Sunday, April 29, 2007


I haven't played tag since schooldays so was interested in playing along when I was tagged by Anthony McCune of
  • The Lives and Times

  • The idea is that you go to
  • Jackson
  • create a picture, post it to your blog and tag five other people to do the same. Once you have posted the picture, go to, write a comment with the url of you picture post mentioning the next five people you tagged. Ask the people that you tag to do the same.

    I'd like to invite the following people to play along:-

  • Princess Haiku

  • LJP at
  • Save Save Save

  • Sank at
  • Old and In the Way

  • Sharon Lynne at
  • California Breeze

  • Friday's Child at
  • Fridays Child

  • Have fun everybody!


    As most of my readers know, I love carnivals! Diary from England will be participating in two upcoming carnivals. The first carnival is another one in the Gonzo series, being hosted by Blue Duck and Kilroy sponsored by For Your Success. The carnival is being held on 26th April. All entries must be submitted by 11.59pm on 23rd April. For more details go to the link shown below:-

    The second carnival, a Health Carnival, is being held over at Blog Village on 30th April. All entries must be submitted by 26th April. For more details go to the link shown below.

    I’m hoping to host a carnival myself here at Diary From England sometime in the future. Watch this space for details!

    P.S. I was interested to see that it's not just me who loves carnivals. Fellow Blog Villager Anthony McCune
  • The Lives and Times
  • has caught the carnival bug too and is posting in several different ones. You can read all about them by going to:-


    Around 500 Britons a day are now leaving the country to live abroad, not surprising really. Most of them are heading for Australia, Spain and France. However the number of immigrants coming into this country far exceeds the number of people leaving. Britain’s soft touch welfare system makes it a magnet for immigrants.

    I heard quite an interesting interview recently on a breakfast tv station here between an immigrant and a reporter. The reporter asked the man why he had chosen to come to Britain, to which he replied that it was a really easy country to get into. The man was also asked what he was going to do here and if he was going to get a job. The reply came back, “No I came to Britain for an easy life. I want a house". It’s no wonder the benefits system and the National Health Service here is in such a terrible state.


    Thousands of women queued for several hours at branches of Sainsburys to get their hands on the latest must-have accessory, a £5 limited edition bag designed by Anya Hindmarch. The bag bears the immortal words, “I’m not a plastic bag” and is designed to be used for the weekly shop instead of carrier bags. Anya was clever enough to give the bag to some of her celebrity friends, including Keira Knightley and Lily Allen, who were all spotted with it, making it a “must have” item. The bags were snapped up within hours of going on sale and are now being sold on E-bay for as much as £250 each! A lot of money for a shopping bag! I wonder how many women will just use it as a fashion accessory, shopping bag come handbag, rather than the purpose for which it’s intended, to carry the weekly shop. Sort of defeats the object really!


    If you live in Britain and your local council is abolishing your weekly rubbish collection, the little chaps shown in the photo could soon be your new neighbours! As local councils up and down the country abandon weekly refuse collections in a bid to encourage recycling, many residents are now faced with unhygienic conditions including the stench of rotting refuse, rat infestations and a risk of disease. Many neighbourhoods already have their refuse collected on a fortnightly basis, mine is one of them. This is ok for people living on their own or couples but for larger households, the system just doesn’t seem to be working. Many families have overfilled their bins and then been refused a collection by the council. Obviously if the council won’t collect the rubbish then people will just dump it somewhere else. Fly-tipping may be illegal but still councils deal with a million cases every year.

    There is also growing concern that people who dispose of large amounts of rubbish may face an extra “pay as your throw” charge on top of their council tax bill, under new government plans. Ten thousand people have now joined an online campaign against fortnightly refuse collections adding weight to a growing national outcry over the scheme.

