Let’s hear it for the nitpickers, the jobsworths, the penpushers and bean counters, the lovers of small print, who leave no t uncrossed, no i undotted.

We need them more than ever.

Yes of course they drive us all bonkers. We sigh theatrically, drum our fingers, tear our hair out and ask WHY are they asking us such trivial questions?

Because they need to know, that’s why. Without all the facts, however trivial, no one can plan for all eventualities. That way disaster lies.

Just look at Brexit or the roll out of Universal Credit. Dogs’ dinners the both of them.

Someone had the grand design, the visionary plan, the big idea. But no one asked “How are we going to make this work?”

Without all those tedious little details the grand design is no more than pie in the sky. Or – in the case of the Haughton Road through-about in Darlington, which was part of a £12m Eastern Transport Corridor scheme and which is now going to be scrapped – a monumental traffic jam.

Did no one even think about it?

It’s not just the big plans it’s all the little stuff too.

Every day we’re all subjected to hair-tearing exasperation as we deal with banks, building societies, big companies major utilities, government and council departments and it’s like wading through treacle. Incompetence, faulty systems, hopeless administration must be responsible for a great chunk of the nation’s soaring blood pressure.

Just think how much money the NHS would save if all our dealings with such people were solved instantly. Sigh… Every office always used to have a really boring person who checked every detail and found a fault in every scheme, usually in triplicate. Annoying but vital. Where have they all gone?

We encourage our children to have big ideas and great dreams. Fair enough. But maybe we should also encourage them to bother themselves just as much with the tiniest tedious details For unless the details are right, how are the big dreams ever going to come true?

KATIE Price apparently now longs for a “normal” anonymous life and quite fancies working on the checkout in ASDA where nobody knows her.

Fair enough.

But we might have been more inclined to believe her if she hadn’t said so while appearing on yet another TV show…

THE new Gallery of Mining Art in Bishop Auckland has opened to great local and national acclaim. It’s a great achievement and wonderful to have on our doorstep. It’s a credit to the foresight, imagination, hard work and determination of the two people whose dream it was – Gillian Wales and Dr Bob McManners.

Lots of wonderful paintings and impossible to pick out favourites, though I have particular admiration for Tom McGuiness’s Miner and Child. Worth a trip for that alone – so get yourselves along.

IMAGINE you’re old and lonely, what would cheer you up and make life worthwhile? A visitor, a friendly face, a cup of tea and a chat, maybe even a hug?

How about a robot?

No, I didn’t think so either.

But there are a number of trials going on at the moment here and abroad involving robots with perky little faces patrolling old people’s homes, seeking out elderly residents to talk to. Ah yes, I bet they have a good old blether about the old times.

The robot has cameras and software that allows it to decipher voice tones and facial expressions so it can tell if people are happy or not.

I don’t know about you but I find that really, really scary. Goodness knows what lonely old people would make of it.

Each robot costs around £15,000, which presumably doesn’t take into consideration all the extra costs of setting it up and processing its reports and a fiendishly clever technician to make sure they work properly and don’t go on the rampage.

But even £15,000 would provide a good few hours of real live human being.

Old-fashioned, maybe – but definitely a better bet.

SO, Wayne Rooney’s three sons – currently holidaying with their mum in Barbados – sent their Dad an Instagram picture for his birthday, as mum Coleen finds the balance between ignoring him completely on his birthday and not upsetting the boys.

Rooney looked pretty fed up as he was driven to training on his 32nd birthday. He’s certainly paying the price for his drunken stupidity with another woman.

An Instagram pic, however great, isn’t the same as starting the day with your three small sons singing, jumping on you, hugging you, giving you home-made cards and wanting to share your cake. He must miss it.

Let’s hope it makes him think.

THE occasional bonus of chauffeuring my husband around the region is I get to meet some lovely people. So it was good to be back in Windmill chapel near Bishop Auckland for their harvest festival on Sunday.

Lovely service, lovely people, great welcome. And, no disrespect to other denominations, but proves, yet again, that the Methodists always do the best teas….

MEN have 40 minutes more leisure time a day than women, says the Office for National Statistics.

Only 40 minutes…?