Electric cars could be given away for free as part of a new government initiative. Gordon Brown unveiled his plans for the future of Britain’s motor industry at last week’s Motor Show. The idea is that electric cars will be given away free or at a heavily subsidised rate. At the same time drivers will be offered contracts similar to current mobile phone contracts by companies who will supply the electricity to run them. Mr Brown has since met with representatives from General Motors to discuss the mass production of electric vehicles on a large scale, at their Ellesmere Port plant. If plans go ahead, General Motors are hoping to strike a deal with Mr Brown where they would manufacture enough vehicles in Briain to supply the whole of Europe, creating 500 jobs, in return for Mr Brown creating thousands of new recharging points up and down the country. The new initiative would make Britain the electric car capital of Europe.
Gordon Brown would like to see more electric cars on the road to cut pollution and reduce our impact on the environment. He is expecting the majority of vehicles on Britain's roads to be either hybrid or electric by 2020. However there is still a lot more work to be done before Mr Brown’s plans can come to fruition. The majority of electric vehicles currently available don’t go very fast. To reduce our impact on the environment the electricity used to power the cars would need to come from a nuclear or renewable energy source and not from fossil fuels. Also electric cars can only be used for short journeys as their batteries generally need to be recharged after a couple of hours. One of the main problems is finding recharging points to do this. Ideally in the future Gordon Brown hopes to see these up and down the country and it may be just as simple as popping into a local garage and exchanging a used electric battery pack for a new one. However currently recharging points are few and far between, with the majority being found in and around London. Mr Brown hopes to correct this by creating thousands of new recharging points up and down the country. In addition vacuum cleaner inventor James Dyson’s current project is creating a new faster electric car powered by solar panels. Sounds exciting! Meanwhile Sussex police are currently trialling an electric police car in Brighton and Hove. With a top speed of 30 miles per hour, the vehicle bears a close resemblance to a golf buggy and looks like it would be more at home on a golf course than on Britain’s roads. However Sussex police are confident that the vehicle will play an important role in community policing, helping officers to navigate their way through built up areas of the towns. With petrol prices rising at an alarming rate, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more and more electric cars on our roads in the future, I might even be driving one myself one day.
It’s official, the majority of British women are unfit. According to the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation over 80 per cent of us are not getting enough exercise. Many women view sport as being masculine and something that mostly men participate in. It’s not surprising they have that perception really with the amount of male dominated sports like football, cricket and rugby that are shown on television. Less than one in ten of younger women participate in competitive sport.
Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe is keen to raise the profile of women’s sports, encouraging more media coverage and believes that all women should give sport a try. I must admit I don’t do much sport myself these days, although I used to play hockey and netball during my schooldays. I still dance though and attend a couple of dance classes every week which keep me fit and active. Exercise should be fun and I think if you enjoy what you’re doing that helps a lot. I’m single and don’t have a family and still find it difficult to find the time to exercise sometimes. However for some women who work full-time and have family and home responsibilities, it can be almost impossible to find the time to exercise. Maybe simple lifestyle changes like walking your children to school or walking to the supermarket rather than taking the car or cycling to work might help. Anything that keeps your heart and body healthy is well worth a try.
As many of my readers know, I love chocolate and am in serious danger of becoming a chocoholic! The world’s most expensive box of chocolates went on sale in exclusive London department store Harrods this week. With a £5,000 price tag, these are no ordinary boxes of chocolates but handcrafted works of art wrapped in handmade silk and leather, with each one lovingly crafted and individually personalised for the customer. The chocolates are made of organic cocoa and each one is decorated with gold and a Swarowski crystal flower or silk rose. Very posh! In fact so much work has gone into the delicate and stunning presentation of these exclusive chocolates, it seems a shame to spoil it all by breaking into the box and eating them! A Harrods spokesman said that many of their customers had asked for something special like this with the, “Wow!” factor. These exclusive chocolates made by Lebanese chocolatier Patchi certainly have that!
We Brits have always been a nation of animal lovers with almost half of all U.K. households owning a pet. Dogs and cats are amongst the most popular. Pets play an important role in our lives and are usually affectionately referred to as, “part of the family”. Cats are probably the easiest pets to care for as they can more or less fend for themselves and don’t need to be taken out for walks. Although I do like cats, having spent most of my childhood growing up with dogs, I tend to be more of a dog person myself. Dogs certainly do make good, faithful companions, even if they do need to be taken out for walks. From a health point of view, walking a dog is very good exercise and a good way to keep fit and healthy. I was interested to hear that according to the results of a survey of teenagers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, children who own a pet dog tend to do better in exams. Oh well, maybe it’s time to give in and buy your child that longed for puppy after all! Better still why not adopt a rescue dog. There are loads of abandoned dogs and cats out there all looking for good homes and loving owners.