    Saturday, April 28, 2007


    Tickets for the concert being organised by Princes William and Harry to mark the 10th anniversary of their mother Diana’s death have sold out within minutes. It seems that the boys' initial fears that the concert would be a disaster and overshadowed by the Live Earth concert being held a week later have been unfounded. The Diana concert will be held at the new Wembley arena on 1st July which would have been Diana’s 46th birthday, with all proceeds going to the Princess’s favourite charities. Artists due to perform at the special concert include Elton John, Rod Stewart, Joss Stone and Duran Duran.

    To read more about this special concert and an interview with Princes William and Harry about the upcoming concert, click on the link below:-

  • Concert For Diana

  • I will also be adding this link to the special England related links in the left column of my blog if you miss this post. Happy surfing!


    Scientists have discovered a link between electric blanket use and cancer of the womb, after conducting studies on 90,000 women who used them. The study found that 1,500 women developed a tumour of the womb known as endometrial cancer. It seems that women who use electric blankets regularly raise their risk of contracting womb cancer by more than a third. Apparently researchers believe that the blankets expose women to low levels of electromagnetic radiation which inhibits the production of melatonin, a cancer fighting chemical. Melatonin is also thought to protect women from high levels of oestrogen, a major risk factor for cancers of the ovaries, breast and womb. Cancer Research UK stated that the findings should be treated with caution.

    The results of the study also add to the controversy over whether electromagnetic fields in the home are dangerous. However scientists say that in most households, the blankets are the biggest source of electromagnetic radiation and women who use them for 20 years or more have a significantly increased risk of developing endometrial cancer. Frightening news.


    Following on from my post about our disappearing bee population:-

  • Mobiles Killing Bee Population

  • a campaign has been launched this week to save them. 5,000 primary schools will be creating bee habitats to encourage the insects to come back, after an 80% fall in numbers. Also makers of the breakfast cereal Sugar Puffs, loved by many British children, will be giving away flower planting kits. Definitely a step in the right direction. Maybe we'll see some bees this summer after all.

    Wednesday, April 25, 2007


    It's funny how toys come and go. I was sad to hear of the demise of poor old Action Man, a sad casualty in the current toy wars. The Action Man figures have been around for over 40 years. I remember my brother had one when he was growing up. They used to be really popular. Sadly Action Man with his old fashioned worn out equipment couldn’t compete with the likes of Spider Man and the Star Wars figures with their high tech gadgets, which today’s kids prefer. It was a no-win situation. So long Action Man, you will be sadly missed.


    British scientists are currently developing a special baby milk as the latest weapon in the fight against obesity. The special milk which contains the hormone leptin (found in breast milk) works by suppressing hunger and is designed to prevent children from growing into overweight adults. Scientists say if the milk is given to babies, it can programme the brain to prevent overeating in later life. They argue that putting leptin in the milk is simply adding something that is already present in breast milk but not in formula feeds. Extensive studies have already been carried out on rats with successful results. However many scientists are sceptical as to whether the special milk will work on humans, whilst others are worried about potential health risks.

    Sunday, April 22, 2007


    Today is Earth Day, a good opportunity for everyone to think about how they can do their bit to save our planet, help prevent global warming and save the environment for future generations. Earth Day was founded in 1971 by American Senator and environmental activist Gaylord Nelson, with the aim of uniting people all over the world in the quest to save the planet. Even small changes made by several people the world over can make a big difference. Some examples of how we can be more “green” are shown below:-

    1. By not leaving tv, dvds and computers on standby
    2. Switching to energy saving lightbulbs – you’ll save money too!
    3. Washing clothes at lower temperatures
    4. By cycling or using public transport rather than using the car
    5. By recycling household rubbish as much as possible
    6. By insulating our homes and turning the heating down – you’ll save money


    As the campaign to cut the amount of salt in our food continues, the results of a 15 year study by British doctors have shown that eating less salt cuts the chances of a stroke or heart attack. Scientists hope the findings will convince the government to do more to cut salt intake in our food. Many foods, particularly ready meals, some breakfast cereals and canned foods contain high levels of salt. I think we all need to be more aware and read the ingredients labels on food items as much as possible before we buy them. We also need to try and use as little salt in our cooking as possible. If you really can’t live without salt, the healthiest thing to use is a salt alternative like No Salt.


