Opinion

Opinion

Howard Croft column: Flirtation with clubland has left a lasting memory

I suppose that I am not the first to discover that when you reach the dark side of seventy more time is spent thinking about the past than contemplating the future. This is a time when long forgotten events and people re-emerge with great clarity, providing fresh anecdotes with which to bore one’s friends. As a young man I was constantly surprised that my father, who was a long distance lorry driver, could recollect in great detail the circumstances surrounding a puncture that had inconvenienced him near Scotch Corner several decades earlier, but regularly confused the names of his grandchildren of whom there were only four.

Lifestyle
Anti-fracking campsite near Kirby Misperton.

Howard Croft column: Traffic streams as Mrs C heads for the river . . .

Reports last week of two local issues: traffic hazards in Haymarket Road, Malton and concerns about the increasing problem arising from the anti-fracking camp site near Kirby Misperton, also traffic related. The first seems to be a matter for North Yorkshire County Council, the second Ryedale District Council. Both seem to show a greater concern among what Councillor Lindsay Burr calls “the powers that be” for process than for outcome.

Lifestyle
A Treasury offical has advised office workers to cut back on cake and sugar-loaded treats in the office.

Howard Croft column: Sticky bun police cook up more ‘well-being’ advice

A story covered in several national newspapers was so ludicrous that I had to check that it was not already 1 April. A “well-being” official at the Treasury has instructed the department’s civil servants to cut back on cake and other sugar-loaded treats in the office. It is a common practice among office workers to celebrate colleagues’ birthdays and other occasions by scoffing cake during their coffee breaks. This is clearly a “public health hazard”, the pen pushers have been advised, and unfair to their weaker brethren who find it difficult to resist “processed treats”.

Lifestyle
The dangers of eating burnt or overdone toast hit the national news headlines recently.

Howard Croft column: Stand firm in the fight against toast terrorism

Last week the Food Standards Agency alerted us to the dangers of brown toast and well-done roast potatoes, pretty common constituents of the diets of most of us. Analysis of these foods showed raised levels of acrylamide, a chemical of which I had not previously heard. Animal studies (using mice) “suggest” that acrylamide may cause changes in DNA and cancer in mice. This revelation hit the headlines in most of the national newspapers.

Lifestyle
Ryedale District Council are considering a proposal to move Pickerings Monday market.

Howard Croft column: What is it about councils’ obsession with car parks?

We are all familiar with post-Christmas blues and most of us will have devised strategies to cope with them. A couple of weeks skiing in the Alps works for some, especially the minor Royals, others hit the bottle, or lay off it, although the latter seems to me an improbable remedy. Mrs Croft is inclined to go shopping for things we don’t need; this year it is a new dish washing machine, preferably a high-ticket item engineered in Germany.

Lifestyle
County Hall,  Northallerton.

Howard Croft column: Was it incompetence and laziness or slippery connivance?

During Christmas week I drove through the redesigned junction in Norton, where Welham Road, Church Street and County Bridge meet. I have always been uneasy when negotiating that spot, largely because of poor road markings and signage, but also because of drivers incorrectly assuming they had right of way and others surrendering their right of way, thus creating uncertainty and unexpected vehicle movements.

Lifestyle
The Greyhound, near Henley, where Howard and Mrs Croft are being treated to dinner with their son, Edward and his wife.

Howard Croft column: My dish flops but at least no Des O’Connor records

For many years, it has been our custom for Mrs Croft and I to throw a party in late November as a sort of gateway to Christmas, usually for about 40 or so guests. We have occasionally had to cancel, but only for good reasons: last year, for example, we were nursing our now late dog Rosie following major orthopaedic surgery and a couple of years before that when we were laid low by the dreaded winter vomiting disease, always a worry in November.

Lifestyle
The party conversation turned to the excellence of the ice cream from Groovy Moo at Talbot Yard in Malton.

Howard Croft column: You get what you pay for – including ice cream

I attended a very pleasant lunch recently, on the occasion of a friend’s 80th birthday, during which the conversation turned to the excellence of the ice cream on offer from Groovy Moo at Talbot Yard (this was a gathering of deep intellectuals). Judging by the long queues outside their premises, I am not alone in admiring their product and certainly there was plenty of encouraging comment around the lunch table about quality.

