I just can’t do potatoes

The parents who meet at Starbucks after dropping their kids off at a nearby primary school were discussing roast dinners and the solitary male said he had no problem with any of it but he just couldn’t manage potatoes. At the same time another one of them, after raving about her skill with spuds, was saying how she’d switched to sugar free something but had managed to put on weight. If only they knew about carbs. And that meals don’t need them.

Interestingly, there was a news report this morning about the NHS no longer funding people’s allergies. Gluten, for instance. At the moment, if you have a gluten intolerance, a GP can prescribe you gluten free products (bread being the main one) which, depending on your circumstances, you get for free. My reasonable question is if you have a gluten intolerance wouldn’t it make more sense to just cut out everything with gluten in it? It’s going to be better for you to reduce your intake of processed food anyway. It’s not like gluten is a life’s necessity.

And yet, tampons are a luxury item.

I really don’t get that. If I was to go the doctor and tell her I had a physical reaction whenever I ate bread and therefore needed to go gluten free then, because I’m over 60 and get my prescriptions for nothing, I’d go to the chemist and get a loaf of gluten free bread for nothing. I think that’s a ridiculous waste of money.

Tampons, on the other hand, are not something you can just decide to stop using. If anything should be free on the NHS surely it should be sanitary products rather than food for allergy sufferers.

In our house, we just change our lifestyle when we realise how much poison we’re pumping into our bodies. With this in mind, tonight I made a no pasta lasagne and it was delicious. I reckon it looked okay as well.

Very few carbs here

It was very welcome after a day spent in the garden weeding as well as in the house doing housework. Sitting down to a yummy dinner after a day in the sun is always a pleasure…particularly when the sun is hanging around an hour longer now.

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Saving the sunlight

The clocks went forward last night so we missed an hour of sleep.

I have discovered, much to my surprise, that Queensland isn’t the only bit of Australia that is scared of DST. It seems that Western Australia and the Northern Territory also leave their clocks as is.

Queensland has had a couple of DST trials as well as a referendum but the people who live in the north of the state stand firmly against having darker mornings and lighter evenings. There’s even a political party called Daylight Saving for South Eastern Queensland which did quite well in the last state elections. Their plan is to introduce DST to the south east of the state and leave the northerners in the pre-1970’s. Sort of like we New South Welsh-landers did so long ago.

Western Australia has had a few referendums and an equal amount of trial periods but, even so, they wish to keep to the old time. Not that it really affects that many people in other states given it’s so far away. It’s not like having to drive to Queensland and reset your watch as you cross the border. Besides, it’s so far away it’s basically another country anyway…a very big country.

All that stuff aside, we woke up an hour later without feeling any benefit. As Chantelle (at Starbucks) said, she’s just used to getting up in the light and it’s now going back to the dark. Still, much better the sun goes down later because it means we can go for walks later in the day without the fear of returning in the pitch.

And it was unending sunshine today as we set off across Farnham Heath.

I haven’t been to the Heath for ages. When we stayed in Frensham during the extension, Day-z and I roamed all over it. Just the two of us, exploring and keeping each other company. Today I was determined to go along with Mirinda and the puppies. And I did.

One bit that we hadn’t explored was the Forestry Commission bit on the other side of the Rural Life Museum. Mirinda has been there before and thought I’d like to see it.

I was a tad dismayed that the iron age fort remains had been churned up a bit by the logging trucks (I thought it was a Scheduled Monument) but was soon happily staring out across a field containing horses and gymkhana equipment. I reckon this is where some of the competitors at the Surrey County Show spend hours practising.

We didn’t see many people (a couple of joggers, a family with a rather boisterous Labrador) which was pleasant and added to the walk immeasurably. Though Freya probably missed making the acquaintance of a giant dog or three. To make up for it, both of them managed to bring home a huge quantity of undergrowth.

Tonight I was going to make a Lamb Shank Hot Pot (a lo-carb version of the Lancashire favourite) but, oddly, Waitrose didn’t have either lamb shanks or turnips. So, instead I made Pork with Green Butter. It didn’t matter, it was delicious.

Here’s a short video of us on the Heath.

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Spring is here

It’s always a pleasure when spring arrives in the Former Residence of Xun Ma. The colours start to bloom and the days start to brighten.

Tulips facing the sun

Okay, that’s all a bit poetic. It wasn’t that long ago that we had snow in April and it’s only March! Still, it doesn’t mean I can’t luxuriate in what was a beautiful day.