    A government minister has sparked outrage this week by suggesting that elderly people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's disease should be electronically tagged in the same way as we tag criminals, so that their families can keep track of them. A satellite would monitor their every move. I personally think that this is a disgusting way to treat the elderly in our society. These are people who have worked all their lives and paid taxes into this country and deserve to get something back. My own mother is 75 years old but thankfully is very healthy. But if she suffered from a debilitating disease like Alzheimer's, I would never want her to be treated this way. The elderly of our society deserve to be treated with some respect and a decent standard of care. The government owes it to them to provide this. It is their duty to ensure that there are enough trained nurses and specialist care workers to look after them. Electronic tags are for thieves, rapists and murderers, not innocent elderly people in what is supposed to be a free country.

    Thursday, April 19, 2007


    British scientists discovered this week that people get more of a buzz from chocolate than they do from a passionate kiss. A study monitored brain activity of people whilst kissing their partner and also whilst eating dark chocolate. Volunteers wore heart monitors and electrodes attached to their heads and were told to put a piece of dark chocolate on their tongue without chewing it and indicate when it started to melt. They were later told to kiss their partners as they normally would. The chocolate beat the kiss hands down giving a much longer body and brain buzz! Apparently as soon as the chocolate started to melt in the volunteers' mouths, all areas of the brain were stimulated far more intensely and for longer than from kissing! Interesting!


    We were all saddened this week by the shootings at Virginia Tech College. It was a terrible tragedy with the loss of so many young lives. Only last year when I was on holiday in Canada, there was a similar incident at Dawson College. Although on a smaller scale, it just goes to show what can happen when guns fall into the wrong hands. Britain suffered a similar incident a few years ago with the Dunblane massacre. Unfortunately we live in a trigger happy society, where particularly in the U.S., guns are readily available. The pro gun lobby there believes it’s every citizen’s right to carry a gun. They don’t stop to consider what happens when they fall into the hands of some crazy person.

    Also violence is everywhere around us, on tv, in the movies, on the net and on computer games, helping to shape youngsters into disturbed and unbalanced individuals. Is it any wonder we live in an increasingly violent and menacing society? It has emerged that the killer responsible for the Virginia Tech shootings was seriously disturbed and unbalanced, just like the Dunblane killer. He had serious mental health problems which were not adequately addressed, resulting in the loss of all these innocent young lives. How many more incidents like both Dunblane and Virginia Tech will it take before our governments in both Britain and the U.S. put systems in place to offer better care and support to the mentally ill?


    Using cell phones isn't for everyone, but sometimes an alternative form of telephone use isn't readily known. The old standby of phone calling cards could be one way to help you make phone calls on the run without having to use cell phones on a daily basis.

    Scientists believe that mobile phones could be responsible for the disappearance of millions of bees. Apparently signals from mobiles interfere with bees’ natural inbuilt radar systems which help guide them back to their hives. When this happens the bees become lost and disorientated and eventually die, resulting in empty hives, no bees to pollinate crops and flowers and a shortage of honey. I was just thinking I hadn’t seen many bees around recently. Now I know the reason why.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007


    Sadly the relationship between Prince William and Kate Middleton has come to an end. The couple had been together for 4 years with many people comparing the relationship to that of Charles and Diana. For most of the time the couple were together, the public have closely followed their romance, hoping that Kate would one day become Queen. But sadly it was not to be. High street store Woolworths had even produced souvenir mugs bearing a photo of the couple in anticipation of an impending wedding, which have now been destroyed. Some may say Kate has had a lucky escape from the goldfish bowl existence of becoming a member of the Royal family. Certainly she has had a taste of what it’s like to be in the media spotlight with the press following her every move, to the extent that she made a formal complaint. Now the rumour mill has gone into overdrive. First it’s said that Kate’s family background wasn’t suitable for a future Queen and because of this, William was encouraged by palace courtiers to end the relationship. If this is the case, William has followed in his father’s footsteps and allowed himself to be dictated to by the royal machine. Let’s hope for his own sake, we don’t see a repeat of the Charles and Camilla situation, where William is forced into an arranged marriage of convenience, to produce an heir and a spare.