Lifestyle 1
Derwent Medical Practice, Malton

Howard Croft column: Unexpected patient in the waiting area

I was first issued with hearing aids almost ten years ago, with a few replacements supplied along the way since then. One was crunched like a raw prawn by the dog, another disappeared during a walk on a cold and windy day, both incidents requiring a bit of creative story-telling at the audiology clinic.

Lifestyle
Who is responsible for pensioners staying warm this winter?

Tom Richmond: Whitehall’s cold shoulder to a matter of life and death

ON behalf of those senior citizens who simply can’t afford to heat their homes in order to stay warm this winter, I’ve been trying to find out who is taking responsibility for the issue of ‘fuel poverty’ after it emerged that 24,300 vulnerable pensioners and others died prematurely from hypothermia and related conditions last winter.

Opinion
Residents of Sudbury, Suffolk, have been asked to complete a survey regarding the moving of the bus station.

Howard Croft column: Latest example of council idiocy lands on my desk

When I retired and settled in North Yorkshire I imagined that I would be a frequent visitor to York, a city I got to know during my childhood and, later, when I lived there briefly. It has not turned out that way. I seldom go there – once or twice a year, perhaps – but a week ago I made an unscheduled trip there to buy a pair of gloves from the National Trust shop in Goodramgate.

Lifestyle 1
Flamingo Lands giant African land snails tuck into their pumpkin.

Flamingo Land Zoo column with Lindsay Taylor

At Flamingo Land, we have been very busy with Halloween activities! One which was on offer to the visitors was to carve a pumpkin.

Opinion
Catherine Scott: Is being a fussy eater really in your DNA?

Catherine Scott: Is being a fussy eater really in your DNA?

I have spent the best part of a decade coping with a ‘particular’ eater (she assures me she’s not picky)

News
Remembrance services will be held across the country.

Comment: In the line of duty

It is significant that younger war veterans should be playing such an active role in this year’s Poppy Appeal; humbling because time is now catching up on those who fought in the Second World War, it is also poignant because of the sacrifices made by brave members of the Armed Forces in more recent conflicts.

Opinion
The Brownlee bothers in action during the Rio Olympics.

Opinion: It’s time to move on

The main thesis of Anthony Clavane’s book, A Yorkshire Tragedy, is that Yorkshire has declined as a powerhouse in sport in lock-step with the passing of traditional industries.

Lifestyle
One of the bridges near the village of Preston-Under-Scar in Wensleydale which has had the old stone balustrades replaced with steel barriers. Picture by Dr David Brooks

Howard Croft column: Council’s disgraceful act of vandalism in Wensleydale

Retirement back to Yorkshire was a plan I conceived about thirty years ago and although there were times when I thought it might not become a reality, here I am. After ten years of retirement here my conviction that it was the right decision has not waivered.

Lifestyle 1
Jeremy Hunt is about to negotiate new contracts with hospital consultants.

Howard Croft column: Transparency in NHS needs to be universal

The proposal that hospital consultants should be compelled to reveal their earnings from treating private patients “as it will prove transparency” is very odd. It will not, of course, prove any such thing, but it may reveal vindictiveness. There are those who regard private medical practice as a repugnant wart on the pristine body of the NHS and morally questionable, but this will not satisfy them.

News
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, an injured girl lies on a bed as she gets treatment in a hospital in the southern city of Daraa, Syria, on Tuesday. Rebels fired rockets at government-held areas. One hit a primary school, killing six people among them five children and wounding 18 students, according to state-run news agency SANA. It said some of the wounded are in a serious condition

Mary Creagh: We cannot wash our hands of the Syrian people’s ordeal

I VISITED Lebanon last September and saw at first-hand the scale of the appalling humanitarian crisis spilling out from Syria and across the Middle East.

Opinion
There could be extra flights between Leeds Bradford Airport and Heathrow if a third runway is built at London's main airport.

Tom Richmond: Trains or planes, we need links that mean business

THE promise of extra flights between Leeds Bradford Airport and Heathrow needs to be placed in a wider political context.

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