Summer Wine Trip

One of my favourite T.V. series is Last of the Summer Wine (LOTSW), which ran for a record 37 years between 1973 and 2010. It is set in the picturesque streets and surroundings of the Yorkshire village of Holmfirth. At it’s peak, LOTSW received huge viewing figures.

My favourite era of LOTSW is the series from the decade between 1985 and 1995. I think what I and most people love about the series is it’s simplistic appeal. The dialogue follows a set format and style. The jokes and settings are often repeated, but are familiar and fondly regarded.

Life appears so simple in LOTSW. Because it is a TV show, no ongoing themes are carried over into episodes, so each show is a stand-alone experience. This removes any ongoing issues of concern for the characters and thus keeps the simplicity intact. As viewers we step in and out of their lives with the characters not burdened by the stresses of daily life. So as not to appear immediately dated, characters do not discuss the news of the day, politics, or complicated personal ambitions. They exist in the space of their interactions, not burdened with concerns of health, finances, relationships or anything else.

Of course I know real life is always different. In LOTSW we never see rain, we never see how far they have walked to reach the summit of these huge hills and they show little, if any, physical tiredness. We never see them in their downtime, alone, filling in the lonely evening hours. We never see them watching television. There is a suspension of disbelief. It’s entertainment, and like all things in life we take what we want from it.

However, I remain attracted to the simplicity of their lives. When I manage to visit Holmfirth in the New Year, which will then be over 10 years since the show was last recorded there, I look forward to feeling a connection to the simple life I have tried to design, as well as the joy of visiting a genuinely beautiful rural setting.

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Clapping for Carers Goes Deep

Every Thursday people in the UK come to their doors at exactly 8pm, armed with pots and pans. We clap, cheer and make some noise as we thank our NHS workers, which includes everyone from doctors, nurses, paramedics, admin staff, cleaners and porters and everyone inbetween.

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Completely Isolated

When I had to travel to Durham to pay in a cheque earlier this week, the final pay cheque from the job I left last month, the place was almost deserted due to the social isolation strategy now in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

It was great to see that a huge majority of people were obeying instructions and staying at home. I imagine everyone else I saw whilst in the city had, like me, a valid reason for being there. The regulations have tightened since then and the Police are, amid some criticism, firmy enforcing the rules. I don’t criticise them for this.

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7.43am to Newark North Gate

Sometimes I face the 2 hour 45 minute journey to Lincoln in the car and look forward to it. Just join the A1 and head south, going left at the A1(M) to M1 split and then turn off at the A57. Go straight on, through the toll bridge and then turn right at the traffic lights. That takes you right into the city centre.

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Why It’s Time For PR

Proportional Representation (PR) is the electoral system in which parties gain seats in direct proportion to the number of votes they receive. Perhaps beleaguered by the endless political discourse and the voracity of anti-political sentiment that dominates conversations, the media and our newspapers, I am looking for a new way forward, a way that promotes people voting FOR something or someone, rather than against something or someone else.

We currently use the voting system known as ‘First Past The Post’ (FPTP), to elect our representatives at all levels of government in our country besides Police, Crime and Victims Commissioner (PCVC) and MEP elections. These elections uses what is known as the ‘Single Transferable Vote’ (STV) system, but more of that later. This article will assess why I feel PR is the way forward.

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Facts Matter Less Than Opinion

Politicians are always challenged about their integrity. In the live TV debate between Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson, one of whom will be our next Prime Minister, whether they can be trusted by the country was a key question.

Worryingly for both men, their comments were punctuated by the audience laughing as they answered. Yes, part of it was that we had a split audience and yes, some of the roaring laughter was audibly fake. I recall one man roaring with laughter so loudly that Jeremy Corbyn almost stopped to address this individual directly. Thankfully he thought better of it.

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What Wealth Really Means

When a sportsman hits the age of 30 journalists begin to ask about their plans for retirement. Tennis star Roger Federer has had interviews peppered with similar questions for nearly 10 years now.

Multiple Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton is now 34 years old. Hamilton has had an amazingly successful career in terms of track success and in amassing wealth, where it is estimated he is worth £500 million. Hamilton recently made a comment that “I’ve led a complex life” and this just didn’t sit right with me, not because I don’t believe him, but because he did not qualify his statement acknowledging his success.

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Brexit is the Sickness, Not The Cure

Is anyone else completely sick and tired of Brexit? I know I am. Even the word itself didn’t exist until 2016 and perhaps the biggest mistake was the failure of the person who coined the phrase not to protect it.

Ever since Edward Heath first began to pitch the idea of the UK entering the common market in the 1950’s the issue has been divisive. It has torn the Conservative Party to ribbons for well over 40 years. It tormented Sir John Major’s time as Prime Minister in the 1990’s as Euro rebels took full advantage of the tiny majority to openly campaign against Europe and, after being kicked out of the party they were then let back in without condition. Major never recovered from this debacle their internal party wars contributed to the 1997 Labour landslide as the country looked elsewhere for answers. Fast forward to 2016 and yet again the EU has shredded the Tories apart, this time managing to drag Labour down with it.

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