The Edge Magazine April 2020

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the ISSUE NO: 282

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Only the poor pangolin didn’t ask for any of this. Like us, it is merely an innocent party.

FED UP I don’t know about you, but like the microscopic image on the previous page, I am getting a bit fed up with seeing how Covid-19 looks up real close and personal whenever it is mentioned on the TV news (forever). It’s a bit like when we see eery microscopic pictures of bed bugs. Or ‘something weird’ off Dr. Who. Although mixed in amongst all of the goo and the mess of blood curdling gremlins, there also appears to be something that looks as though they could be tasty sugar snakes, which is proper confusing and a bit of a head f ck.



The Edge Editor’s Column DON’T BLAME PANGOLINS Because they don’t ask to be killed, do they? Pangolins are the world’s most endangered animal that not many people had even heard about prior to the Coronavirus giving them such a bad press, yet they are the cutest and gentlest of creatures. More to the point, they play a critical role in their ecosystems, providing Planet Earth with an all natural pest control system, whilst mainly living on a diet of ants and termites. Unfortunately, they are also the most trafficked mammal in the world. For instance, in traditional Chinese medicine, their scales are used for a variety of purposes. The poor pangolins are boiled to remove their scales, which are then dried and roasted (a bit like bloody KP peanuts), then sold based on ‘claims’ that they can simulate lactation, help drain pus, and relieve skin diseases or palsy. Their meat is also a particular delicacy (not in the UK, it’s not), as is their blood.

We cannot see it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. We’ve all been given guidelines as to what we need to be aware of, as well as what we must do in order to minimalise our own individual chances of being at risk. Yet all I see people doing is buying excessive amounts of toilet rolls, even though no-one’s intimated that Covid-19 gives us the shits.

I LONG FOR THE DAYS But a matter of weeks ago, if you suddenly heard Boney M singing ‘One way ticket to the Moon’ on the car radio, you would no doubt get proper stuck into them and really give them a frank slagging off (slinging plenty of ‘F’ words at them for good measure). Only now, everything’s changed. Our entire outlook and perspective has changed, or at the very least it ought to have, if you’re not a complete ignoramus. And Boney M pretty much cease to be a major concern, albeit for but three or four irritating minutes. Oh how I yearn for such far blander times.

SILVER LINING The manufacturers of sanitising gel must be rubbing their hands together with glee right now. See, readers, every cloud has a silver lining for some lucky folk.

BOB FLEMING Come to think of it, I reckon The Fast Show’s Bob Fleming must have been the first recorded case sufferer of Covid-19 in the UK.

I WON’T LIE I won’t lie, this one’s been a bit of a difficult edition to put together. After all, The Edge seems somewhat frivolous compared to what’s going on right now. However, having said that, you really did ought to read the views of a genuine GP, Dr. Climie (page 7), Fogey’s Corner (page 24) and Kingpin’s column (page 26) as at least they’ll hopefully get you scratching your heads.

LOCKDOWN OK, so this is the very last little section that I shall probably write in an Edge mag for some considerable time, maybe ever. Who knows? It is 07:20am on the morning of Wednesday 25th March. We’re eventually reached lockdown. My wife’s out of work. I will be too, after this edition, and we’re both self-employed. So worrying times indeed. But more than that, much, much more than that, I simply want to still be alive when we eventually come out of this, and I’m trusting you feel exactly the same. So hopefully this isn’t The End, but maybe it is The End of a world that hadn’t been functioning properly for a good many years, and hopefully the NEW one will be so much better? THE EDGE Chelmsford CM2 6XD 0 77 646 797 44


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This bloke is called Duncan Golestani and he sometimes reads the early evening ITN news bulletins on the tele. Only The Edge reckons he shouldn’t even be on prime time TV at all. Or at least not until way after the watershed, for fear of giving any kiddies tuning in a dose of ’the willies’. Just look as those beady eyes of his. Ugh! They’re creepy. Can you imagine being Mrs Golestani waking up of a morning and her husband’s about 6 inches from her face, gurning at her. Jeez, the poor woman would probably soil herself. The only other person The Edge can think of with such a memorable pair of mincers is the late, great Marty Feldman, who I used to watch when I was knee high to a grasshopper. What a great comic he was. Sadly, he croaked at the age of just 48 in his hotel room in Mexico City, while filming Yellowbeard.

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“LOOK AT THESE FOUR-EYED FRUITCAKES!” Now, of course, The Edge magazine doesn’t want to be turning into ‘The Jan Attrell Show’, although that has got a bit of a ring to it. Only when The Polak sent me this photograph from West Aym’s London Stadium at the end of February, where the Whammers beat Southampton 3-1, your editor was transfixed by his ickle Mini-Me and naturally wanted to know more. “It’s me nephew,” answered Jan. “He looks a bit like the son you never had, lad,” said I. “He must be called Rory, surely, with that barnet on ’im. It’s a reet thatch, is that.” “He’s called Frank,” Jan told me. Well, that was it then, wasn’t it. Never mind any of your LOL business. I was practically hissing mesel’. “Frank?” I howled. (Because Frank’s such an old geezers name, isn’t it? The same as Len is. Or Bert.) “But he only looks about nine.” “He’s fourteen,” Jan corrected me, only you can sometimes never tell whether the other person’s starting to get the hump when you’re exchanging text messages, can you? So I tried to placate him by saying, “He actually looks like a right little legend. I reckon he should have his very own schoolboy column in the mag. What’s his surname?” “Murray,” answered Jan, who by now I reckon was wishing he’d never even bothered WhatsApping me in the first place, because I was genuinely keeling up. I mean, FRANK MURRAY. With a name like that, the poor lad sounds as though he’s about 74 at the very least, don’t you think? (Come on, readers, back me up on this?) Anyway, the match must have kicked off as I didn’t hear any more from Jan after that. But do you think young Frank (obviously christened after Lampard) looks anywhere near 14? Fourteen months, more like. Hell of an impressive mop for one so young though. Only there are two other things of note about this photograph. (1) Is that a little bit of bird shit on the empty seat next to feckless Frankie-boy? (2) Has Edge columnist Attrell only got one (singular) lower tooth in the centre of his mouth? Speaking of nephews, I had one, once (oh, we’re a broken, smashed up family, readers, and it’d take me all 32-pages to explain things, so I won’t bother) called Darren. Only it was his dad, my one and only uncle, who introduced me to football pretty much as soon as I could walk, who chose Ramsey to be his son’s middle name. After Sir Alf, of course. Just thought I’d tell you that, as I was starting to feel a bit left out and ‘nephewless’. But back to young Frank’s cherubicly smooth face and you can never imagine such ghastly ginger whiskers one day sprouting through his baby soft skin, can you? ”Eeeeee, they don’t stay young for long, do they?” my numerous auntie's (everyone and their dog was an auntie to me back when I was a nipper) always used to say about me. They weren’t wrong there. After all, this time in 4 years, Frank will probably be a lumberjack (or a drag queen).