    Kate’s mother apparently annoyed the Queen by saying, “toilet”, instead of “lavatory” and “pardon” instead of “what”, amongst other things. Her parents, self-made business people, have been branded “social climbers”. To read these sorts of comments in the press would be upsetting to anyone but it must be particularly upsetting to Kate now that her relationship has come to an end. It’s also been widely reported that William ended the relationship via a phone call to Kate’s mobile. However it ended, we will never know. It’s always sad when a relationship comes to an end but it must be even more difficult when you are in the public arena. The press owe it to both Kate and William to give them some space to get over their break up in private.

    Tuesday, April 17, 2007


    As some of you know, working in an office, I get quite a lot of funny e-mails sent to me. I just received this one today from one of my colleagues and thought I would share it with you.

    Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 600 employees and has the following employee statistics?

    29 have been accused of spouse abuse

    7 have been arrested for fraud

    19 have been accused of writing bad cheques

    117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses

    3 have done time for assault

    71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit

    14 have been arrested on drug-related charges

    8 have been arrested for shoplifting

    21 are currently defendants in lawsuits

    84 have been arrested for drink driving in the last year

    Which organization is this? ……………………………………

    It's the 635 members of the House of Commons, the same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line.

    Monday, April 16, 2007


    It was good to see Kylie Minogue looking radiant and happy as she wowed fans at the opening of H & M’s new branch in Shanghai. Kylie has helped to design a new Aussie themed swimwear range for H & M which will go on sale worldwide next month.

    PHOTO:- Courtesy of Sky News


    According to a recent poll, hairdressers are the happiest workers in Britain. It’s not the money they earn that makes them love their job so much. Apparently they just love chatting to customers about upcoming weddings, the latest soaps and holidays as they cut, perm, wash and blow-dry. It was interesting to note that my line of work, Secretarial, PA, Administration came bottom of the list at no. 20. I must be in the wrong job!

    Sunday, April 15, 2007


    A high street bank has sparked fury amongst local people in the seaside town of Canford Cliffs, Dorset, by restricting the services of its local branch to wealthy customers only. In the future only customers with £50,000 in savings, a £200,000 or £100,000 mortgage or an annual income of £75,000 will be able to use the bank’s services. All other account holders will have to make do with using the cash machine outside. The only way they will be allowed to use the branch is by paying the princely sum of £20.00 per month for the privilege!

    A bank spokesman has rubbed salt in the wound by announcing in The Guardian, “We are trying to treat everyone fairly – not everybody in the world is equal”. Try telling that to the number of elderly and less able bodied customers who now have to travel to a branch in another area, because they are no longer welcome at their local branch. It doesn’t sound very fair to a lot of people including myself. At the end of the day it’s all about money and greedy bank bosses wanting to make as much money as they can, even if it means riding rough shod over ordinary people like you and I. Let’s hope that other high street banks don’t follow suit. Otherwise we’ll end up with a society where there’s a clear division between rich and poor and banking facilities are only available for the very affluent.

    Saturday, April 14, 2007


    Cumbria Tourist Board is hoping to attract a whole new generation of visitors to the English Lake District and update its image with a rap version of William Wordsworth’s classic poem,

    “I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host, of golden daffodils;
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze….”

    The tourist board have released a video featuring Sam the red squirrel (the mascot of the Lake District). Sam has been re-named MC Nuts! and is shown in the video rapping to Wordsworth’s famous poem and at one point breakdancing on the lake! A spokesman from the Cumbria Tourist Board, who have renamed themselves, “Go Lakes”, explained the importance of moving with the times. Apparently they are hoping to attract the “You Tube” generation with the new-style video. You can watch Sam the squirrel aka MC Nuts in action on the Go Lakes website by following the link below:-


    One of my cyberfriends and a fellow Blog Villager Janey Loree from
  • PJs Paper Doll Cut Outs
  • was asking me a few questions.

