Sunday, 30 October 2011

Dear David - Poppy

Dear David

I was just watching the weather forecast on ITV with Sian Lloyd (you know, the one with a fixed smile which is just a little scary; like someone on coke). She was wearing a poppy and I thought - that seems a little early. Am I wrong with my etiquette here? Is there a 2 week period for poppy wearing which I have not been observing?

Please advise

David Responds

This year’s Poppy appeal was launched on Thursday 26 October 2011 with poppies available to buy on Saturday 28 October 2011.

They are however distributed before that date so ‘early wearers’ may have bought one that way.  Wearing one before poppies go on sale might leave you open to the charge that you are wearing 'last years'.

But as to your question, wearing a poppy is a personal decision, although some people seem to take it as a personal affront if one is not worn by some that they decide should wear one, for example BBC newsreaders.

I suspect Sian was showing support for the poppy appeal, but also mindful of the grief BBC staff can get if they choose to support the appeal in their own way which does not include wearing a poppy.

Laughing Donkey - Halloween

Bit of a night out for Halloween, not that I was dressed up or anything, but thought I would pop out for a couple.

The Laughing Donkey was packed when we arrived about 10ish and they had gone to town dressing the bar for the occasion, with cobwebey things on the windows and a couple of white Christmas bells hanging over the door. Not sure what they were for, but I think they will make a second appearance in a few weeks.

The bar was really busy with lots of people making an effort to get into the Halloween theme. Her that looks like Olive off of On the Buses was out, but I’m not sure if she was in fancy dress or not.

And the bar staff had made a supreme effort with ghosts and ghouls a plenty. Although the young slim lad should probably have chosen a different outfit, he came as a skeleton but his outfit was about two sizes too big so it was a bit big and I’m not really sure you get baggy skeletons?

The bar was too full so we popped over the road to the Bag of Spanners where we bumped into a couple of friends that had just left. They said the bar was full to the door, but we had a look anyway and it was indeed full to overflowing so we gave it a miss and went the Rusty Bucket instead. Bumped into mr Shaun who was made up as, well not really sure who it was (I suspect he might have been a character from a horror movie, but I don’t do horror movies so I have no idea), but it was very nice, and nice to have a bit of a chat.

After a bit of a resurgence the Rusty Bucket seems to have gone back a bit and was relatively quiet, so a quick drink and back to a packed, but a little quieter Laughing Donkey.

Apparently there was a bit of an event on behind one of the bars, but I couldn’t find it.

And anyway you needed a wrist band to get in (at the cost of a fiver no doubt) and after the performance the last time when I paid out a fiver to stand in the freezing cold with a friend and three other people in an empty back parking lot, I wasn’t going to do that again!

So the evening ended as it began, busy, noisy but now without me, home to bed!


I’m sure I’ve mentioned on here before that I don’t really do Halloween, but I have decided this year I am going to get take part in all the fun.

Technically people shouldn’t come calling until tomorrow, but I have a feeling, it being Sunday and the first full night on GMT, we might get one or two around to night so I have a load of treats prepared.

I have found four Quality Street left over from last Christmas, and I am prepared to give them all to neighbours. I have also made some glasses of dilute orange. I have made it quite weak as I don’t want the children to get too excited and hyperactive. Also I bought a bag of Satsumas on Saturday and one of them looks a bit green, so I have peeled that and torn it into segments. The children can have a piece each.

So I am now all ready and waiting for casual callers.

My only worry is that this will set a precedent and they will come back year after year!

A List

If the likes of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt etc are 'A' listers, what letter list are you on if you are a 'celebrity' guest on 'Something for the Weekend'?

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Dear David - Urgent message for 'headphones'

David Responds

I am really sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you, but how was I supposed to know your ears are on the wrong way around.

Please write to me again privately with a photo of your ears and your headphones and I will advise you of the best way to handle this distressing condition.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Dear David - Headphones

Dear David.

I have noticed my headphones have right and left on them, does it really matter which ear you put them in?

David Responds

Yes honey it does, you should put them in the correct ear as marked - unless your ears are the wrong way around!

Celebrity Week

A look at this week’s celebrities:
  • Phil is Celebrity Masterchef 2011;
  • Joey wore some shorts - twice;
  • Shane has a new hair-do;
  • while David was showing a little grey;
  • Susan wore a warm hat and coat in New York because it was cold;
  • Ashton and Demi might not be splitting after all;
  • The queen wore the yellow dress she wore to William and Kate’s wedding on a day out in Australia - she says she put it in on a cool wash and it came up like new;
  • Kelly went to America after X Factor;
  • Kelly is still America as she has a sore throat;
  • Kelly might not be on X Factor again;
  • Stacey is with Child;
  • While Amy has a fuller face;
  • and Carole has a fuller face too;
  • Mark might be going in the jungle;
  • Nicole wore a dress after she chucked Louis;
  • Rhythmix is now Little Mix; and
  • Michelle wore a dress for the fourth time.

Dear David - Halloween ... once more

Dear David

I have to attend two Halloween 'parties' this weekend. I have discovered that there is a dress code at the first, which rules out my outfit from last year. (Should I even be recycling Halloween outfits, is there an etiquette?) anyway, this is a party where at the beginning there will be small children and the parents are worried that the children will be scared if the adults look too frightening. Is it gauche of me to point out that:
a) frightening is the point of Halloween;
b) some of those kids scare me anyway;
c) some of the brats could do with a good bloody frightening; and,
d) some of the people on the invite list are already spooky looking before they even start to dress up, so why are they even invited?

I need spooky support please xx


David Responds

Oh dear frightened what a nightmare. This is a great example of why I have my reservations about Halloween.