I spent most of it in the garden. Mirinda went off to guitar while I started on the water feature. The goop that had replaced the water was quite rank and needed scooping out.

This was the sort of manky muck that Day-z particularly liked and I’ve noticed Emma and Freya taking an unholy interest in it as the smell levels rise. As well as the unsavoury nature, the pump had stopped working because of the leaf litter in the bowl. This is from the Crazies’ rubber trees running rampant against the fence just behind the raised beds.

It took a while and quite a lot of exorcising but, eventually, I had it clean enough to refill and set off a-burbling again. It’ll need another clean in a few weeks but at least it won’t intoxicate the dogs now.

Muchos better

I then dug up a few hebes that are in need of hospitalisation up the back. We are going to erect a Hospital and Plant Care Facility (Ceres’ Bed perhaps?) up there but for present it’s a load of pots with scraggy looking plants in them.

For reasons known only to the plants (and maybe Ceres) the hebes were not happy where they were planted (two by the water feature, two alongside the steps off the terrace) and so, in a bid to save them, I dug them up and moved them away. Mirinda will now need to find something else to plant in the spots left vacant and gaping.

I then planted four foxgloves in The Garden of One Thousand Yaps. This was to replace the ones I planted last year – they are annuals and therefore need replacing annually.

Freya ready to inspect

It was then on to the Wild Flower Patch (which really, really needs a better name) and an all out attack on the weeds and clumps of grass. When Chris the Gardener said I’d only need to cut it back with the whipper stripper once a year he neglected to add that I’d also have to weed and de-grass and mow it a couple of times. Still, the results are worth it.

Eventually…

It was the perfect day for spending in the garden and so that’s what I did.

Magnolia in bloom

Mirinda took the girls to Hankley late on while I slaved away in the kitchen making a Michelin starred dinner of special lo-carb chicken schnitzel with lemon and caper sauce. It was really, really good.

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I can only draw stick figures!

There were lots of school kids at the Horniman Museum today, armed with clipboards and pencils, trying to draw various stages of evolution. They were all quite small though not small enough to step over. Mind you, they weren’t that annoying and didn’t really get in the way. The museum is big enough that any contact is kept to a minimum.

Main museum floor from the balcony

The Horniman was once the home of Frederick John Horniman (1835-1906) who collected a whole load of natural history stuff from around the world, and displayed it in his house. By 1890 he’d moved (his wife insisted that she couldn’t move for the objects) and he opened his old house to the public so they could come come and look at his bits and pieces, much like Walpole did at Strawberry Hill. He gave the place to the London County Council for the benefit of everyone and, on his death, they took it over and turned it into a public museum.

The original museum was pulled down and the one that’s there now built to replace it.

But it wasn’t just the building and the collection of objects. The house was situated in quite an extensive park and the council was given this as well.

Over the years, both the museum and the gardens have grown into what is now a delightful spot beyond East Dulwich in Forest Hill. And it’s just an hour from Waterloo on the 176 bus.

Mosaic out the front

On a sunny, warm and windless day, I bet it’s a beautiful spot to visit. It was okay today but was a bit chilly on the park bench where I chose to have my coffee rather than in the scary cafe which seemed to be full of empty strollers and aimlessly wandering, squawking, sticky fingered, overtired toddlers.

Inside, the museum was lovely although half of it is closed while they re-order the anthropology section, something I must go back for. This will also be when they have guidebooks again, or so I was informed by the helpful young chap in the shop.

There is also an aquarium but it was overflowing with kids so I didn’t bother looking in. This will have to be visited later as well. Probably when I take Mirinda because she loves aquariums.

She’ll also love the gardens which stretch for 36 acres over and around a big hill, the views from which include most of the big London landmarks which you can’t see in this photo.

Towards the City

Actually, standing against the fence, next to the bandstand, you can see all the landmarks but the clouds were very low and the light was very gloomy so the camera couldn’t see anything.

My favourite bit was the displays of insects which always look so meticulously Victorian and put me in mind of Darwin. These beetles, for instance, have a strange appeal…

Not from Liverpool

About a third of the museum is presently closed as they work to re-display the anthropology collection…which ensures that I’ll definitely return. A very enjoyable visit and even a pleasant bus ride through bits of London I’ve never seen before.

The title of this post comes courtesy of a small girl who, when asked to draw a skeleton of a gorilla (there was one in the display case in front of her) replied to her friend, “Gorilla? But I can only draw stick figures!”

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Jane’s pincushion wit

A while ago, Mirinda noticed that there was planned a recital at Chawton House Library. Naturally I was ordered to book a couple of tickets. And tonight was the night.

