CAMBRIDGE University has just appointed its first Lego Professor of Play. Excellent news. We don’t play enough, especially children, with or without coloured bricks.

When the three year old grandaughter came home from nursery with homework, I wanted to weep. At that age, her father could have majored in nothing more than mud pies and mess.

Even mud pies probably need a tick box now everything is so organised.

Children are often in childcare from babyhood. They don’t play out much. Playschemes are organised by adults with rules and timetables. Most free-time activity is supervised and focused and involves targets, stars and rewards, certificates, badges and tournaments. All well and good in their way, we all like a bit of paper for our wall – but whatever happened to simple mucking about?

Nothing to do and all day to do it in - it’s the complete lack of structure that makes child’s play so intriguing. Small children will fire up their imaginations, make up their own rules, devise their own rewards and prizes. They will create entire worlds that are nothing to do with everyday ordinary and are all the richer for it.

Now we’ve almost got to the point where if you leave children to their own devices they don’t know how to play. They’ve never learned the knack.

But play isn’t just for children.

We all need a break from the restrictions of workaday life. Holidays help but aren’t enough. Ironically, the people who might teach us to play all over again are the grown ups, the recently retired.

Maybe Compo, Cleggy and the rest in Last of the Summer Wine were on to something.

There’s a worldwide boom in playgrounds for grown ups, not just outdoor gyms, but giant swings and monkey bars, so you can forget your creaky joints and pretend you’re ten again.

While the rest of the world is pursuing money, goals and targets, the newly retired are quite likely to be found learning to swim or sail, paint or play an instrument or just ambling round seeing what turns up. Or building sandcastles, exploring rock pools or damming streams, with or without the excuse of grandchildren.

Doing things just for the fun of it. Setting a great example to the kids.

See you down the swings… IN a blingtastic world where so many witless celebrities like to flash the cash – jewel-encrusted iPhone anyone? – how reassuring to learn that the Queen’s favourite nail polish is Essie Ballet Shoes and costs a mere £7.99.

If it’s good enough for Her Maj… BIG businesses just don’t get it, do they? And BA fail to get it more than most.

We all know that things go wrong occasionally. That bad weather strikes, that computers fail, that stuff happens. We can pretty much cope with that – if people tell us what’s going on.

BA didn’t. Thousands of customers desperate to get somewhere and BA couldn’t tell them a thing. Call centres closed, website was hopeless and there were very few people at airports capable of answering questions. No wonder people got angry. We all would have.

Such disdain for customers tells you everything you need to know.

Treat us like human beings, tell us what’s going on and what you’re trying to do about it and we’ll all be happier.

Once on an East Coast train that ground to a halt in the middle of nowhere, passengers were getting grumpy. Then a voice came over the Tannoy.

“We don’t know why we’ve stopped but as soon as we do, we’ll let you know too. If you see us walking down the track, don’t worry, we’re just trying to sort the problem. We’re not running away, though we’d quite like to.”

Passengers shrugged and even smiled. A bubbling bad mood was instantly dispersed – because staff had bothered to talk to us as equals.

BA please note.

MASTERCHEF winner Thomasina Miers, pictured above, has accused Theresa May of not caring about obesity in children because she’s not a mother. Ouch.

Criticising her for drawing back from legislation to prevent the promotion of junk food to kids is one thing, but to bring her childlessness into the debate is tasteless and plain offensive.

Anyway, if all those mothers cared so much about childhood obesity, then there wouldn’t be any fat children around, would there?

WHEN 18 members of a hen party all wearing T=shirts emblazoned “Bitches on Tour” were asked to leave a plane as the airline and other passengers found the slogans offensive, the bride was outraged.

She was apparently so upset at having to curtail her hen celebrations that she says now she might be too stressed to go through with the wedding. True commitment then.

She also said that the group were nearly all professional women in their late 30s and 40s. Really? I thought back to the teachers in my grammar school and tried to imagine them en masse in T-shirts with “Bitches on Tour.” Nope. Couldn’t do it. But it was quite funny trying.

MARVELLOUS that Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber Coldplay, Take That and many more – maybe even Madonna – are all gathering for a mega concert at Old Trafford on Sunday in aid of the Manchester bombing victims. A great gesture.

But aren’t you glad you’re not the person in charge of security?

FED up with newspapers printing wrong info about her son, Orlando Bloom’s mum, Sonia, 75, an ex-journalist, issued an alarmingly detailed CV – everything from Orlando’s O-levels to his great reviews – and sent it to all the national newspapers. So no excuses now that they weren’t told. You can always rely on mum.