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Coronavirus - a GP’s view “Interesting. Very interesting.” So said Barry Davies when commentating on Francis Lee scoring for Derby County against his old club Manchester City in 1974. And perhaps these words best describe the current situation concerning Coronavirus (Covid-19), writes GP Robert Climie. From a small outbreak but a few weeks ago in Wuhan (a long way away and nothing to do with us) to a global phenomenon. This is probably the first time in living memory that a large number of people know the names of not only the Chief Medical Officer, the Government’s Chief Scientific Officer and the Health Minister, Matt Hancock, who seems to get most of his pronouncements wrong (he’ll have to get rid of his Civil Servants). As doctors, we get regular updates about what to do if a suspected case walks through our doors. But where Covid-19 is concerned, this is currently: Stop examining the patient / put them and their belongings in a side room / tell them to call 111. And then, of course, to wash our hands for two verses of ‘Happy Birthday’ (I tried this once and did think eight minutes was a ridiculously long time, before realising they didn’t mean the Stevie Wonder version). What happens to the patient next I have absolutely no idea about, as so far, I have not seen any of them since. Medical stuff notwithstanding, the most interesting thing has been the ongoing debate about where to pitch the social response. Do we carry on as normal, accept that the virus will spread, and that most of us will be okay, but some of us will succumb? Or do we self-isolate, stop going to work, or attending sporting events, clearly to the severe detriment of the economy and businesses in general? Because it is entirely possible that either approach will, in the end, produce exactly the same results. From my own point of view, it has been fascinating to listen to the various opinions on Radio 4 and 5-Live and who is giving them. Even ‘money saving expert’ Martin Lewis, who I respect, pitched in suggesting “responsible panic-buying”, or words to that effect. I honestly think he should stick to lifetime ISAs for first time buyers. If the spread of the virus does take off and hospitals become full to capacity, how will we manage all of the normal day-to-day stuff, like diagnosing cancer, managing heart failure and asthma? What will happen to all those runny noses, blisters, splinters and minor illnesses that regularly turn up in A&E and GP surgeries? Perhaps in the face of what may well be a true National Emergency, people will become far more self-reliant, better neighbours and realise that cycling is by far the best way to travel. Now that really would be interesting.

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Hello readers. The editor has invited me to pen some dispatches concerning my expeditions. But first, perhaps a little background would be fitting, before my debut discourse to discovery. Now in my late fifties, I’m fortunate to enjoy rude health and am free from aches, pains and attendant lethargy. In fact, I retain an illusion of youth. I’m no Peter Pan, but I enjoy keeping myself fit and active and I fathom this is what continues to infect me with the same desire for travel and adventure I first possessed some 35 years ago. The big difference now is that I have the time (I’m retired) and the finances to indulge my ever itchy feet on a fairly regular basis. Though there has been a transition in my motives for adventure. It’s best captured in the phrase ‘Won’t pass this way again’, because that’s the sense I get whenever I visit somewhere new, exciting, exotic and enticing. Whereas in my youth I’d have put down a marker to return to said location for return-repeat revelry, not so now. It’s proper bucket list territory and sadly the list only has one column to tick. receivetheedgedirectto yourtabletorcough mixtureorlaptopor whereverthehellyou wanttoreceiveit withoutleaving yourhomeoryour officeoryour deckchair. it’sverysimple. allyouneedtodo isSUBSCRIBE

Late February and I find myself in a state – a Baltic one – Lithuania. This jaunt was a brief raid on the capital, Vilnius, to plunder its cultural delights. I could claim to be a cultured type (I attended the Rainsford Academy, no less) and attribute the attraction solely to the city possessing one of Northern Europe’s largest surviving medieval old towns with cobbled streets, many museums and an abundance of gothic, renaissance, baroque and neoclassical architecture. Fascinating, certainly. But my research had also revealed that within that old town nestles many historic drinking establishments (but more about those a little later). The low budget sortie - courtesy of Michael O’Leary’s yellow and blue Air Force - departed from Essex’s second airport (Sarfend airfield, or SEN to quote its IATA code), the location of which is a trip down Memory Lane aka Aviation Way. A mere thirty five years ago a regular Friday evening would involve a trip, usually in a mate's Capri or Cortina, down the A130 to the magical Zero6. Those who recall the 80's Essex clubbing scene will get all dewy-eyed at this point. But, back to the present, I was mightily impressed with my first experience of SEN. So easy to get to from Chelmsford by car, bus or train. All options get you dropped-off within a two minute walk of the terminal. A little gem it is and I’ll happily fly from there again. Flight time to Vilnius is under two and a half hours. The airport is barely any bigger than SEN and a 20 minute Uber or Bolt ride gets you into the City for about €5. My inexpensive lodgings were at the four star Vilnia Hotel, a cracking little boutique place strategically situated a very short stroll from the cathedral, Grand Duke’s Palace, and countless bars, cafes and eateries. Morning of day one I joined a free walking tour to get my bearings and to get some historical and cultural insights from a local. The multinational group of tourists learned a lot and laughed a lot with our guide, Ieva, during our two hour stroll. For example, did you know that in the late 14th century, Lithuania was one of the largest countries in Europe and included present day Belarus, Ukraine and parts of Poland and Russia? But four centuries later it had been occupied and divided by neighbouring powers. It didn’t re-establish its independence again until 1918, only to then be occupied by the Soviets, then the Nazis, and then the Soviets again. Not until 1990 did Lithuania finally regain its independence, but due to the horrendous atrocities (covered extensively in the city’s Holocaust and KGB museums) committed during these dark episodes, the nation still apparently struggles to

