The Smart social barometer by Emily Smart

Step back in time I’ve been thinking a lot about my school days recently and, in particular, the two years I spent at sixth form college between the ages of 16-18. Having left my secondary school, which really was a mixed bag of youngsters, I then moved to a rather exclusive college which was full of ex-private school kids who had bags of money, attitude and posh accents. Strangely, I immediately felt at home there and thoroughly enjoyed making new friends and having fun. Oh, and writing the odd essay or two,… Read More

Shopping as a source of discord by Angela Caldin

There’s tension and discord in our house again. This time it’s a dispute over shopping practices in general and where to shop in particular. Vouchers as focus of irritation My husband favours Sainsbury’s because he says there is a wide variety of products of good quality – he finds their muesli is second to none and values the generous amount of fruit it contains. I don’t argue with this at all. He also thinks their check-outs are efficient with their combination of self service and cashier tills. I grind my teeth in… Read More

Me and IT by Trevor Plumbly

For BH a dear friend and TH a brother outside law From top to bottom It’s not been the best year healthwise: back surgery in December, a Giardia infection in March, followed by an ear infection in July and now ‘IT’ in August. Cancer, I’ve discovered, is a cunning bugger; it doesn’t announce its presence, it just sneaks in to any body part willing to house it. With me it’s the colon. Like most, I’ve never paid that much attention to that particular part of my body; it’s worked as a waste… Read More

Toupee or not toupee by Trevor Plumbly

Taking a dim view I never took much notice of blind people. They were there, of course, but short of a flush of sympathy and a few guilt dollars, there wasn’t much else I could offer. Things became a lot clearer (excuse the pun) when my own sight failed. In some respects I’m lucky: whilst my particular problem is inoperable, it is taking time to inflict total blindness and, as a result, I’ve been able to adjust on a gradual basis. But yearly visits for specialist assessment always show a little more… Read More

New year resolution by Angela Caldin

I understand that the people who make new year resolutions generally make them about losing weight, adopting a more healthy lifestyle, cutting down on alcohol, taking more exercise or a combination of all four of these. Like many others, I resolved on 1 January to lose some weight by cutting down on fattening food such as biscuits, cakes, pies and pastries, at the same time enjoying low calorie healthy salads, lean meat and vegetables. In my mind’s eye, I saw a slimmer me, glowing with health, emerging by about the end of… Read More