WOMEN are too nice for our own good – it’s official.

Women get the feel-good factor when helping others. Men, however, feel good when they get what they want and keep it, say Swiss scientists.

We could probably have guessed that… It’s partly the way our brains are wired and partly the way we’re brought up. Little girls are still more likely to be praised for being helpful or nice to others and as we all like praise, we try harder to be nice.

Yes, we know there are plenty of delightful, helpful little boys, but anyone who’s ever run a playgroup knows from the earliest age little girls are much more eager to please, while boys are less likely to even acknowledge your existence until they’ve finished what’s important to them – grabbing the best car, flinging themselves off the climbing frame, fighting with their best friend… It also explains why women – still – are more likely to be doormats than men. That keenness to help others, admirable in itself, can easily, transmogrify into selfless subservience.

So no surprise either, then, that in another part of the forest, American sociologists have discovered that women still do more household chores than men. Even in young, egalitarian households where both partners are working, men spend more of their days off relaxing and women spend more time doing housework.

Maybe that’s an eagerness to please or maybe that’s just a bad reaction to a filthy kitchen.

Either way, Pablo Picasso said that there are only two types of women – goddesses and doormats. Most of us are neither, of course. But aiming to be a goddess at least sounds much more fun.

IF you ever think you want to go back to the 1970s – and I wouldn’t I really wouldn’t, especially not in platform clogs and purple flares – then Mrs Thatcher’s recipe might convince you.

Recently been found among her papers, dated 1976 and called “Mystery Starter” it consists of a tin of beef consommé mixed with two tubs of cream cheese and a sprinkling of curry powder.

It sounds too disgusting to try, even in the interests of research.

After the 1970s, food, at least, could only get better.

WE’RE living longer than ever – 100 is nothing unusual these days – yet we’re also apparently unhealthier than ever before.

No, I don’t understand that, either.

Whatever, it means that the NHS is struggling. Too many people with too many illnesses requiring too much attention for too many years.

And that’s not even counting the likes of the idiot I once met in A&E at the Friarage, Northallerton, in the early hours, complaining that he had a right to be seen about his sore throat. The way he was shouting and swearing his throat couldn’t have been all that sore.

The answer, of course, is for us all to take much better care of ourselves so we stay fit and healthy as we stride purposefully and independently into old age.

On the other hand, the fuss people are making about having to look after these old people, maybe it would be better if we all smoked or drank to excess – thus giving the government a massive wodge of taxes – and then keeled over nice and prematurely without getting our share back or costing the NHS much at all.

At least it would be cost-effective.

AFTER complaints about the difficulty of last year’s Sats tests for 11-year-olds, the executive principal of North Ormesby Primary School was quoted as saying that “archaic words such as ‘ancestors’ would have been challenging to secondary pupils, let alone primary ones.”


If a principal thinks the word “ancestors” is archaic and too challenging for 11-year-olds, then it says less about the children and the tests – but possibly quite a lot more about the teachers.

FOR a few years now, Prince Charles has been doing more bits of his mother’s job – foreign tours, Commonwealth conference, etc – as she, understandably, takes life a little easier. But the news that he is to lay the wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day while the Queen, 91, and the Duke of Edinburgh, 96, watch from a balcony, is different.

We know that Remembrance Day is really important to Her Majesty. She is one of the generation who lived through the war and did her bit as a driver in the ATS. Prince Philp served with distinction in the Navy. The war and its memories are intensely personal to them both.

So handing on that responsibility is the first big sign that the Queen really is getting old and one day might want to give up.

ACCORDING to scientists at Edinburgh University there is no biological reason for grandparents to exist and the world would go on quite safely if we all popped our clogs as soon as our own child-bearing days were over.

Yeah, right.

Never mind the folk wisdom, hands-on help, ironing, mending, birthday cakes, babysitting and the secret stash of Smarties, if there are no grandparents, who’s going to tell children all those really embarrassing stories about their mum and dad?

Embarrassment – what grandparents live for.