Even Paxo’s got it in for the oldies now!

There are weeks when I’m not sure what I’ll write about until the moment I start work.  Other weeks I have such a variety of topics to share with you, limited space prevents me from cramming them all in.

There are also matters I frequently return to, either because they’re always hovering in the background or they craftily sneak back into our lives in a slightly different guise.  But their false moustaches and dark glasses don’t fool me.

Take the barely-hidden envy of some young people towards the elderly. Urged on by certain politicians they voice their annoyance with any baby-boomers who ‘dare’ to own their own homes and who won’t move out to let them in!  Damn cheek!

They forget that many over 70s didn’t attend university, having left school at 16 or younger to bring much-needed wages into the house.  As teenagers they didn’t have such distractions as smart phones, 300 TV channels and social media, enabling them to save a deposit for a house and ‘enjoy’ paying the mortgage off over 25 years.

Today, many baby boomers still work because they have no private pensions and their State Pension doesn’t go very far.

Lately, disgruntled under 40s have started to use the derogatory, downright ugly term ‘Gammon’ to describe elderly people with red-faced complexions, whose political opinions differ from theirs.

Who mentioned Brexit? Not me, officer!

Anyone under 40 who thinks there’s absolutely no chance they’ll have different opinions – or complexions! – when they’ve passed 70 are fooling themselves.  In later years, they’ll have lived through experiences they never imagined when in their 20s, which are bound to re-shape their views and opinions.

But it’s not just the under 40s who have it in for the oldies.  Broadcaster Jeremy Paxman has complained that thanks to political correctness, the only targets for humour these days are old people!

He’s obviously not seen my act!

I’ve no idea when Paxo was elevated to being an expert on comedy but here’s an old-age joke that definitely won’t bring a smile to his face.  Next birthday, he’ll be 70!

Go on, I dare you…check out what’s on and book today

As I write, the biggest street party in Europe is in full swing.

At the start of August, the greatest show on earth geared up for its 71st anniversary and the streets of Edinburgh came alive with performers and tourists from the four corners of the world.

For a whole month, the city doesn’t sleep, while more than 3,000 shows take place, with something to suit everyone.

In a few weeks’ time, many of the shows that appeared in Edinburgh will be travelling the length and breadth of the UK to perform.

I have already noticed that Swansea, Llanelli and Carmarthen have pre-booked Edinburgh shows – and you can take it from me that the standard is exceptionally high once again.

The performing arts and live shows help our economy and instil a feeling of wellbeing among both artists and the audience members.  Creative arts are part of the joy of humanity.

But they can so often be overlooked in our current education system in favour of more ‘useful’ subjects such as science and maths.  Undoubtedly, there is increasing pressure on young children and schools to achieve outstanding exam results, but, unfortunately, only a few schools see the value of creativity.

Somehow, we need to get the message out there, and to start with, we could all support live entertainment, in all its forms.

Go on, I dare you. Check out what’s on and book tickets today to see more live entertainment; it will lift your spirits. Together we can make a difference.

Upstaged by the dogs! Barking mad…

You often hear people say that someone “Has more money than sense”.  But you neverhear anyone say someone has more sense than money.

The world of the super-rich is alien to most of us and (whilst I’m not envious of them; because being extremely wealthy is not without its pitfalls and problems) what some of them spend their money on can be truly bizarre.

The lustrous Barbra Streisand has been a star for more than 50 years and is still working at the age of 78.  Thousands of music fans recently saw her step out on stage in Hyde Park – which came as a bit of a shock as they’d paid to see Bob Dylan and Neil Young!

She’s made millions from films, TV specials, concerts and record sales, produced and directed films and always seemed highly intelligent and astute.  But …

She only went and spent money on having her late dog Samantha – a white Coton Du Tulear breed – cloned.

She now has two ‘replicas’ of the pet pooch who passed.  And, if you think that’s crazy, she had them and a third dog (Miss Scarlet, Miss Violet & Fanny) flown 10,000 miles from her L.A. home to watch her perform in Hyde Park.

By all accounts, the concert was amazing and Ms Streisand’s voice as beautiful as it ever was.  But here’s one review that made me feel sorry for surprise guests Lionel Richie and Kris Kristofferson, who duetted with Barbra.  “The real highlight of the show was when Barbra’s assistant brought her two cloned dogs on stage in a pram!”

The audience had been entertained by three of the biggest stars in the world, yet the ‘highlight’ was a pair of pampered pooches!  Barbra says, “Who wouldn’t want their loved ones cloned?”

Well, I’m very fond of my Uncle Cledwyn, but due to his chronic flatulence – which doesn’t worry him since he lost his sense of smell when someone jostled his arm as he was snipping his nasal hairs with pliers – I really wouldn’t want more than one of him in the world.

The great Cwtsh debate goes on – but I know I’m right!

The Cwtsh versus Cwtch debate continues.  How do you spell Cwtsh?

Well, let me enlighten you.  It’s ‘sh’ not ‘ch’.

Trust me, I’ve done my research on this – and the evidence is conclusive. You know how you pronounce ‘bach’ in Welsh?

Well that’s how ‘ch’ is always pronounced in Welsh.

Now try saying ‘cwtch’ . . .  I rest my case!