Of course being a Thursday, Mirinda had to make sure she was home early enough and I had a Talking Newspaper which fortunately finished in plenty of time. We had a quick salad for dinner then headed off for Chawton.

Emily Gray and Catherine Bott

One of the real pleasures of living so close is that we can go to these sorts of things. The chance to attend a recital in a room where Jane could easily have attended just such a recital herself is an indescribable delight. Add to that the fact that the recital we saw was the same sort of thing she’d have seen and the delight knows no bounds.

The evening started with a glass of wine and a general mill around before we all entered the room with the piano in it. I don’t know what the official name of the room is so I’m just going to call it ‘the room with the piano in it.’ (To be completely honest, it might have actually been a fortepiano but I don’t know the difference so we can ignore that.)

The room was set up with chairs and a big screen. We took two very comfy chairs next to a chap who turned out to be, John Howell Morrison, the composer of the music for the final piece. He also did the techy stuff which was slightly out of keeping with the Regency style evening but did allow us subtitles for the Italian songs. He also employed Mirinda as a runner – her job being to half close the door for him. I don’t know why.

We started off with a brief introduction from Vivian Montgomery of the Longy School of Music, followed almost immediately by Megan Dirr, Ketti Muschler and Susannah Thornton, a trio of young girls giving us a rendition of Haydn’s My Mother Bids Me Bind My Hair. All amazingly talented young American girls also from the Longy School.

The next song was hilarious. Emily Gray who has an amazingly gift for the sombre face etched with irony, had us in fits as she told us of her life as The Indignant Spinster. Great delivery, great face, great voice.

Then followed Catherine Bott, the woman who Jennifer Ehle mimed to in P&P. She told us the very funny story of how this came about. Actually, her delivery was funny rather than the actual story. She then proceeded to tell us about Emma Hamilton and Horatio Nelson, insisting that we all go and see the exhibition at the Maritime Museum, something I’ve been telling Mirinda ever since I went. Maybe she’ll listen to Ms Bott.

She then proceeded to sing some songs from Emma’s Songbook along with at least one of her Attitudes.

The highlight of the evening came after a short pause during which the piano was retuned. We’re used to guitarist doing this but it’s the first time we’ve stopped for a piano retune.

Twiddling with piano wires

Not that the retune was the highlight. No, the highlight was a musical version of Jane’s juvenile book, The History of England, named Jane’s History of England (2014).

It certainly was the highlight. It was also hilarious and beautifully performed. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Actually the entire evening was thoroughly enjoyable. It was like going back in time to witness a typical evening in Chawton around the turn of the 19th century without the inconvenience of non-flushing toilets, uncomfortable clothing and smelly people.

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When evil visited London

This morning Mirinda had a breakfast meeting at the Houses of Parliament. This afternoon a subhuman creature visited the Houses of Parliament leaving behind a number of dead in his wake. Fortunately this subhuman creature was put down very quickly. He will not be mourned.

According to everyone, his target was our freedom and democracy which is why he chose the Houses of Parliament (I suppose). His victims were innocent people who just happened to be walking across a bridge or doing their job.

People like Kurt Cochran, an American tourist visiting London with his wife to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. And Aysha Frade a teacher on her way to pick up her two daughters. And Leslie Rhodes, a 75 year old from Streatham. And, of course, the policeman who tried to stop the knife wielding moron with nothing but his bare hands, PC Keith Palmer, a real hero.

There were also around 50 casualties with some people still in a critical condition in hospital.

When I heard, I immediately texted Mirinda to make sure she was okay – she was – and had a text chat with Tracey who was worried that Michael was okay – he was.

It wasn’t long before the lowlifes came out to tell the world that Londoners were scared shitless and hiding under their beds and that refugees were to blame. These lies were immediately shouted down by the real people; the real Londoners who care. Most of them made a big effort to go out and have a drink instead of cowering.

The main and loudest voice of condemnation belonged to Nigel Farage, a 52 year old Brit from Kent, who blamed refugees for this atrocity. I have no idea what he said when we all found out that the subhuman who did this awful thing was a 52 year old Brit from Kent but I hope he choked on his words…then flew back into the arms of his boyfriend in the White House, scared and upset because we all (mostly) despise him and his racist face.

Rather than the idiots, it’s much better, on such a horrid day, to concentrate on the emergency people, the police, the armed response team and the individual acts of heroism following. In particular the marksman who so accurately dispatched this particular speck of evil from this world.

