Topical Quiz – Thursday 14th October 2021

Question for the Topical Quiz tonight (7pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

  1. What date will it be on this date next month?
  2. Climate protest group Insulate Britain, which has caused disruption to major roads during the last five weeks, is to suspend its campaigning for 11 days. What is Insulate Britain’s aim?
  3. What have GPs just been told to do?
  4. PC Chris Dwyer, a police constable in West Yorkshire, has just been sacked. Why?
  5. The UK’s largest poultry seller has warned that the price of what is due to rise?
  6. David Swanston, deputy principal at St Vincent’s School in Liverpool is in the last ten to win how much money?
  7. What has the queen just used in public again? To help her walk?
  8. Which beloved British institutions backlog has almost reached 6 million?
  9. Which pizza company is planning to hire 8,000 delivery drivers in the run up to Xmas?
  10. Which town does 5 Towns Radio broadcast from?


  1. 14th November 2021.
  2. Insulate Britain is a recently-launched group that calls for a national programme to ensure homes are insulated by 2030, which government experts on climate change say is essential to meet targets on reducing carbon emissions.
  3. GPs told to see more patients face-to-face. Face-to-face GP visits still near lockdown levels. A&E wait tine is over 4 hours for 1 in 4 patients.
  4. A police constable who took two packets of Jaffa Cakes from a charity stall without paying full price has been sacked from West Yorkshire Police.
  5. Chicken. The founder of 2 Sisters Food Group, Ranjit Boparan, warned that chicken prices would rise by 10%. “Significant” inflated costs of packaging, energy and CO2 were also “bulking up the price of food”.
  6. David Swanston, deputy principal at St Vincent’s School in Liverpool, is in contention to win $1m (£730,000) after making the top 10 for the world’s “best teacher” award.
  7. The Queen uses walking stick again as she visit Wales for first time in five years.
  8. The latest NHS England figures show that a total of 5.7 million people were waiting to start routine hospital treatment at the end of August.
  9. Domino’sPizza. The fast food chain set out its plans as it revealed an 8.8% increase in quarterly sales, including a peak in online orders during England’s Euros clash against Ukraine in July.
  10. Castleford!

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The weird thing about naming babies is that no-one really knows who those babies will grow up to be. It’s nonsense to say that we should name a baby as David or a Raven because baby David’s look nothing like adult Davids. So why do we insist on naming people before they look like who they are going to look like? It’s almost as if we want them to look like the person we name them as. And to say that it’s possible for a name to mould someone into looking like someone who has that name is nonsense, right? In my ever-so-humble opinion it would be much better to wait until someone looks like someone and then just give them that name. Just saying.


You’d think that someone with a sense of foreboding would watch it with a sense of foreboding. Not me. I watch it with glee. Don’t worry, this isn’t poetry, even though it rhymes a little. It’s philosophy.

Here are some of the things that I’ve foreboded over today:

  • Going to work. I just wasn’t looking forward to it at all. Then I did it, and it wasn’t so bad after all.
  • Going to the USA. There’s a holiday coming up that’s been postponed twice. I look at the stats and see that people are still dying over there if a plague I hardly think about here. And I wonder if it’s necessary to go to the USA right now.
  • This thing on my skin that the doctor said is a wart, but still sent pictures of to the dermatologist. He said two weeks. It’s been nearly three.
  • Radio presenting. I should be foreboding about this because I’m an introvert and it requires a dollop 9f extroversion. Thing is, though, I’m not.
  • Eating chocolate. Not foreboding as such. More like backboding. I had some. I watch for its effects. Nothing yet.
  • Writing about zombies on Wattpad. Have I stalled? No. I’m waiting for news from the doctors. I can’t write about the five stages of grief until I feel them. Can I?
  • Watering plants. I have it as an alert on my phone. It pops up. I feel a resistance to doing it. Don’t know why. It’s not difficult. In fact, I did it today. It wasn’t hard at all.
  • Fridge and sink. They both need replacing. But they both work. But they need replacing. But they work! Around and around. Green credentials versus the desire for clean and unblemished. A kind of mild foreboding about the outcome. It’ll have to be done.
  • People I know. I don’t contact people enough. I don’t feel the need. I don’t feel their need. Selfish? I forebode the loss without the desire to fill the gaps they will inevitably, eventually leave.
  • My end. Pff, don’t be silly. I’ll never end!

Funnily enough, I don’t feel so forebodish now. Thanks for listening. Now for a nice cup of tea.

Conversation Topics for the Radio

Because I’m doing a radio show (perhaps ‘tell’ is a better word) and I have the opportunity to say witty (theoretically) and interesting (hopefully) things between songs and because I’m not naturally witty and interesting (I suspect, actually, that I am (witty and interesting) but that those around me have short little attention spans (and that’s why they talk over me and cut me through (“I’m so sorry, the middle of my sentence seems to have interrupted the beginning of yours”)) I have to make lists of things to say on the radio to amuse and delight my (mine, all mine, mwwhhhhahahahaaaaaa!) audience. It’s better than getting to the end of a song and having to make stuff up. That’d be waaaay to much like my blog posts.

Anyhoo – this is/was the list for Thursday the 7th Oct on 5 Towns Radio (6 to 8 pm):

  1. Holiday – Walking
  2. Reading – Thinking
  3. Phil – Fixing
  4. Being Rock – Helping
  5. The quiz
  6. Meditation
  7. Work
  8. Zombies
  9. Wattpad
  10. Shame
  11. Corrie
  12. Overthinking, oversharing and overwriting and I’m sooo over this post.

The Attraction of Solitude

I find it fascinating that, no matter where I sit in order to find peace and quiet, whether it is the most isolated of spots along the whole length of the river or the most secluded glade in the forest, within minutes that place becomes the most frenetic hub of activity in the entire history of forever.

