Group Therapy by Trevor Plumbly

We’re a mixed bunch in the ‘Focus Group’. All retirees, with backgrounds including The Diplomatic Corps, Journalism, Audiology, Ophthalmology, Engineering and down to Antique Dealing. Our common link is sight loss, but whilst we refer to ourselves as ‘blindies’, most of us still nurse some sort of blurred, but fading vision. It amazes me that I’m part of the group! Years ago the idea that I’d trot along twice-monthly to an organised meeting would have been laughable, but Focus isn’t really a group, nor do we hold ‘proper’ meetings; ours are more… Read More

A short history of sex by Trevor Plumbly

Following my insightful piece on the subtleties of the law, I’ve been asked to turn my thoughts to other matters that affect our lives. Things like sex. Birds, bees and bollocks I admit not many people actually indulge in sex on a daily basis, but there’s still a lot of it about in one form or another. Popular thinking suggests we should learn about bonking early; for me, it wasn’t considered important. In a school that served more as an incubator for misfits than a place of learning, sex education wasn’t considered… Read More

Yorkshire mini-break by Angela Caldin

I’m up in Yorkshire enjoying a few days immersion in all that is wonderful about this county including its down-to-earth people, its direct talk, its breath-taking landscapes and its wry humour. Northern rivalry I should point out that I’m from Lancashire, a diamond of a county, but locked in a centuries old rivalry with its neighbour over the Pennines. Who remembers learning about the Wars of the Roses in the fifteenth century with the white rose for the House of York and the red rose for the house of Lancaster? As if… Read More

Ya gotta laugh by Trevor Plumbly

A funny thing used to happen Listening to an interview with John Cleese the other day made me wonder whether the current plague of PC is strangling humour. Comedy has always carried an element of cruelty: from the Buster Keaton custard pie sketch to the murder of sensitivities from Billy Connolly, somebody has to ‘cop it’ to amuse those who weren’t on the receiving end. Listening to Cleese, I realised that nothing was spared: all manner of sacred cows, including his late mother and ex-wives were woven into a barrage of hilarious… Read More

O holy night by Trevor Plumbly

The dream Wrong time of the year I know, but at my age I’ll take memories whenever I can get them. Contrary to the portrayal of joy and goodwill, our school class production of the nativity play provoked a long standing feud more suited to Shakespeare than the New Testament. Miss Folster was largely to blame; she was Casting, Script, and Musician. Emotionally ice-bound from the toes up and, as required of lady teachers of the time, totally devoid of any feminine properties that might have distracted a young mind. She had… Read More