Paradise? No, mate, you’re just another dead loser.

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Goals for glory

Tonight we went to Aldershot to see them play Dagenham & Redbridge. While the day had been glorious, the night was to prove wet and cold.

Nicktor managed to leave work at a reasonable hour and picked me up from home at 6:45. We headed for the Victoria for dinner. He was a bit dismayed and confused when I ordered ham, egg and chips without the chips but otherwise, the beer was good and we chatted about whatever we normally chat about pre-kick-off.

There was a little talk about what the lack of carbs is doing for my health and well being and he told me about a travel show where some comedian went to a Marrakech that Nicktor didn’t recognise (apart from the tanneries) but otherwise it was all the normal pre-football stuff.

Ther3e was one odd thing. Ordinarily we have a beer when we order dinner then we have a second pint just after the meal. For reasons known only to him, Nicktor decided to buy the second pint just before our food arrived which meant we were finished far too early. Of course Nicktor graciously blamed my feet making it necessary for us to leave the pub early in order to get to the ground on time.

We arrived at the ground ridiculously early. And the rain started as we were about to take our places on the Slab. We decided that the North Stand shelter looked pretty good so we decided to move there. Happily ensconced undercover we then spotted Charlie on the Slab but failed to attract his attention. The thing is Charlie doesn’t own a mobile phone (he is about 230 after all) so we had to wave, shout and jump about. The only thing we attracted were stares from those around us. Charlie remained unmoved.

View of the warm ups from the North Stand

The rain having stopped (for a bit) we walked back to the Slab and took up our places next to the Elderly Statesman. I mean Charlie, of course who became the subject of much conjecture. Apparently the last time he had fun was in 1963. He started coming to watch Aldershot in 1967 when he told his dad he wanted to come to the game with him. We all equated the two events as being synonymous.

The game eventually started (like the rain) and the Mighty (Tonight) Shots set a cracking pace with deliberate and beautiful passing, frightening the socks off the visitors. After a brief stop for them to replace their socks, the game continued as it had started and meant to go on. Then we scored.

Celebrations, cheering, whistling, shouting, it all started going off as the players ran around like joyous but headless chickens. But then, after what had felt like an eternity of consideration, the linesman signalled offside and the goal was disallowed.

Everyone was stunned…except for the linesman who was still deciding how long to leave his flag up. The game returned to the centre circle and recommenced.

(It’s important to note that the player was in fact offside so the linesman’s decision was a correct one however there really should be a time limit on how long before he can react. Personally I reckon half an hour is far too long.)

Then, 17 minutes into the game and right in front of us, a superb cross from Bernard Mensah on the wing saw Shamir Fenelon slot the ball into the net. The pass was perfection, the result a delight. Once more the crowd went crazy and the celebrations started. A few of us more wary types kept our eyes glued to the linesman to make sure he wasn’t going to suddenly raise his flag. It didn’t happen and the goal stood.

Then, a little while later, Mensah scored one himself after another superb pass, this time from the eventual man of the match, Nick Arnold.

The players went in at halftime with the score at 2-0. The Shots had played out of their skins. Nicktor was worried that they’d need their skins for the second half or they could easily just give the game away.

The second half started and the Dagenham and Redbridge side had had a change of heart when it came to tactics. Rather than let the game come to them and sit back while the Shots pummelled them, they decided to try and score a goal…which they did. As Nicktor said, at 2-0 it’s looking good but when that becomes 2-1 early in the second half, it’s bum clenching time. As the guy standing next to Nicktor said, this was far too much information.

Nicktor soon managed to release his cheeks from their death grip when Matt McClure, a late substitution, scored from 35 yards with a screaming kick. Actually I’m not sure that the kick did scream because it was up the other end of the pitch but I like to think of it being somewhat audible. The East Bank were certainly audible.

And so the score remained at 3-1. And we all left the ground a little happier knowing the Shots were slightly Mighty once more. Well, apart from the 100 or so visiting fans who were an equal amount of miserable.

Here’s the view from the Slab with a little bit of Nicktor singing “C’mon the Shots.”

Sadly there was no goal but it does give a feeling of what it’s generally like.

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1917-2017

A woman on the train, sitting opposite me, was happily crunching away on her fresh salad, unaware of the pain she was causing me. When she stopped and put the lid back on the plastic container, a huge tsunami of relief washed over me. She then took her phone out and rang a dental office.

