I think I’ll stick to the radio!

Not content with owning a chain of UK clothes shops (H & M!), Harry and Meghan have managed to get a production deal with Netflix worth £100 million.

I know very little about Meghan’s previous showbusiness career apart from reading about an American TV series she appeared in called “Suits You!” or “Suit Yourself!”

So Meg, to be fair, is hardly an ‘A’ lister.

As for Harry, he’s been appearing in front of TV cameras since he was knee high to a flunkey, but I don’t think he has even the most basic knowledge of how a film/TV series is commissioned, written, cast, filmed, edited, marketed and distributed.

So, how have they managed this megabucks deal?

It must be down to some Hollywood movers and shakers believing that members of the Royal Family, even those in self-proclaimed ‘exile’ in America, have some sort of twinkly magical touch that can attract huge audiences to anything they lend their names to.

Do you want to remind them about “It’s A Royal Knockout” or shall I?

I vividly remember petulant Prince Edward having a post-show hissy fit and walking out on the gathered press because they didn’t share his misguided opinion that the event had been an unqualified success.

Talking of unqualified, Edward had showbiz ambitions and took up a position with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Company which only lasted a matter of months. Since then he’s firmly turned his back on theatricals.

Then, there was Fergie’s 1980s stories and TV cartoon “Budgie The Little Helicopter” which had some success until it was pointed out Budgie bore more than a passing resemblance to “Hector The Helicopter” who’d appeared in a 1960 book, long out of print.

Even if the signs aren’t too great that H & M can make successful TV shows, what projects might they start working on?

My Hollywood sources tell me that in a couple of years we can expect…

Only Crown Jewels And Horses

Would One Lie To One?

Eight Out Of Ten Corgis

Who Needs To Be A Millionaire?

And…

I think I’ll stick to the radio!

Are you still with me? Glad that’s cleared up!

So, face masks are now the norm. But it seems that the rules and guidelines are interpreted in many different ways.

Almost everyone I’ve spoken with has a different understanding; I thought that you had to wear them in every public building.

Even one of our local hospitals got a bit confused this week and were sending out mixed messages, therefore demonstrating a lack of understanding across the board.

A hospital is a public place, and also a workplace.

Well –  this  means you haven’t got to wear one if you work there, with the public, who have to wear one, as it’s a public place, but you don’t if you work there, because it’s also a workplace?

So it’s recommended, but not legal, if you want to, but you don’t have to. Neither do the public if they don’t want to, but they can. Are you still with me? Glad that’s cleared up!

It seems that cases are creeping up again and another UK lockdown being threatened. Is it just me or does it feel like we have been threatened with this for weeks now, but nothing seems to be getting done?

What are your thoughts on another lockdown? I’d love to hear them . . .

‘Why, why, why, Delilah?’

There’s been a lot of publicity about whether “Rule, Britannia! Britannia Rule The Waves!” – please note correct punctuation and spelling which gives it a subtly different meaning to “Rule Britannia! Britannia Rules The Waves” which its critics often misquote – should be included at the Last Night Of The Proms.

I can’t remember the last time I watched the first night of the proms, the first time I watched the last night of the proms or in fact watched any night of the proms.  So, I can sit up here on my fence quite comfortably.

‘Activists’ (previously known as busy bodies) with too much spare time on their hands, complain about the line “Britons never, never, never shall be slaves!”

“Rule, Britannia!” has nothing to do with the abhorrent slave trade and wasn’t written as a triumphant ‘I Say Chaps! Aren’t We British Superior!’ ditty.

It was written in defiance of the Spanish who, in 1740, started attacking British merchant vessels many years before the British Navy would dominate and protect the seas.

If I can fact check these things, why can’t people with much more time on their hands than me?

Rather than focus on the centuries-old “Rule, Britannia!”, they should make a fuss about some of today’s songs.

I’m not talking about the sexist, often obscene, lyrics in rap ‘music’ – which always sounds to me like bad poems in search of decent tunes.

Take the song regularly played on Radio Wales about a man obsessed with the thought (and there’s no hard evidence to substantiate his suspicions) his girlfriend is having an affair.

So, he distracts her by telling her a very funny joke – “She stood there laughing” – and then does her in.

To add insult to (fatal) injury, as the poor girl’s expiring, he has the brass nerve to ask her why he did it – with a rousing, ear-splitting chorus of “Why, why, why Delilah?”

Every time a crowd cheerfully sings along to this song, they’re basically condoning cold-blooded murder!

Activists never complain about “Delilah” but when it comes to patriotic songs, it’s not unusual . . .

And the good news is… very rare indeed

Each and every day, I make time to write and have to admit that this can be a challenging experience.

If I’m not writing jokes, editing a script or tuning ideas for this newspaper column, I’m adding to my list of corporate and conference talks for a future event.

Doing this exercise on a daily basis works the old grey matter and ensures my writing skills don’t get rusty.

When researching subjects, I often turn to the news pages online, which can be a great source of material.

Unfortunately, most of the time (well, nearly all of the time) the news is full of negative and shocking stories from home and around the world.

Rarely do we see happy, uplifting headlines.  That wouldn’t sell, would it?

I’m all for freedom of speech and the free exchange of information, but the level of shock news reporting we are exposed to is bound to have a detrimental effect on our moods and outlook on life.

It is also clearly evident that children are also exposed to this negativity at such a young age, it can’t possibly help to create a healthy and positive outlook.

I would welcome more good news or even a ‘Good News Channel’.

Is it any wonder that we now live in a society where mental illness and depression is at an uncontrollable level?

Trip advice? Don’t read the comments!

