Some ‘discouraging words’ for today’s caring, sharing society

There’s a popular train of thought (which is regularly delayed because of over-running engineering work in the Severn Tunnel) that we’re living in a selfish, uncaring society.

Well, during these past hot and sticky weeks, I’ve found the opposite to be true. I’ve never known a summer in which I’ve come across so many people who went out of their way to share things with the rest of us.
I’ve seen shirtless young men wandering around town, eager to show off their tattoos.

I’ve encountered people generously sharing their barbecue smells, smoke and accompanying loud music.
And there’s more . . .

Recently, I was sat in a stop-start traffic jam on the M4 for around half-an-hour – although it seemed a little longer than that . . . say . . . two or three days.

Alongside me the whole time was a flash, electric blue car driven by a ‘gentleman’ who had obviously left his house so quickly that morning, he’d accidentally put his baseball cap on back to front!

I was able to see this quite clearly because as we crawled along at a snail’s pace, next to each other, all his car windows were open.
I would have called across to point out his unfortunate sartorial error, but I didn’t want to embarrass him.

Besides which, he wouldn’t have heard me because, out of the goodness of his heart, he was sharing with me – and many other motorists as far away as Gower –  the world’s longest CD of ear-splittingly loud, thumpingly-monotonous rap ‘songs’.

I may be wrong, but I’m almost sure some lyrics contained the odd ‘discouraging word’.

Although I risked offending his generous musical gesture, I eventually closed my car windows to block out the sound – after 30 seconds!
Later, as the traffic started to move and he sped off, it may sound ungrateful, but I found myself muttering a few ‘discouraging words’ of my own . . .

A rich tapestry at the gym!

On Sunday, I got up early, having had a late night in Manchester.
The aim was to get creative in readiness for today’s column (this column doesn’t write itself, you know), which can be challenging, especially if you are not in the correct frame of mind.

So, to start the creative process, I thought it best to visit the gym, as exercise is something that many say is good for the brain.

It also makes you sweaty and tired, but that’s a story for another time.
Despite having arrived early, I was surprised to see that many other people had the same idea, maybe not for the same reasons as me, but I’m sure you get my drift.

I witnessed men and women of various ages working out on a day of rest, keen to stay fit and younger looking, which I’m sure you will agree is a good thing.

However, I also couldn’t help but notice that many wore ‘make up’, including blusher, bright lipstick and brightly-coloured designer sportswear – and, yes, the ladies were just as colourful!

I never knew that going to the gym was such a social occasion for so many. We live in interesting times . . .

For the record, I’m truly enjoining life’s rich tapestry, especially as it does help me become more creative.

‘Racist overtones’? Poppycock!

Lieutenant Chard! Look! Killjoys! Over A Dozen Of ‘Em!

Some of us are lucky enough to be able to express our opinion and thoughts in print or as part of a stand-up routine.

But although there are things in this world that I disagree with or just ‘can’t get my head around’, I’d never prevent anyone from raising money for good causes because I don’t agree with the method by which they’re doing it.

Members of Folkestone’s Silver Screen Cinema Club run events at their local cinema where ‘mature cinemagoers’ can have tea and biscuits before watching classics like “Casablanca”  or “Police Academy 48”.
Recently they wanted to raise money for Armed Forces charities by screening “Zulu” a film described by Sheldon Hall, author of “Zulu – With Some Guts Behind It” which chronicles the making of the 1964 classic as… ’One of the best-loved and enduringly popular British films ever made.

The extraordinary story of the 1879 Battle Of Rorke’s Drift in which barely 150 soldiers of the British Army fought against an attack by 4000 highly disciplined Zulu warriors”.

No sooner had the charity event been announced when a bunch of local killjoys wanted it stopped because the film has ‘racist overtones’.

Yes the film depicts Zulus being killed.  But it also shows British soldiers being killed.

Because – that’s what happened at Rorke’s Drift.

Would the same killjoys complain if the film chosen had been 1979’s “Zulu Dawn”, a belated prequel, which depicts the massacre of 1300 British soldiers by 20,000 Zulus?

Don’t just take my word that “Zulu” isn’t racist.

The following was written by someone who appeared in the film.
“It was an experience I will always cherish. And it must be remembered that eleven British soldiers were awarded the Victoria Cross in that battle – an all time record”.

Prince Mangosuthu G. Buthelezi M.P. Province Of kwaZulu-Natal.

Killjoys of Folkestone – take that!

Unwanted caller tested my tolerance to the limit

It’s safe to say that I’m not a big fan of call centres, or cold callers, despite the fact that everyone has to make a living.

But I draw the line when unsolicited calls from such establishments come through on my mobile phone.

My mobile number is only known to close friends and family. So how did that happen?

Our privacy is slowly but surely being eroded.

Have you ever been browsing the internet for something and then all of a sudden your social media is flooded with what you’ve been looking for?

He said that the information that he had was accurate and had been provided by a regulated and reliable source and I just needed to answer a few personal questions.

I played along, knowing there was no way he was getting any more information off me.  Unfortunately, some people get caught up at this point into providing personal information.

He then wanted to know my address.

Then my previous mortgage companies.

It was then that I reminded him that it would be rather foolish of me to provide personal and sensitive information to a stranger over the phone.
This challenge obviously irritated him and he hung up.

I know I have never been mis-sold any financial products in the past, so the gentleman was clearly lying and not even very good at it.

Now I have even less tolerance of call centres.

Today’s female role models can be so inspirational



The highlight of the week for me was meeting up with Kayleigh Williams from Llanelli.

Kayleigh is a wife and mother to two boys and has also served eight years in the British Army.