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have confidence and belief that it has a secure, free, peaceful and democratic future. I need to mention here that the Lithuanians have a marked inability, or seeming unwillingness, to smile, a fact they fully acknowledge. Who knows, maybe this is another legacy of those dark times of the 20th century. Polite they are, but smiles are absent from faces in the street or of shop and bar staff. Sadly, it’s just not considered normal to smile at strangers. A visit to Vilnius presents the opportunity to visit what claims to be the world’s smallest republic, Užupis. This tiny (148 acre) district of the Old Town declared its independence in 1998 and now has its own flag, constitution, president, anthem and currency, although it’s only officially used once a year on the 1st April Independence Day. A bohemian enclave, its population of about 7,000, including nearly 1,000 artists, make it a site of alternative culture with plenty of street and installation art. Right, let’s get back to the main event, those aforementioned historic bars in the Old Town. It is from these that the output from Lithuania’s 90 plus breweries is dispensed on draught or in bottles. Much of it labelled ‘craft’, the beer (alus) has many quirky styles, is typically non-pasturised, brewed using natural products and is invariably strong and extremely tasty. One of my favourite pubs was the splendidly named Špunka where I sampled excellent examples of stouts, porters, IPAs and weissen styled beers in a cosy bar oozing character. Perhaps though the most interesting tipple of the trip was the 11.1% abv Barley Bochet which describes itself as ‘caramelised honey and barley malt mead hybrid fermented with champagne yeast’. After five of those I'd defy even the dourest Lithuanian to suppress a smile. Drink covered, let’s consider the food. On evening two I chose to eat at Grey and, despite its uninspiring name, this ultra-modern restaurant churns out some great regional favourites along with innovative cuisine. My selection of pork shank with mashed potato, stewed cabbage and apple salad ticked all of the boxes for me. A typically mountainous portion of good quality Eastern European comfort food washed down with half a litre of 6% Bocmano Usai Lithuanian IPA, after which I waddled back to my hotel most contentedly. Lithuania population: 2.7m (Vilnius 580,000) Currency: Euro Time zone: +2:00 (EET) Language: Lithuanian A highly recommended inexpensive destination for a dose of Baltic culture and interesting food and drink. Go there, you’ll have fun. The Edge 01245 348256

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OXFORD Strangely enough, I’d never been to Oxford before. How about that? We drove over on a Sunday morning and the weather forecast was for sheer misery, only it turned out to be quite a nice day. Thing is, I hadn’t long turned off the M25 and onto the M40 when a warning light lit up on my dash, indicating tyre pressure. So I pulled into the next services and I soon heard air hissing out of my rear off-side tyre. So I whacked in a good 40lbs worth and soldiered on to Oxford and fortunately found a Kwik Fit. As you can imagine, the fella said I could do with three new tyres, only he couldn’t repair the one that was hissing as it already had a repair in its ‘near vicinity’ (as featured in The Edge’s February editions, when Colin at C&C Autos, on Navigation Road, sorted me out). He also couldn’t get the correct Goodyear tyre in until the following morning, so he suggested I go and try “the cheapest rubber emporium in Oxford” which happened to be quite near the Premier Inn we were staying at that night. Only when we turned up it was just five minutes ’til closing time (it was a Sunday after all) and a guy was frantically waving us away. But by this time the tyre was almost flat and I should probably now point out that these days I drive a car that doesn't have a spare and you’re supposed to put this gunk into it and then blow it up with a little inflating kit that came with the car, only that means you have to have a brand new tyre fitted for definite once you’ve done that, no matter how much tread you’ve still got left on it, which seems bloody stupid to me. So when the chappy clocked our predicament, he very kindly waved us in and undertook the quickest repair ever (Formula 1 speed) with a sort of a corkscrew and some kind of a rubber plug and we were on our way sharpish for the cost of but £15 which went straight into his back pocket. But you don’t want, or need, that sort of palaver when you’re supposed to be chilling out, do you? I then figured I’d drive into Oxford city centre and try nab some free parking (long shot) and came up trumps near the Port Mahon pub on St. Clement’s Street (OX4 1AW, if you’re as tight as me). From there we hot-footed it into the crux of the city and pretty much ventured into the first pub/restaurant that looked half decent, which happened to be The Plough in Cornmarket Street, where we had mussels in a white wine sauce, a pint of Birra Moretti for the missus (she likes that) and for yours truly a surprisingly superb pint of draught red ale (with Pacific in its title, I seem to recall) which really was a lovely drop. After which we had a bit of a mooch about for a bit, in the sunshine, followed by a couple of soya lattes from Pret (opposite The Plough) before wandering back to the motor, where the o/s rear tyre was still fully inflated (relief) and then drove out to Cowley (not far) to check into Lenny Henry’s favourite purple budget motel chain, only a couple of miles away. Unfortunately where some spotty early twentysomething oik was on reception with bleached blonde hair who positively stank of B.O. That evening I was going to be even more of a skinflint by taking advantage of a deal that Premier Inn offer their customers at the Beefeater right next door, only it was that rank in there that we settled for our own booze and nibbles in our room and watched Top Gear instead! CONT./


Queen’s ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ lyrics....sort of.

JEEZ! The Plough in Cornmarket Street, Oxford.