Yes there is an etiquette for Halloween event (there is an etiquette for all things, only not many people understand that). To take your points in order:
  • You cannot implement a dress code for Halloween parties, that defeats the objective, it would also make your invitations rather unseemly, writing ‘no fake blood’ (for example) on the foot of a gilded invite is not good, so feel free to break this silly dress code;
  • Halloween outfits can be expensive with limited opportunities for re-use so it is a little thoughtless of your hosts to put you to the additional expense of buying a new one, (remember etiquette is about making your guests feel comfortable not you),
  • Dig out your outfit from last year, no one will remember who wore what, but give it an update by adding a chiffon scarf or a nice brooch. If you want to add the ‘Gok’ look then add a statement big belt to give you an hour glass shape;
  • Avoid any party that allows small children to attend. If you must attend, go later when the little horrors are safely tucked up in bed and out of sight. Do what the Queen does and develop ‘a slight head cold’ to explain your late arrival, and explain that you felt really poorly earlier but felt a bit better later and didn’t want to disappoint your host by not attending;
  • Small children are frightening at the best of times, perhaps you could suggest to your host that they should all be lined up and placed in a locked cage (they might want to call it a children’s play area) for the duration. This can add to the Halloween theme and ensure the children have a good time too!;
  • It is a sad fact that some of our fellow earthlings are a little challenging in the ‘looks’ department. If there are any other party goers that do have unfortunate looks then be a little tactful when chatting. Don’t launch in with a gushing ‘oooh I love your outfit’, make sure they are wearing an outfit first!
Follow my top tips and do have a great time!


Thursday, 27 October 2011

Dear David - Halloween ... again

Dear David.

Following your recent response to my Halloween dilemma I have decided to go for it. Is there anything I need to be aware of?

David Responds

I am pleased you have found my advice useful and I hope you have had a chance to check out my letter response on fancy dress.

But for Halloween there are one or two additional things you need to consider. Follow my top tips for a good time on Halloween:
  • Although Halloween has a set date of 31 October, Halloween events can be held on any number of days before the event, this makes deciding when to wear your ‘scary outfit’ difficult to calculate - the Saturday before 31st of October is probably the post likely date for most festivities, but be warned it could be any of several days beforehand;
  • Choose your ‘scary’ outfit very carefully. Your outfit will not be scary so you need to make sure it makes you look glamorous;
  • If you want to go minimal, try a black lipstick with a heavy mascara - this look works equally well for girls and boys. Try L’Oreal Voluminous for a stunning heavy killer look. (Although if you are blond you might want to try a practice run first);
  • If you are tall you might want to give the ‘axe in head’ look a miss, could make venues with low ceilings a bit tricky;
  • If you want to try the ‘ethereal floating volumes of white see-through chiffon‘ look, make sure you wear secure under garments, (and don’t make that wailing 'woo woo' noise all night it is just annoying);
  • Consider your shoes - Egyptian mummies did not wear high heels, nor did they wear trainers;
  • If you are going as a duo, stay as a duo, for example Gomez and Morticia, stay close to your Morticia or you will look like a Chicago gangster;
  • If you are not participating and you do not wish to entertain ‘trick or treaters’ (or demanding money with menaces as I prefer to call them) keep all your curtains closed and lights off from 28 October until 1 November!

Dear David - Halloween

Dear David.

We are getting close to Halloween and everyone seems to make a big fuss about it. I just don’t get it - am I getting old?

David Responds

Yes I am afraid you are.

In the olden days Halloween was more or less a day like any other in the year. 

True it was dark early in the evening as the clocks had just gone back and you might make a bit of an effort by hollowing out a turnip and sticking a candle in it, but that was about it.

I think once as a child we put the lights out and lit a couple of candles, and that was quite exciting, but that was about it.

Things have changed and now people ‘celebrate’ Halloween. Technically I’m not sure you would want to celebrate the resurrection of lots of dead bodies, but there you go.

You have two choices, either embrace this new festival and take up an invite to some party or event, get yourself an appropriate outfit for the evening (but see letter about fancy dress parties) and have fun.

Or ignore it completely stay in the house with the lights off (to discourage casual callers), your favourite box set of DVDs and a box of chocolates.

If you decide to go for it let me know as there are some addition points you need to know.


Lots in the news about Europe and great fun re fighting the battles of the past. 

We even had a bit of a chat about it in Parliament to decide if we should all vote on whether we should be in Europe or not. I thought we had had one of those in 1975, or is it one of those things you keep voting on until you get the answer you want?

Anyway I don't want to get into that argument, but I do have a bit of a question - for those that don't think the UK should be part of Europe, precisely which continent do you think we should be part of?

There are not a lot to choose from (and to make it easier you have to be in one of them). 

I don't think we could be counted as part of Africa, and Australia is way too far away. 

We are not really Asia and America is 5,000 miles of ocean away. (For the purposes of my blog I am discounting Arctic\Antarctic - they weren't counted as continents in the olden days and anyway they are too clod).

So if we are not part of Europe what are we? Or are the 'not European' lot so deluded they think we should be a new separate continent on our own?

And again on Europe, there is all that money we haven't got. Can you just 'write-off' billions of pounds? Will the people that were expecting it not want it back? And all the people that got the money - what have they dont with it, where is it? 

I've looked everywhere - I don't think I understand …

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Bit of an incident in the office.  Just been introduced to a woman who looks so like someone I used to work with in the '80s.

I said so. 'Oh you look just like someone I used to know'.

'Oh do I' she replied and smiled.

'Yes, but 30 years older'.

She gave me a funny look and took the huff.

What did I say wrong?

Monday, 24 October 2011

Dear David - Christmas Decorations

Dear David

I will soon be starting my Christmas preparations. I am thinking of getting new decorations and wondered what colour is really fashionable this year.


David Responds

Once again Christmas sneaks into view and with just eight weeks to go it isn’t a moment too soon to start your preparations.

I am pleased you are getting new decorations DD as the ones you drag out every year are starting to look shabby, and you know I love you dearly, but really the paper chain look went out with 1975.

Red and green are always firm favourites for Christmas but red is especially in this year. You will find that as well as decorations, the high street will be full of gifts in classic red.