Naturally I only heard her side of the conversation but it was so loud that I figured she wouldn’t mind if I let a few other people know her business. I mean as well as the carriage full that heard anyway. The following is not an exact quote but it’s pretty close and the ellipses indicate her pauses to listen:

WOMAN: I’d like to make an appointment for my son…I’m not sure. I didn’t look because I was in a bit of a hurry this morning but he said one of them was very sore…Harrison [not her real name]…yes, Troy [not his real name]…WHAT? Next week? Really? That’s your first available appointment?…Well, that won’t do. He doesn’t like her. It’ll have to be another dentist…yes, Troy Harrison…[a long pause during which she managed to get a piece of extra crunchy celery out of the food box and eat it]…next Thursday then – hello? Hello? Damn! Hello? Oh, hi, I’m on a train and the signal has – cut out. Damn it!

She then tried to ring back a number of times because she wasn’t sure if the appointment had actually been made or not. Train journeys can be so entertaining…though I feel a bit sorry for Troy and his toothache.

In other news…Dame Vera Lynn turned 100 today so, to celebrate, her face was projected onto the White Cliffs of Dover and a lot of people gathered at the cliff edge and sang about bluebirds flying over them. Two Spitfires were also supposed to fly over them today in homage but, sadly, the weather didn’t shine down and they remained grounded.

As for me, I set off for the flat after the gym because today was Book Group Without a Book Day and although Mirinda didn’t bother going, it didn’t change the fact that I was off to clean the flat. Which was why I was on the train. The day was a bit wet but nothing uncomfortable.

Here’s the Maine Tower progress for this month.

Maine Tower still growing

The central riser is up to level 15 now. There’s still many, many floors to go. Speaking of high rise…Bob’s hotel is well and truly complete and, I assume, open for business.

Given Mirinda has been home sick for the last week and a bit meant the flat wasn’t that time consuming to tidy up so I was soon back at Waterloo boarding the 3:30 train home. Farnham was lovely in the prevening as the clouds started to gradually disperse as all good clouds should. This made the walk from the station to Waitrose very pleasant.

The building in the photo below is being added to. It fronts onto South Street and looks across at Gostrey Meadow. At the front, it houses the place that designed us a kitchen back when we weren’t going to get the extension. I have no idea what was at the back before but the stuff on top is going to be “luxury apartments overlooking the river.” Or so the big ad on the side of the building says.

What I think is interesting is how they’re building behind and, it seems, on top of an existing building. I’ve never seen that before…well, outside of our extension I guess. (I also rather love the daffs on the south bank of the River Wey. A few more than we have.) Years ago, we looked at one of the flats on the left of the photograph, when we were wanting to move away from Aldershot. Instead we ended up up Folly Hill.

To finish off the day beautifully, the clouds all went away and the sun came out against a pure blue sky. I guess it’s because it’s the (real) first day of spring.

It was so beautiful that I turned up to an empty house, Mirinda having taken the girls for a very late ramble across Thursley. I think she’s more or less over her cold and will be returning to London tomorrow.

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It’s only rock ‘n roll

Chuck Berry died today. He was 90. Apart from the fact that, if pressed, I’d have figured he’d probably died decades ago, it means that rock and roll is less than 90 years old. I’ve never been a Chuck Berry fan but I’d sincerely like to thank him for legitimising the music I grew up with. His original recording of Maybelline is considered by some to be the first rock and roll recording. That’s ever. And that was in 1955 (coincidence?).

And, in typical rock and roll fashion, he was a serious bad-ass. He didn’t just set the standard for music, he also set the bar pretty high when it came to bad behaviour. He went to prison at the age of 17 for three years for armed robbery then in the early 1960’s he went to prison for 20 months for illegally transporting a woman across state lines for immoral purposes. And they’re just the highlights. Keith Moon clearly learnt his trade from such early pioneers.

Moving away from the wonderful excesses of the Baby Boomer generation and not even close to being by any stretch of the imagination, ‘Rock ‘n Roll’…

This morning I made Keto pancakes for the first time. They use coconut flour and almond flour instead of plain flour. They taste great with almond butter spread over the top but, if you ask me, could be improved immeasurably with the addition of bacon. They could also be used to top and bottom keto stacks…something I could make for guests.

Speaking of keto stacks…we had them for lunch and they were lush.

After lunch and a quick trip to the garden centre in order to buy pot feet (an essential ingredient to any successful garden with a terrace), Mirinda settled down to some serious DBA work while I amended a spreadsheet for her before heading into the garden for some weeding.

