DID you really want to see Denise Welch sobbing her way through Loose Women this week?
Cringe-making, wasn’t it?
There must be better ways to announce the end of a marriage.
Of course it’s no fun when a marriage collapses, especially one that’s lasted more than 20 years. And when both partners are household names.
And especially when there are children involved.
Which made it seem even more bizarre.
I was at the health club when it came on their TV and so was a bit of a captive audience as I gawped in horror as Denise sniffed and sobbed and talked of going forward. Her fellow presenters reached out and told her how much they loved her, how much we all love her.
She told us how it had all been over for some months and that this was the way and the day they’d agreed to announce it.
And you know that nothing’s private any more. And you know that rumours have been flying. But to announce it like that, to the cameras, to the studio audience, to the viewers, with tears streaming, mascara smudging and lots of sniffing, it seemed plain wrong.
Despite the nice things she said about Tim Healy and that they would still be co-parents and best friends, there was no dignity, no respect.
And then, such was the great human drama and compassion, they all moved on to the next item.
Still, I suppose it was good television.
Of a sort.
It's a generation thing
CLAIRE Tomalin, author of a brilliant new biography of Charles Dickens, has said that children these days lack both the reading skill and stamina to read a Dickens novel.
No surprise there. So do most adults.
OK then, when did you last read a Dickens novel all the way through?
Watching The Muppets Christmas Carol doesn’t count.
Reading choices and habits change with every generation. If not, we’d all still be ploughing through The Iliad or The Anglo Saxon Chronicles.
Old treasures inevitably lose out to new delights.
At one time, every self-respecting household had a complete set of Dickens on the shelf. But his novels were never really intended to be read all in one great gulp. They were published in weekly episodes, like a soap opera, and then in three volumes, to give you time to breath between sections.
I love Victorian novels, the longer and more detailed the better. But they require a different sort of reading – a willingness to change gear, wind down and give them plenty of time, which not so many of us have as much of.
If adults aren’t prepared to do that these days, why on earth should we think that children should?
Non means-tested benefits
MICHAEL and Jean O’Shea won £10m in the Lottery some years ago and yet are still claiming £500 a month disability allowance and a free car under the Motability scheme.
Mr O’Shea, who suffers from osteoarthritis, can’t understand the fuss, as he worked for 40 years and is entitled to the benefits.
Just as multi-millionaires are entitled to winter fuel payments and child benefit. Or free TV licences and the Christmas bonus.
Some don’t claim it. Some give it back. But a lot just keep it because, like Mr O’Shea, they’ve paid their dues and are entitled to it.
Universal, non means-tested benefits are a wonderful idea, deeply symbolic of a society with noble aims.
But such nobility costs. Can we really afford it any more?
A big step backwards for mums-to-be
BACK in the Eighties, my sons were born in the old Mount maternity home in Northallerton.
Delightful, but limited – not my boys, but the hospital.
This was fine if everything was straightforward. Otherwise you were put in an ambulance and trundled across town to the Friarage or to Darlington, Harrogate or, as happened to one friend of mine, up the A1 to Newcastle.
Then they opened a super-duper new maternity unit at the Friarage and local mothers could have their babies in safety near home.
Now it seems as if the paediatric and maternity services at the Friarage are under threat. It could be left with a midwife-led unit for lowrisk births only. Just like the old Mount. Other mothers – by definition the most vulnerable – will have to travel to Darlington, Middlesbrough, or Harrogate.
Wolf pie, anyone?
TO prepare for his role as an oil worker surrounded by wolves after a plane crash in Alaska, Liam Neeson and fellow cast members have been eating wolf stew to get them into the part.
Oh for the days when actors just used to act.
Let’s hope the wolves in the film hear what the cast had for supper – that could make filming a lot more interesting
The bottom line
TOO many children are arriving at nursery and even at primary school still not toilet trained. Yet another job for teachers.
Parents are too lazy. Modern nappies are too warm and comfortable for children to be bothered.
It’s bitterly cold at the moment.
Ouch. Perfect for drastic action.
Put your toddler in thin pants today and I can almost guarantee they’ll be potty trained by Monday.
Too fat for what, Karl?
DESIGNER Karl Lagerfeld has described singer Adele as “a little too fat”.
Too fat for what? Too fat to be a super successful singer?
Too fat to look good in a curvy talented way? Too fat to be healthy?
Or maybe just too fat to be a size zero clothes horse surviving on lettuce leaves and cocaine to make Lagerfeld’s designs look good.
Thank goodness for that.