Play dumb, stay safe

The Northern Echo: DENNIS WATERMAN: Nothing but a neanderthal thug DENNIS WATERMAN: Nothing but a neanderthal thug

MANY modern humans still have an inheritance of Neanderthal genes. Just look at Dennis Waterman.

The 64-year-old actor has told Piers Morgan on a TV interview: “It’s not difficult for a woman to make a man hit her.” And then admitted that he had punched and slapped his former wife, the actress Rula Lenska.

Her crime? Being cleverer than he was. Probably not difficult...

“The problem with strong intelligent woman is that they can argue well,” he says, in his defence.

“There’s a time when you can’t get a word in and I lashed out.”

He also claims that Rula Lenska wasn’t a beaten wife, just a hit one.

Ah. That’s all right then.

Luckily, faced with one too many of his drunken rages, she got out in time before it became a regular occurrence.

Other women are often too ground down or frightened to make the move.

But isn’t it amazing how Waterman puts all the blame on his ex-wife for being cleverer than he was?

Blame the victim, a classic trick.

Years ago, as a teenager, I was horrified when a friend’s mother told us never to marry a man less intelligent than we were. Or if we did, never to let on about our brains. In the days when a woman’s best career option was marriage, maybe this was sensible advice and maybe all those apparently dim, dumb blondes fluttering their eyelashes at flattered men are neither dim nor dumb at all, but playing a far cleverer game.

But if Dennis Waterman knows he’s not bright enough to win an argument and if he also knows he’s too quick to lash out, let’s hope that somehow he eventually worked out that the best thing to do was walk away. There may yet be hope for evolution.

Britain's oldest new mother

AT 57, Sue Tollefsen was Britian’s oldest new mother when she gave birth to her daughter, Freya, now four years old.

The retired teacher has been ill and it has finally dawned on her that she might not necessarily be around long enough to see grow up. Now she thinks that the cut-off age for IVF should be 50 and that having a baby at 57 was probably a mistake.

We’re not going to say “I told you so”, because no child who is loved and cherished as Freya is can be called a mistake.

But anyone thinking of following Sue Tollefsen’s example should take heed and think again.

Litter louts

WHAT a filthy lot we are. Our towns are so dirty, we don’t even notice them any more.

That’s how bad it is. We’ve forgotten what clean looks like.

It just hits us afresh when we’ve been somewhere else.

Darlington is probably one of the country’s cleaner towns – but not compared to Barcelona. After a weekend in the sparkling Spanish streets, Darlington seemed frankly filthy. By Monday afternoon there were already cigarette ends everywhere, empty cans rolling down the road, slimy spots where people had been spitting, dog dirt, traces of vomit, litter blowing on the breeze.

It’s easy to say that the council should devote more time, money and manpower towards street cleaning.

But it’s not the council which makes the place filthy in the first place. It’s us. If we didn’t leave rubbish and dirt without a second thought, then the council wouldn’t have to pay someone to clean it up.

The answer is easy. If we want lower council tax and clean streets, then we shouldn’t make them so disgusting that a trip to town is often an unpleasant experience. We need to hammer it home to our children, especially our teenagers and, above all, teach by example. Yes man in a dark blue anorak, throwing your empty cigarette packet away outside the post office, this means you...

Otherwise, we shall all be permanently tip-toeing through our own filth. Have we really so little self-respect?

Sadly, I think we know the answer to that one.

Air travel

DISILLUSIONMENT had set in as soon as we landed in Leeds/Bradford airport. We stumbled off the plane in the dark, then across the runway, around the pot-holed edge and slithered along some muddy grass to reach the terminal building.

Welcome to Yorkshire. Does anyone remember when air travel was glamorous?

Cigarettes and alcohol

A FEW weeks ago we were told that there are more women smokers in the North-East than anywhere else in the country.

This week we learn that there’s been a dramatic increase in people dying from liver disease, after too much binge drinking. Again, we have more deaths than most.

Are we suicidal? Or just stupid?

Dressing too young, or too old?

THE Duchess of Cambridge and her mother apparently share a number of high-profile outfits in which they have appeared in public – including the blue £139 Reiss dress that the Duchess wore for her first public speech and tree planting.

I’m trying to get my head around this. Apart from the occasional anonymous warm and woolly jumper I cannot envisage ever sharing clothes with my own mother – especially not the ridiculous socks with little bobbles on she wore for golf.

Admirable though such economy is, when mother and daughter share clothes – even when they’re both an enviably stylish size 8 – you can’t help thinking that one of them is dressing too old and the other too young.

And as they’re not short of a bob or two, at £139 a dress, you’d think if they liked it so much they could at least have bought one each in different colours.

Sunday shopping

SUNDAY shopping hours might be extended during the Olympics to give us a bigger grab of visitors’ money. The longer hours might well stay – a far likelier Olympic legacy than a fitter, sportier population.

For some people, Sunday is their best chance of the week to get to the shops. For others, it just shows a lack of imagination about anything else to do with the day other than spend money they haven’t got on things they can’t afford and probably don’t even need. Sad.

I once went to Ikea on a Sunday morning because it seemed like a good idea. Argghh! I now have a pretty accurate picture of the inner circle of Hell – complete with tea lights and rollmops. Never again.

But at least shopping on Sunday isn’t compulsory – yet...

Pensioner tax

THANK you, Mr Osborne. The small consolation of being a grown-up was that eventually I would have a slightly higher tax allowance. Now, even before I’ve got there, he’s taken it away from me. Never mind, it will all help those earning more than £1m to take home an extra £40,000 a year.

Backchat

Dear Sharon,
YEARS ago my father once offered to do the cleaning and my mother complained that he hadn’t done it to her high standards, so he never did it again.

I learnt from this lesson. When my partner did anything, I praised him to the heavens and encouraged him to do more.

We’ve been together for five years and now, if anything, he does more of the cleaning and housework than I do, including the shopping and cooking.

Sometimes women are our own worst enemies. When my brother lived alone he looked after himself quite well. Now he’s living with his girlfriend, she does most of the work and lets him get away with doing very little. When she moans, I think she’s brought it on herself.

Kate Chapman, by email

Dear Sharon,
IT is now clear that all the time Catherine Middleton was being criticised for not having a career and was called “Waity Katy” she actually did have a very important job, that of learning how to be a member of the royal family, a duchess and eventually a queen.

Her recent public appearances have shown that she has learnt this job very well, which is why the Queen is happy to have her accompany her. The young duchess will do us proud and will be a great ambassador for the royal family and for our country.

GD Armstring, by email

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