JUST one Brexit fact for you this week. Since 2000 the UK’s net contribution to the EU – the amount paid over that received – stands at £66.3bn. The figure comes from a leading German financial institute, concerned, as well it might be, that the EU’s “ideological” handling of Brexit risks self-harming the bloc. It comments: “It may be argued that the size of the UK’s contribution alone merits a fair treatment of the second largest European economy.”

But while our politicians flounder over their next move, my ‘Brexit’ voice is silent for the moment. Don’t fret, as I’m certain you won’t. And my promise to resume ere long has to be worth more than any on the EU by Theresa May or most of our MPs – officially pro-Brexit with their parties but, many of them, determined to undermine it.

WHAT else is going on? In the West Indies England’s cricketers are engaged in a Test series. But if, like me, you’re limited to terrestrial TV, the most you will see on the BBC is a ball or two on the news – and then not even every day. Yet while it now televises no cricket, the Beeb provides live coverage of American football, even starting the transmission 45 minutes before kick-off.

Alas, cricket’s absence makes few, and only minor, waves. England is a very different place from the days when you might have heard the respective batting merits of Hutton and Compton discussed at a bus stop, or the derring-do of Ian Botham and Bob Willis gripped the nation.

STILL with TV. Trailers for Top Gear show a rolling car, one-handed driving combined with mobile-phoning, wild spinning, every kind of macho image, climaxed amid frantic cries of “brake, brake, brake”. I like to think we aren’t too far from the time when such aggressive promotion of driving will be looked back upon with incredulity. Calmness should be the watchword in driving. If only one person behind the wheel is encouraged to emulate, even in part, the sort of all-out thrill-seeking driving that is the stock-in-trade of Top Gear it is too many. Car advertising has softened a little in recent years. Top Gear still has blood on its hands. It should be in the bin with The Black and White Minstrels as offensively outdated.

A WORD on the struggles of the High St. There’s a good chance that through your letter box the other day, like mine, came a flyer for Boyes sale. I learned from it that of its 66 stores (an astonishing number in itself) 23 are in the North-East – York to Newcastle. When Boyes replaced a well-loved department store in my local town, Stokesley, there was gloom. But everybody uses Boyes. Same with your local branch, I’m sure. How do Boyes do it, what’s their secret? Brilliant buying. They’ve got what you want, and usually cheaply. Staff rarely change, which speaks well of the bosses.

I’ve never seen Boyes named as a favourite store by anyone. We ought to laud it as a great institution – northern, despite its empire stretching to Newark. If you read of a Boyes store closing you’ll know the High St really is in trouble.