Why are we so eager to take offence today?

I’m outraged.

I’m bursting to bring the world’s attention to an important issue that really annoys me. I’ll be contacting all the TV and radio stations, demanding I’m allowed – without being confronted by any counter argument – to air my valid grievance.

I intend to do this . . . as soon as I find something that really annoys me. Well, everyone else is doing it, so why not me?

Regularly, watching breakfast TV, the milk on my cornflakes quickly becomes soured by the sight of some deadbeat I’ve never heard of, speaking on behalf of their half-baked organisation or ‘Think Tank’ (I’ve only just learned to ‘Think Bike!, let alone Think Tank!) that disapproves of something that 99% of us have never considered to be a problem.

They loudly point out that we 99% are terrible people because something that gets theirgoat doesn’t get ours. Mine, incidentally, is happily roaming free in a field just outside Ammanford.

Although their pontificating should make my blood boil, my usual reaction is to wonder where their funding comes from, shrug my shoulders and put some fresh milk on my cornflakes.

Sainsbury’s customer magazine recently included a Persian recipe to introduce flavours to their customers that they may not have enjoyed before. The ingredients also included some Indian items. Inclusivity anddiversity in one meal, you might think.

Not so. One angry British Iranian wrote to the boss of Sainsbury’s, demanding an apology because treating Iranian and Indian ingredients as virtually indistinguishable was ‘Casual, lazy racism and abhorrent’.

The dictionary definition of ‘abhorrent’ is… ‘Inspiring disgust and loathing’

While there are many appalling things going on in this world that deserve to be described as abhorrent, I honestly don’t think a recipe containing a few incorrect ingredients deserves that description.

I’m just a comedian, but I think the world would be a much calmer place if, instead of appearing so eager to take offence, more people just shrugged their shoulders and poured fresh milk on their cornflakes.

It’s warmth over comfort any day for me

I don’t know about you, but over the past couple of days I’ve had some trouble warming up. At this rate I will be digging out the thermal underwear garments which have been hidden away up until now following last winter’s holiday.

On Saturday evening, I couldn’t help but notice that the majority of the punters frequenting Wind Street in Swansea were wearing next to nothing.

Yes – bare legs and flimsy tops and certainly no fur coats. And the women were just as bad!

Don’t get me wrong, extremely fashion conscious, but zero practicality.

It’s now dawned on me that I’m at an age where comfort and practicality takes precedent over fashion. Boring to some, I know, but I’d rather be warm and happy than cold and miserable.

Please don’t say that I’m alone on this?

Read tales – and be happily ever after

“If you want your children to be intelligent . . . read them fairy tales.
“If you want your children to be very intelligent . . . read them more fairy tales”.

That’s a statement that people uninterested in books might not agree with.
Nevertheless, there’s plenty of evidence that children who are read fairy tales by their parents, grandparents or guardians, soon develop a love for books.

They also gain a basic understanding of language, emotions and the difference between right and wrong.

Being ‘read to’ helps them develop skills in reading and writing much faster than children who haven’tbeen ‘read to’.

You may well say, “It’s not rocket science!”

Go ahead. I can’t hear you.

But itdoeshave a scientific connection because the person who made that statement at the top of this article was none other than Albert Einstein – and even people who don’t read books have heard of him.

This time of year, with Halloween just behind us (Hooray for that!) and the pantomime season about to begin, (an even bigger hooray for that!)witches, fairies, mermaids, giants, evil wizards and beautiful princesses are in the ether.

Traditionally, fairy stories and their pantomime adaptations are based around a pretty heroine being rescued by a handsome hero.

Who would question a formula that’s worked for centuries? Actress Keira Knightley, that’s who.

She’s banned her three-year old daughter from watching Disney films in which the heroine is rescued by and eventually marries a prince . . . because “These films are about waiting around for a rich guy to rescue you! No, rescue yourself!”

