Howard Croft column: Relieved the month of ‘fake factoids’ is over

A hectic long weekend, thankfully now behind us. As usual, we were invaded by people looking for an inexpensive holiday, the huddled masses yearning for it to be free. I don’t remember inviting any of them, but I suppose something must have been said. The most striking feature of these invasions was that every member of every boarding party brought along at least one, in some cases several electronic devices; mobile ’phones, iPads, iPods, tablets, games consoles (which do not console – not me anyway). All arrived with flat batteries. I estimate that at least two items per person were sipping away at my electricity supply at some point during these visits. No wonder, then, that I now buy most of my clothes in charity shops.

In some areas children are now obliged to wear goggles while playing conkers.

Howard Croft column: Meddling aberrations by agents of the state

I read some time ago that the social services department in one of the counties (not in this region) had declared that the three main factors that definitively bar couples from adopting are smoking, obesity and dog ownership. Dog ownership? It is well known that social workers are keen on controlling the future, but how do they feel about the possibility of future dog ownership – take back into care an adopted child if the adoptive parents suddenly take it into their heads to invest in a cocker spaniel?

Now is a good time to think about your childrens health as the new school term has just started.

Donna Peters column: Boost your child’s energy and their immune system

I can’t believe it is September, where did the summer holidays go? Hope you managed to top up those vitamin D levels with a little sunshine, because the nights are already starting to close in as autumn approaches.

University of Bristol

Howard Croft column: The duke of hazard as viewed by students

It was with great sadness that I read in the Daily Telegraph an obituary of the 11th Duke of Beaufort. I never knew him, of course; dukes are pretty thin on the ground these days and new ones are no longer created, apart from for members of the Royal Family, and my social circle does not include one, select though it is. It would be a good idea to have a duke or two appearing on the honours lists from time to time, honouring a particularly skilful sportsman, perhaps, or a popular musician. Geoffrey Boycott’s name springs at once to mind, as does Ringo Starr’s. Boycott would be a splendid choice as he has recently 
expressed dissatisfaction with the honours system and it might shut him up.

Those with student loans are required to pay promptly  there is no obligation placed on HMRC to act promptly.

Howard Croft: Student loans system is a taxing process

I have for some time been vaguely aware of concerns about the administration of student loans, but I have never had a serious conversation with anyone about it.

Bill Bryson

Howard Croft column: Not-so-easy entry into UK – how times change

The writer Bill Bryson, an American, came to Britain as a young back-packer, met and married an English girl he took a fancy to and settled in the Yorkshire Dales where they started a family. In due course he returned to America with a view to giving his children a taste of life in America. He wrote a book, I’m a Stranger Here Myself, describing his experience of settling in an unfamiliar America, along the way making comparisons between America and the UK, some unfavourable to the UK, some not. I read this book when I was adjusting to life in America and was delighted by how like my own his experiences had been. How did we, Bill and me, cope in a country where Polyfilla is called Spackle?

Postal votes are freely available on a come-one-come-all basis.

Howard Croft column: Carefree world of our postal voting system

Several years ago, when I realised that I would have to visit the United States at a time when a general election was being held at home, I applied for a postal vote. This was a concession rarely granted, as was widely known, and only for what were regarded as excellent reasons by some sceptical jobsworth . A scheduled holiday would not qualify, nor would being confined to a wheelchair. Business travel was regarded as borderline and my application had to provide such details as departure dates, destination, nature of business, names and addresses of overseas business contacts and evidence that an airline ticket had been purchased. All of this had to be supported in writing by my boss, who of course was easily fixed, who would assert that under no circumstances could the plan be postponed.

The husband and wife African head carvings taken for valuation to the Antiques Roadshow.

Howard Croft column: Antiques Roadshow was head-turning experience

When I lived in Africa I came across a wood carver/sculptor called Job Kekana who had started working in wood when he was a young boy herding his father’s goats. His work, some of which I had seen in the house of a friend, is unusual in that the busts he produced resembled actual people, unlike the rather stylised figures widely produced by African carvers for tourists, usually out of soap stone.

Hot water with lemon encourages bile production which helps the liver excrete toxins.