That’s not all . . .

Kayleigh was once a vehicle mechanic, pulling her overalls on daily basis and then throwing on her shorts to play Rugby!

Oh, did I forget to mention she also played rugby for the Army, too?

Now, that would be quite enough for some people to take on.

But, while juggling all this, she was also selected to work on the Bloodhound Project – a project to design and build a car that will break the 1,000mph land speed record!

She helped design and build the rocket element of the project.
I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted just from reading that list of achievements.

After leaving the Army, Kayleigh now works as a Personal Trainer, inspiring so many women to make positive changes and achieve their goals – and I can’t think of a better role model.

And, cue fanfare and drum roll, she’s also an award-winning body builder . . . training to compete on stage in Fitness Modelling.

So, weigh it all up . . . training in the gym several times per week, coaching fabulous ladies daily AND bringing up two amazing boys!

When we look back at how women’s roles were viewed years ago, it’s refreshing to see how society has changed and how positive female role models can inspire others.

Summer worth remembering

2018 is moving faster than Piers Morgan when he’s told the studio canteen’s selling triple cheeseburgers at half price.

When you buy your 2019 calendar, write across January in large letters . . .

Because . . .

Next winter, when it’s freezing cold and gets dark at four in the afternoon; when the central heating’s on the blink; the roads are covered with ice; and you can’t escape the dreariness because snow has closed all the airports. . . that’sthe time to remember Summer 2018 and how we whinged and wilted in the sort of heat wave we haven’t experienced for years.

When you can’t leave the house in January 2019 without gloves, scarf, woolly hat, three layers of clothing and a hot water bottle up your jumper, I want you to say to yourself out loud . . .

“Did Ireallycomplain the summer weather was much too hot?”

The sad fact is, unlike our neighbours in Spain and Italy (who not only adore sunny weather, they make an industry out of it), we British are never prepared when Mother Nature decides to slip on her sunglasses, roll up her skirt and go for a cooling paddle in the sea.

Towards the end of June, after only a few sunny weeks, I saw the first sighting of “Hosepipe Ban Predicted” in the newspapers.
Supermarkets rationed fizzy drinks and there’s talk of a beer shortage due to CO2 running out.

And, although we expectour railways to grind to a halt in the Autumn because of the ‘Wrong type of leaves on the line’ and in the Winter due to the ‘Wrong type of snow’, in June many trains were delayed because the ‘Wrong type of sunshine’ buckled the railway tracks.

Let’s just accept that Britain can’t cope with hot weather and find ourselves a shady spot to enjoy a cold fizzy drink . . . while we still can!

His usual brilliant self in Los Angeles, USA

A note to say ‘thank you’ very, very much for the hosting you did for me at our dinner recently in Los Angeles, USA. Once again it was your usual brilliant self that kept things going in a funny, funny way. I very much hope that I can call on you to perform once again in Miami, Florida, next year.

Regards. Max Horn – Scotland

Transport hits the wrong note for big shows

Unless you’ve been shipwrecked on a tropical island surrounded by sharks off the Cardigan coast, you’ll know that a red-haired troubadour named Edward Sheeran recently performed four sell-out concerts at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

I wasn’t one of the 240,000 fans who packed the stadium – and I also missed out on seeing The Rolling Stones and Beyonce.
Then again, none of ’em have ever turned up to see meperform.
And, let me tell you, if an audience gets too aggressive I can move like Jagger!

But things I’ve read in certain Welsh newspapers – notthis oneI hasten to add and it’s not easy to hasten when you’re down on your knees pleading to keep your job – made me wonder whether attending these huge concerts is more of a pain than a pleasure.

Apart from the cost of the tickets, if you live some distance from Cardiff, you’ll need to book a hotel, which have a habit of raising prices when demand for their rooms is high.

If you travel to the concert by car, not only will you have to park miles away, the cost of parking for several hours isn’t cheap.

Should you travel by train, if you live in Wales you’ll have to squeeze into those jam-packed, two-car ‘rattlers’ we have to put up with until the long-promised shiny new rolling stock arrives.

Anyone travelling from Paddington will have had a frustrating journey as The Severn Tunnel was (and might still be) closed.

Trains via Bristol Parkway and Newport were replaced by ‘Rail Replacment Services’ i.e. buses!

Not much fun when you’re carrying suitcases.

If you want to catch a train homeaftera concert in the capital ends, there are so few late night trains out of Cardiff you’ve got more chance of winning the Lottery.

On reflection, spending three days in a muddy field in Glastonbury sounds much easier than attending a show at the Principality Stadium.

Who needs Love Island when we have festivals?

Nobody loves a good party or festival more than the Welsh.

It’s as if we were born to perform and we have been holding these events long before the invention of radio, television, internet or newspapers.
Now that’s a long time!

It’s a form of ritual, a chance to show off and feel young and alive again, which is undoubtedly a good thing.

There is so much choice in Wales . . .
Food festivals, flower festivals, beer festivals, folk and jazz festivals . . .  and, my favourite, comedy festivals.

The festival scene is booming and record numbers are being recorded up and down the country, especially during our most recent spell of amazingly good weather.

These events are so important for the local economy, while preserving traditions that our grandparents and great grandparents started generations before us.

If you don’t believe me, ask them.

I’m now well informed that many people met up with their future partners at such gatherings.

Unlike the internet dating sites of today, the festival scene was often the only way to mix with like-minded people, which made it easier to talk or chat up a future partner.

Some years back, a survey stated that the first thing men noticed about women was their eyes.

Following this survey, women observed that the men in this survey were a bunch of liars.