I had the pleasure of going to see the new Mamma Mia film the other night. Billed as the story of a daughter, a mother and three possible dads, the stage version of Mamma Mia has been a smash hit and phenomenally successful all over the world. The movie looks like being just as popular. It was only released last week and already Universal Pictures are laughing all the way to the bank, as it has already grossed over a staggering £7million at the U.K. box office. Wow! The movie certainly had a spectacular opening with its lavish Greek themed premiere complete with lemon grove in Leicester Square. There was certainly no missing Meryl Streep in her red dress or Colin Firth’s Italian wife in her yellow smiley face dress, as eager fans lined the pavements hoping for a glimpse of the film’s stars.
I saw the stage version of Mamma Mia myself last year and enjoyed every minute of it. The story centres around a girl on a Greek Island who is about to get married and invites three men to her wedding, in the hope of discovering which one of the three is her real dad! The story is told through the use of Abba songs. Abba were Sweden’s best export and had a string of chart hits with the likes of Mamma Mia, SOS and Dancing Queen. They are one of the most enduring pop groups of all time and are as popular today as they’ve always been. Like the stage show, the movie is really good with superb performances by all the cast. This is a very different type of role for Meryl Streep as viewers see her singing and dancing and doing the splits. By taking a role like this Meryl has proved just what a versatile actress she is and is great in the role of Donna. Julie Walters is hilarious and ideally cast as one of Donna’s closest friends. Seeing Pierce Brosnan singing was also a big departure from his usual James Bond role but I thought he carried it off really well. Like the stage show, Mamma Mia the Movie is a great feel-good film. Very enjoyable. Go and see it if you get a chance. You won't be disappointed. To find out more, click on the link shown below:-
I was interested to hear about London’s first eco nightclub, which opened its doors last week. Apparently it’s powered by dancing feet or rather people dancing on the floor generate electricity. What a great idea! Surya (which means Sun God in Sanskrit) has its own wind turbine and solar energy system. In addition the interior furnishings of the club are all derived from waste products, drinks are served in polycarbon cups and revellers can relieve themselves using the latest air flush toilets!
The nightclub is the brainchild of a property developer who has already invested £1million of his own money into the project. He hopes that opening this eco club will inspire and encourage young people to become more involved in saving the planet. Eager to attract the right kind of clientele, the club will be admitting walkers and cyclists for free. Quite right too! In addition, anyone entering the club is expected to sign a petition pledging to do their bit towards saving the planet. Sounds like a great idea to me!
Monday 7th July marked the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the London Underground. Survivors and families of victims visited the underground stations where the attacks took place and laid flowers as a poignant reminder of the events of that terrible day. Let us not forget those poor people who were injured and killed in these deadly acts of terrorism, which left 52 people dead and many hundreds badly injured. The memories of that terrible day will stay with us all forever. Our hearts go out to all those poor people who were injured and to those who sadly lost their lives that day and to the families they left behind. May they never be forgotten.
The Beatles are still as popular as ever in the U.K. and indeed throughout the world. Liverpool paid tribute to the “fab four” by celebrating its first ever Beatles Day this week. The special day generated funds for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and also Liverpool Unites, a charity which is raising funds to build a community centre in memory of murdered schoolboy Rhys Jones. Visitors to the city were encouraged to buy mop top wigs and inflatable guitars to help with fundraising, whilst Beatles tribute bands performed all over the city. The special celebrations were held on 10th July to mark the 44th anniversary of The Beatles’ triumphant return to Liverpool after conquering the U.S. back in 1964.
If you are a Beatles fan and ever get the chance to visit England, The Cavern Club in Liverpool where the Beatles were discovered is well worth a visit. Apart from being home of the Beatles, Liverpool is also home to some of the friendliest people in England. It’s a great city with lots to see and do. Apart from the Beatles connection, there are also museums and art galleries to explore on a rainy day or why not take a ferry ride across the Mersey or head to The Maritime Museum. This is apart from the wealth of shops and stores. A day really isn’t long enough to see everything! For more information on Liverpool, please follow the links below:-
Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue was delighted after she received an OBE from Prince Charles this week. Dressed in a cream dress, decorated with large coloured stars, Kylie was presented with the OBE at Buckingham Palace for her services to music. Her parents and sister Danni also attended the ceremony. Kyle was an inspiration to millions of women after fighting her way back to health from breast cancer.