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all things chocolate. Cream eggs, mini eggs, Oreo eggs, hollow eggs, filled eggs, coated eggs and all the other types of confectionery that the chocolate bigwigs convince us we NEED to stockpile (rather than toilet rolls) in droves before they disappear off our shelves for another 11-12 months. This Easter in particular, the drive for us to stockpile our favourite ‘limited edition’ treats may well meet fierce competition in the form of hand sanitiser and pasta, but for now at least, the chocolate egg shelves are definitely the most well stocked in supermarkets for an age. In terms of chocolate consumption, Easter has become an event to rival Christmas and as always the fun does not stop there. Traditions have expanded beyond all recognition and whereas when I was a kid, I would be excited by a few chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday, nowadays there is bountiful pressure for Easter to last for days (perhaps even weeks in certain households).

MELLY MOO BAILEY So April is already upon us and apart from some much needed sunshine, a few typical showers, a worldwide pandemic with plenty of self-isolation, it also brings us Easter. For some, this celebration is steeped deeply in religion as arguably the most important event on the Christian calendar, whilst for others, it is the festival officially sponsored by Cadbury’s. Four months into a brand new year, ironically at a time when you’ve either just about lost your extra Christmas weight, or come to terms with that extra inch on your waistline, Easter bounces merrily onto the calendar and presents yet another perfectly acceptable excuse to eat our own body weight in

There are Easter bonnets to make (the bigger and more ridiculous/impractical the better), Easter parades to watch or partake in, Easter egg hunts to plan, the Easter bunny’s visit to prepare for, plus the more hardcore, discerning Easter celebrants will order personalised wooden crates and/or giant filled Easter bunny helium balloons for their child’s Easter treats to arrive in, weeks in advance. As a parent, it is far too easy to get sucked into these Easter Eggscapades, as you pick up ‘just a few more bits’ from a Pound Shop in passing, decide that your kids will probably be devastated if they don’t get a stuffed animal as well as eleventy billion eggs, and wonder if five Easter themed craft activities (inspired by Pinterest) is sufficient. In addition to this increasing pressure, every year my husband decides he wants the Kinder superhero egg, which always sounds so straightforward, yet very rarely is. They appear to be readily available, until the exact day you choose to buy one.

Surely the entire population must go into a Kinder egg buying frenzy exactly one hour before I decide to ‘head on out there and buy one’, resulting in a national shortage. Anyone would think they came with a REAL Superhero. Inevitably you will likely find yourself, much like my husband and I, in the early hours of Sunday morning, trying to finish off rhyming clues to an Easter egg hunt around the house (which seemed like such a fabulous idea at the time), wondering what actually rhymes with ‘kitchen’, and what in the name of fresh hell possessed us to ever start this. Not to mention the unsustainable, self-induced benchmark you are setting yourself for years and years to come. But all of the sweating, swearing and suffering in the planning is forgotten, almost as miraculously as the rising of Jesus himself, on Easter morning when you see the excitement on your little one’s faces, delighting in the fact that the Easter bunny has been and now there are chocolate eggs and treats (and maybe stuffed animals) to discover. However, it does have to be said that the consumption of said eggs, once the hunt is complete, must involve some form of control tactics if you don’t want your kids bouncing off the walls in a sugar induced frenzy until the summertime. My personal favourite involves strict rationing, as well as consuming some of the bounty oneself, once they’re in bed. Which, let’s face it, is probably the real reason you went so overboard anyway. So if you and your family find yourselves self-isolating, please rest assured that the Easter Bunny is exempt from social distancing, as he’s a ‘super spreader’ of chocolate covered joy. However you eat yours (or indeed how many and/or whose), be sure to have yourselves a most Eggscellent Easter, this month in particular!

OXFORD CONTINUED Forgot to mention, I spotted the lumbering giant that is Richard Osman in Oxford. Difficult to miss someone so very tall, but my oh my, what a scruffy twat he was. Maybe he lives there, rather than Billericay, which is where he was born? Could do, as no visitor to the city would surely turn up dressed so underwhelmingly. Anyway, come Monday morning, we once again swerved the charms of a Beefeater breakfast, drove to Thornhill Park & Ride and paid just £2 to park the car and another £4.80 for two return tickets into the city centre. You can’t say fairer than that, can you? But some pillock did toot me up in the car-park for driving along a bit of tarmac that was technically a no entry zone, only I’d checked and nothing was coming either way, and I was in a bleedin’ car park after all, with no harm done, so why didn’t the tosspot just mind his own business? It wasn’t a long journey by bus into Oxford City

Spotted this bloke in Oxford, dressed most inappropriately, I must say. Page 10

Unfortunately the bus journey into the city centre was not without incident Centre, only at one point the woman sat in front of us started to fairly twat her head against one of those pillars that separates the windows of a bus, which was all very odd, particularly as her husband didn’t seem to take the slightest bit of notice. Not saying that the wife and I are creatures of habit, but we headed straight back to the lovely Pret a Manger we’d visited the day before for some very much needed breaky, after our dinnerless evening of the night before, and, let it not be said, to protect ourselves from the grey, drizzle and gloom that was fast descending upon us from the great outdoors. No, it was not looking like a day that was fit for sightseeing, unfortunately, although Oxford does boast the biggest Superdry store (noooo, we did not venture in there) we had ever seen in their Westgate Shopping Centre. So, all things considered, would we go again? What, when Cambridge is just up the road?

Probably not. But that’s our fault and not Oxford’s fault. Because you’ve got to be into your historical buildings, haven’t you, and not let a little bit of drizzle put you off. Although if I confess that Gaudi’s architecture in Barcelona completely blew me away and made me feel all alive and excited inside, yet Oxford (and Cambridge) just doesn’t, does that, if not necessarily let me off the hook, at least explain a little bit about where I’m coming from? Having said that, it was lovely to just mooch about the place in the decent weather we enjoyed for an hour or two the day before, what with the added buzz of all the tourists in attendance. But honestly, the chances of me signing us up for an historical walk, taking in a few of the colleges, with a tutor, in the rain? Nah. Which is why Mrs Edge completely despairs of me so very much at times.