    What is a famous English butterfly? The most famous one that springs to mind is the Red Admiral. I remember learning about this particular type of butterfly at school. You can read more about it by clicking on the link shown below.

    The Butterfly Garden

    What is a traditional English musical instrument? I would have to say the piano. Steinway is one of the most famous and most sought after brands of pianos found in the U.K. Brass bands are very popular here in England too. If I had to name a traditional English brass instrument, I would probably go for the trombone.

    What is the colour of a traditional English rose? The rose is the national flower of England and the emblem most associated with this country. It is traditionally worn on St George’s Day. There are many varieties of rose around. The most famous ones are the red rose of Lancashire and the white rose of Yorkshire, which go back to medieval times when the War of the Roses was fought. The Tudor rose is a traditional heraldic emblem of England and takes its origins from Henry Tudor who brought the War of the Roses to an end and joined the red and white roses together.

    Well Janey I hope that’s answered all your questions and to anyone else reading this, I hope you found it interesting and it’s improved your knowledge of some things found in England.

    Wednesday, April 11, 2007


    I smiled when I heard about the mysterious cat that has regularly taken the No. 331 bus in Wolverhampton for the past 3 months! It seems the cat usually jumps on the bus at a certain stop, sits near the front and waits patiently until the bus reaches a couple of stops along, which just happens to be opposite a fish a chip shop! Then as soon as the doors open he’s off! At first many people believed the cat was with someone but it soon became obvious he was a lone traveller! Bus drivers and commuters have grown quite fond of the cat who they have nicknamed, “Macavity”, after the mysterious cat in the T.S. Elliot poem. The bus company which runs the service said the cat certainly knows how to use buses and is a regular traveller on the No. 331! One passenger remarked that Macavity is the perfect passenger. The only problem is he never pays!

    PHOTOS:- Courtesy of Daily Mail

    Tuesday, April 10, 2007


    Offers of work are flooding in for Heather Mills after her success on Dancing with the Stars (the U.S. version of Come Dancing), amongst them an invitation to be a stand-in host on CNN show Larry King Live. I have personally never watched Dancing with the Stars as we don’t get it here but I’ve seen internet videos of Heather in action dancing and also American friends have e-mailed and told me all about it.

    Heather has come in for a lot of bad press recently, particularly from Beatles fans who see her as a gold digger who seduced a vulnerable Paul McCartney after the death of Linda. Heather may have her faults but there are two sides to everything. Love her or hate her, you have to admit Heather is a very gutsy lady and very brave too attempting some of the stunts like the backflip in Dancing with the Stars. Heather has survived two public votes to remain in the show for the time being anyway. She is definitely an inspiration to those who have lost limbs and living proof that you can still dance, do sports and have fun and live your life to the full. Beatles fans will hate me for saying so but good luck Heather – you’ve got my vote, for your sheer grit and determination if nothing else!

    PHOTO:- Courtesy of Yahoo News


    According to a recent newspaper poll six out of ten voters believe that Britain has become a worse place to live since Tony Blair came to power. No surprise there then. Many people believe Mr Blair has been in office for too long. If these findings are anything to go by, Mr Blair has definitely outstayed his welcome at No 10 that’s for sure. They certainly paint a less than flattering picture of his premiership.

    Other voters believe that Britain is now a more dangerous and less happy place to live than before Mr Blair came to power. Chancellor Gordon Brown also suffered a blow when a Sunday Times poll revealed that over half of Britons believe he is unfit to lead the country, despite being hot favourite to succeed Tony Blair as Prime Minister.