So go for the full theme and accent your new decorations by giving lovely presents in warming red and wrapped in glorious scarlet.

Dear David - Cricket ... again

Dear David

Could you please reconsider your previous response to my question about cricket and explain it to me?

David Responds

Very well but cricket is quite complicated and largely pointless as games usually end in a draw. Also if you don’t take the game seriously some people get quite upset.

Cricket can be played in any country, but it is largely played in former British colony countries, with the exception of the US which can’t understand the game so won’t play it. This is no loss to the world as generally the US is only interested in playing rounders or something they call American football.

To play cricket you need two teams of 11 players, a bat, a ball, a pair of gloves and some sticks.

The game is generally played on grass and the playing surface is called a pitch.

You place three sticks in the ground at the end of the pitch and you are ready to play.

Each team has a turn at ‘being in’. When you are in you take turns with a team mate to stand in front of the sticks with the bat. The rest of your team goes out while you are in.

The other team is out but they are in the field. These people are called fielders.

To play the game a person from the team that is in stands in front of the sticks and a player from the other team throws a ball at you to try and hit the sticks. The person throwing a ball at you is called a bowler.

You can stop him hitting the sticks by hitting the ball with your bat. If the other player hits the sticks you are out.
One of the fielders stands behind the sticks and tries to catch the ball if you miss it. If he catches the ball you could be out. Standing behind the sticks is very dangerous so you get a pair of gloves to wear.

If you hit the ball you get to run to the other side of the pitch and swap places your team mate. You have the time it takes the fielders to find the ball and pass it to the bowler to run up and down. When you run up and down it is called a run.

If you are in the middle of a run when the bowler gets the ball back you are out.

When you hit the ball if a player from the other team (a fielder) catches the ball without it hitting the ground, you are out. The ball is very hard and it hurts to try and catch it
You have to get as many runs as you can before you are out. When you are out another team member takes your place and you continue doing this until the whole team is out.
When you are out the team that was out goes in and you go out. 
The team that is now in repeats the process and tries to get more runs than the team that was just in.

This can take all day.

Scoring is quite complicated as to win not only do you have to get more points (sorry runs) than the opposing team but you have to get them all out as well.

If you get most points but fail to get the other side out it is a draw.

A quick game can be played in one day, longer games can take five days.

Dear David - Cricket

Dear David

I have seen your recent letters about how sports are played. I have never understood cricket, could you explain it to me?
David Responds


Sunday, 23 October 2011

End of the World ... again

I see that chap that predicted the end of the world earlier this year has been at it again.

Apparently the world was supposed to end at the weekend - but you might have noticed that it didn’t.

It is all very well predicting the end of the world all the time, but it is very inconvenient.

I have to keep going out buying a load of tined stuff and now I am left with lots of tins of things I can’t use - and I didn’t even know you could get a whole full English breakfast in a tin!


Apparently that German satellite has crash landed back to earth, but they don't know where it is.

Could you have a look out the back and see if it has ended up in your garden.  You might want to check behind your bins as well, in case it is there.

Dear David - Urgent Message for Kelly

Kelly love, a while ago I gave you some style advice on what to wear for your talent contest judging role.

When I said you should concentrate on making sure the bodice looked good for viewers, I should have also said, you must make sure your dress has a bottom half!

Dear David - Tie Pin ... again!

Dear David.

I think your reply to my letter asking for advice on tie pins was rather rude. I asked for simple advice and you didn’t give me any. You are no help at all!

David Responds
I am sorry you thought I was no help, but my advice corner is called ‘Dear David’ not ‘Dear Merlin’.

I give advice and guidance I do not perform conjuring tricks. If you expect to get this season’s gold and sapphire tie pins for £7 you will be disappointed. The only thing I can suggest in your price range is a trip to Staples and the purchase of a box of paper clips!

Dear David - Tie Pin

Dear David.

I would like to start wearing a tie pin, but I have no idea what is fashionable and what isn’t, could you give me some advice please? I have a limited budget so was looking to spend £7.

David Responds

You can’t get a tie pin for £7, cheapskate.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Dear David - Dressing Gown

Dear David.

I am normally into my autumn dressing gown by now, but with all this mild weather, I am still in my summer dressing gown. Is this ok? 

David Responds

Yes. This is fine, you should match your dressing gown to the actual ambient outside temperature, not the strict meteorological season.

Unless you have a Christmas dressing gown, I hope you don’t but if you do, then you should wear your Christmas dressing gown from 15 December to 5 January.

Dear David - Monkey House

Dear David.

My partner wants to arrange a family day out at the Monkey House, but I don’t like chimpanzees. How do I get out of going without spoiling all the family fun? 

David Responds

I do understand your dilemma, monkeys give me the creeps, like birds and hippopotamouseseses.

Chimpanzees are apes not monkeys so you are unlikely to see a chimpanzee in a monkey house. So have no fear, go and have a good day out.

If your chosen establishment does keep chimpanzees in the monkey house, please let me know and I shall send them a strongly worded letter.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Celebrity Week

A look at this week’s celebrities:
  • Katie wore a see through lace jump-suit;
  • the Queen had a bit of a cold so she missed an engagement;
  • the Queen got over her cold and popped over to Australia for a bit of a visit;
  • the Queen is fed up with people saying it is probably her last visit to Australia, she says she will go again next year if she feels like it;
  • Jason has been seeing Catherine - yeah right;
  • Matthew has looked better in LA;
  • Matthew has put his second home in a month on the market;
  • Artem and Kara are having problems - who saw that coming!;
  • Westlife are packing it in - I thought they did that years ago;
  • Louis and Nicole decided to pack it in as well;
  • Myleene got married;
  • Rebecca has a new tune out;
  • the Stone Roses sold a few tickets;
  • X Factor finalists aren’t very glamorous when rehearsing - it‘s all a state of mind, live up to it and get used to it now if you want it to last;
  • Lauren left a club with Spencer; and
  • Westwood couldn’t get into a club.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Speed of Light

You might have seen a bit of news recently about some Italian scientists that say they have detected particles that travel faster than the speed of light.