The most impressive Radcliffe Camera building, which I confess we didn’t see! The Edge 01245 348256

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wound up by Gareth and the boys more than likely not being able to replicate the promise they showed at the 2018 World Cup. Therefore we can relax for another year. Happy days. Do you see where I’m coming from?


NO WIMBLEDON Andy Murray gets more time to recover for next year instead. Result! NO GRAND NATIONAL Brilliant! More money saved on my wasted annual bets. IDEAL SELF-ISOLATION TV Cobra on Sky. Although maybe give this one a miss for now, as it could be a little too close to home, what with the current climate.


God, I miss it. That's four words I thought I would never hear myself say about the subject. Because now we have Coronavirus constantly in the media to replace it. However, I'm definitely not going to dwell on it. I'll leave that to others in this particular edition instead. All I will say is that once again, when any kind of crisis happens, you really do get to see human nature at its very worst at times, which is tragic.


That's what we need to do right now, even more than ever. Yes, things will most likely get worse before they get better, but use this current situation to take stock and do a revaluation of yourself, your lifestyle, what you think you most likely need, as well as those things that perhaps you don't. Also try to think of things that you wouldn't normally think of to help you save money and make a bad situation slightly better. Act before you need to react. Pre-empt. Do things that make you excited about the days/weeks/ months ahead. Surround yourself with good people and not the ones who drain your energy. And definitely learn to say ‘no’ when you need to. Here’s an example of trying to find good things from a bad situation. BOND 25 Yes, I am personally gutted that it's not coming out this month as planned, and has now moved to November instead, meaning I've got to wait another 007 months (see what I did there?) before I get to sit down and watch Daniel Craig's final hurrah. But if I flip it round and think to myself: ‘Actually, at least I've got something to look forward to seven months down the line, h’hey’, then I'm actually turning a negative into a positive (well, kind of/sort of). EURO 2020 Again, it sure is sad that this won't happen until 2021. But think about it. We now don't have to get all

The Outsider. This starts as a damaged detective hunting a serial killer, yet suddenly turns into a tale that has a fair few twists, plus a supernatural element to make it a fair decent binge watch. Friday Night Dinner is back and thank god, as it’s "a lovely bit of squirrel" as Martin would say. I’ll definitely be settling down with some crimble-crumble in front of the box to watch it. Brooklyn Nine-Nine. One of the best comedy series to come out of the USA in years. Catch seasons 1-6 on Sky/E4 box-sets or Netflix before season seven comes out later this year. Films to Stream The Invisible Man - a very good thriller that will definitely have you jumping at times. Mrs Polak’s rating: 8/10 Dark Waters - Mark Ruffalo stars as a lawyer looking out for the little man vs Dupont, the company behind Tefal and their production of Teflon items that have poisoned the waters of a town in West Virginia. It’s a two hour drama set well over a decade and shows his (Ruffalo’s) fight and determination to get justice against a corrupt industry that doesn't hold itself accountable for so much pain and suffering to others. Mrs Polak’s rating: 9/10 Oh and The Edge is now on Instagram so make sure you follow @theedgemagazine (not that Shaun knows what he’s doing)! And please tag us on posts for all of the good, positive stuff. Me too @jannyboy8. Thanks.



Let's use media platforms for showing the very best in people and start spreading some very much needed positive vibes to one and all. #positivethinking #onelife #bloodyenjoyit Much love and stay healthy. The GP (Ginger Polak) x

FYFIELD Ongar, CM5 0NS Tel: 01277 899464 Page 11

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That’s why The Edge has chosen RIGHT NOW to promote its radically new duel-purpose fashion range. However, on a serious note, we’re sometimes a pretty reserved lot, us Brits, aren’t we. Take, for instance, Mrs Edge. She works in a hair salon three days a week, obviously in close proximity to the folk whose hair she is doing. So I said to her, “Why don’t you wear a mask while you’re at work?” She said, “Well, I’d be the only one. I don’t want to scare the customers. And I don’t want to look like a wally.” Tut. Isn’t it strange, how in times such as these, we still give consideration to what we bloody well look like. Fact is though, I think I’d prefer to wear a mask when I’m out and about, but I haven’t done so yet. I’ve started wearing gloves at the gym though, but I suppose a face mask is still a little bit out of my comfort zone. What’s more, at the back of my (tiny) mind, there’s a part of me that thinks we’re all going to contract this damn virus anyway (well, most of us probably are), so the quicker we catch it, presumably the quicker our body can get on with the job in hand of hopefully dealing with Covid-19, and thus then further strengthening our own immune systems. Something along those lines at any rate. But who knows? The fact of the matter is that we don’t, not a one of us, which is naturally making matters all the more concerning. So what do we do? Wear a face mask? Wash our hands twice as often? Buy an obscene amount of toilet rolls? Start parading about in a rubber jumpsuit, complete with matching gimp mask (see below)? Or do we simply carry on regardless, as we’re British, after all?


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Strapped for time? Is that why you opted for a fake lawn? No, no, no, no, no. Wrong on so many levels. Artificial grass is helping kill off our precious wildlife because it does not provide food or habitat for god’s special ickle creatures. Who on earth ever looked at a roll of carpet (because that’s exactly what artificial grass is, to all intents and purposes) and said to themselves, ‘Yep, that’s the lawn for me!’

absolutely terrible for birds, butterflies and bees, not to mention creating yet further plastic pollution.” At the time of writing, The Edge has mowed it’s lawn thrice already this year, yet it’s only 3rd March. “OK, I’ll admit it’s not my favourite job, but a fake lawn really isn’t a viable alternative to my mind,” says Ye Olde E.E. In fact, here at ‘Edge Towers’, we’re even contemplating giving up some of our tradi-

Why ever would anyone do such a thing? But they do. Even though they kill everything that’s beneath them.