The British public took Kylie into their hearts after she starred in the Australian soap, “Neighbours” in the mid 1980’s. She then went on to launch a successful singing career, selling millions of albums and producing many hit songs along the way. After the ceremony, Kylie said that she was “deeply touched” to be acknowledged by the U.K. her “adopted homeland” in this way and that it was “an incredible honour” to receive the award. Kyle said she would admire her OBE medal for a while and then put it away safely in its box. After recently celebrating her 40th birthday, Kylie revealed she planned to continue singing on stage until she was at least 60! Good luck to her!
Broccoli is being hailed as an important weapon in the battle against Prostate Cancer. Scientists have found that eating the vegetable once or twice a week can significantly reduce the risk of developing the disease by as much as 40 per cent. Studies from the Institute of Food Research in Norwich showed that eating broccoli can produce changes in gene activity which in turn can slow or prevent tumour growth. This is due to a special cancer fighting compound which Broccoli contains. Broccoli is part of the family of cruciferous vegetables which includes cabbage, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. All cruciferous vegetables contain a special compound which helps prevent cancer. However broccoli contains a stronger version of the compound which gives it extra cancer fighting properties. 35,000 men are diagnosed with Prostate Cancer every year in the U.K., with the disease claiming the lives of one man every hour. Anything that can slow or prevent this terrible disease has to be good news for men everywhere.
For a delicious broccoli recipe that’s quick and easy to prepare, follow the link shown below:-
At a time when petrol prices are soaring in Britain, we are all looking for alternative and cheaper ways to fuel our vehicles and reduce our carbon footprint. It seems Prince Charles has found a novel way to run his car and help the environment at the same time. The Prince has converted his beloved Aston Martin to run on wine! The 38 year old classic car which was Prince Charles’ 21st birthday present from the Queen, has been converted to run on 100% bioethanol fuel which is distilled from surplus British wine. The fuel is made from surplus supplies from local vineyards.
Prince Charles has always been a big supporter of green issues and in the past described climate change as, “the biggest threat to mankind”. He has already converted his Range Rover, Audi and Jaguar to run on biodiesel fuel produced from used cooking oil. Meanwhile his father Prince Philip uses an LPG powered taxi cab to travel around London to attend engagements. I’ve always admired Prince Charles' great commitment to environmental issues. He is a shining example to all of us.
Former Happy Days actor Henry Winkler joined Schools Secretary Ed Balls to launch the First News Reading Tour, a new initiative as part of The National Year of Reading, to encourage children to read. Henry, better known as The Fonz, visited a London school, where he read excerpts from his series of Hank Zipzer books. Apart from being an actor, Henry Winkler is also a talented and accomplished children’s author. During the visit, Henry revealed his struggle with dyslexia, saying it was particularly difficult for him as a child, as teachers didn’t know what dyslexia was at that time and dismissed him as being stupid and lazy. Obviously this is devastating for a child’s confidence and self-image. Henry stressed the importance of every child understanding that just because they learn differently, doesn’t mean they aren’t “incredibly smart”. He drew upon his experiences to write the Hank Zipzer books which feature a 10 year old boy who has dyslexia. Henry said that at least nowadays there are teachers who understand that some children learn differently and can give them the help and support they need.
Henry also revealed the “big problem” he had experienced reading scripts and revealed he had discovered ways of working around it and just had to work that little bit harder. Happy Days was one of my favourite shows and I loved the character of The Fonz. I always thought Henry Winkler played the role really well and was a really good comedy actor. Schools Secretary Ed Balls said he was delighted that Henry Winkler was supporting the National Year of Reading. He said that the sooner we can get children into reading, the more they would benefit.
“Four Weddings and a Funeral,” has been voted the best British film of all time. The popular comedy overtook Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”, to gain the coveted No. 1 spot in a Virgin Media survey. “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” is one of my all time favourite films. A classic British comedy which made Hugh Grant famous, “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” followed the lives of a group of singletons on their quest to find true love. Hugh Grant was with his then girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley at the time of the film’s release and who can forget the premiere, when Elizabeth accompanied Hugh, dressed in a daring black Versace dress, held together with gold safety pins! The dress caused a sensation, bringing them both to the attention of the world’s media as a hot couple of the moment. I’m sure it did a lot to boost the film’s popularity too! If you’ve never seen “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” I would highly recommend it. With brilliant characters and a funny script, this film does not disappoint. Make sure you have a box of tissues handy as it will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. The funeral in the film reminds all of us just how precious life is and how you can’t take anything for granted, you have to live for the moment. It really is a wonderful film and well worth watching.
British actress Dame Judi Dench, better known as “M” in the Bond movies, was voted Best British Actress of all time, whilst former James Bond star Sir Sean Connery and Hannibal actor Sir Anthony Hopkins shared the title of Best British Actor of all time.