I think I blogged about it at the time and said I think this will be shown to be false in due course as it breaks a fundamental law of the universe, the one that says nothing can travel faster than the speed of light and was invented by Einstein.

There was a bit of a programme on TV about it the other night, hosted by that Marcus de Sautoy that does all these programmes about numbers.

Thought I would give it a go - but it was a bit complicated.

I think he said that the particles concerned are neutrinos. You might remember neutrinos, I think I have talked about them before.

Apparently they are very small and can travel through anything, and there are lots of them. To give you an idea how small they are, Marcus said that if an atom was the size of the solar system, a neutrino would be the size of a golf ball. Which is why they can travel through anything, as although we think atoms are quite close together - to a neutrino, there is loads of space between atoms for them to squeeze past.

Anyway apparently they measured some of these neutrons travelling from just outside Switzerland to Berne, and they concluded that they had travelled slightly faster than the speed of light. It wasn’t very much faster I think he said 60 nanoseconds, (I think a nonosecond is one billionth of a second) but I suppose once you multiply it up it adds to quite a lot.

There were a couple of flaws in the argument for me, firstly the faster you travel the greater your mass becomes, (I know this is true because if I get a taxi to the Laughing Donkey and I get one of the young lads driving they fly across the Tyne Bridge and I always feel a little ruffled and heavier when I get to the pub) and if you get to the speed of light your mass becomes infinitely great. This would mean the neutrinos would be infinitely heavy when they reached their destination and they didn’t look anywhere near heavy enough.

And secondly how do they know the neutrinos they captured at the end of the journey were the same ones they set off at the beginning. There are billions of them everywhere so I don’t think they could tell the difference.

They keep going on about this experiment, but I’m not convinced!  


Wednesday, 19 October 2011


Just in case you missed it, there is another satellite about to plunge back to earth. Scientist say it could hit anywhere between 53 degrees north and 53 degrees south. In case your not really up on your degrees of latitude and longitude that is anywhere between the south of the UK and the Falkland Islands.

It has been quite a year for things falling back to earth with two Russian rockets and a NASA satellite already hitting the Atlantic ocean and somewhere in the back of beyond in Australia.

This latest satellite is German (well the satellite isn’t German, satellites can’t have a nationality), or rather it is owned by Germany and there is a 1 on 2000 chance it will hit someone between 21-24 October 2011.

This is a little unspecific but to reassure you, it is more likely to hit a bit of land than a person. But if you have any ornamental trees or shrubs in your garden you are worried about, try placing a bit of fleece over them, that should protect them from the worst of any damage.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Dear David - iPhone ... again!

Dear David

I meant this phone talks to you without someone being on the other end, and it answers your questions, you just have to say something and it replies …

David Responds

Get a grip, you are becoming hysterical!

Get one if you must, but don’t complain to me in six months time that you are fed up with complete strangers coming up to you in the street and shouting ‘What is the capital of Peru’ every time you get your phone out!

Dear David - iPhone ... again

Dear David

I can’t believe you said I shouldn’t get the new iPhone, it sounds so great as the phone talks to you. I really think you should re-consider your advice, as I really want a phone that talks to me.

David Responds

All phones talk to you - that is what they do!

Dear David - iPhone

Dear David

I have heard the new iPhone has a feature that talks to you. It sounds so cool, should I get one?

David Responds

No, it is annoying.

Monday, 17 October 2011

New Book

Just seen a new book out that claims Hitler didn’t die from a gun shot wound in his Berlin bunker in 1945 but instead escaped to start a new life in Argentina.

Many Germans moved to Central America and Argentina in particular after the war, but I think this story about Hitler is just so much rot.

Although a few years ago there was a woman worked behind the cheese counter in Sainsbury’s that bore a strong resemblance to Eva Braun.

Dear David - Betrayal

Dear David.

I am in the frozen pea section in the supermarket and I have just seen my good friend’s new boyfriend shopping with another woman. What should I do?

David Responds

Get carrots.

Dear David - Creased Shirts

Dear David.

One of my colleagues bemoaning the time spent ironing work shirts is wondering - when will creased shirts be cool?

David Responds

There are a few points to this question.

For work shirts, the creased look is never likely to be ‘cool’. It has taken 50 years to be able to turn up to the office tie less without people fainting in shock, so having deliberately creased shirts accepted in the office is not very likely.

For casual wear this very much depends on your age and outlook in life. If you are older or of the ‘one of the lads’ type, then you will not get away with the creased look. You will be subjected to much ridicule from your ‘bloke type’ mates with catcalls of ‘ooh look at him with his creased shirt’ and other such wounding comments.

If you are young, have a young view on life or run with a young set, you can probably get away with a ‘creased look’ shirt for a night out. This should be mixed up with a more formal ‘ironed look’ on occasion to make sure all know that your creased look is deliberate.

But be aware that the creased look can be expensive. You will only get limited wears out of your creased look as manufactured creases will drop out over time as the shirt is washed and worn. This will require you to ‘iron in’ the creases, which is more bother than ironing a shirt flat.

Whatever you choose to do, the opportunities for wearing the ‘creased look’ are few and unlikely to relieve you of much ironing.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Dear David - X Factor

Dear David

I saw your recent answer explaining the creation of the universe, can you explain why the X Factor results show is on for an hour?

David Responds

No idea.

Dear David - Universe ... again

Dear David

I don’t agree with your Big Bang theory - can you support your assertions?

David Responds

We are fairly sure the universe had a beginning - it would be difficult to support the notion that the universe always existed

It has been determined that galaxies are moving away from us at speeds proportional to their distance. This is called ‘Hubble's Law‘ and was invented by Edwin Hubble in 1929. These calculations are done my taking photographs of the universe once a year and measuring how far they have moved with a ruler.