Here’s a few things to consider...

Yet that hasn’t stopped the growing popularity of ‘fake lawns’, but nor should artificial greenery be anything other than frowned upon. A bloke from the Wildlife Trust says this: “Laying an artificial lawn is like putting up a no entry sign to garden wildlife. Fake turf is

tional lawn to a wild lawn, in order to provide a home for lots of different insects and other minuscule wildlife, particularly bees, which seem to becoming an endangered species themselves these days. After all, what do we actually do with our lawns, when all’s said and done? Okay, so if you have kids, they might play games on them. But then that pretty much wrecks ’em. So instead, a lot of us just mow them and look at them and very little else.

Welcome some weeds. For instance, clover (‘Edge Towers’ has had plenty of that in its time) feeds the lawn with nitrogen. Don’t cut your lawn too short in the summer months as it will lose more water. Allow a patch of grass to grow and flower. It will attract birds, insects and invertebrates, while grass flowers are often very pretty. No matter how brown your lawn becomes (last summer ours looked absolutely shocking), it will always recover with rain. Water is an extremely precious resource, so please don’t waste it. One last thing about the laying of a fake lawn. At the end if its life it remains a nonbiodegradable product which will ultimately have to go back into landfill.

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There were no spooky Friday 13th March omens to report when The Edge visited Channels Bistro at the end of a somewhat trying week last month. Indeed, it was very much business as usual with plenty of people in both the restaurant and the bar, which was both reassuring and encouraging to be a part of. The Edge loves Channels. They’ve got it just right. Oh and they’ve now got Maltsmiths IPA (and lager) on draught and I just love a drop of that. Look at this beauty (above). Aged Wing of Beef (for 2 to share) with truffle & parmesan rustic chips, spinach, bbq tenderised broccoli and a choice of sauce (peppercorn, bearnaise or garlic butter) £47.95. And if Zoe is not the best maitre d’ in Essex, then I don’t know who is. If in doubt: EAT. When the chips are down: DRINK. The sooner we can all stop worrying and get back to normal, the BETTER.

The Stores Coffee, brunch & lunch

Opening Times

Tuesday- Friday 8.30am-5pm Saturday 9am-5pm Main Road, Great Waltham, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 1DE Tel ǻ 01245 362649 Email-

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“Life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans.” Surely there’s no better thought, realisation or quote than that to describe what’s been happening to us all these past few weeks. Like you, The Edge had plans and dreams of its own, and I figured that, come 1st March 2021, I might be able to start to put some of them into action. But that date has now pretty much been shot to smithereens. So, here we are. I’ve never been a ‘cup half full’ kind of a guy. In fact, I’ve always been a bit of a worrier, if truth be told. But honestly, what has been the point of all of my ridiculous fears and insecurities over the years? So if we get out of this damned, horrible mess that we’re currently in, and due to my pessimistic disposition, ‘if’ is the best I can come up with right now, then one thing’s for certain. That is, I need to change a few things about me and my life. And seriously, don’t you think you do too? Because let’s be honest about it, you’d have to be blind not to see where change is so desperately needed in us all. #thingscanonlygetbetter (hopefully)


Photo by Lurch


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FAMOUS EASTER BEER FESTIVAL Thursday 9th April - Sunday 12th April

Over 80 Real Ales & Ciders ‘Live Music’ every evening 8.00pm - 11.00pm Bar opens from 12-noon every day Food served all day long

THE WOOLPACK Mildmay Road, Chelmsford, CM2 0DN WoolpackChelmsfordCity

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Well, that’d hardly be a surprise, would it, in light of the current climate? I mean, just look at the number of advertisers who have cancelled in this edition alone since the virus struck, not to mention the numerous ‘fillers’ dotted here and there (as we like to call them in the trade). For almost 24 years The Edge has made it’s way in Chelmsford on the back of the advertising revenue it has managed to generate. Take that away and the only way it can feasibly continue is if (a) the government nationalise it, or (b) the general public step in to save it. So, that said, what would you fork out for a copy of The Edge, eh? Nah, I thought as much. As we know, these are seriously worrying times for us all, and as such, everyone desperately hangs on to what they’ve got, so I cannot say as though I blame you for keeping your sheckles in your pockets. But can The Edge bounce back from this? Can any of us? Who knows? We shall undoubtedly see. But gut instinct, which I have always relied upon, due to a lack of vital grey matter, tells me we ain’t going to get over this damned, dratted virus anytime soon, which is most definitely a bit of a kick in the ’nads. So maybe you’ll see me stacking shelves in a supermarket near you PDQ (and if you do, please say ‘hi’, as none of us can afford to be proud in times such as these). Have to say though, it’s been good while it lasted. Way back in September of 1996, my aim was simply to get one magazine out. Just one, and then see whether enough people liked it. So what can I say, other than a mighty big, grateful THANK YOU. And thank you too to all of The Edge’s wonderful contributors and columnists, many of whom have been in cahoots with the fanzine for many a year and without whom there is no way I could have kept it going. It’s so weird, it’s so stupid, because there have undoubtedly been times when I’ve felt like doing something else totally different, simply for a change. But when something is threatening to be taken away from you not of your own volition, then yeah, that certainly sucks alright. But hey, no doubt there are a lot of people far worse off than me and I just hope that somehow we can all get together and start to generate some of the ‘all for one and one for all’ spirit that quite frankly doesn’t even seem to exist anymore these days, which none of us are any the better for. So, the way I see it, the bottom line is, it’s all down to us now. Not the government. Not really. Just us.