Yesterday I potted up a few ericaceous plants (azalea and camellia) and put them in The Garden of One Thousand Yaps. Because we have alkaline soil in the garden, anything acid loving needs to be in pots. In the photo below are three azaleas while the big pot is waiting for another large plant we have yet to buy.

Ignore the fatsia japonica in the bottom right hand corner

It might just be the fact that I love La Traviata but I’m quite keen on camellias. The flowers are big and boofy yet literally a bit melancholic. (That’s a linguistic joke that I don’t expect anyone to get.)

While Mirinda took the girls to Frensham Little Pond where they chatted with a couple of talkative bods, I set to weeding. I felt like I’d actually accomplished something when I stood up to admire the Garden of One Thousand Yaps and it was largely weed free.

The other day Emma started digging underneath the Higgledy Piggledy Palisade just behind the pot above. She’s never been known for her digging so this was a bit of a surprise. Then, yesterday she started digging a hole again in the same place. It was very odd…until I looked over the Higgledy Piggledy Palisade opposite where she’d been digging.

There, trapped in the beech was one of her tennis balls. I reached over and retrieved it. The digging stopped. Given she couldn’t climb the Higgledy Piggledy Palisade I guess digging under it was the only logical option.

She’s not as silly as she looks.

As for pot feet…here’s some under a terracotta pot. They keep the pot above the surface of the terrace in order to allow proper drainage and to leave less ingrained marks on the tiles.

Pot feet? Really? Looks like my years of being a rocker are well behind me…

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Dad of the year

There was a short piece on Radio 4 the other day about how OFSTED has marked down a load of primary schools (primarily in Wales), not because of failing grades or attendance or teaching ability but because they don’t have prison like fences around them. This desire to keep the children safe is clearly more important than getting a good education. While it’s clearly an over-reaction to things that rarely happen and merely prove that a lot of the world is terribly risk averse, it doesn’t seem to hold true that parents take more care when children are involved.

If you look at any awful news story, if it involves children the fact is stressed because it is somehow worse if it happens to a child than if it happens to an adult. I suppose it’s because as adults we can make our decisions whereas a child can’t. The value of a child’s life, therefore, is higher than someone who can make a decision to get out of the way of, say a speeding car.

And so I wonder at a father I saw yesterday who seems to regard his child’s life as less valuable than his mobile phone.

He was driving what I think was an SUV (I don’t really know what an SUV is but it looked like it should have been one) and he was pulling into the entrance of the gym as I was walking out. He had had to pull in off the road by turning a full 180 degrees around a blind corner masked by trees and a fence. He was turning into a drive which has cars (and vans) driving on it in both directions most of the time. It also had me walking on it.

Fortunately I spotted him as he turned in so I stepped off the road to a spot of relative safety. His phone was stuck fast to the right hand side of his face as his free hand moved the steering wheel completely to the left in order to make the turn. As he drove passed me I noticed, in the backseat behind him and safely ensconced in a child’s seat, his daughter aged about five, happily gurgling away.

How could this chap care so little for the life of his child? He’d gone to the trouble of supplying a safety chair, the child was no doubt buckled in, the car was one of those big chunky things which, presumably are safer than…well, other cars…and yet, he showed complete and utter disregard for the child’s life. If you were to ask him to choose between his child and his phone, one would assume (hope?) he’d choose the child but, clearly her life is not so valuable.

Parents appear to be more concerned about the possibility of their child being the victim of a snatching (something that rarely happens) than being involved in a probably fatal car accident (something that happens regularly). Perhaps it’s because they can control the death or injury of their own child but can’t decide on its fate in the wider world. Or maybe they’re just insensitive. Or just plain stupid.

On average, only 11 children are killed by strangers in the UK every year, a statistic that has not changed since 1970. The evidence overwhelming points to children being killed or harmed by people they know. I guess the incident bears out the statistics then.

(One shocking statistic I just read is that 66% of paedophiles are known to children. That is truly frightening.)

I realise that most people are convinced by reading emotional news stories about child deaths or watching extreme TV news reports about paedophiles lurking behind every corner while ignoring the real problem which is the susceptibility of most people to anything that smacks of sensationalism. You only have to look at the stupidity shown by so many parents regarding the MMR injections who think it’s smarter to leave their children unprotected because the Media told them so.

As for using a mobile phone while driving, in January, a week long police crackdown in the UK netted 8,000 motorists talking/texting/otherwise-engaged-with-their-phone while driving. In 2016 there were around 20 fatalities directly attributed to phoning and driving and most of the dead were not the ones on the phone.

And the majority of mobile communication while driving is unimportant and not necessary. A true waste of life.

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