Scientists concluded that if the universe was very hot at the beginning there should be evidence of a microwave. In 1965 astronomers discovered an old microwave which is thought to be the one they were looking for.

Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson got the 1978 Nobel Prize for Physics for this discovery.

And finally, the great amount of the light elements Hydrogen and Helium in the observable universe are thought to support the Big Bang model of origins. Although I don’t agree with this part of the theory, if it was a hot as they said it was I would have expected to see more of the heavy elements.

Dear David - Creation of the Universe

Dear David.

Can you tell me how the universe was created?


David Responds

Thank you for your question - this is quite a difficult one and it gets quite complicated so I will try to keep it simple.

There are two views as to how the universe was created. It was either by God or some other way. This ‘other way’ is currently explained by the big bang theory.

Actually one does not preclude the other as it is quite possible that God set in motion the big bang theory.

I like to keep well away from religion in my blog, far too sensitive a subject, but if you want to know about how god created the universe there is a popular book that explains it all - it is called the bible. (Other religious views are available).

The Big Bang theory states that all the elements in the universe were created in a single expansion, probably on a Tuesday afternoon in the middle of Diagnosis Murder.

Creation of the universe is called a singlet (named after the under garment as the creation is the foundation of the universe).

You get singlets in the middle of black holes. Black holes are where
finite matter is squeezed into infinite density. Black holes are quite heavy.

No one knows where this singlet came from or why it happened - it just did.

After the initial explosion, the universe expanded and went from very small and hot to quite large and still quite hot. The universe is still expanding today, which is why it seems to take longer to get your destination every time you go on holiday.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Dear David - Letters

Dear David.

I wrote to you a while ago for advice on what to do with my letters after I had answered them. You told me to dispose of them carefully and neatly. I did as you suggested and now I am in trouble all over the papers. I think your advice is rotten.


David Responds

I am sorry you think my advice was a little amiss, but in your original letter you omitted to mention you are a cabinet minister - you dingbat!

The civil service has many rules and methods for the disposal of confidential written material. I suggest you have a word with your cabinet secretary.

Oh and by the way, I don’t seem to have had a reply to the letter I sent to you …

Dear David - Fox

Dear David.

I used to be a cabinet minister, but recently I got myself into a bit of trouble and now I have lost my job. I don’t really know what to do now, have you any advice.


David Responds

I am sorry to hear about your little bit of bother, have you thought about being a special adviser, that should keep you out of trouble. Have a word with Teresa May, I think she is looking for someone.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Celebrity week

A look at this week’s celebrities:

  • Charles had a day out in Newcastle;
  • Charles noticed lots of people were wet after standing in the rain for hours waiting to see him;
  • Paul got married - you would have though the had had enough of that after the last one;
  • while Demi decided she didn’t want to be married anymore;
  • and Alex proposed to Chantelle - although he might want to divorce the other one first;
  • Lady Gaga wore turquoise lip gloss;
  • Kate wore a red dress - red dresses were fashionable last week;
  • Tara had another night out with her nose;
  • Tara wore a woollen hat on a night out with Duncan;
  • Katy’s hair was blond but now it is pink again;
  • Imogen has a new boyfriend - and he isn’t even a footballer;
  • Whitney wouldn’t fasten her seat belt;
  • Gisele has put her house on the market for $10.5 million;
  • while Brad has put his on the market for $13.7 million;
  • Katherine is too busy to marry Gethin;
  • Vanessa is being Miss Daisy;
  • four got evicted from X Factor,
  • and Edwina left strictly;
  • Liam was looking for a new job;
  • while Oliver was tidying up by putting letters in the bin.

Jus-Rol Competition

It has been quite a day for competitions, just seen another one.

You could win a Pyrex® non stick oven tray, a Passion for Pastry Cook Book and £10 worth of Jus-Rol product vouchers. How exciting.

All you have to do is answer a simple question.

How long do Jus-Rol blueberry and lemon shortcrust tarts take to make?

Oh - this looks quite complicated - I have no idea, I’m not even sure I know what a shortcrust tart is. Think I will give it a miss, but if you are tempted by the lovely prize then have a go.

Daybreak Competion

Bit of a competition on Daybreak this morning, you could win £20,000 and a luxury holiday (although I think I would ask to swap the hotel on offer). 

The question was 'what is the female equivalent of a 'stag party'?

a - hen party
b - goose party
c - mare party

Oooh I think I know this one!

We get many of these events in my home town so I have seen lots of them.  The answer is c - mare party.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Dear David - Bicycle ... again

Dear David

I don’t think I am explaining myself very well.  I like to ride my bicycle to work and want to continue to do so, even when it is raining. I carry spare clothes for work in my satchel but they get wet in the rain. Please help.


David Responds

We have never met, but you are beginning to get on my nerves.  Your question is simple, but your wished for solution breaks fundamental laws of physics, in particular the one about standing in the rain means you will get wet. (Not sure who invented that one, I think it was Archimedes).

It you wish to continue cyling in the rain, the best I can do is suggest you take some rain avoidance measures:

  • Place your clothes in a plastic bag before putting them in your satchel;
  • plastic bags over your feet should stop that 'soggy sock' feel in the office;
  • Consider attaching a 'chopped down' umbrella to your cycling helmet.
But easiest of all, try cycling when it is not raining.

Please see my answer to an earlier question about raindrops.

Dear David - Bicycle ... again

Dear David

I think your response to my letter asking for help in avoiding getting wet when riding my bicycle was a bit abrupt and not very practical. Could you give me further advice.


David Responds

I am sorry you thought my advice was not practical - get a bus.

Dear David - Bicycle

Dear David

I like to ride my bicycle to work every day, but when it rains I get wet. Can you give me some advice to stop this happening?


David Responds

Get the train.


You might have seen Blackberry has been having a few problems.  A serious failure in service has been headline news in the papers and TV for days.

