The Yorkshire Post reports that a pensioner who applied for a new dustbin was asked whether he was homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual or a transvestite. He said he couldn’t remember.


Last Christmas we got a DVD of three episodes of Moonlighting, that fun 1980s series starring David Addison and Maddie Hayes, also known as Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd. How things change. It was very noticeable that the offices then had no computers and the boys were highly amused that the heroes of the Blue Moon Detective Agency had to stop the car in order to find a phone.

I thought of that recently when we moved to new offices in Leeds. There are a few things I’m having to get used to. Like air-conditioning. (I hate it). And lights which are activated by movement. And Sky TV in the lift. We managed perfectly well before without it. There are water coolers everywhere. And warnings about what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. How much changes in a generation. My father remembers when some offices had open fires.


In the Oldie, Rosie Boycott wrote of her unforgivable experience at the Craiglands in Ilkley. She was in the town on a Saturday night for the Literary Festival the following day. She had spent hours driving up from London and was glad to get to bed. To cut a long story short, she could not possibly sleep until 4.30 am because of a disco and party following a wedding reception. No one in the hotel was able to, or interested in helping her. They charged her £110 for her ordeal and should be ashamed of themselves.


Leeds Town Hall

Yorkshire Sports Personality of the Year was James Toseland, winner of the World Superbike Championship for the second time having led the competition from start to finish. It’s not exactly a fashionable sport but it was an achievement which was sufficient to put him in the list of nominations for BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Born in Doncaster, he now lives in the Isle of Man. He is a likeable, unassuming guy who unexpectedly is an accomplished pianist.

James Toseland

Also in the Oldie is a contribution from a vicar who warns of the dangers of playing CDs at funerals. Intending to play ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, the deceased’s favourite, the verger pressed the shuffle button and the congregation was treated to a rousing chorus of ‘Ding Dong, the Wicked Witch is Dead’.


At some time in the 1960s or ‘70s a ghastly concrete monstrosity was grafted onto the front of Hull’s rather fine Victorian railway station. What architectural vandalism there was at that time. Anyway, the monstrosity has now been removed and the station looks splendid. John Betjeman would be delighted, just as he would be thrilled to see the re-born St Pancras, the huge Victorian pile which he saved from destruction in London, and which has been wonderfully restored and developed as the Eurostar terminus at a cost of £800 million.


At one point it was proposed to re-name it London Gateway or something equally hideous. Fortunately it survived as St Pancras…International. A statue of  Sir John gazes up at Gilbert Scott’s Gothic extravaganza.


The first vicar to appear before a new Church of England disciplinary tribunal has been suspended from his parish near Whitby following his affair with a married parishioner. I shall spare you some of the more distressing details of this steamy relationship because this is a family column. The Times speaks of kissing and cuddling and raunchy birthday cards, intimate text messages and a mystery hotel booking in Whitby. Well, it’s so bracing. The Times reports the village postmaster and churchwarden praising the vicar’s – I kid you not – ‘hands-on approach’. Ooooo, matron.


Caroline Flint, Employment Secretary, doubles up as, wait for it, the first (and, one hopes, last) Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber. In the Yorkshire Post she says that she sees herself ‘as an ambassador for the region’. ‘Having a regional minister is new, it’s evolving’, she says meaninglessly. Please don’t patronise us with gimmicks.




You can’t beat a good advertising slogan. ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’. ‘Every little helps’. ‘Probably the best lager in the world’. If you get fish and chips from Murgatroyd’s at Yeadon traffic lights, the bag is emblazoned with, ‘If tha’ doesn’t like this lot, there’s summat wrong wi’ thee’. I can’t see it catching on in the Home Counties.


Have a lovely Christmas. Happy New Year.