The government is launching a bid to make Maths more interesting for today’s youngsters. Education Minister Alan Johnson wants researchers to find ways to make Maths more fun. Mr Johnson believes that it is vital to stop youngsters from losing interest in Maths at school. He would like to see maths problems based on things that appeal to youngsters like football, fashion and the Olympics! It would certainly be a big change from the algebra and equations which I learnt in my schooldays!
The first day of Wimbledon was marred by heavy rain which stopped play yesterday. It was the tennis championship’s wettest start since 1991, with less than an hour of tennis playing taking place. The bad weather cost organisers nearly £1million in refunded ticket money! Fortunately the weather was much improved and stayed fine today!
The Queen hosted a mad hatter’s style tea party for 2,000 children at the palace this weekend, as part of her 80th birthday celebrations. The lucky children present were chosen by ballot to have a place at the event. They partied happily alongside many famous storybook characters including Harry Potter, Bob the Builder, Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh. Harry Potter author JK Rowling was also present at the party. The best selling writer expressed her sadness that the current Harry Potter saga she was penning would be her last. JK Rowling also revealed that two characters would die in the next instalment but refused to reveal which two. As well as the tea party, an all-star show about the Queen losing her handbag was also broadcast on BBC1.
Britain’s favourite chocolate company Cadburys was under fire this weekend for allowing Easter eggs to go on sale to children, despite knowing of a salmonella scare which took them 5 months to report to the health authorities. Cadburys have recalled over a million chocolate bars in the wake of the salmonella scare being brought to light. It has also suspended it’s famous advertisements at the beginning and end of Coronation Street for the time being. The bars affected included Cadbury’s Turkish Delight, Caramel and Freddo bars.
Britain's schools were ordered this week by the Education Secretary to ensure they keep adequate records of all the staff they employ and also perform rigorous checks to stop paedophiles working there. Increased security measures have now been put into place after a government watchdog revealed chaos in the system for logging criminal record checks and it was discovered that sex offenders were slipping through the net and gaining employment working with children.
Tony Blair is joining the jet set after having given the go-ahead for the purchase two private jets at an annual cost of £12.3million a year. The planes (a large one seating up to 215 passengers and a smaller jet for short-haul trips), are expected to come into service at the end of 2007/early 2008 and their use will be shared with the Queen, who will always have first calling on the planes. The reasons given for the extravagant purchase of the jets nicknamed “Blair Force One”, are to reduce the costs of leasing aircraft (which is currently done) and to increase security measures. At least this is the official line given anyway!
Britain’s jobless total has now hit 1.61 million, the highest for nearly 4 years. Birmingham has been named the unemployment capital of Britain, with more people out of work there than anywhere else in the country. The news comes in a week when experts have discovered that losing a job when you’re over 50 doubles the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. The researchers findings are published in The British Medical Journal.
How times have changed! I couldn’t believe my ears this week when I heard on the radio about the demise of the BBC’s “Top of the Pops” show after 42 years. I used to love that programme and will be sorry to see it go. I used to particularly enjoy the Christmas Day edition when they played a roundup of the No. 1 Hits from throughout the year. Technology is a wonderful thing but unfortunately with youngsters downloading music tracks and watching pop videos on their mobiles, it has killed the show's popularity and led to the end of an era.
Good news for British parents! The cost of a school uniform in Britain has drastically dropped in price in recent years and can now be bought for £5 or less. High street retailers like Tesco and Woolworths are leading the way by selling cut-price schoolwear.
The continued slump in popularity of the Labour party has been confirmed this week in the results of a recent poll. The majority of Labour members want Tony Blair to stand down as Prime Minister before the end of September next year, when the party’s annual conference is due to be held. Many people believe that Labour will lose the next General Election unless they radically change some of their policies. Looks like Tony Blair’s days are numbered!
I made the news myself this week as I celebrated my 40th birthday on Wednesday! I celebrated last night with a special birthday meal at an Italian restaurant with 16 friends. You can see me in the photo opposite blowing out the single candle on a piece of cake the waiter gave me. They were very kind and only put one candle on there, probably just as well really, as if they'd put the whole amount on it would have created a fire hazard! I would have been driven back by the flames! Ha ha! I honestly don’t know where the last 10 years went. They have just flown by. It only seems like yesterday I was celebrating my 30th birthday and now here I am at 40! Is it me or do the years go by faster as you get older? Oh well I still feel young inside which is the important thing. Hope I still look it on the outside too! Happy Birthday Naomi!