Health column: Love your liver

The liver is a marvellous piece of kit. Without it on top form, your hormones are going to be totally out of whack, and you’re going to have all kinds of problems with weight gain, cellulite and low energy.

Hull is the 2017 European City of Culture.

Howard Croft column: Only credentials – being someone’s grandfather

We went down South to attend a celebration of my daughter’s birthday. Although not a significant one, the birthday that is, not the daughter, the celebration seems to involve a number of events of which I was lucky enough to be invited to one.

Pedestrian warning light similar to the feature fitted on BMW cars.

Howard Croft column: Not convinced car safety feature is right approach

We are a two car family. I have a 1969 Morris Traveller in British racing green, much admired in my locality, but with little in the way of driver support systems. A fuel gauge that gives vague and unreliable readings and a red light that when lit indicates trouble ahead, also vague. That is it.

The weather forecast with Trevor Appleton.

This week’s weather with Trevor Appleton

This week the forecast is changable with sunny spells and scattered showers.

Reproduced copy of the 1942 pamphlet issued by the US War Department.

Howard Croft column: War book helped Yanks cope with British way of life

John Elduff, a friend and former colleague from my time working in the United States, recently lost his father, James, at the age of 96. I was invited to a few family occasions, Independence Day parties mainly. It gives you a warm feeling when formerly oppressed colonial slaves invite you to join them in celebrating their escape from under the imperial jackboot.

St Mary's Priory Church, Old Malton captured by reader Nick Fletcher, of Norton.

Howard Croft column: Thorny planning issue of roses in the churchyard

There is in the Church of England a requirement to obtain what is called a “faculty” from the diocese before making any alterations or additions to church buildings or land. It is, in effect, the church’s own planning department and similar in its operation to local authority planning departments.

The Bactrian Camels at Flamingo Land are moulting at the moment.

View from the Zoo column with Michelle Dennis

It’s that time of year when our Bactrian camels are shedding their hair! This natural process happens annually, and makes our camels look very shabby.

FAMILY COLUMN: ‘I’m a mumsy mum - and proud of it’.

FAMILY COLUMN: ‘I’m a mumsy mum - and proud of it’.

Flicking through photos in preparation for our son’s third birthday this week, I was beaming.

Telephone fault led to a lengthy online conversation via a Talk Talk chat room.

Howard Croft column: Analogue man’s struggle with digital technology

I was described recently as “an analogue man floundering in a digital world”. In so far as I was able to attach any meaning to this doubtless clever remark, I did not sense that I had been paid a compliment, probably because it was delivered with a self-satisfied smirk and a top-dressing of contempt.

To deal with Irritable Bowel Syndrome the first step is to find the root cause.

Donna Peters column: Three-step plan for a healthy digestive system

The health of our gut is paramount. If our digestive system isn’t working properly it can have a negative impact upon our overall health. Researchers are saying that keeping our gut healthly and restoring the integrity of the gut lining will be one of the most important factors in supporting our overall health in years to come.

The happy couple  Michael and Chloe Foley pictured on their wedding day.

Howard Croft column: Suited and booted for a magical family occasion

About ten years ago, when I retired, I threw out all my suits except one, declaring it to be my funeral suit. Mrs Croft mistook my intention, which was to dress respectfully on solemn occasions, and believed that it was my wish to be dressed in this outfit when my turn came to be boxed up. Neither of us has viewed this suit in quite the same light since. The result was that I was taken into York to buy, under close supervision, a suit for the wedding of our nephew Michael, whom I tried with a dismal want of success to train how to blow his nose. Luckily, he had mastered this complicated task in time for his interviews for a place at medical school, but it was close. His new wife, Chloe, is also now a doctor. How will that work, I wonder – a household in which no diagnosis goes undisputed?

Belfast City Airport was renamed in honour of football George Best.

Howard Croft column: Re-writing the past in search of Maid Marian

I have always approved of our custom of naming airports and other facilities in a way intended to be of practical value to the public. Other countries, notably the US, tend to name them after people, often while they are still alive. Having lived in America for several years, and before that been a frequent visitor using internal flights, I have a reasonable knowledge of airports, but I have no idea where George Bush Airport is. With Leeds-Bradford you know where you are, even if you might not know where you are going.

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