Remember those TV ads for lawyers suggesting they could claim thousands in compensation for individuals* who may have had an accident, such as slipping on an obviously soaking wet floor or stumbling over a packing case that was so big it could be seen from the Hubble Space Telescope.  (*Outside legal circles and in the real world, these people are correctly referred to as ‘Clumsy So-And-Soes’.)  Those ambulance-chasing lawyers might well be described as ‘Trip advisers’.

See what I did there?

Coincidentally, a well-known travel website (which I’m unable to name) has revealed the often hilarious, frequently baffling reviews that tourists have given to some of Britain’s most famous landmarks, historic sites and buildings and areas of natural beauty.

Stonehenge, a Unesco Heritage Site, was described by one disappointed visitor as “Just a few rocks to look at and nothing to do. They should pull it down and put up an arcade or a funfair. Don’t waste your time!”  Unless of course you’re interested in seeing this unique, strange and mysterious stone circle that’s had generations of historians wondering why and how it was erected 5000 years ago.

Some dimwit said about the Elizabeth Tower (more commonly referred to as Big Ben – name of the large bell inside it) “I don’t understand all the hype. It’s literally just a clock!”  Yes! That’s exactly what it is! Just like the Statue of Liberty is literally just a statue.  The Empire State Building is literally just a building.  And The White House is literally nothing more than a home for the bewildered.

The highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis, was described as being ‘Too steep’.  A truly shocking accusation that could also be levelled at many other annoyingly steep places such as Mount Everest and the learning curve that some tourists need to climb.

What might some of those disgruntled visitors make of Welsh tourist attractions?

The Gower? “Sandy beaches, sea views and welcoming hotels and guest houses. Can’t see the attraction!”

Offa’s Dyke Walk? “Long and exhausting. Needs shortening!”

And the Senedd? “Nothing more than a home for the bewildered!”

Keep an eye out for your everyday miracles

People watching is part and parcel of every comedian’s way of life.  Last week, as I sat in a socially-distanced coffee shop, I witnessed a middle-aged lady get up from her chair to leave.

I couldn’t help but notice that she had dark glasses and a white stick.
Clearly, she looked as if she was visually impaired.

However, as she walked out, she spotted 5p under the next table, walked over, picked it up and put it in her purse, turned to walk out of the café and knocked over a chair.  Now then, even I hadn’t spotted it.

It reminds me of another funny story which happened as I was parked at traffic lights in Ammanford.  A lady, on her mobility scooter, smoking a cigarette (face mask carefully placed on her chin) crossed the road in front of me at quite a fast pace, causing some of her shopping to fall out of her basket.  As I got out of the car to help her, she had already jumped off of her scooter, run around picking up her shopping and returned it to the basket, jumped back on board and scootered off, cigarette still intact!

It’s true that miracles happen all around us every day, if we just keep an eye out for them!

Fascinating facts from my not so dear diary

As I was about to write ‘Dear Diary’ in my diary as I do every day, I realised my diary wasn’t at all dear.

It cost me the princely sum* of 99 pence when my local newsagent and stationers was selling-off its 2020 diaries and calendars at the end of March.
(*What a daft expression. We all know Princes don’t carry cash!)

Printed on every page of the diary is a fascinating fact about an event that happened on that date in history.

Take April 1st. On that day in 1994, Arthur Crummett, the man who invented the television remote control, passed away. His wife came home from work and found him down the back of the sofa.

This 99 pence diary is full of such fascinating information – as you’ll find out for yourself if you nip down to the shop as soon as you finish reading this and purchase one of the few remaining 358 copies.

Here’s another fact that surprised me . . .

On May 22nd 1956, Professor Heinrich Manouvre, the German literary giant, concert pianist and part-time scrap-metal dealer who thought-up the first crossword puzzle, was buried in Munich’s central cemetery. If you ever want to visit his grave, when you walk in through the cemetery gates, you’ll find he’s six down and 14 across.

On June 9th 1953 Sir Redmund Capillary was the first person to climb Everest carrying a double-glazed window.

The page for July 21st revealed that on that date in 2005, a blue plaque was placed on the house of Peter Farquhar, the first toothpaste manufacturer to add red and blue stripes to his product. Apparently, the idea came to him after he’d slapped some colourful ‘Go Faster’ stripes to his 1973 Skoda Turbo.

He thought striped toothpaste would encourage people to brush their teeth twice as fast, they’d get through each tube in half the time they usually did and sales would double.

Co-incidentally just four doors down from Peter Farquhar’s address is the one-time home of Kenton Plinge, the man who invented mouthwash!

You won’t be surprised to learn that Kenton doesn’t have any plaque . . .

Make effort to acknowledge an act of kindness

Call me old fashioned, but I’m a big supporter of please and thank you; it costs nothing to be polite and to appreciate an act of kindness.

Far too often I witness such acts being totally ignored – and it happened again only last week.

I saw a young man hold a door open for a middle-aged lady in a busy Swansea shop and was shocked to see that this gesture was totally ignored.

Fair play to him, he just smiled and went on with his day (not many would have reacted in such a laid-back way, I don’t think).

I’d understand if this had happened in a big city like London, where the pace is much faster and people less friendly, or is it that we are so preoccupied in our own little worlds that we don’t even notice when other people are being polite and courteous anymore?

We can all make an effort to acknowledge an act of kindness from a fellow human being; there is no excuse.

Making small regular gestures of kindness and appreciating people around you should become a habit and is something we can all work on, I’m sure.

Well I got that off my chest – I feel much better already.

Give it a try this week and let me know how it goes. Your feedback is truly appreciated, by the way.