The Queen celebrated her official birthday yesterday with the traditional Trooping the Colour Ceremony. Her Majesty is now in her 80th year (having celebrated her birthday in April). The tradition of two birthdays goes back to the time when if monarchs were born in Winter, the weather was deemed unsuitable for outdoor events so a second “birthday” had to be created for them. At the start of her official birthday celebrations, the Queen quoted comedian Groucho Marx, stating that “anyone can grow old if they live long enough!” A service of thanksgiving for the Queen was also held at St Paul’s Cathedral earlier in the week. Long may Her Majesty reign over us all! Happy Birthday Ma’am
Well done to Tony Blair! At last he has done something right for a change. Mr Blair has promised new laws to stop paedophiles being released early, after pressure from a newspaper campaign. In addition, Mr Blair is also guaranteeing full compensation to victims of fatal asbestos diseases. He is due to announce a new Government Bill on Monday which will effectively overturn a previous legal ruling which cruelly cheated workers and their families from getting proper compensation. The new bill will ensure that affected workers are not short-changed by greedy insurance companies and will make the last few months of workers diagnosed with fatal lung conditions a lot easier.
Britain is currently in the grip of the biggest Measles epidemic since the MMR vaccine came into being. More than 400 people have been struck down with measles this year in England and Wales, the highest number since records began. Last year just 77 people were affected. Health experts are blaming parents being afraid to give their children the controversial MMR vaccine which helps to protect against the disease. I’ve never had measles but lived in the same house as my brother when he had the virus as a child and fortunately didn’t get it. Here’s hoping I can still avoid it!
Fish & Chip loving Britons could soon be forking out £5 for their favourite meal. The main reason is due to the scarcity of popular white fish like cod and rising potato prices. I still think fish and chips taste delicious. They were voted "The Nation's Top Treasure," in a recent poll. I'd certainly agree with that. Fish and chips are worth every penny!
A government education minister is considering giving every British child either a capsule or dose of Omega 3 fish oil before class to help aid their concentration and encourage them to study hard and be well-behaved. The Food Standards Agency has launched a sturdy into the benefits of Omega 3. If the results prove positive, then the Omega 3 capsules or liquid will be given out to all kids.
A seven week old baby boy is the first British child to have pioneering new surgery to restore his sight. The baby is being flown to New York for an operation to transplant an artificial cornea into his right eye. Doctors in the U.K. refused to perform the operation saying the risks were too great, so his desperate parents tracked down a surgeon in the U.S. who agreed to perform the operation. The surgery has to be performed before the baby is three months old or there is a risk that his body may reject the new cornea. Good luck to him
Kylie Minogue delighted millions of fans by appearing on stage this week for the first time since being diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Kylie was at the G-A-Y club in London to support her sister Danni who was promoting her “Greatest Hits” CD there that night. But to Danni’s surprise, Kylie went up on stage to join her and even sang the chorus to her favourite Danni song, “Jump to the Beat”, proving to her band of loyal fans around the world that it won’t be long before Kylie is back performing again. She is a very brave girl. We wish her well.
Prince Charles new wife, Camilla is tonight mourning the death of her father, Major Bruce Shand, who has died at age 89 after a long illness. The Duchess of Cornwall is said to be devastated and has cancelled all her engagements for the coming week. The family has asked the press to give them some space to grieve privately. It is always hard when you lose a parent and must be even more difficult when you are in the public eye. I lost my own father several years ago so I know what Camilla is going through. We send her our deepest sympathy.
Madonna has been chosen as the latest face to promote high street fashion chain H & M, who will be providing an off-stage wardrobe for Madonna and her dancers during her current “Confessions” tour. Madonna will be appearing in an ad campaign alongside her dancers. She will also be designing a special “Madonna” tracksuit.
A man who raped a baby had his sentence increased from 6 to 8 years, much to the anger and disgust of the child's family. What a farce! There must be something seriously wrong with our British justice system. A monster like that deserves a minimum of life imprisonment and even that's not enough!