It has meant that millions of people have not been able to send messages to friends saying 'hve hd cp cffee mmmm' and 'I'm on the train'

This is very serious. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The Mint ... Again

You might remember a while ago I stayed at the Mint hotel and had a bit of bother. 

The hotel was most apologetic and offered me an upgrade on my next visit to the city.  I wasn’t going to bother but circumstances gave me the opportunity.

I got the upgrade, but I have to say you would be hard pushed to notice the difference.

I did get in touch with the hotel and they were disappointed I didn’t like my hamper …

… what hamper?

Another letter to the Mint. 

I have had a reply.

Apparently the hamper I was supposed to receive contained:

Black sheep Ale
Harrogate Spa spring water
Yorkshire crisps
Farrah’s original toffee
Lotte’s Parkin
And a Yorkshire Post newspaper.

They now say that if I stay there again the manager will personally ensure I receive a hamper.

Do you know what, I don’t think I will bother!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Dear David - Golf

Dear David

I saw your recent letter about the game of rugby and found it most useful. I am thinking of taking up golf but have never really understood it. Could you explain that sport for me?

David Responds

Of course, although technically golf is a game not a sport.

Golf was invented in Scotland in the 1st century by St Andrew.

He invented accidentally when he was trying to stun a rabbit with a conker he had hit with a stick. The conker missed the rabbit but disappeared down a hole. This so amused and enthused St Andrew he later developed the game we now know as golf.

The game is usually played by two people, although you can play solo if you have no friends.

The game is played in a big field in the rain. The field has 18 small holes at various locations and a flag is placed in each hole so you can find them. There are also other features such as lakes and sand pits so you can have somewhere nice to sit for lunch.

You have to wear funny clothes that you would never wear anywhere else (no idea) and shoes with little tassels on them.

To play the game you get a bag of wooden sticks called clubs and a small plastic ball. You then take turns with your friend to hit the ball to get it into the first hole (it will be numbered ‘1’). Once you have got the ball in a hole, you take it out and try and get it in the next hole. The holes are numbered from one to 18 and you have to do each in turn until you have put the ball in all 18 holes. The aim is to get the ball into each hole in the fewest possible hits (or strokes I think is the technical term). This can take all day.

There are a few other rules and I am sure your local golf club will be happy to explain them in detail when you go. Enjoy your new pastime.

Away Day

Had a bit of an Away Day at work today. If you are not familiar with the concept, it is a event where everyone in your office\department spends the day away from the work environment to discuss things you don’t have time to cover in the normal working day.

It is all quite exciting and there are many variations on the theme.

You could end up in a country venue where you have to walk on grass, or have to get a train to a far away destination.

Most often you get a hotel with ‘conference facilities’ or some other corporate building that likes to make a few pounds on the side by letting you have a couple of rooms for the day - and you usually get a pencil with their name on it.

So quite often you have to find your way to a place you have never been before and once you are there you get to talk to people you have never spoken to before. It might sound a bit odd if you have never been to one before, but they are standard practice across the ‘office work’ world.

My Away day today was quite convenient for me, but to maintain confidentiality I won’t mention which museum in Newcastle we went to.

There is a downside to these Away days of course. You have to think of things to say about work and write on flip charts. But I will spare you the work bits and tell you some of the exciting non-work bits.

First up I learned some things about a colleague, he has had lots of occupations and was once in ‘Last of the Summer Wine‘.

There were a number of competitions across the day, I didn’t do very well, they all seemed a bit complicated to me. One for instance was about thinking of a pop tune that used or referred to the words ’legacy, release, or transition’. This was quite difficult for you blogger as I don’t really know popular music and the only tune I know is ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep and I couldn’t get that to relate at all!

In case you are wondering … the completion was won by a chap that quoted some Elvis tune no one had heard of.

Next up was the most exciting part of the day, we had a very extravagant series of displays about the output we are producing, again I won’t go into the detail (this is my blog not a work status report) but it was most entertaining.

But I did learn that our team has a Latin motto. Yes indeed!

I haven’t done any Latin since Pope Paul abolished the Tridentine Mass so my Latin is a little rusty but roughly translated I think our motto is ‘Cary On Cleo‘!

As you know your blogger isn’t really one for being the centre of attention, but I did mange to get a couple of minutes centre stage (once my esteemed colleague Mr B could be dragged off) to say a few words.

All in all an enjoyable day!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Dear David - More Moons

Dear David

Can you tell me the names of the Moons in EastEnders?


David Responds

Very funny.

Dear David - Moons

Dear David 

I am trying to remember the names of Jupiter's moons, can you help?


David Responds

Your question is a little unspecific as Jupiter has over 60 confirmed moons, but I assume you mean the four main moons, IO, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

These moons are called the 'Galilean moons' as they were invented by Galileo in 1610. They were also the first moons to be invented that did not orbit either the sun or the earth.

Sunday, 9 October 2011


Fabio - I know your English isn’t so good, and that is fine, but I thought I would point out that an example of a ‘silly mistake’ might be when you add up a column of figures and you write a ‘5’ instead of a ‘3’. A silly mistake isn’t when you hack into someone’s ankles from behind because you lost your temper.

Laughing Donkey - Raining

It was a very quiet night in the Laughing Donkey, might have had something to do with the fact it was chucking it down.

Also there might have been an ‘Ugly Bug’ ball on somewhere and it had chucked out early or maybe it was a dry run for Halloween but there were some interesting people and outfits on display and fighting for attention in the bar.

The staff are getting a little too familiar. I don’t expect ‘Good Evening Sir‘ as a greeting, the Laughing Donkey isn‘t that sort of place, but I think ‘Hi babe’ is a bit too far the other way! But hey, if you’ve got it …

Looked all over for the one that looks like her off of On the Buses, but I couldn’t see her.

