The number of people dying of strokes has halved in the last ten years. Improved drugs and lifestyle have all contributed together with less smoking. But, it’s not all good news; in the under 55s the rate has increased by two per cent in that time. 100,000 people a year have strokes in the UK, it is the main cause of disability and the fourth largest killer, so the dramatic fall is good news, but tempered by the opposite trend in the young.
I heard the other day there is concern at the increased number of people over 75 dying of a heart attack. But it’s all about absolute numbers; there are more people living to over 75 so there are bound to be more people dying of all sorts of things! They are living longer and that is great. Long enough to then die of a heart attack later!
I have written several times about vaccination and the risk to children’s lives of parents not having their kids vaccinated, particularly from measles. So, it’s good that the Health Secretary is considering compulsory inoculation. He’s also accused those opposing vaccination of “having blood on their hands”. I’d agree. 40,000 parents from the UK have signed a petition against immunisation… not just against measles but everything, even tetanus. I’ve been involved over the years with helping Rotary International raise money to fight polio (Bill Gates trebles what Rotary International raises around the world) and that has meant meeting victims who never had the chance to be inoculated including British Paralympic wheelchair racer and polio survivor, Anne Wafula Strike. She’s a winner with such a refreshing positive attitude, but one of the lucky ones to have survived. She was born in a mud hut in Nigeria and when she was two her mother died of polio. Ask her about the value of immunisation - that’s why she is now a Rotary Purple4Polio Ambassador.
I don’t believe in the State taking responsibility for our lives but when parents potentially put their children’s lives at risk, it is good that it will do so.
Should we spare a moment’s thought for tired parents who are past being able to read a story to their kids at night? I remember doing it and we were always tired, so nothing has changed. But we didn’t have the cavalry at hand in the form of Alexa! Yes, tired mums and dads are getting Alexa to read the bedtime stories! They are missing the point, it’s not really about the story, though kids learn from them, it is about one-to-one time with mum or dad. The stories last probably no more than five to ten minutes, but are precious nonetheless. Although, I was banned from reading bedtime stories to the kids and now have to get permission to do it to the grandchildren! Why? Well, I tend to do everything with energy and enthusiasm but part of the purpose of the story is to calm the kids down for sleep... not my style! I’m more voices and passion, so I got sent across the road to the pub until they were asleep!
There was a time when a new product of any sort was thoroughly tested before being sold. Those days passed long ago. The motor industry has had a spate of problems with vehicles having to be recalled, but almost three million of them have not been taken back – of which 2.4 million are cars. They’re all potential weapons of death, not just for the owners or drivers but for the rest of us as well. It also turns out that a vehicle which has been the subject of an unanswered recall can pass a MOT! Should this be in the mad section? No, because mad includes some humour, this isn’t funny, it is dangerously bad. Ministers are considering changing the MOT rules. Well, I don’t know how quickly and easily it could be done, but let’s do it! But, as is so often the case, I can’t get inside the head of the idiot… and there is no other word for them. Who drives around in a car that has been recalled? If failure to act results in a death, that should be murder.
A man in China went to buy a Volkswagen Passat for the equivalent of £22,000 and asked if the dealer accepted coins. He was told yes, so tended 131,492 coins worth over £15,000 as part of the purchase price. It took 16 people three days to count the one-yuan coins, worth about 11p each. The buyer had vending machines, but the banks wouldn’t take the coins and other car dealers refused him. I wonder if he paid tax on the money… I’m sure there’s more to this, there must be, but what a lovely eccentric tale!
Imagine Elisabet Sado Garriga’s excitement when she won a squash competition in her native Spain. She’s been a professional for 15 years but also works with victims of domestic violence and has won other competitions. But in addition to her trophy, she was given a vibrator! The Women’s Institute is investigating sexism and Spain’s socialist government are going to legislate that both genders must receive the same prize in competitions. One has to ask if size will matter, or what the men winning the vibrators will do with them?!