Now, this is seriously good and also heart-warming! An 81-year-old woman has spent over 60 years searching for her mother and you wouldn’t reasonably expect her to have found her if she hadn’t already done so. But she has! Alive and well at 104!
Eileen Macken from Dublin had all but given up hope when RTE, an Irish broadcaster, took up the case and found her mother, Elizabeth, in Scotland. They are both over the moon. I suspect the internet helped in the search, so it isn’t all bad! Indeed, it isn’t, but as you’ll read below, it is how we use the internet that matters.
Staying on the wonderful theme of being reunited, Amar Kanim, who was brought to Britain by Emma Nicholson, then an MP, in 1991 having survived, although badly scarred, a Saddam Hussein napalm attack, has been reunited with his mother Zahra who he thought was dead, and she him. The BBC tracked his mother down and she still had a pre-atrocity picture of Amar, but DNA proved beyond doubt that they were mother and son. Panorama flew Amar to Karbala to meet not only his mother but also his younger brother and they visited his father’s grave. Amar underwent 27 operations and was given a home by Emma Nicholson and her late husband, the businessman Sir Michael Cane.
YouTube, along with other social media platforms, is apparently doing everything possible to clean up its act and keep stuff offline that shouldn’t be there. Between July and December last year, 14,994,703 videos uploaded to the video sharing service were identified as hateful or abusive. How many were taken down? 25,145 - 0.17%. MPs are now accusing YouTube of taking the matter “less seriously” than other online platforms. I suspect there may have been another form of words used in the one of the many King’s Heads over the weekend!
But do YouTube really care? Of course not. But is that reflective of the selfish society in which we spend so much time these days? I’ve heard it said that if 11% of a community support a view or an attitude then you can’t beat it. We have some of the greatest, kindest people in the world in this country and I’m meeting all sorts on our Land’s End to John o’ Groats adventure to raise money for the UK Sepsis Trust, but I’m in no doubt that more than 11% of our nation is shallow and selfish. What a tragedy.
Bowel cancer rates for the under fifties are rising at almost 2% per annum which is alarming, but it is a trend not just in the UK, but the western world generally. In the over fifties, rates have been falling in the UK albeit just over 1% per annum. Research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer believes this is in part due to obesity and physical inactiveness in the younger generations. The view is that screening will now be needed for the under fifties to reverse this trend. Another self-inflicted drain on NHS resources.
We all know that the state sector is having to be efficient with its use of money, our money, and rightly so. We have to do that and more in the private sector. At times, it means having to make impossible choices on what to do and what not to do.
Well, folk in Rotherham might just feel aggrieved. They used to have a bus twice a day in Tickhill Road, but it hasn’t run since March. A few weeks ago, the contractors working for the council came and removed the rusty old pole that had passed for a bus stop for years. Hardly surprising really… but then they put up a new bus stop, with a roof, costing £6,000! And the council have fixed a notice to the new bus stop saying, “Please note that this bus stop is no longer in use”! Now, that is sheer madness and of course technically the notice is wrong because to “no longer” be in use, it needed to have previously been in use, but let’s not make a fuss or we might find that the council spend more money correcting the sign!
Can’t help but wonder what will happen to the bus stop now… will anybody be sacked? Of course not!
87-year-old Lillian Jackson has been brightening up the balcony outside her maisonette in York for over a quarter of a century with her prize-winning display of flowers and scrubs. However, the council have now decided that they are a health and safety hazard! The pots weren’t blocking anything, and neighbours loved them, but the council have said they all have to go! In addition, the council have said they are going to charge her almost £850 to remove a metal gate and post… well, in fairness, maybe that does restrict escape in the event of a fire, but flowers… come on! And it includes hanging baskets, and not just great granny Lillian’s hanging baskets, all the neighbours are having to take down their hanging baskets. Lillian has won York in Bloom awards and been invited to the Guildhall to meet the Mayor and be pictured with him.
So why is this happening? Grenfell Tower. It has resulted in a review of all buildings in the country, we’re told, and the flowers are seen as a risk. Now, of course I’ve not seen the building but looking at the pictures it is built of good old-fashioned brick and the pots were of Cotswold stone, although described as rubbish by the council! Now, I thought the terrible event at Grenfell Tower was the result of cladding not flower pots in a brick-built building. Next, we’ll be hearing that Watford lost the FA Cup final because of Brexit. Time to remake that old song, ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone’. Where has all the common sense gone!