A quiet drink then a break in the rain gave us a chance to pop over to the Bag of Spanners. Noticed a massive queue outside Digital, which was still there when we went back to the Laughing Donkey - how long does it take to get into that place!

But back to the Bag of Spanners - Never again, it was awful and a lot quieter than last week - although it still looked like a scene from a wild west bar room after a brawl. I give it until Christmas before it is in trouble.

One drink and back to the Laughing Donkey. We did think about going on to a club - the local one was hosting Mr Gay UK.

I have been put off that event since I was at the final of the completion a few years ago in Blackpool and there was an unfortunate incident with Miss Anita Dobson, Miss Su Pollard, a feather boa and a bag of balloons. But I’ll skip over that.

Talking of brawls, I think there might have been a bit of bother somewhere as there were closed roads and police cars all over the place. Still they weren’t stopping you going in the Laughing Donkey, so all was well.

Night ended as it started chucking it down and got soaked going home ... if only I had had a coat!

Dear David - Kelly

Dear David

I'm writing this on behalf of my friend Kelly Rowland as she is a little busy at the moment.

Kelly asks, 'What the hell am I wearing?!'

Can you help her please?
David Responds

I caught up with Kelly on X Factor on Saturday night and I think I saw the outfit in question.

The dress was probably very expensive and had a great designer name (I couldn’t quite see the cut so I am not sure which label it was).

For those who missed it the dress was chocolate chiffon with electric lime green dragon (I think) shapes on it.

I am afraid Kelly, you made the classic mistake of judging panel members. You saw a great dress and thought ‘I love it’. What you forgot was that for most of the show you will be sitting at a desk and most viewers will only see the top of the bodice. For next week keep this in mind and make sure any design looks good from the bosom up!

Saturday, 8 October 2011


After a week in which a cat caused the Torries some problems, now a Fox is in trouble.

I won't bore you with the details, but ahead of the results of an internal investigation things are moving very quickly.

Yesterday the Prime Minister said Fox had his 'full confidence'.  This has been changed to 'is fully supportive of ..;     oh dear!

In case you are not fully familiar with political\civil service terminology, the above means Fox is about to be sacked.

The next stage on Monday is 'while in his position he did an excellent job' (oh and that last one means 'he has been nothing but bother since the day he got here!').

Dear David - Rugby

Dear David

I have seen a lot about rugby in the news but I don’t know anything about it. Can you explain it please?


David Responds

I don’t often get asked about sporting matters, but here goes.

There are two types of rugby - Union and League.

Rugby Union is played abroad and Rugby League is played in the UK on cold wet days.

Eddie Waring commentates on all rugby matches. Eddie Waring is Polish so you can’t understand what he says.

Both games are largely played the same way, although if you play one you are not supposed to play the other one.

To play the game you get into teams and you get a ball. When you have the ball you have to run as fast as you can from one side of the pitch to the other while people try and stop you. If someone gets in you r way, you have to pass the ball to a friend to give him a go.

If you get to the other end of the field you place the ball neatly at the end of the field.

If you do that they let you have a go at scoring a goal. This is slightly easier than scoring a goal in football as there is no goal keeper. Also you are allowed to kick the ball over the top bar and it still counts.

There are also things called ‘scrums’ but no one knows what they are about.

I hope this helps.


Friday, 7 October 2011

Dear David - Cat

Dear David

A work colleague told a stupid story about a cat and I made fun of her. My boss got quite cross and told me off, now I wish I had never said anything in the first place. How can I make it up with my colleague.


David Responds

Your friend at work is probably quite annoyed at you so this might take a bit of sorting out. Try buying her a small gift, perhaps a little bell on a ribbon to wear around her neck or a canary to play with.

This should cheer her up and help get you back into her good books.

Celebrity Week

A look at this week’s celebrities:

  • Liz might be marrying Shane;
  • Kanye spent £14,00 on fabric in a London shop;
  • Joe needs a new suit;
  • Wayne and Colleen spent £2,000 on a car seat for their baby;
  • Nancy had water spilled all over her dress while she got ready to go on Strictly;
  • Carol wore a red dress;
  • Holly wore a red dress;
  • Michelle wore a red dress - are red dresses in this season?;
  • Ken will be spending more time with his family because of a cat;
  • Katie split with Leandro;
  • Jodie (Marsh) got a new body;
  • Jodie said her new show on DMAX will be her best show ever - oh wow! Even better than …? Oh, has she had a show?;
  • Kerry has a new hair-do;
  • Kerry should have kept her old hair-do;
  • Julia is going to be Snow White in a new movie;
  • Kate might be doing US Vogue;
  • Rihanna has a new boyfriend called Dudley;
  • Nancy was using a walking stick after spraining her ankle; and
  • Four are going to be eliminated from X Factor this week - we already worked that one out as there are not 16 weeks to Christmas.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Party Leaders

An occasional bit of politics for a change.  You might have heard Cameron's speech a the party conference this week, if you didn't you didn't miss much.  It was all about how we must all do better and work harder so bankers can make more money and bet bigger bonuses.

But there was an amusing swipe at the Labour party when Cameron said the Tory party don't boo their leaders (in case you missed it, this was a reference to the 'boos' at Labour conference when Ed Milliband mentioned Tony Blair).

Indeed they do not. 

They stab them in the back when they are out of the country, humiliate them and throw them out into the street in tears in front of the world's cameras!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Mint - Feedback ... again

Regular readers will know I have been having a bit of bother with the Mint hotel.

And you might have seen my recent feedback about my stay in their ‘upgraded’ suite.

I have had a reply.

Apparently I wasn’t upgraded to a suite – I was upgraded to a ‘Club’ room (whatever one of those is).  They seemed quite pleased about it, and hoped I enjoyed the complementary Yorkshire Hamper.

There was no hamper – now I will have to write again!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Dear David - Collar

Dear David

I have heard that Peter Pan collars will be all the fashion this season, is that right?

Yours Olive

David Responds

Hello Olive, nice to hear from you again.