Beosound of











member Experience




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ohnny Depp was originally meant to play the Invisible Man in a mega bucks action thriller tied into Universal Studios much touted Dark Universe series of movies, the first of which was the 2017 Tom Cruise led actioner The Mummy, reports Andrew Eley of Braintree Cineworld. The Mummy ‘unravelled’ financially at the box office after receiving a critical mauling, so Universal ditched those plans and Johnny Depp’s career has remained invisible ever since. Taking a different approach, Universal handed the reigns of The Invisible Man over to horror producer and directing duo Jason Blum and Leigh Whanell, who between them had previously worked on horror franchises Saw and Insidious. With a meagre (in Hollywood terms) 7 million dollar budget, this was clearly going to be a much leaner and meaner affair. Prior to this film coming out, I didn’t have much of an interest in it and thought that it was a going to be a cheap cash-grab using The Invisible Man name. I was also growing tired of horror films that where using cheap jump scares to get a reaction out of the audience (you know the sort; someone looks in a bathroom mirror, opens the mirror, closes the mirror, only now someone is standing behind them) which is what the lacklustre trailer seemed to imply. However, such strong reviews convinced me to ‘see’ the Invisible Man (cue: ‘But how can you actually see The Invisible Man?’ comments). The Invisible Man successfully creates an anxiety inducing sense of fear right from the get go. We, the audience, know right away that our protagonist, Cecilia (the excellent Elisabeth Moss) is in a dangerous situation even with very little actually happening. As I have already mentioned, I don’t usually like ‘jump scares’ as you can usually see them coming a mile off, but in this one, the sound of a dog bowl being kicked across a kitchen floor made me literally leap out of my seat (well, almost)! The film has a Hichcockian use of camera work that keeps the viewer guessing as to what they are actually looking at. Never before has a static shot of an empty kitchen been so eerie. The lower budget has clearly forced the creative team to come up with increasingly igneous ways to provide the thrills and this works to this film’s full advantage. Equally, the use of sound is vital to make it all work, and the music and sound effects are deafening, creating a real sense of dread and unease. Therefore, in my humble opinion (and not just with my Cineworld ‘hat’ on) this all new The Invisible Man demands to be experienced on the biggest and loudest screen possible. If you haven’t had the chance to ‘see’ The Invisible Man yet, then make sure you do so before it vanishes from cinemas.


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LIFE AS WE KNOW IT Life is pretty hairy-scary at the moment, isn’t it? This has really put Brexit in the shade. I suspect that by the time you get your hands on this particular edition the UK will be at a complete standstill, although hopefully we’ll be continuing to Keep Calm & Carrying On. I am, of course, referring to Coronavirus. I myself take a small daily cocktail of meds (for nothing too serious, I’m happy to report) so am feeling more than a little vulnerable. It’s almost tempting to hole myself up at home and hope for the best, but ‘life as we know it’ must go on. I always carry a mini bottle of hand sanitiser around with me in my handbag anyway, and do use it, so I’m simply increasing my hand washing and listening to any Government and NHS advice. But I’m not particularly paying much attention to social media as it often tends to turn a message of ‘Send reinforcements, we’re going to advance’ into ‘Send three and fourpence, we’re going to a dance’. I’m also trying not to succumb to panic buying (okay, so I’ve bought an extra pack of toilet rolls) as no one really benefits.

TALLY MAN Further to my piece last month on my shaky understanding of technology, I have seriously considered getting a video doorbell, as they do look rather useful on the TV ads. One reason, in my case, is because my kitchen is at the front of my house,

so anyone arriving at my front door can potentially see me. Now I’m not a total pushover, but my innate courtesy will not allow me to open the door, give the caller a mouthful of invective and slam the door on them again. I feel I have to at least engage with the visitor and listen to their spiel; are they trying to sign me up for an animal charity (always one difficult to resist), a new food box delivery, or just offering to help me to accept the deity of their choice? And what I like to do is hide. Yes, I do know it’s pathetic at my advanced age. I used to have to do it on occasions when the ‘Tally Man’ came around (you youngsters need to ask your grandparents about that one) and there wasn’t quite enough in that week’s coffers to pay him. So although I’m somewhat past lowering myself behind the sofa, due to creaking joints (mine, not the sofa’s), I can still manage to flatten myself enough behind a door, out of sight, until they get fed up knocking and go off to find another victim. Such subterfuge seems to work. The only drawback is that I run the risk of missing a friend that calls on the off chance. So perhaps I really do need to look at that video doorbell thing again and that way maybe I’ll be braver at saying ”no thanks” if I’m not face-to-face with anyone. And at least I won’t miss any of my friends calling on me either..

(BUNNY) HOP TO IT There are many weird and wonderful festivals, rituals and customs held

throughout the world, with the origins of some no doubt lost in the mists of time. These days we seem to have lost our way somewhat, where both Christmas and Easter are concerned, except to the joy of retailers (although I could happily eat a hot cross bun all the year round, and why is it that a chocolate egg always tastes nicer than a bar of chocolate?). However, here are a couple of beauties. On Easter Monday, The World Coal Carrying Championships take place in Yorkshire. At the century-old Beehive Inn, situated in Gawthorpe, the following incident took place one day in 1963. Reggie Sedgewick and one Amos Clapham, a local coal merchant and current president of the Maypole Committee, were enjoying some well earnt liquid refreshment when in bursts Lewis Hartley in a somewhat exuberant mood. On seeing the other two, he said to Reggie, “Ba gum lad, tha’ looks buggered!” slapping Reggie heartily on the back. Whether because of the force of the blow or because of the words that accompanied it, Reggie was a little put out. ”Ah’m as fit as thee,’’ he told Lewis, ‘’an’ if tha’ dun’t believe me, gerra a bagga coil on thi back an ‘ah’ll get one on mine an ‘ah’ll race thee to t’ top o’ t’wood.’’ (Coil, let me explain, is Yorkshirespeak for coal.) While Lewis digested the implications of this challenge, a Mr. Fred Hirst (not a man to let a good idea go to waste) raised a cautioning hand. ”‘Owd on a minute,’’ said Fred, and there was something in his voice that made them all listen. “’Aven’t we been

lookin’ fer some’at to do on Easter Monday? If we’re gonna ‘ave a race, let’s ‘ave it then. Let’s ‘ave a coil race from t’Barracks to t’Maypole.’’ (The Barracks being the The Royal Oak Pub). And thus was The World Coal Carrying Championships born. Alternatively, The Kanamara Matsuri (The Phallus/Penis Festival) is held around April time in Japan. Dedicated to all things phallic, this religious festival features penis-shaped lollipops, novelty penis glasses, giant penis statues, penis-themed souvenirs, phallic vegetable carving workshops, you get the idea? (I’m sorry, I just can’t resist a schoolgirl embarrassed giggle here.) “All will be well and all will be well and every kind of thing shall be well.” (Julian of Norwich) A very Happy Easter to you all.

