must stop!”, I feel like  King Canute, trying to hold back the tidal wave of finger-wagging Political Correctness engulfing us.
For example . . .

In the Yorkshire coastal town of Whitby, two RNLI lifeboat men- those brave souls who willingly risk their lives to save others – have been sacked because they owned mugs that featured ‘photos of ‘naked women’.
Pass the smelling salts, Doris!

When their female boss saw them, she was so concerned visiting school children might be exposed to the mugs, she sacked the men – although I don’t reallyunderstand how volunteerscanbe sacked.

She sounds like a tough lady, but is she courageous enough to go out on a lifeboat in stormy seas, tossed about by enormous waves at three in the morning?

I’ve seen a ‘photo of one of the mugs and the ‘naked’ woman is actually wearing sturdy knickers and her arms are placed discreetly across her chest, so nothing’s displayed.

To remove any last suggestion of titillation, her face has been digitally and jokily replaced by the round, bespectacled face of one of the lifeboat men!
By the time you read this. I hope common sense has prevailed and they’ve been reinstated.

But the fact that their boss thought the mugs might corrupt children is ludicrous because school children travelling to the lifeboat station by minibus or coach would have passed advertising hoardings, many of which feature scantily clad females – as do several TV commercials.

Yet no-one demands that advertisers or the makers of the products advertised be sacked.

I need a strong cup of tea. Where’s my topless Piers Morgan mug?

If only we could guarantee sunshine to make the most of our beautiful area

The beauty of Wales

As I write this item, my mind is wandering to thoughts about summer and, more importantly (as we live in Wales), will we get one?

I’m not sure if these thoughts of long summer days and warm summer nights could have been triggered by last weekend’s sunshine and the thought that a relaxing break will soon be needed.

My spies tell me that travel agents are currently very busy with enquiries which may even lead to a record increase in sales.

So does this mean that the financially hard times are over and that people have more cash to spend, or is it that people will always find the money needed to spend on what makes them feel good?

My gut feeling here is that the latter is the case.

A change is as good as a rest but, unfortunately, most people will venture overseas in order to guarantee sunshine, which is sad really as we are blessed to live in a truly beautiful part of the world.

One of my friends tried very hard to persuade me to go camping this year, but after some consideration I have now decided that nobody needs friends like this. Life is hard enough as it is.

I’m all for tackling the problem of ‘PJ paralysis’

PJ Paralysis – what’s all that about then?

While relaxing and having a nice cup of tea in a well-known Llanelli café last week, I overheard a conversation about a new move to help NHS patients keep mobile, therefore aiding their recovery.

Not that I was eavesdropping, I might add.

But the ladies in question were extremely vocal therefore picking up on their subject matter was clearly unavoidable.

Apparently, according to my reliable sources on the next table, Betty is doing well now though after her “little episode”. It’s all “his fault though”, apparently. But I digress . . .

So, apparently (‘apparently’ being my word of the week!), the longer you stay in hospital without moving around, the harder it is to get back on your feet.

Did you know that 10 days of bed rest for an elderly patient can age their muscles by 10 years?

In some cases, patients can no longer walk after prolonged bed rest. That’s a shocking statistic.

The NHS have now launched a drive to end a condition they call ‘Pyjama Paralysis’.

This will be the largest ever national campaign to get patients up, dressed in their own clothes and moving to boost their recovery.

What a great idea and something I am about to go and read more about.
I wonder if Betty is out of hospital and back home with “him” yet?

Eco message’s Sting in the tale

I really shouldn’t sit in my armchair (I’m the only person in my road who owns a one-piece suite!) without a book, newspaper or TV remote control to help me pass the time.

Because, left to my own devices (apart from my TV remote control), I tend to drift off into ”Phil Evans World”, a place where weird thoughts and odd ideas lurk in the undergrowth.

During a recent visit there, it occurred to me that pop singer Sting’s interest in environmental issues needs closer scrutiny.

I’m not referring to the time he dragged a South American native from his rain forest home to even rainier Great Britain and then, after having ‘proved his point’ – whatever it was – casually dropped him off at the Aust Severn Bridge Services and drove away without leaving his contact number.

Left in just the thong he stood up in and not having a passport, the unfortunate ex-rain forest dweller was forced to work as a blowpipe carver in a Chepstow factory that exports the deadly weapons to Ecuador.

Thanks to the “Blue Planet 2”TV series and constant news reports about the plastic pollution of our oceans, in England they’re reintroducing the scheme where you pay a deposit on glass and plastic bottles. The deposit is refunded if you take them back to the place of purchase.

Sting telling us to respect the environment is all very well – until you remember one of his biggest hits advocates placing a piece of paper in a bottle and throwing it into the ocean – an act of blatant polluting if ever there was one.

Even worse, “Message In A Bottle” includes the line . . .
“100 billion bottles washed up on the shore!” as if it’s a good thing!

If Sir David Attenborough ever gets to hear it, it won’t just be the planet’s oceans that’ll be blue – the air will be too!