On this picture, you can see my feet and legs (fun fact – in Hindi there is only one word for both articles). Minutes before, this was the only sign of life for miles around. Seriously, there was no-one! As of now, not three metres in front of me, there is a whole crew of young men and women intent on launching a boat into the river; one and a half metres in front of me is a man walking and calling to his small, black dog; four metres to my right are a group of men and women chatting about life, love and languine; a few metres to my left I can hear the clatter of heels on cobbles as a solitary remnant of the Saturday night crowd finally heads for home; and just behind me are the soft-soled paddings of joggers going round and round their imaginary race circuits.

I will leave this place now; not because of the un-asked-for company (because, actually, I find it quite endearing), but because my bum is now numb. Early morning benches are too cold for long visits. Plus, I need to pee.

Ciao for now.

Zombies? Bah!

Just watched a movie called My Father featuring Anthony Hopkins in the lead role as a man suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Really makes me think deeply about how I feel about something awful like that happened to me or anyone at all in the whole world. Bloody awful, I would say.

It doesn’t really matter how or why it happens (sod the karma of it all), it’s just terrible. To forget and not know that one has forgotten and so to think that the rest of these world has gone mad has to be the height of sadness.

Almost makes me want to give up writing fiction when there’s so much fact that’s so dramatic already. Zombies novels? Bah, who needs ’em!

Achievements for Today

A Fixed Tortoise

Today was an especially busy day for gluing. I not only glued an angel together but I also glued a hind-leg back onto a tortoise.

The tortoise was made by my youngest sister when she was waaay younger than she is now and so she’s probably forgotten about it long ago, but it’s been holding my collection of rakhis now for about two decades, all with a broken leg. It deserves a medal for that kind of bravery, right?

The angel fell over when I was cleaning the window ledge and snapped in half just underneath the boosems that it doesn’t have (not because they snapped off but because they weren’t there in the first place, which makes me wonder if angels are sexless and genderless creatures). It can’t be easy being an angel with a broken torso. Anyway, all I have to do now is mix a little clay to the same colour as her/his dress and patch him/her up. Piece of cake. It should only take me about six months to get around to doing that.

The other cool thing I did today was remember something that I did last week (Sat 2nd Oct 2021) for the very first time in the history of my whole life: I brushed my teeth at the same time as chewing gum, which is something that I’m willing to bet you ten pence that you’ve never done yourself. In fact, I bet there are very few people in the world who have done this. Perhaps I’m the only one. Hmm, perhaps I should write to the Guiness Book of World Records. Or maybe send a letter to The Times? Or… I know what I’ll do. I’ll write about it on my blog. 😂

Have a nice rest of your day. Over and out.

Topical Quiz – Thursday 07th October 2021

Question for the Topical Quiz tonight (7pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

  1. Double today’s date. How many twos can you fit into the resulting number?
  2. Which country has kindly stepped in and, as a result, has made UK wholesale gas prices fall?
  3. Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah has been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature. What is the prize worth? £8,400, £84,000 or £840,000.
  4. Which tennis player has just had his wedding ring stolen in unusual circumstances?
  5. Which British actor has just said that it is an “absolute honour to be walked all over in Hollywood”?
  6. What will be the fine for faking Covid passes and tests in Wales? £60, £160 or £600.
  7. There are just one of these per 12,567 people in the UK, say the Royal College of Psychiatrists. What are these?
  8. Which disease has now had a vaccine approved by the World Health Organisation for the first time?
  9. Wakefield set for ‘official’ mini heatwave this week; what temperature are we expected to reach? 27, 25 or 23 degrees?
  10. A bridge, purportedly used by Winnie the Pooh (and a certain author’s son) has just been sold for £131,000. Who is (or was) the author. Bonus point if you can name the illustrator.


  1. Seven if it’s the 7th of October today. Other numbers may apply if you try this on different days.
  2. Russia. UK wholesale gas prices hit a record high before falling after Mr Putin of Russia said it was boosting supplies to Europe
  3. £840,000. Gurnah is the first black African author to have won the award since Wole Soyinka in 1986
  4. Andy Murray left his shoes overnight under the car to try and dry them out after a hard day’s practice. When he went to get them the next morning, they were gone. “Not the end of the world”, he thought, as he went to buy some more. But the fact that he ties his wedding ring to his laces while training and playing had completely slipped his mind. Whoops!
  5. James Bond star Daniel Craig, who has just got a Hollywood Walk of Fame star.
  6. Anyone caught trying to fake a test result or using a counterfeit pass in Wales will be fined £60.
  7. Psychiatrists. ‘One psychiatrist per 12,567 people in England’ say the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
  8. Malaria. The new jab prevents 30% of severe cases of malaria, even in areas with high uptake of other measures, such as bed nets impregnated with insecticide.
  9. The Met Office said people in Wakefield will bask in the heat and sunshine from Monday to Wednesday, with temperatures reaching 27C.
  10. Winnie-the-Pooh Poohsticks bridge sold for £131K to Sussex landowner. The author of the Winnie-the-Pooh books is A.A. Milne and the illustrator is E.H. Shepard.

Disguised Boomerangs


  • If you talk or write on a particular subject, then you’re trying to work through that subject for yourself.
  • If you join a cult that promises eternal happiness then you don’t have that happiness for yourself even if, at some point, you begin to repeat the teachings of that cult.
  • If you go to the doctor complaining of a pain in a specific body part then you need help with diagnosing and treating that particular pain.
  • If you play a song for someone then you’re, ultimately, playing that song for yourself.

Your outward-bound arrows are boomerangs in disguise.

Smile, then. Love, then. Save the world, then.