According to the results of a recent survey, British women are leading the way in internet use, spending nearly half their free time surfing the net. That’s more than the national average of women in most other countries of the world. I personally love spending time on the computer and can’t imagine life without one.
More than 81% of British women questioned rated using the internet as “very important”, with many choosing to shop online rather than hit the high street for bargains. It seems that the majority of time British women spend on the net is spent shopping, with the current recession hit times doing nothing to dampen their appetite as they spend their hard-earned cash online. Apparently recent figures show that people in Britain are currently spending over £1billion a month in sales made over the internet. Wow! No wonder so many high street shops are going out of business! It seems that more and more people are now choosing to shop on the net. The main advantages being that you can shop online 24 hours a day in the comfort of your own home, saving on petrol costs and having to go round the shops in freezing cold weather. It must be very difficult for retail businesses to keep going nowadays as the internet is certainly a tempting alternative for many customers.
Apparently the survey also found that more people than ever are now choosing to use the internet to socialise and make new friends. Apparently a quarter of the average Brit’s friends are online friends who they have never met in person! Oh dear! It seems like many Brits are now living in their own little virtual worlds! Technology is a wonderful thing. The advent of computers has made life a lot easier for many people nowadays. Computers hadn’t even been invented when I was growing up. It’s nice to have online friends. I have some myself, through this blog but they are no substitute for real-life friends. Existing in a virtual world can’t be healthy. I think it’s important to strike a balance. Everyone needs to have at least some social interaction with other people. I personally think it’s important to have real life friends as well as cyberfriends. Happy surfing everyone!
Her Majesty the Queen is doing her bit for the environment by converting her two state Bentleys to run on biofuel. The two Bentleys are said to be worth in the region of £10million each. Crewe based luxury British car company Bentley presented the Queen with one of the vehicles as a gift to celebrate her Golden Jubilee in 2002. She was so impressed with it that she bought a second one to ensure that there was always a vehicle available when she was travelling around the country on state visits. Bentley are keen to ditch the “gas guzzling” image of their vehicles and are planning to launch a new biofuel high performance car in the New Year. Bentley executives stated that the Royal family had been very supportive of the luxury car company’s plans to go green. The company, who continue to maintain the royal state Bentleys said it was a relatively simple procedure to replace the engines on the vehicles to run on biofuel.
The Queen is following in the footsteps of her son, Prince Charles who recently found a novel way to run his car and help the environment at the same time. The Prince recently converted his beloved Aston Martin to run on wine, or rather 100% bioethanol fuel which is distilled from surplus British wine. The fuel is made from surplus supplies from local vineyards. 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. Prince Charles has always been a big supporter of green issues and in the past described climate change as, “the biggest threat to mankind”.
The Pantomime season is currently in full swing here in England, with many British, Australian and American stars strutting their stuff in full costume, to a captive audience of adults and children alike. Amongst the American stars taking part are Henry Winkler (better known as The Fonz!) and Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy). It’s even rumoured that the Hoff was considering taking part in a British panto! Many Australian actors and actresses from Home and Away and Neighbours are also eager to star in British panto. Pantomime (or panto as it’s also known) is one of those great British institutions, loved by children and adults of all ages. It’s a unique form of entertainment not found in any other country of the world. Pantomime is always performed around Christmas time (running until early in the New Year) and is usually based around popular children’s stories such as Peter Pan, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Sleeping Beauty. The stories always have a happy fairytale ending. There is always a villain who comes to upset the proceedings but by the end of the show, he or she has been defeated and true love and happiness reigns supreme. Pantomime is great for children as it sends them the underlying message that good will always triumph over evil. Audience participation is positively encouraged and all part of the fun of panto. Children and adults alike love to boo the villain and warn the hero or heroine of the show where the villain is, shouting, “He’s (She’s) behind you!”. “Oh Yes he is! Oh No he isn’t!” Pantomimes are always great fun for both children and adults alike.
The word Pantomime literally means “all kinds of mime”. It is thought that British Pantomime has its origins and is modelled on the early masques of Stuart and Elizabethan times. The early masques of the 14th century tended to be mime, musical or spoken dramas performed in some of the grand English country houses. Times have certainly changed quite a bit since then and from the 17th century, they evolved into a theme party. Almost every pantomime nowadays has a Dame who is usually played by a man and a Principal Boy character who is usually played by a woman. This is thought to have its origins from the “Feast of Fools”, an entertainment event held in Tudor times which involved role reversal, drinking and revelry! Pantomimes are always well attended and despite the credit crunch, over 3 million people (including myself!) will visit a panto this season. So if you’re an overseas visitor staying in England at the moment, don’t forget to go and visit a Pantomime. It’s a unique experience you’ll never forget and I can promise you’ll have lots of fun, light relief from all the bad things going on in the world at the moment. Go on, visit a Pantomime today.
