My experiences with motorised transport have been somewhat mixed of late. What I had imagined as a pleasant, sunny weekend popping to Montpellier in the south of France to watch Lee play in the Heineken Cup semi-final, turned into an epic coach journey, traffic-cursed and plagued with sleet, snow, drizzle and ‘les travaux’. The only thing that provided a sunny disposition was the happy result.
Safety first. Before setting off on our ‘Tour de Cardiff Bay’
Meanwhile, in the car in Wales, the problem wasn’t so much clouds, but my head being in them. Driving to the studios, my seatbelt warning signal kept pinging at me. It was intermittent as if there were a fault, rather than repetitive, as if someone were not strapped in. Irritated, I assumed it needed fixing. Then the penny dropped – or should I say the bag. Yes, my overloaded handbag, was overloading the passenger seat. So bulging was it, that the car thought it might be a small passenger. I felt silly. But it did create some office laughs.
Yes, it may be May. But the weather has taken a while to get the message.
The start of last month was the coldest on record since the 60s; it’s only been a matter of weeks since I last reported severe snow in Wales; and it’s fair to say most of us are hardly out of overcoats and thick tights. Winter has so hogged the limelight this year, that Spring has barely yet sneaked a turn on the seasonal stage and Summer is still somewhere in the wings, learning its lines.
It hasn’t always been so shy of attention. Unless my memories are belied by nostalgia, I’m sure I remember long, hot adolescent summer times played out to the soundtrack of Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. So why has balmy Britain retreated to the shadows? Well, science is working on that. Recently, a hardy ITV news crew visited a small research station in the Arctic. There they spoke to experts who believe that rapid melting of the ice may be responsible. A smaller temperature difference between the Arctic and us, means a slower jet stream and longer spells of colder temperatures here.
The result: weirder winters and a nation deficient in Vitamin D. With reserves in short supply, we’ve all been in extended hibernation until things warm up a degree or two.
Are you panic-stricken by missing a message, turning off your tweets or failing to file a status? Does your blood pressure rise when your battery life falls? When you lose reception, do your marbles go with it?
If the answer is to any of these is ‘yes’, then it’s time to recognise the signs of Nomophobia. Otherwise known as ‘No-Mobile-Phone Phobia’. Google it. It does exist. A by-product of the technological world we live in. And it’s going viral. A recent study found 66 per cent of people in the UK feel the fear of separation from their mobile phones.
I have observed that someone who can’t bear to be apart from their mobile, will display other symptoms too. As interaction with your smart device increases, direct human contact decreases. I am calling this Mopho-delity. Or Mobile Phone ‘infidelity’. Definition: when a smart phone becomes the third person in your relationship. Continue reading →
It’s just gone 7 pm in the newsroom. The team draws breath after a busy live show. Some button their coats to leave. The late crew, including me, prepares to tuck into standard ‘ready meal’ fare and chew over the next bulletin. It’s then that the international horsemeat scandal gallops full speed into Wales. Positive tests for horse in processed beef products made here.
The tests, you could say, are an example of shutting the stable door once the crisis has bolted. But, nonetheless, UK officials had chased the horse round the food chain and across Europe to be brought home to their own backyard. Cue jokes about ‘getting the trots’ from ‘a stable diet’ and suddenly, my microwaveable lasagne was infinitely less appealing.
Remember though, the horse scare is not a health scare. In France, where my husband plays rugby, le cheval is a menu regular and recent ‘publicity’ has, in fact, boosted sales there. The question for the consumer here is not a medical one, but one of trust. Many of us may not necessarily be so bothered about eating horse. We’re more concerned about how it got there and what else might have snuck in along with it.
An oh so alluring aroma of sweaty kit pervades the hallway, the remote appears jammed on sport and strange refreshments of coconut water and beetroot juice are breeding in the fridge. My husband is home. It must be the Six Nations. Brace yourself.
One thing you can be sure of when the great tournament comes to town: everyone develops a penchant for punditry. From the die-hard rugby addict to the girl – or guy – who simply enjoys a dose of men in tight shorts (no shame – you know who you are!) – every fan becomes a sports critic. And to work in a TV station is to be at the epi-centre of armchair analysis. I have often experienced the awkward colleague avoiding interaction with me on team selection day. When Wales are ‘in camp’, the office is an extraordinary place for me to be. Home, on the other hand, offers the novelty of the ordinary.