Category Archives: Cambridge News Features

This week I’m worrying about…

Euromillons winner, Neil Trotter

Seething with jealousy yesterday, I watched the Euromillions winner’s press conference. Neil Trotter and his partner Nicky Ottaway have scooped £108 million and there they were, bold as brass and  grinning behind their huge fat cheque. They’ve quit their jobs. They’ve been to look at cars. Yeah yeah we get it, just go! I was worried by two things: First, Neil said he was driving to work when ‘something told (him) to buy a Euromillons ticket’. What told you, Neil? A voice? A little beetle on the passenger seat? Was it the same thing that ‘tells’ me to recklessly throw my house keys in the river every time I walk across Magdalene Bridge? Because I’ve been ignoring that very hard, and maybe I shouldn’t. Secondly, with a quick raise of the eyebrows, Nicky said they’d been ‘emergency shopping’ the day before. For what? What did they need that they couldn’t have needed, before the win? Clothes? Food? What was the emergency? I’m worried. And annoyed. Seethe.

The new £1 coin

It’s been announced that we’re getting a new, dodecagon shaped (yes I looked it up) £1 coin which we’re told looks like an old threepenny bit. I don’t remember the old threepenny, nor the old six-pence shilling-a-bob and half a crown, but I’m told that for just a handful of them, you could buy a house? Apparently the new coin is to combat counterfeiting, presumably as thieves can’t be bothered to make 12 sided coins. George Osborne took the prototype coin round to show the Queen last night which hopefully went well. Should we be minting a shed load of new coins with the Queen on…at this stage?

Ely Cathedral

They’re filming again and this time it’s ‘Macbeth’ starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.  If you take a stroll past today you’ll see movie trailers, lots of equipment, several huge, flaming torches and some actors striding round in Shakespearean robes. As a resident of Ely myself, I’m very excited to have such glamorousness beamed into my dreary life for a few days.  I’m sure Ely Cathedral is paid handsomely for lending itself to a film crew and fair enough, as it costs £2000 per day to maintain! Seems an awful lot. I digress. My main worry is the cast of ‘Macbeth’. What are they up to in the evenings? I’d like to hereby publically invite Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard round to my house tonight as I have some sausages that need cooking. See you at 7?

Sport Relief

Raising money for the poor and disadvantaged is an excellent way to spend time. However, I’m a bit worried about the lengths people are going to to raise money  for the cause. There was poor Davina a few weeks ago and her sponsored drowning in Lake Windermere. I still have nightmares about watching her sobbing and bedraggled on BBC breakfast that week. Next it’s John Clyde, who is covering 290 ‘brutal’ miles on foot, rowing and cycling. Frank Skinner who’s gravely afraid of water is going swimming, and David Walliams is swimming down the Thames. Unhygienic. What’s next? Ferne Cotton is dangled into a crocodile infested river? Fiona Bruce spends the night in a skip? Enough. Can’t we just donate the money without all this pain?

First published by Cambridge News

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This week we’re worrying about…

Checking the news every day, there can be a lot to worry about. To make worrying easier, I have scanned the news for you to make sure your worrying is focussed and effective. Here are the four main things to worry about this week.

Flooding and sink holes

The flood waters are finally subsiding and those poor flooded people on the news are wringing out their clothes and returning, damp and dishevelled, to their depressing new lives of sweeping up mould and ruined carpet. East Anglia escaped again thanks to the good old fen drainage. Phew. But wait. Something much worse could be lurking and ready to strike. A SINK HOLE. You could be sitting in front of the TV, cosy in your front room, smugly watching people throw out their carpets and a sink hole could open up under your house and swallow your whole family into its muddy jaws of doom. Good luck.