I smiled this week as I read about the British couple on their way to a new life in Spain. They had boarded their plane at Manchester Airport and supposedly their two pet dogs were safe in their cages in the cargo hold. The couple couldn’t believe their eyes when they looked out of the window and saw one of their dogs bounding across the tarmac amidst various planes taking off and landing, with airport security staff in hot pursuit! They immediately asked the pilot to stop the plane and jumped off to help catch their pet. The couple then left with their dog on a later flight! Pet Transport firm, Animal Transport said it was the first time a dog had escaped in their 40 years of business! The dog is believed to have chewed its way out of the cage!
According to recent research, scientists have discovered that a date is more likely to end in a night of passion if it ends with a cup of coffee! Apparently caffeine affects how “persuaded” a person is to suggestion and makes you more likely to say yes to a proposition! What next! Even more reason to invite your date back for a coffee!
British surgeons at Papworth Hospital carried out the U.K.’s first “beating heart” transplant this week, a procedure which they hope will revolutionise the way transplants are carried out in the future. The patient, a 58 year old man is said to be doing extremely well. The new procedure involves keeping a donated heart warm and beating, rather than packing it in ice for transport. It has been carried out twice in Germany with great success. In the past there has always been a mad rush to get donor organs to the recipient as soon as possible before the condition of the heart deteriorates. However this new method allows organs being used for transplant to “live” longer which means they can travel further without the worry of them deteriorating before they reach the intended recipient. This could double the number of transplants currently done. Sounds good to me!
As World Cup fever hits Britain, many fans are planning to take advantage of the good weather and watch England’s opening match outdoors at barbeque paties. As England basks in the hot sunshine, experts are warning fans to cover up and drink plenty of water so they don’t get dehydrated. Somehow I doubt very much water will be on the menu for most fans! Even Tony Blair is doing his bit by flying the flag of St John above No. 10 to show his support, or maybe he’s just trying to outdo David Cameron (leader of the opposition) who cycles to work with the England flag flying on his bike!
Meanwhile Radio One bosses have banned World Cup songs that mention, "England", being played, in case they upset listeners in Wales, Scotland or Ireland. I think they must've spent too much time out in the sun!
“Definely Maybe” the Oasis debut album, has been voted the greatest album of all time in a recent poll by more than 40,000 music lovers around the world. The band members who hail from Manchester, beat The Beatles to the coveted top spot. They came in at no. 2 with "Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" and no. 3 with "Revolver". “Definitely Maybe” has sold seven million copies to date.
Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze is set to make his British stage debut in the West End musical, “Guys and Dolls”. He will take on the role of gambling man, “Nathan Detroit”, appearing at London’s Piccadilly Theatre from 10th July for an eight week run. If you’re visiting the capital, this show is definitely worth seeing. I’ve always liked Patrick Swayze. He’s a good actor and a really good dancer. Dirty Dancing is one of my favourite movies.
Prince William will be travelling to Germany to cheer on England in their opening World Cup match against Paraguay on 10th June. This is the first England game William has attended since becoming President of The Football Association.
It was revealed this week that the National Health Service computer booking system is over £14billion over budget, with half of Britain's doctors admitting that they never use it. This high tech disaster is draining vital funds from already cash-strapped hospitals. Surely it would be more prudent to enable GP's to book appointments for patients at local hospitals, which is where most prefer to be treated anyway. The all singing all dancing computer system is supposed to offer patients a selection of hospitals where they can be treated. But it's an expensive mistake that in these difficult times we could well do without.
I saw the new Da Vinci Code movie over the Bank Holiday weekend. When I was in Paris, there were posters everywhere advertising the movie so I was really looking forward to seeing it. I’ve read The Da Vinci Code book. It’s excellent and very well written. Some of the scenes were filmed in Paris and London. There was even some filming done inside The Louvre. I wasn’t disappointed. It was a very good film and very interesting. One of the movie’s central characters, “Grail expert” and aristocrat, Sir Leigh Teabing is superbly played by Sir Ian McKellen, one of Britain’s finest actors.
Go and see “The Da Vinci Code” soon. You won’t be disappointed.