Over the years, I have researched and consulted with people who are considered well-versed on the subject. I urge you to carry out your own research and then consider the source carefully.  The way I think of the word ‘cwtsh’ is quite simple.  I split it: cwt-shhh.  Like something soft and quiet.

Same as the word Welsh.  Wel-sssh.  Not Welch!

So, there you have it, it is cwtsh!

If you are still going to insist on the English spelling ‘cwtch’, you surely need to replace the w (not a vowel in English) with a U.  Also, if you spell it ‘cwtch’ you are making it English – and you can only get a cwtsh in Wales . . .  Just sayin’ . . .

The key to a happy relationship?

Have a guess what, according to a recent nationwide survey of 2000 couples, are the biggest contributions to a happy relationship over many years.

Go on – have a guess.

You’ve obviously got nothing more important to do if you’re reading this.

Some of the answers that couples gave were surprising, well at least to me.
Like “Knowing each other’s PIN numbers”.  I mean, come on.

I’m all for committing to a relationship 150% – but there have to be sensible limits!

Many ladies said that regular kisses and cuddles – or cwtshes as we say around these parts – play an important part.  And, as long as they don’t involve the milkman, I’m all for that.

Many couples stick to the old adage, “Never go to sleep on an argument”.

So have I . . . since the night we had a tiff . . . She went to sleep on an argument – and I went to sleep on a sofa.

It’s also important to be able to openly and calmly discuss potential disagreements before they start to silently fester over many weeks, eventually exploding into a full-blown argument that ends up with crockery being thrown, your favourite shirt being attacked by scissors and the front door slamming as she goes off to her mother’s, vowing never ever to return, “Even if you got down on your one good knee and begged me to come back!”

Am I speaking from experience?  Certainly not!  That was all hypothetical.  Besides which, my knee’s much better now.

Other secrets of happy relationships are having no secrets from each other (apart from your PIN number!) and being diplomatic. i.e. when your good lady asks you if her bum looks big in her new skinny jeans, it’s best not to reply…
“Can you define ‘big’?”

One fifth of the couples surveyed said it’s important to have two television sets – in different rooms obviously, otherwise it would definitely lead to arguments.  I disagree.  In our house there’s just oneTV and one person in charge of the remote control.  Always.

Although, if I ask her nicely, she’ll hand it over occasionally….

Cheaper, wetter hols left great memories

The cost of holidays have rocketed again, making it far too expensive for many parents to go and enjoy family time together.

It has been well documented that some holidays are between two and six times more expensive during the peak school holiday periods.
The majority of the public see this as exploitation – and who can blame them?

Many get into debt and end up paying huge rates of interest for the privilege of borrowing, which is an added cost to an already over-inflated holiday break.

Gone are the days where many valley folk would venture to Porthcawl and Barry Island during miners’ fortnight to spend two weeks in an old, damp and mouldy caravan, where the whole family had to walk half a mile to the other side of the site to visit the toilet and have a cold shower.  Not to mention the carrying of the water butt back to ensure a supply of tea, coffee and squash.  And all this took place, more often than not, in the rain.

The two-week holiday in Wales back then prepared us for outdoor pursuits and the Duke of Edinburgh Award.  I can’t say that I miss those days, but I’m sure many readers would agree that it was all very character building and gave us some amazing memories and stories to pass on to the younger generation.

What a wasted opportunity

When I saw this sign in a Swansea car park…

“MORE POETRY MUST BE READ!”. . . my first thought was, whoever placed it there, wasn’t much of a poet. Actually that was my second thought.

My first was, have I got enough change for the machine?
If you think I was critical about whoever put up the sign, consider the facts . .

With a great big white space to fill, all they could come up with was an uninspiring instruction to read more poetry.  What a wasted opportunity.

They could have put a smile on people’s faces by writing…

MORE POETRY MUST BE READ.
ESPECIALLY FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
AND JUST BEFORE YOU GO TO BED.

If they’d been the more avant-garde type of poet, they could have added these lines…

’TIS TRUE POETRY IS VITAL IN THESE DIFFICULT TIMES
BUT UNFORTUNATELY NOT EVERY POEM ENDS
IN A SATISFACTORY MANNER.

Not being a fan of poetry, if I’d been in a mischievous mood and had a black felt-tip pen on me, I might have added a couple of lines of my own to the instruction.

MORE POETRY MUST BE READ.
BUT THINK OF US NON-POETRY FANS
AND DO IT IN YOUR SHED.

I’ve always thought poets would make better use of their talents if they hooked-up with musicians and became song-writers.

Because the very best song lyrics are just poems set to music,
Paul McCartney published a book of Beatles lyrics a few years ago and promoted it – famously at the Hay Festival – by reciting a selection from the book as poems.  And they sounded just as entertaining as if he’d been singing them with the Fab Four.

William Shakespeare was famous for using something called the ‘Iambic Pentameter’ in his rhyming couplets, which refers to the way certain syllables are emphasised.

Not being an expert on the Bard of Avon I only know this because years ago I was taught this poem…

ON NO ACCOUNT SHOULD IAMBIC PENTAMETERS
BE LEFT IN THE HANDS OF TALENTLESS AMATEURS

And remember folks, when you’re self-employed, every day is POETS day!

And, yes, the ladies were just as colourful

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.