White Dee

Channel 4’s series Benefits Street has had everyone talking. Should people be sitting around doing nothing while others go to work? Probably not. But are there legitimate reasons for them not working? Probably. Sometimes. Either way though, they all seem to spend a lot of money on fags which, when there’s not enough for 50p worth of washing powder, seems a bit silly. Mainly what’s worrying me is the rise and rise of White Dee. Self appointed ‘mother ‘of James Turner Street, her name sounds like it should be a candle fragrance, but one that smells of fags. She turned up on TV this week to take part in a debate about benefits. She had a new hair cut (long on one side, short on the other) and a sparkly evening top. Said she can’t work due to depression, but she seemed quite chipper. I’m betting she’ll be the next winner of Celebrity Big Brother.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for a Bafta last week giving us a welcome chance to have a good look at him on the red carpet and a good reminisce about the days when he was our boyfriend (in our heads). As a person who has been genuinely in love with Leonardo for many years, it came as a shock to see him looking…39. With a proper man’s voice and a distinct thickening of the neck. What happened to Romeo? Jack Dawson? That kid from the nightmarish Basketball Diaries, which we were too young to watch, but did anyway because Leonardo was in it, even if he was taking heroin and covered with vomit for a lot of the film, he was still our boyfriend and we loved him. Leonardo Dicaprio is almost 40. Worrying.

Spring

It’s just around the corner! The daffodils are up and ready to go. Shoots! Little birds just ripe for a hatchin’! 11 degrees Celsius. Crazy people in T Shirts walking around town already. But I for one don’t feel ready. I don’t feel like I’ve been properly cold yet this Winter. I haven’t once worn my new gloves from Primark and they cost me £1 (for two pairs). Whereas usually Winter feels endlessly cold, dark and bitter, 2013/2014 has been a cinch. With the exception of massive flooding and massive sink holes, it’s been pretty easy in East Anglia. It makes me think something dreadful is on the horizon. A wet summer? A DRY summer? A dreaded drought! The seasons are increasingly haywire and whether you think it’s caused by climate change or not, we should probably keep recycling and catching the bus just in case.

 

First published by Cambridge News.

On the subject of Christmas cards

It’s Christmas! (Please no, not in a Noddy Holder voice). Someone in your house has probably already risked their lives in the loft retrieving the decorations. You’ve probably done some mediocre Christmas shopping, comprising mainly of having a panic attack around the ground floor of John Lewis. You’ve watched Elf, or if not, you’re saving it for when wrapping gifts in front of the fire, surrounded by empty mince pie tin foil cups, roasted ham and brimming with anticipatory yuletide cheer. Is there anything more heartening than this scenario? No.

Sadly however, my personal merriment is increasingly marred each year by one thing. The seemingly harmless and well intended Christmas card. As each morning arrives and I hear the post land on my doormat with a (slightly noisier than usual, seasonal) clatter, my heart sinks. I haven’t sent my Christmas cards yet. I haven’t even got my Christmas cards. Even if I did have them, I haven’t got anyone’s address and it seems arbitrary to text people now asking for it. They’ll know what I’m up to. My Christmas card sending will be expected and thusly ruined. It troubles me deeply and makes even delicious, sweet sherry taste bitter in my mouth.

Some Christmas enthusiasts even take the trouble to write a personalised message in their cards. They’ve probably also done their Christmas shopping by November 30th and are kicking back watching Elf as we speak. Smug so and sos. Some go much further and send out a family newsletter. ‘Little Harriet passed her violin exams’, ‘Peter fell out of the loft getting the decorations down’, ‘We’re all off to Cornwall for our holidays to see Grandma’ etc. Much as I enjoy reading these, it only cements my feeling of Christmas shame. No newsletter will be winging its way from my family I’m afraid. I couldn’t get it organised.

Occasionally I’ll receive an E Card. Sending these is even more tragic than not sending cards at all. Or sometimes in to the inbox pops a musical E Card with my face transposed onto the dancing body of an elf. Strange and unnerving. Please don’t send me these.

If by some miracle, you do manage to buy a packet of cards and have an up to date address book, there’s always the quandary of what the picture ought to be on the front. Religious, robins or reindeer? Whatever you pick needs to cover all the bases. Do you buy an assorted box of 100 cards from Tesco? What if they all just have Santa Claus on them and you look foolish? It’s a risk.