Frankly, I’m not sure a three-year old would understand such a heavy message and if her mum threatened to throw away her “Cinderella” and “Little Mermaid” DVDs she’d probably have a tantrum.

Then, the only way Keira could get her to sleep would be to read her a fairy tale about a princess and a handsome prince . . .

A night of celebration really was the business!

Last Saturday, I hosted a special community awards event, the Business Network International (BNI) Annual Awards Dinner at the Diplomat Hotel, Llanelli.

For the third year in a row, this event was another extremely well-supported success.

Worthy members of the BNI Group were recognised for their outstanding contributions to the Llanelli chapter’s success (a local business group that has been established for over 12 years).

The very worthy winners were:

Graeme Fox, of Davies Craddock Insurance Brokers, Llanelli.
John Dray, of Cloud Genius, Llanelli.
Steffan Thomas, of Property Maintenance, Llangennech.

Business makes the world go round and the BNI members do their best to keep business ‘local’ and keep the West Wales economy moving and growing.

The event was supported by Llanelli councillors and other VIPs, including Ms Suzy Curry, Miss Molly Curry and Mr John Prosser.

There is so much good out there in our local communities and we are surrounded by people who make this world just a little bit better every day.
I was lucky enough to meet many of them on this unforgettable evening.

Why I have a ‘man-sized’ problem with this tissue issue

I was bemused when I first read that, due to complaints from feminists, Kleenex were going to rename their long-established ‘Man Size’ tissues as ‘Extra Large’. Here we go again, I thought.

But didn’t comment on it.

Then I realised how expensive it would be for Kleenex to ditch all the already-printed boxes in their warehouses, recall the ones they’d already sent out to the shops and replace them with the newly-branded ones.

Hopefully, the unwanted boxes will be recycled and not thrown away.

However, the feminists who demanded the change couldn’t be sure of that, which makes me wonder if they always put their issues about equality above environmental concerns.

Either that, or they don’t really think it through whenever they ‘demand’ changes.

A few days later my bemusement turned to annoyance when I read that because Waitrose were selling a ‘Gentleman’s Smoked Chicken Caesar Roll’ it was described as ‘outrageous’ by a lady comedian whose name I’m not familiar with (and, as I’ll not mention it here, neither will you).

On social media, she said: “I didn’t know sandwiches were gender specific. I’m female but, thankfully, Waitrose let me purchase one anyway!”
As she and anybody else of any gender were able to buy the roll, I don’t see why she was so outraged.

Okay, she may have said that as a joke. But because her complaint started a Twitter storm, Waitrose has apologised and will change the name of the roll!
They said: “We never intended to cause offence!”

Well, of course they didn’t, but that didn’t stop various attention-seekers, with too much time on their hands, deciding to take offence despite the fact it’s called the ‘Gentleman’s Smoked Chicken Caesar Roll’ because it contains anchovy mayonnaise similar to ‘Gentleman’s relish’, which has been around a long, long time – long before feminists could moan about it on social media, which was, I believe, invented by a man.

Next time they have ‘Ladies Day’ at Royal Ascot, I’m going to complain.
Anyone want to join me?

Important day we should all remember

While writing this week’s column, I felt a strong urge to mention Remembrance Sunday, an event that has meaning for so many and is held in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth as a day to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and other conflicts.

I have only recently discovered the significance of the poppy, which to my surprise was inspired by the World War One poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. I read that the opening lines refer to the many poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the churned-up earth of soldiers’ graves in Flanders, a region of Europe that overlies a part of Belgium.

This is truly a day to remember and one we should never forget. So many have contributed and paid the ultimate price so that we have choice and freedom of speech, enabling me to share my views openly (subject to the Editor’s approval, of course!).

Fantastic idea is a real help in store

Last week I was shopping for some ‘Odds and Ends’ which I needed to match up with some ‘Evens and Beginnings’ that I’d bought the week before.
I wandered into a branch of a well-known store (which I won’t name). It’s the one that sells bargains for the home.

