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Should have gone to …..

This has to be the ultimate “Should have gone to Specsavers” moment when a silver Ford Fiesta smashed into the glass window of the front of the opticians store in Sevenoaks, Kent, around lunchtime yesterday.


Oh the shame … this person is going to be the butt of everyone’s jokes today and, like the shop window, I bet they didn’t see that coming!!!

A little known fact

minerA second tranche of figures has just been released from the 2011 census and all the important details have been teased out and widely published.  But what about the more obscure facts?

Well the main one that leapt out for me was the fact that more people in London’s Kensington and Chelsea describe themselves as working in mining and quarrying than in Gateshead, although the figures – 207 and 151 individuals respectively – are not exactly large.

The decline of the coal industry in England and Wales has been well documented and about 2,000 people now work in coal mines, according to the National Union of Mineworkers, compared with more than a million at the industry’s height in the early 1900s.   The mining and quarrying industry as a whole employs 46,478, according to the 2011 Census, High Streetdown 12,913 on 2001.

These people may of course work in management or for large international mining conglomerates such as Rio Tinto, which has its headquarters in London – unless some of the Kent miners have won the lottery and moved to the Big Smoke or there’s something going on underneath the High Street that no-one has told us about!

Childhood memories

A lady called Patricia Bevan, 65, has just beaten hundreds of entries to win a national competition to find Britain’s best beach hut with her patriotic red, white and blue affair, complete with bunting and Union Jacks in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee.

This has brought back many happy memories of my childhood holidays in Birchington-on-Sea in Kent where, every summer from the age of about 6 to 15, I spent the entire school holidays [come rain or shine] in a beach hut on the prom at Minnis Bay. 

I have to say that our hut bore little resemblance to this colourful specimen in Westwood Ho.  In fact, apart from the 2-ring gas burner, it was a million miles away from this cheerful, inviting space!  We spent many rainy days huddled around that gas burner drinking tea or tomato soup [though not at the same time], but we also had many weeks of gorgeous sunshine and fabulous walks, either along the promenade to Epple Bay or, if we were feeling more adventurous, to Reculver which was a terrific walk along the coast and is just on the outskirts of Herne Bay.

As a child, the walk seemed epic.  However, looking at a map today it can’t have been much more than 2.5 miles!

The lure of cheap package holidays to the sun when I was in my teens meant that I soon stopped wanting to go to that beach hut in Birchington.  I will always remember though just how lucky I was to get 6 weeks by the seaside ever year and it seems that the humble British beach hut is now experiencing something of a renaissance.

Well known hut owners such as Suggs from Madness [Whitstable] and Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones [West Wittering] may do little to help encourage the younger generation that beach huts are “cool” and to give them a try – but who needs a Costa when you can have the simple life a lot closer to home?  Hmmmm …..??? 

Mañana, Mañana

If there was a Degree in procrastination, I would have a First Class with Honours!  I know that the best way to deal with this somewhat negative trait is to write a list of all those things I need to do and work my way through them until they are completed.  Saying it is easy – doing it is another matter!

Take the kitchen unit I ordered to give me more workspace.  Having eventually found something I thought would work, I ordered it and the company duly delivered it a few days later – in a flat box!  Of course I hadn’t read the small print and didn’t realise it was self-assembly.  Well I opened the box and looked at the instructions, found there were 27 different parts and hurriedly put the instructions back in the box and walked away. 

Seeing the box in my hall ever day made me feel extremely guilty – but not guilty enough to get it out and get on with it.  I made excuses – I didn’t have the time, it would be too difficult, my electric screwdriver needed charging – anything that meant I didn’t have to actually do it!

Now I realised that this piece of furniture could not put itself together but I also knew that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to do battle with the screwdriver.  So it was several weeks before I took the plunge and set about building the thing.  An hour and a half later I had finished and sat back, pleased with the results.  So why couldn’t I have done this when it first arrived?  Simple, it was easier to put it off until another day.

It is comforting to know I’m not alone.  Here are just two examples that I found on the BBC website today that I can totally identify with and which made me laugh out loud:

A friend of mine, who I’ll call “Dave” (because that was his name) said he would do anything to avoid A-level revision. At one point he infamously found himself weighing the cat, convinced that he would only be able to settle down to work if he had that data to hand. As a result, some 25 years later, the act of procrastination is referred to by my family as “weighing the cat”. I Whitten, Sittingbourne, Kent

I started up the Stirling University Procrastination Society in 1980. It was a resounding success. Not one person bothered to return their registration form on time and we never got round to holding any meetings. Well done us. Yay! JohnB, Berkshire

But wait a minute!  I am even procrastinating now!  I should be working but instead I am writing this post.  It is perhaps true then that the work you do whilst procrastinating is the work that you should do for the rest of your life ….. 

…. I’ll let you know tomorrow!!!

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