The joy of voting

Voting is wonderfully nostalgic. You don’t have to press 1 for this or 2 for that. You don’t need to check whether you’ve got a signal.

Instead, you go into an old building and identify yourself to a PERSON. Then you make your mark on a bit of PAPER.

It’s so worth it.

Manchester tragedy

They went to see an Ariana Grande concert and 22 of them did not come out alive. Another 59 at the last count are in hospital, some of them in critical condition.
One of the first of the dead to be named was an eight-year-old girl.
By the nature of the event, most of the victims were probably younger than 30.
The suicide bomber was in England only because his family had found sanctuary here from Colonel Gaddafi’s mad regime in Libya.
So what argument did he have with children?
I guess it was the same argument as the other terrorist had – the one who mowed down tourists and Londoners on Westminster Bridge just two months ago, then stabbed a policeman to death.
Now the army is on the streets in the UK, a nation known for its tolerance, a nation where every race and faith (including Muslim) has joined in the grieving and the memorial services.
And tragically, no matter how many of the sneaky random murderers blow themselves up, or get shot by the police, there will be always be more of them coming along with their bombs, guns and knives.
it’s not a war on terrorism — it’s a war on rats from the sewers. And there is no way of exterminating all the rats in the sewers.

Not such April fools

It’s hard to know what to believe on April Fool’s Day as there are are many stories that seem rather strange but are in fact genuine.

Here is a round-up of some of this year’s more suspicious stories that are apparently true. (Source =

1. Today is international pillow fight day.Yes, really. Cities taking part include Hong Kong, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Chicago, Bangalore and Hull. Rules include no hitting anyone without a pillow.

More details (Hull Daily Mail)

2. Former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson “loves” Julian Assange. It might seem an unlikely relationship but “it’s no secret”, according to the actress. Writing a blog post, she said Mr Assange is trying to “free the world by educating it”. She goes on: “It is a romantic struggle, I love him for this”.

More details (Daily Star)

3. Putting Shakespeare lyrics to rap music can help pupils revise. Studytracks are songs with lyrics recorded to help pupils to remember what they have learnt in class. Students download an app which features tracks covering the Year 10 and 11 syllabus.

More details (Times)

4. A cat’s life was saved with a vodka shot. Vets had to give seven-year-old cat Princess a “vodka drip” to save her from being poisoned by brake fluid. Princess needed 24-hour intensive care and was treated with vodka which worked as an antidote to the poison.

More details (Daily Mirror)

5. Cricketer Gary Ballance may have to miss a championship match because he is colour blind. He could be forced to miss Yorkshire’s pink-ball County Championship fixture against Surrey as he could struggle to see the ball and differentiate it from the grass. “If I can’t see it, I can’t see it. There’s nothing I can do,” he said.

More details (Times)

6. A teenager has had a “leaving party” for his leg. Thomas Green has had 20 unsuccessful operations to treat a venous malformation – a network of veins behind his left knee that have bled into his joints. He is now having his leg removed. His parents threw his leg a “goodbye” party, complete with a cake in the shape of a leg.

More details (Daily Mirror)

7. An 82-year-old grandma rocks it as a professional DJ in Japan. After 50 years running a restaurant, Sumiko Iwamuro discovered her talent at a birthday party for her son. Her musical tastes include rock, techno jazz and French chansons. Ms Iwamuro, who goes by the name of DJ Sumirock, plays at a club in the Kabukicho district of Tokyo.

More details (Times)

8. China bans long beards. New measures which include prohibiting “abnormally” long beards have been introduced in the far western region of Xinjiang in what the Chinese government describes as a campaign against Islamist extremism.

More details (BBC China)

9. A woman who ate chicken nuggets and chips every day for 24 years has been cured of food phobia after an hour of hypnotherapy. Louise Newton, 28, would gag if she tried anything other than her diet of dry cereal, plain bread, crisps, chocolate and her everyday dinner of battered chicken and chips.

More details (Sun)

10. For a five star hotel stay with a difference, thrill seekers in the Netherlands can now spend the night in a crane. The Crane Hotel Faralda offers three suites – which are up to 50m above the ground – and a hot tub on the top deck.

More details (Daily Express)

Tragedy and heroism

What a horror scene. A car deliberately used to plough down pedestrians; a woman falling from Westminster Bridge into the River Thames; a policeman who had just posed for tourist pictures dying from knife wounds.

What a heroic scene. The nurses rushing to help those struck down on the bridge, the Port of London boat quickly rescuing the woman from the water; politicians, other police, paramedics and members of the public struggling to revive the stabbed policeman. Those helpers must have known they were exposing themselves to a possible secondary attack by terrorists.

Then there were those who also put themselves in danger by trying to save the killer himself after he was shot by police.

One of my lasting impressions from the TV and social media images will be the faces of the heroes and witnesses, those whose thoughts were with the victims rather than their own safety. It looked to me like those unselfish people represented every race and creed.

That is London. It is a city for everyone, illustrated by the fact that the dead and injured included a party of French schoolchildren, that the woman who fell in the river was Romanian, one of the men who died was American, other victims came from South Korea, Italy, Poland, Greece, Germany. China. And the English included three policeman who had just come from a ceremony where they received commendations.

It was not just London, it was the world that was attacked last week, the free and peaceful world that may lose some battles but will win the war against evildoers like … no … I will not mention the sneaky coward’s name.

Instead, let’s commemorate the names of Police Constable Keith Palmer, Kurt Cochran from the USA, and Aysha Frade and Leslie Rhodes who both lived in London.

Rest in peace.

Author of fiction