I saw a notice that took me aback. Had he been there, the late Chico Marx would have asked, “Just-a how a-far did it a-take you a-back?” But as he was more than just late – he sadly died many years ago – he didn’t pose the question. In any event, I don’t a-suppose he ever a-shopped where bargains were a-sold for the home.

The notice mentioned upcoming dates when the shop would be staging autism friendly hours, with lighting and piped music dimmed. I thought this was a fantastic idea.

Cinemas have autism friendly screenings and many pantomimes have autism friendly performances when the music, lighting and special effects are lowered so not to upset any autistic child in the audience. Doing some research, I found that certain supermarkets have had autism friendly hours for some time, when even the till ‘beeps’ are quieter.

I also discovered that out of the 700,000 people in Britain on the autistic spectrum, 60% of them avoid shopping because they see, hear and feel the world in a much more intense way to the rest of us.

According to the National Autism Society, a small change like autism friendly hours in shops can make a big difference to the lives of people with autism.

You and I know what supermarkets can be like at busy times, with seemingly hundreds of shoppers pushing their trolleys around, loud ‘muzak’ and sudden announcements over the Tannoy – “Gaynor to Till Seven please!”
Imagine how painful all that would be to anyone, especially children, with autism?

That’s something to remember the next time you’re stuck in a long queue at the check-out and starting to feel hard done by . . .

Welsh Factor and raw local talent

The highlight of last week for me was attending the now ever-popular Welsh Factor talent show, held at the Neath RFC clubhouse. I do enjoy these occasions immensely as they keep me in touch with the grass roots of the entertainment industry. You get to see future stars in the making.

Once again, a sell-out audience witnessed acts from all across Wales.
The place was alive with new raw talent. All acts on the night were eager to win a place at the final, which will be held in the early part of 2019 in Llanelli.

The event was hosted and held together by one of the safest pairs of hands in showbiz, the Swansea legend, my long time friend, Kev Johns.

More than 25 acts graced the stage, many of whom I hadn’t seen perform previously, which demonstrates that we do have an abundance of talent close to home. I challenge each and every one of you to check out the local entertainment scene and support live entertainment as often as you can.

This can be extremely beneficial to your local community.
Go on, I dare you.

We have a duty to keep live entertainment alive. I firmly believe this.
Together we can make a difference.

Zombies? Who’d believe it!

Zombies! Who likes ’em? Not me!

They never brush their teeth, shave or change their clothes.

They never send Christmas cards or invite you around for drinks on a Friday evening. Which is just as well . . . because they’re rubbish at small talk.

Most annoying of all, they move so slowly. You wait for ages if you’re stood behind a couple of them at the supermarket check-out.  And they take all day at reverse parking.

While you and me know there’s no such things as zombies, there are people who believe they exist.

These aren’t impressionable teenage horror fans who’ve watched every version of “Night Of The Living Dead” and its many sequels, remakes and spin-offs.

They’re not little ’uns who know about zombies thanks to ‘family friendly’ scary films like “Hotel Transylvania” and episodes of “Scooby Doo”.

Thankfully, any ‘zombie’ featured in that long-running cartoon series turns out to be the evil proprietor of an abandoned amusement park who (in the closing minutes of the episode, as he’s taken away by the cops) complains that he could have got away with it . . . “If it wasn’t for you pesky kids!”

No, according to a recent survey, 25% of adults who were asked, believed a zombie apocalypse could happen and had taken steps to prepare for it.
They’d stockpiled food and water and planned safe routes out of their home city or town into the mountains and forests.

Presumably because they think zombies rarely enjoy country rambles or go hiking in the hills.

Now, if the 25% of people who believe in zombies are the same individuals who believe that the world is run by Lizard People; that the Loch Ness Monster exists; and that one day “Casualty” will end its 30-year run, we have nothing to worry about.

But if they’re not (and there are millions of gullible people out there who truly believe in these things), then this Halloween the rest of us have good reason to be scared!