Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Year of Discoveries; Having Launched This Column a Year Ago with a Glum Account of Christmas Disappearing into the Ceiling Via a Tower of Cardboard Boxes (Thankfully, It Returned Unscathed in Time for Santa's Arrival), I Thought It'd Be Nice to Share Some of What I've Learned Since

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Year of Discoveries; Having Launched This Column a Year Ago with a Glum Account of Christmas Disappearing into the Ceiling Via a Tower of Cardboard Boxes (Thankfully, It Returned Unscathed in Time for Santa's Arrival), I Thought It'd Be Nice to Share Some of What I've Learned Since

Article excerpt

DESPITE a minority of silly nay sayers, whose reasoning de-fied common sense of every kind (and sometimes descended into the land of plain crazy), a law which decreed people who love each other are allowed to get married (when you say it like that, it's hard to believe it was ever not the case isn't it?), was passed.

From March 29, 2014, people who want tell the world they love each other (and have a certificate to prove it) can do so, whether it's two grown up boys, two grown up girls or one of each. As a two-year-old, it's nice to know that whoever I end up falling in love with (and let's face it, I'm going to have my pick of the bunch), I'll be able to call myself a wife, should I wish to do so.

In addition, I'm also thrilled the chances of me becoming a bridesmaid have dramatically increased. A toy box clearout offers a perfect illustration concerning the principles of organ donation - and I'm not talking my Fisher Price keyboard. Big Bro Fred took some convincing, but finally came around to the idea it was only right to give away the toys he had loved but no longer played with, to children who needed them. In addition he ended up agreeing with Mum's assertion that anyone who would accept toys or associated gifts from another person's pre-loved collection, should be made to promise to give items from their own collection, once they were finished with them.

There remains a widely-held opinion that once you get to a certain age, you relinquish financial responsibility for looking after yourself - even if you've spent the past 60, 70 or 80 years doing just that and have a wedge of money and/or assets at your disposal. Apparently, there comes a point where the state will become your fairy godmother - no matter what your balance sheet says - and at this point, you're allowed to metaphorically tie up your lifetime spoils in a big pink bow in preparation for posthumously passing them on to your nearest and dearest.

This is crackers.

So what if you've paid national insurance all your life? The clue is in the name people. It insures you against things not going so well, so that there will be money and benefits there should you need them. It shouldn't mean a guaranteed goody bag (including a free bus pass, a TV licence and PS200 for help with the heating) for those who don't need it one bit. Of course because so many people would be affected by a change in the current universal nature of these freebies, there are very few people in David Caterpillar's sideboard, or indeed their associated shadows, who would dare to suggest a change for fear of not getting as many votes next time the ballet boxes pirouette in.

The arrival of a royal baby - future king or otherwise - has little impact and certainly does not warrant the amount of pre-birth screen time it apparently dictates. …

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