Les Battersby's favourite rock band Status Quo have been named Britain’s hardest working rockers after performing in the most arena concerts during 2008. The band managed to beat popular British boy band Take That who successfully performed a series of thirty four sellout comeback concerts to packed arenas. The Quo, famous for their hit, “Rockin All Over the World”, performed to over 300,000 fans, who flocked to see their thirty five U.K. performances. The Quo’s lead singer and front man, Francis Rossi explained that playing to their fans is still and has always been the band’s top priority. Rossi stated that nothing beats playing live and this is as relevant today as it’s always been. Status Quo have released 75 U.K. singles since performing their first gig in South London in 1962.
* Foreign and overseas visitors, please note that Les Battersby was a popular character in one of Britain’s favourite soaps, “Coronation Street”. He was also a big fan of The Quo!
For the first time ever, Prince Charles has overtaken his sister Princess Anne to become Britain’s hardest working Royal. Prince Charles notched up over 560 official engagements, carrying out more official duties than any other senior member of the Royal family. Princess Anne, (better known as the Princess Royal), only carried out 534 official engagements last year, according to the results of a recent survey. However Princess Anne was still as hardworking as ever, going out and about to meet members of the public. Her events were mainly comprised of opening ceremonies, official visits and other engagements, whilst Prince Charles carried out more meetings, audiences and investitures, no doubt in preparation for when he becomes King.
Despite both being in their eighties, the Queen and Prince Philip are still as busy and hardworking as ever and show no signs of slowing down. The Queen carried out 417 official engagements last year, whilst Prince Philip carried out 354. By contrast Princes William and Harry only managed to carry out a meagre 41 official engagements between them.
John Lennon has come back to life again thanks to the wonders of modern technology, to appear in an American tv ad. The ad is for American charity, "One Laptop Per Child", which pledges to provide solar powered computers to some of the world’s poorest children. John’s widow Yoko Ono gave her permission for the ad to be produced. It is quite strange to see John alive again over twenty years after his death, although I think the voice they used sounds nothing like him. The ad is currently being shown on donated advertising slots in the U.S. John wears his trademark round glasses in the ad, telling viewers in a Liverpudlian accent that they can change the world by giving a child a laptop.
Using the title of his hit song, John says, “Imagine every child no matter where in the world they were could access a universe of knowledge”. Well they can certainly do that if they have a laptop, something that hadn’t even been invented in the days when John Lennon and the Beatles became so famous. John was shot and killed less than three weeks before Christmas in 1980. Fortunately we still have the legacy of John Lennon’s music to keep his memory alive. John is following in the footsteps of the late British comedian Bob Monkhouse, who was also brought back to life in a British tv ad for a prostate cancer charity. Bob died from the condition four years before the ad was produced.
Are you a reformed criminal? Do you have tattoos? Overweight? If so, your country needs you! (They want you. They want you. They want you as a new recruit! – to quote the words of the Village People song!) The British army are currently so desperate for new recruits, they are prepared to relax the rules and allow overweight, tattooed criminals to join the ranks, in a bid to boost flagging numbers of new applicants. Apparently they will only take ex offenders who show that they are prepared to turn over a new leaf and get back on the straight and narrow! Plumper soldiers may soon be the norm too, although an army spokesperson says the idea is that they will burn off any excess weight during training and become fitter. Rules which currently ban the recruitment of soldiers with visible tattoos are also set to be relaxed.
One of the main reasons for the drastic drop in numbers of army recruits is that many solders have left the army because they are disillusioned with the government’s treatment and attitude towards them. Critics argue that this is the root cause and main problem that needs to be addressed. The government needs to take a long hard look at the very difficult and dangerous job our soldiers have, particularly those serving on the front line. Investing in their future and welfare would be a good start and maybe then we wouldn’t have a recruitment crisis.
I’d like to take this opportunity of wishing all my readers a very happy and prosperous New Year, wherever you may be in the world! Unfortunately with the current economic crisis, 2009 looks like being a difficult year for many of us here in Britain. Hundreds of poor people have already lost their jobs as a lot of companies have suffered a downturn in sales. I can’t believe that my local Woolworths store, a fixture on our high streets for so many years is about to close its doors for the final time. A sad sign of the times. The Queen delivered a particularly sombre Christmas message referring to the global credit crunch as well as those suffering violence in overseas countries. She acknowledged the fact that Christmas this year would be a worrying time for many people as they could no longer take things for granted due to the current economic climate. We can only hope and pray for global and financial stability and that better times are ahead for all of us. To hear the Queen’s Christmas broadcast in full, click on the player shown below. Happy New Year!