    Monday, April 09, 2007


    As most of you know, I’m a big Harry Potter fan, having read all the books and seen all the films. The books are so well written and the special effects so good that you almost feel sometimes that you are there alongside Harry, enjoying his many adventures. One of the boy wizard’s most famous “props” is his invisibility cloak which allows him to roam Hogwarts’ library in the middle of the night, without being discovered.

    The Harry Potter stories are fiction but it seems that fiction is about to become reality as scientists at an Indiana University have discovered how to create a real-life invisibility cloak. Apparently only last year, physicists discovered the complex mathematical equations for bending light around objects to make them invisible. University engineers have now used these calculations to create a device that could eventually make objects the size of a plane just disappear into thin air. If the university can secure funding, a prototype device could be up and running within two to three years. Fascinating stuff!

    Sunday, April 08, 2007


    This year has gone by so fast. I can't believe it's already Easter again. The happiest news this Easter is the release of the British hostages being held in Iran. Having them home safe and well is the best Easter gift their families could ever have. The saddest news is the loss of four British soldiers killed by a bomb in Iraq. Our hearts go out to their families at this sad time.

    Easter has become so commercialised now with Easter eggs for sale in some shops since February! It's so easy to forget the true meaning of Easter. In Christianity, Maundy Thursday recalls the Last Supper, the agony in the garden and Jesus’s arrest. For centuries, people in authority have washed the feet of their followers on this day. In England, the Queen traditionally presents “Maundy” money to pensioners (nominated by clergy of various denominations), for their service to the church. Good Friday remembers Jesus’s death on the cross and how he died to save us all. Easter Saturday is the final day of Lent. Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus’s resurrection. Happy Easter everybody!


    The Queen has hired a team of consultants to carry out a detailed audit of the carbon emissions at her official residences, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Holyroodhouse. A spokesman said that the royal household had been taking “environmental measures” for the past 10 years but this was the first time an audit had been done. As part of these measures, all vehicles of state used by Her Majesty have already been converted to run on LPG (liquid petroleum gas). It’s nice to see the Queen doing her bit to save the planet and setting a good example to the rest of us and to the other members of the royal family.

    Saturday, April 07, 2007


    A Leeds University study has discovered that older women who eat even small amounts of red meat raise their risk of breast cancer by 50%. Apparently younger women who eat red meat every day also put themselves at increased risk of developing the disease. Frightening news.

    As meat is an important source of protein, experts suggest having it as a treat once a week and the rest of the time having chicken and fish. Perhaps it’s a good time for all of us to take stock of our diets and consider eating more vegetarian meals or even going completely vegetarian.

    Monday, April 02, 2007


    As we head towards Easter, many British people will be taking advantage of the big Bank holiday weekend to catch up on D.I.Y. tasks around the house. However not all of them will run smoothly, with many jobs ending in disaster. According to a recent survey around 17% of the population have had D.I.Y. disasters, many of them so bad that they have resulted in insurance claims! Apparently two of the main areas where problems occur are in electrical and plumbing jobs, which one in ten people admit tackling even though they don’t have a clue what they’re doing. At the other end of the scale, up to two thirds of the population take on D.I.Y. tasks without having the proper tools to do the job. No wonder it can take many people up to three years to finish a basic job!

    Sunday, April 01, 2007


    Book publishers Bloomsbury revealed the covers for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” this week as a taster to whet the appetite of the boy wizard’s fans, prior to the book’s release on 21st July. The covers will be used on the English version of the final saga of the Harry Potter series throughout the world, except the U.S. which will carry a different design. The children’s version features Harry and his companions Hermione and Ron looking all grown up, whilst the adult version features a photo of a locket which carries the serpentine “S” which is believed to be where the evil Lord Voldemort keeps a small part of his soul.

    Meanwhile JK Rowling has expressed her sadness at ending Harry Potter’s adventures. The author writes on her website, “I always knew that Harry's story would end with the seventh book, but saying goodbye has been just as hard as I always knew it would be." Harry will be sadly missed by his millions of fans around the world, including myself.