Wednesday, 11 December 2013


This morning I overheard the fishmonger at the market in Uppermill bemoaning the fact that Christmas Day falls on a Wednesday this year. And New Year’s Day 2014 is also a Wednesday. You can see his point, of course; this means two Wednesdays that the market will be cancelled. And if you’re self employed you can’t really expect your employer to pay you for the holiday. It’s a hard life but there’s not a lot you can do about the dates. 

Today’s date is one of those odd ones when all the numbers flow consecutively. A friend of mine couldn’t resist posting on Facebook at ten past nine this morning: 9:10 11/12/13. By the time I post this we will have been past 11/12/13 2:15 and 16 seconds. The newspaper tells me that this is the last consecutive date for ninety years. It’s amazing what gets into the papers. The last time I remember someone getting excited about this was my son on his eleventh birthday: 6/7/89. 

I was at the market early because I had run to Uppermill through the sunshine. It has turned out to be one of those December days when the sky is mostly blue and the sun stays out, surprisingly as usually by midday it has clouded over. It is a bit chilly however. 

According to a report I read about today I appear to be doing the right things to stave off old age and decrepitude. Cardiff University has been doing research for 35 years and has come up with five factors that improve long term mental and physical health. Following four out of these five could reduce the risk of dementia by 60% as well as reducing the possibility of heart disease or stroke. They are: exercise, not smoking, low body weight, healthy diet and low alcohol intake. 

Well, I think I tick all those boxes although I do like a glass of wine with my meals. But then, another study, published by “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research”, apparently suggests that people who regularly drink moderately outlive those who abstain. Clearly I am in a win-win situation. It must be my stress-free lifestyle! 

One of the countries stress-inducers, OFSTED Chief Examiner, Sir Michael Wilshaw has been calling on the government to reintroduce formal testing in Maths and English for seven year olds to check that children are up to standard. I thought SATs were supposed to do that already. 

Then I came across an item about Samoa Airlines. This is a tiny Pacific airline with about three planes to its name. Last year, I am informed, they pioneered a fare system based on passengers’ weight. It works out cheaper for most passengers but they also plan to add another plane to their little fleet. This one will be configured to give the larger passengers, who pay higher fares, more room. 

It’s only fair. 

But I don’t think we should tell RyanAir about this.

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