Things do annoy me – and that’s the long and the short of it!

A regular reader came up to me last week and asked, “Do you really get annoyed about so many things . . . or do you just pretend?”

My response? “Kindly pass me that towel and get out of my bathroom!” I had new door locks fitted the next day.

The truth is I do get annoyed by many things.  Like . . . Christmas songs being played in shops well before Remembrance Sunday.  Christmas songs being played in shops well after Remembrance Sunday.

Recently I heard a BBC Radio Wales traffic presenter announce, “There is some issues on the Heads Of The Valleys Road!”  My quick fire response was worthy of Oscar Wilde – “Yeah, and that’s not the only thing there is issues with!”

You think Craig Revel Horwood is catty?  He’s an amateurcompared to me!

I must be one of those over-sensitive people whose hackles are easily raised.

As a matter of fact, my family’s raised hackles since the 18th Century, always releasing them into the wild when they’re old enough to fend for themselves.

Now that we’re well into winter, my perennial pet peeve is starting to appear once again – grown men wearing shorts in bitterly cold weather, striding around as if they’re in the Australian outback.  They might think they’re tough as leather, but in fact they’re daft as a brush.  Why?

Because, as their bare, pasty legs are attacked by icy winds, hail and snow, they wear woolly hats to keep their heads warm!  Does that make any sense whatsoever?

I overheard one young man justify his lack of long legwear in December by boasting, “I’ve come straight from football training!”  If he hadn’t been twice my size, I would have asked, “Fine. But why did you leave your trousers in the changing room?”

As for bandy, beer-bellied men over 50 wearing crumpled shorts at any time of year, I’m meeting the Lord Chief Justice soon to discuss having it made a capital offence . . .

Hunt out some bargains, and help charity too

It’s that time of year when every retailer wants our hard-earned cash and we are constantly tempted to part with it as those special offers are all around us.
But do we really need all these bargains, or are we just seduced into becoming serial impulse buyers?

At home, clutter and waste is all around us in one form or another. Things we don’t use or need – and, quite often, bought on impulse.

You know what happens after the big Black Friday sales?  I’ll tell you.  A lot of people who bought new big screen TVs will take them home, hook them up and then realise they need to do something with their old TVs.  Same is true with other things they bought.

Whether it be exercise equipment, bikes, toys, furniture, books, even high-end audio gear, they’ll want to get rid of the old to make room for the new.

A lot of unwanted items will end up at your local charity shop, which makes this a good time of the year to visit those stores – because they’ll be overflowing with goodies.  Chances are, you’ll find some real bargains there.
It’s win-win!

You pick up bargains, charities make more money

It’s no secret…. we’re addicted to gossip

Every week I get a chance to share a bit of me with you, which at times can be both challenging and colourful. Yet it’s a privilege for me in so many ways.
Having said that, occasionally the newspaper editor does pull me up on a few things.  And there was me thinking that freedom of speech was now in abundance in these modern times.

So, why do we read the newspapers when we are bombarded with news items from one source or another 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

Well, maybe your reasoning is different to mine, but research suggests that we are addicted to gossip and negative news.  Could this be the reason that the majority of the population can’t keep secrets?

This has certainly made me think about my back catalogue of stories, which on the whole are true, despite the slight exaggerated bits for comedic effect.
I’m sure you understand.

Not that I’m complaining, mind you – as I love the fact that as part of my job people share events and stories with me.  Long may it continue.

High streets are alive and well

Almost every day, doom-laden articles in the newspapers and sour-faced ‘experts’ on the telly warn us, with what seems to be lip-smacking relish . . .
“The High Street is dead. Everyone in the world now buys everything on line!”

If everyone is sat at home, hunched over their laptop or smart phone ordering everything from a 90-inch TV to an egg and cress sandwich (with the crusts cut off!) from a food delivery service, I have a question.

When I visit a supermarket exactly who are those people I have to queue behind for ages at the check-out?

Alien visitors from the far distant reaches of the galaxy looking for some ‘Buy One Get One Free’ bargains in the cheese aisle?  And when I venture into town to buy something, even if it’s only a coffee and a newspaper, there always seem to be plenty of people around.

Admittedly, during the week and outside the school holidays, the majority of people out shopping, sat in coffee shops and restaurants and popping into travel agents to book their next holiday, tend to be retired.

The reason they, along with mums and their children make up the majority of week-day shoppers is because most people of working age are at work!

Many of them in shops!

Who-da thunk it?

That the High Street is alive and well was proven recently when the winner of the 2018 Great British High Street Award (thanks to the judges being so impressed by its bustling main street lined with family-run independent stores) was . . . drum roll, please . . . Crickhowell, Powys.

Residents love their town so much, 267 of them clubbed together to buy a pub, which was due to close down, rather than see a national chain store take it over.  It’s now been turned into three new independent shops.

So, the next time you go shopping, don’t go out of town. Go ‘into’ town.
If enough of you do, this time next year, your town’s main street might win the award.

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!).