Yes Peter Pan collars will be a big hit this autumn, but honey we have discussed your fashion sense before. You refuse to wear anything other than corduroy boiler suits, and with the best will in the world, you can’t really put a Peter Pan collar on a corduroy boiler suit. If you insist on keeping to your current fashion regime the best I can do for you is to suggest that maybe you could put a turn-up in the legs of your suit and show off your socks!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Dear David - Quantative Easing

Dear David

I have heard a lot about Quantative Easing in the news, but I don’t know what it is. Can you explain it for me please?

David Responds

Yes Quantative Easing is back in the news. Quantative Easing is quite complicated.

In simple terms it is where the government print extra money and puts it into the economy. The current thought is that they should put an extra £50 billion into the economy this week.

In the olden days £50 billion was quite a lot of money, but these days it isn’t very much.

Having said that it takes quite a long time to print as it is all in £50 notes and the Bank of England only has one set of printing plates.

George Osborne has to do a lot of overtime to print all the money and he is already quite busy this week at the Conservative Party conference.

It isn’t very clear how the government gets the money into the economy, but I think a van takes it from the bank of England during the night and posts it through peoples letter boxes.

Also it isn’t really explained how having all this extra money helps, but I think when you spend it the banks keep it and use it to pay back the money they borrowed from the government when they all went bankrupt a couple of years ago.

Dear David - Heartbreak

Dear David

I am going out with an orange bird with big bosoms. I don’t speak any English, but I think I have been chucked. I am devastated. How can I find out if I have (a friend has written this letter for me)?


David Responds

Although you have not given your name I think I know who you are.

If I am correct then you have indeed been chucked. This was always going to happen, your former lady friend has already written 38 autobiographies and she was starting to run out of ideas so she needed a subject for her 39th book.

You have provided much material ‘My whirlwind romance after heartbreak’, ‘How I learned to love again’ and ‘Now I must be strong on my own’, although much of this is re-cycled from autobiographies numbered 27 to 38.

Write to me again with your full contact details for a more detailed response.

Dear David - Christmas Preparations

Dear David

I get very stressed about Christmas and always end up in a panic with too much to do. Is there anything I can do now to help me to prepare?

David Responds

Regular readers will know I am not very fond of Christmas, it is made endlessly complex for no good reason. But as you ask there is something you can do now which won’t go to waste.

Start by making your Christmas card list of your family, friends and work colleagues.

Family - you are unlikely to acquire anymore relatives between now and December.

Friends - exercise a little caution on evenings out and try to avoid meeting new people for the next month or so

Work colleagues - consider your work position, if you are unlikely to be in a different job by December, list your current work friends. If you won’t be in your current job in a month or two then you can cross this category off your list. Your new work colleagues will not expect a card this year.

You can now calculate exactly how many cards you need and buy now while the best cards are in the shops and you don’t have to fight your way past a load of ratbags spending hours trying to buy a box of 50 cards for £1!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Laughing Donkey - Mr D's birthday

Popped out for a few drinks in the Laughing Donkey as it was Mr D’s birthday. He says it was his 39th birthday, but it isn’t, he is 46.

Noticed a new DJ in the Laughing Donkey - at least I think it is a new one, it might be the old one with a new wig. At one point I thought she was wearing new glasses as well, but she wasn’t it was just heavy eye make-up.

After an absence of a few weeks I spotted the one that looks like Olive off of On the Buses, I think she had been to an early Christmas party as she was wearing a very sparkly black dress, flowing scarf and high heels. But she really needs to go to deportment classes as the way she hunches her shoulders gives her a look of Richard III.

Actually I don’t think she is speaking to me, cause when I first spoke to her a few weeks ago I said I thought she looked like a woman off the telly, she was quite pleased at first. But then I said she looked like Olive off of On the Buses, but she said she didn’t know who she was. Last night she just gave me a funny look - I think she has been on You tube!

Was quite busy in the Laughing Donkey and an unexpectedly warm evening for October. Had a few drinks in the Donkey then over to the Bag of Spanners where several of our friends had congregated to celebrate Mr D (not me) getting a year older. It was a bit quieter this week after last weekend’s opening so maybe it will settle down a bit. Still looks exactly the same as it did when it was the other place.

Anyway all were in party mood, (oh just had a flashback, I think lots of pictures were being taken, but I can‘t remember who by) and I even noticed that after years of living in the North East and frequent nagging from me, Miss Pink was out without a coat! She was quite calm about it and was reassured that she probably wouldn’t be cut off by snow without a coat between the bar and home.

So we had a few in the Bag of Spanners, actually I think it was more than a few (judging by my head this morning) and then back to the Laughing Donkey. For some reason we stood at the back of the bar near where the DJ lady stands. This was very confusing as it is not my normal place at all - still I didn’t come to any harm.

And I have a feeling we went to the Rusty Bucket for one, but I couldn’t swear to it.

Well I think that is the end to Summer, next week we will be well and truly into the Autumn season … and just a short run to another Christmas …

Saturday, 1 October 2011


Popped into Sainsbury's this morning for the weekly shop - not too busy and no sign of either checkout nozey or checkout jumpy and spotted my favourite lady on the checkout.  Marvellous.
Shopping done and time to pay.  Headed for my lady, she had a bit of a queue but she does two customers in the time it takes her colleagues to do one.  So quite happy to wait.

Then I spotted a free checkout at the far end so I diverted - but too late I saw why it was free - Nan was behind the till!

I thought 'oh God no not Nan'.  I'm not being funny but she must be 108 and she is as deaf as a post, she can't hear the scanner thing so you have to tell her it has beeped, which means you have to watch her like a hawk in case she puts your things through twice.

She once put my peach and passion fruit low fat yoghurt through eight times - I had to have the man over and everything.

Having said that, she wasn't too bad (once she had taken five minutes to adjust her seat and another five to find her glasses) she must have been on a training course!