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Back by popular demand! Hello again, readers. As if I haven’t got enough to worry about with the Coronavirus and the stock market crashing, a thought occurred to me the other day as I was clearing out my laptop’s junk box of all those dodgy emails we all get sent. You know the type. Like ‘Dirty Debbie’ wants to do all sorts of things to my gentlemanly parts, or ‘Sexy Tania’ wants to give it to me all night long. But what if they really did want to be doing all of those things to me and I’ve been unknowingly deleting their messages for years? Fair play to them though, as they’re very persistent, and perhaps the very least they deserve is for me to thank them for their interest, yet politely decline their advances? What’s more, is it only blokes who receive such messages, or do women get mail from the likes of ‘Donkey Derek’ or ‘Hot-Rod Harry’? I’ve never wanted to ask any partner of mine because then I’d have to admit that I’m in regular contact with ‘Dirty Debbie’ and her mates. I’ll let you know how I get on, as this is a concern I feel I can no longer ignore.


Well, last month I was writing my column sat beside St. James Bay in Barbados, whereas this month I was sat in a bar on Galé Beach in Portugal. I’m not sure whether our editor will be kind enough to share a photograph I took to capture the moment with you, because photo’s do take up valuable advertising space after all, but I enjoyed such beautiful blue skies all week long, which is a bit of a contrast to the UK. And I’ll be on yet another continent next month (Asia), so I’ll tell you all about that in the May editions. And yes, of course I will self-isolate myself in my home immediately after my trip until 2022, in view of the risk of Coronavirus to my neighbours in Little Waltham.


As previously mentioned, it was my 60th birthday in March, although at the time of writing it’s not quite arrived, so I’ll save my stories about that for next month too. I certainly don’t feel 60 though (well, strictly speaking, I’m still not, so perhaps it hits you overnight and I will have woken up on 23rd March as a knackered old man. All will be revealed in the very next editions). In the meantime, I’ll carry on running my 18 miles per day, do the 3 peaks challenge, plus a triathlon every year, not to mention turning out for my local football club once a week. And yes, of course I am jesting. I don’t do any of those things. However, I did used to play 7-a-side football well into my forties with a bunch of my old school mates. Fourteen or 15 of us used to regularly turn up on a Tuesday night every week at The Brentwood Centre when two captains would be selected and then take turns in picking the teams. Naturally it was always a case of me being the last man left standing and one of them saying, “And I suppose I’ll have to have Deaks.” Mind you, these guys were all pretty decent footballers, to be fair to them, having played together since they were kids. In fact, some weeks I could even go a whole match without ever touching the ball. I honestly think that in 12 years of turning up, I never once scored a goal, but I would have carried on turning up too, as it was a damn good craic meeting up with all my old pals every week, and of course we always ended up in the pub afterwards. But then one of the lads, Brian Carter, said to me after one particular session, “Deaks, your speed is truly deceptive.” I said to him, “What do you mean by that?” (thinking he was about to pay me a compliment). Only then he said, “You’re even slower than you look.” Well, that was it for me. I never went again and yes, I did take my ball home with me too! Moving swiftly along, as regular readers will have gleaned from my last two columns, I’ve certainly been racking up the air miles of late and I’ve discovered something of a life changer that is for sale in airports to all global travellers. Oh yes indeed, to be found amongst the neck cushions, eye masks, travel plugs and case locks in the Duty Free area I actually found a fart absorber that allows you to pass wind freely on long haul flights, or on any haul flights, I guess, without fear of stinking out your immediate passengers. No, I am not kidding either. In fact, the best way of describing this to you is to imagine a foam banana, similar in size and shape, that you place down your kets between your bum cheeks. It is composed of a revolutionary carbon infused foam that absorbs even the smelliest of farts at source and comes in a choice of two colours; beige or brown. But if I were you, I’d go for the brown one, and it’s fully washable, so you can use it again. Indeed, you could even share it with family members, I suppose. Although one thought did consume my mind as I was about to board my flight, and that was: ‘I wonder whether men are ever tempted to have a crafty sniff of them when they remove them from their pants after a 10 hour flight?’ I’ll bet they (always) do. N.B. And for your information, no, I did not buy one!


And on that informative revelation, I must leave you for yet another month. But don’t forget, I have a milestone birthday to celebrate, as well as the birth of my very first grandchild to tell you about in April’s editions, not forgetting my former exploits at Coughdrop Bollock & Bellend. So don’t miss out - reserve your copy today! TTFN DEAKS.



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I wrote this month’s missive sat in a bar on Galé Beach in Portugal. I’m not sure whether our editor will allow me to share this photograph with you, as photo’s do take up valuable advertising space, you know. But if he does, as you can see, I enjoyed some beautiful blue skies all week long, which is a bit of a contrast to the UK, eh? The Edge 077 646 797 44

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FOOTBALL I am writing my column on Monday 16th March, so it is nigh on impossible to do so without referring to Coronavirus. It's still too early to tell what the full implications of this virus are going to be, but what we do know is that it is incredibly infectious and dangerous, particularly to the elderly. The measures introduced by the government stop short of introducing bans for sporting events and large public gatherings. This has led to the public and some medical experts questioning the efficacy of the government’s policy. