More 4, Tony 0

It’s only a few weeks since new digital TV station More 4 was launched with a topical comedy drama about David Blunkett’s resignation over the Kimberly Fortier/Quinn affair.
It seemed like red-hot cutting edge stuff.
But, oh, how quickly it has aged! Blunkett’s been and gone again.
And with today’s resignation that hand of destiny which Tony Blair once felt on his shoulder is drumming its fingers.
The next one out the door is likely to be Blair himself.

A flickering light

TV pictures are showing yesterday’s memorial service to remember victims of the July 7 bombings.
On her way out of St Paul’s Cathedral the Queen was presented with flowers by a seven-year-old girl whose father died in the Aldgate bomb.
One couldn’t help but think that in a properly adjusted society that presentation would have been made the other way around.

When Harold Lawton returned to Rhyl in North Wales he carried on learning his French, eventually getting an honours degree from the University of Wales, Bangor, and a fellowship.
He then went to Paris, read for a doctorate in Latin and French Literature at the Sorbonne, and became a lecturer there.
This was the early 1920s and his story is remarkable because he first came into contact with the French language as a prisoner of the Germans in France during the First World War.
At one stage he was in a prison in Lille which inmates called the Black Hole because so many were dying of disease. The flu epidemic which struck at the end of the war swept through the building.
Harold is now 106 and his story is one of those collected by Max Arthur for Last Post: The Final Words From Our First World War Soldiers.
Another veteran Harry Patch says: “When I first came to the home where I’m living today, the room I had was right opposite a linen cupboard, and if I was half asleep, half awake, directly they switched that light on, it flickered, and it reminded me of the flash of a bomb. I’ve got over it now. It just takes time.” Harry is now 107. It is 88 years since he spent his 19th birthday in the trenches at Passchendaele.
William Roberts, 105, a former corporal in the Royal Flying Corps, states: “I look back nowadays, and I think of the Great War as a lot of political bull. There shouldn’t be wars. That war was a lot of bloody political bull.”
And Alfred Anderson, a 109-year-old former member of the Black Watch, adds: “I’ve been trying to forget war for the past 80 or so years, but wars just keep happening, and it’s ordinary folk who pay the price.”
Last words that are very much worth listening to.

BBC Radio Wales today asked shoppers what they thought about a new survey which showed that two million working days are lost every year to love-sickness (both getting and losing a partner).
One woman told them plainly she’d need a day off if her dog died but she’d be fine if her husband left her.

Well, did you evah!

Cardiff’s centenary as a city – and 50-year celebration of life as Welsh capital – was marked on Friday with all the party excitement of the air slowly passing out of a balloon.
There was, of course, a bun and booze fest for the great and the good at City Hall, attended by athlete Jamie Baulch.
I wasn’t invited and neither were most city workers who passed the special day doing the things city workers have been doing on Fridays since 1905 – giving thanks it was Friday and looking forward to seeing their families/friends/barman/mistress.
I did, however, see hurdler Colin Jackson making his way down Westgate Street, but I resisted the temptation to race him to his train.
Colin, I discover, went on to do poorly in the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing the next day. He was under-rehearsed, he said.
Maybe he got caught up in the event for which most people will remember Cardiff’s anniversary – the sight of scaffolding dangling in a stiff breeze from the former council planning offices off Wood Street.
The shell of a building, which seems to have been under demolition since Cardiff’s even less well-marked 99-year celebration as a city, looked particularly frail as sections of it toppled towards the bus station.
The event, as local newspapers like to say, caused rush hour chaos and must have made many commuters late in getting home for their Cardiff birthday tea.

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