As always, let’s start with a bit of good!
When Andrew Davies was 13 he had chemotherapy, having been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. His complete treatment cost about £150,000 and saved his life.
So, when better he set about raising the money to pay back the cost of his treatment and presented a cheque to stunned staff at an NHS hospital in Sheffield. Thanking the staff, he said: "Because of your day to day work and everything that you do, this achievement is as much your achievement as it is mine."
From time to time things like this remind us of the tremendous good in this country and that not all the youth are involved in senseless knife crime and street drugs.
Having recently commemorated the centenary of the end of the First World War, we are fast approaching the 75th anniversary of D-Day, an event which marked the start of the end of the Second World War.
On the 6th June we’ll commemorate the greatest seaborne invasion in history, when British and American troops landed in France to libertate Europe from Hitler’s Nazi occupation.
Organised in partnership with Daks Over Normandy, Douglas C-47 Skytrains will drop parachuters in Normandy as they did in 1944. They’ll take off from Duxford, Cambridgeshire as they did then, and on 4thand 5th June visitors to Duxford will be able to view at least 30 Dakotas, the most assembled in one place since the end of the Second World War.
This one is a bridge between good and bad, depending which side of Hadrian’s Wall you are!
There are 160 distilleries in Scotland but now for the first time ever there are more in England, 166!
Some make whisky, but the huge increase is due to the boom in the gin market. Rum will be next…
As always, there’s sadly too much bad to choose from!
On Monday it was National Sickie Day. I’m not sure I agree with all these signature days and many of the real problems which National Sickie Day highlights are no more than an extension of Blue Monday.
Despite starting as a PR stunt to sell holidays, Blue Monday now brings much needed focus to mental health issues. But the Sunday Telegraph tells us that kids as young as 12 are competing with each other to be ‘better self-harmers’. They post their horrors on websites - I won’t give them air space even to condemn them - to outdo each other. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has called for urgent action by the social media firms. How did we get here?
On the bigger social media issue, I was at Bloomsbury Academic this week and Julia Ebner explained just how social media has been used to groom youngsters into threatening democracy, and where it is going at an alarming rate.
Finally, let’s stay with the theme of mental health issues…
The Guardian tells us that as GPs try to wind down the prescribing of Valium, organised crime gangs are now selling fake Valium online at knockdown prices.
But as if that wasn’t bad enough, these rogue pills are potentially lethal. With drug related deaths at a record high, we are witnessing an increase in people believing they are taking something that will help them.
And as for mad…
It has been the anchor of the British high street my whole life, weathering storms before becoming the first major store to ban smoking in its shops. People said it wouldn’t survive, but it did.
But the way we shop is changing and Marks and Spencer are closing shops. Although not a massive buyer of things online generally, I do do it, but not from M&S… I go there!
Not enough people actually go to shops nowadays and this includes pubs, post offices and village shops. Unfortunately, because of this, closures are inevitable. It’s our fault collectively, so it’s madness to see people protesting when places close.
Those protesting at M&S probably did use the shops, which often isn’t the case with pubs and post offices, but none the less it’s still mad!
And from Arkansas, we learn that a 19-year-old tried to steal a plane, so he could go to Chicago for a rap concert! He got five years’ probation, but it wasn’t revealed if he could actually fly!
Not many 19-year-olds can. Even if he can, which I doubt, it doesn’t sound as if he had a plan to land… maybe he was going to parachute into the concert. Whatever the plan was, he got a rap for his madness!