6:06pm Thursday 23rd February 2017
WHAT is the most important person or place in local music history? The BBC is hoping to unveil 40 blue plaques around the country – one for each of its local radio stations – on its Music Day on June 9, and is asking its audience to come up with suggestions this week of places where plaques may be posted.
6:11pm Thursday 16th February 2017
SPRING is coming to roadside verges. The rains of the winter have washed flat all of last summer’s growth and so it is now easy to spot the snowy drifts of snowdrops taking hold, their white bells jangling as the lorries blow by, and the first of the daffodils plumping up, their green buds swelling by the day.
1:57pm Thursday 9th February 2017
IF you asked people when they were lying in corridors awaiting emergency health treatment or while they were protesting about the loss of their local libraries and museums whether they needed another tier of local government, it is unlikely they would answer in the affirmative.
6:06pm Thursday 26th January 2017
SCRUTA, says the online dictionary I access through Darlington’s library service, means “old, broken stuff, trash” in Latin. A scrutator was a person who searched through the old, broken stuff – “even through the rags” – hoping to spot something of value. This is where our word “scrutiny” comes from.
12:29pm Thursday 19th January 2017
BREXIT is going to be brilliant for introducing new words and concepts into our language. Who, for example, would have thought there could have been so much fun to be had over a customs union, as there has this week.
5:39pm Thursday 12th January 2017
I APPEAR before you this morning a little down in the mouth. Quite literally – I’m a tooth down.
1:18pm Thursday 5th January 2017
I WAS accidentally flicking through a copy of a Durham newspaper from exactly 150 years ago this week when my eye was caught by a story that told in a guffawing tone about a couple of brothers who were so far behind the times that they didn’t recognise a valuable banknote.
6:27pm Thursday 22nd December 2016
THE observation of Christmas having been deemed a sacrilege, the exchange of gifts and greetings, dressing in fine clothings, feasting and similar satanical practices, are hereby FORBIDDEN, with the offender liable to a fine of five shillings.
5:53pm Thursday 15th December 2016
OUR Christmas is usually considered to be the most heavily influenced by the Germans and the Americans. The Germans gave us the tree and the carols; the Americans dressed Father Christmas in the red and white of the Coca-Cola bottle.
4:07pm Thursday 8th December 2016
SOME lovely little asides have made this week’s Brexit debates, in the Commons and the courts, very followable.
2:19pm Thursday 1st December 2016
I AM stroking my chin as I write this. It has a couple of days’ stubble left on it in honour of Gareth Southgate’s appointment on Wednesday as the first of England’s 19 national football managers to have a beard.
4:37pm Thursday 17th November 2016
DRIVING out in the dark around Gainford on Monday evening, the supermoon looked far from super. Layers of dense cloud were brightly backlit in the sky over Darlington, but they parted only briefly to reveal a very bleary moon.
5:50am Friday 11th November 2016
I WOKE up on Wednesday morning and found the world had changed overnight.
2:38pm Thursday 3rd November 2016
PEOPLE have been on the phone this week; a couple have stopped me in the street. They all ask: “Is Binns being binned?”
12:11pm Thursday 20th October 2016
THE last setpiece in the American Presidential election was played out in Las Vegas in the early hours of yesterday morning, with much made of the body language and the lack of a handshake.
2:41pm Thursday 13th October 2016
LAST weekend’s US presidential debate made uncomfortable watching, even with the sound turned down. Donald Trump prowled like a predator behind Hillary Clinton, deliberately invading her space in a provocative attempt to unsettle and bully her.
12:45pm Thursday 6th October 2016
I HAVE always thought that Lovesome Hill is a lovely name for a lonesome vill.
6:11pm Thursday 29th September 2016
THIS week I have been wondering why the world is awash with words for toilet – but none of them really describe what natural human activities actually go on inside the little boys’ or girls’ room.
1:12pm Thursday 22nd September 2016
I HAVE travelled from the Somme to the Wear this week looking at riverbank benches. They have been installed, partly through the generosity of readers of The Northern Echo, to commemorate the sacrifices made by the Durham Pals in the First World War.
12:28pm Thursday 15th September 2016
IT was, said Stephen Kinnock MP, “a barefaced gerrymander.” According to Tristram Hunt, Labour’s former shadow education secretary and historian and broadcaster, “this boundary gerrymandering is grotesque”. In the Guardian, commentator Owen Jones railed that it was “a ruthless gerrymandering of British democracy”, while Sedgefield’s own Phil Wilson put it most succinctly when he said it was a Conservative attempt “to gerrymander the system to give them a bigger majority over the Labour Party”.