Perhaps worst of all are the cards you receive from your neighbours. Everyone else, you don’t have to see for a while and hopefully when you do see them again, your shameful lack of formal season’s greetings will be forgotten. But your neighbours are always there. To All at Number 27, Merry Christmas from Bonnie, Ronnie and Donnie. A cheery reminder that you’ve failed to do your cards, but this time hand delivered while you’re trying to enjoy your dinner. Give me a break.

At least it’s an excellent way of finding out all their names. Last year I made a diagram of my street (which of course I have now lost) but for thirty special minutes in 2012, I knew the name of every neighbour on my street.

Oh well, perhaps if I get my cards now, they’ll be done for Christmas 2014. My loved ones won’t know what’s hit them! Merry Christmas everyone, Happy New Year and I’m very sorry but you probably won’t be receiving my card.

First published by Cambridge News

Five songs to add to your Summer playlist

Can you feel that? A strange feeling creeping across your skin and making you want to take off your jumper? It’s warmth! The endless winter seems to be ending, and the sun is finally out! It’s only early May but, without getting too carried away, we’ve suffered enough. I for one cannot wait any longer so, let’s crank up the stereo and celebrate the long weekend by throwing on some summer favourites.

Here are five scorching tracks to get you in the groove this bank holiday weekend:

1. Mungo Jerry – In the Summertime

An undeniably feel good intro, leading merrily into Mungo Jerry’s shaky voice, singing about Summer. It’s as if he’s been out enjoying the sun so much his voice has started packing up. What’s not to love about that? The sun is out and Mungo’s got women on his mind However, there are some troublesome ethics in his song, such as the instruction to ‘have a drink, have a drive, go out and see what you can find’ – no Mungo, that’s very dangerous. Or the notion that ‘if her daddy’s poor, then just do what you feel’ – suggesting a tendency for exploiting the lower classes when the sun comes out. Mungo, come on man, it’s a nice day, let’s not turn it into a crime scene.

2. Madonna – Holiday

Do me a favour will you? If you’re going away this summer, have this downloaded and ready to press play the minute you walk out of the office door/school gates. Nothing will bring you more summer joy than this Madonna classic. You’ll be like James Baskett in Song of the South, but with a whole flock of bluebirds on your shoulder. And some on your head. And one to carry your suitcase, in its little blue beak. A great song that makes you feel like going on holiday immediately.

3. George Michael – Club Tropicana

Following on from ‘Holiday’ – When you and Mr Bluebird arrive at your destination and put down your suitcase, he gives his beak a little rub, (that was heavy you cruel brute, how could you make him carry that all the way here? He’s just a tiny little bird!), let’s keep everything crossed that you’re on exactly the same holiday as George Michael in, ‘Club Tropicana’. This summer jam has it all. Free drinks, fun, sunshine, sun tanning, strangers taking you by the hand? (Hmm maybe not that bit George). A perfect summer Bossa Nova which makes you want to buy cocktail umbrellas and get a paddling pool for your back garden.

4. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Summertime

‘Drums please!’ Is there anything that evokes a summer feel-good vibe better that this old school classic from our favourite rapper/movie star Will Smith and his jazzy mate, Jeff? No, I don’t think there is. If you could bottle it, this would be pure summer, distilled into four, smooth minutes of sound. Basketball courts, barbeques, washing your car and then driving at 2 miles an hour? That sure sounds like summer in Cambridge to me.

5. The Beach Boys – I Get Around

There are so many summer classics from this group, it’s very hard to choose just one. Their entire catalogue sounds like it was recorded by a beach, with a load of buddies hanging around outside the studio, in dusty cars, having sodas and other Californian-style fun. Beach Boy harmonies are world famous mainly because they make us feel happy and sun kissed even though, sometimes the lyrics are a little dubious. These guys get around. They never, ever miss with girls. They’ve got a car and basically they’re just going to do whatever they want ok? That’s the gist of it. Wa Wa Wa Oooh indeed.

That should keep you going for half an hour. Enjoy the sunshine!

First published by Cambridge News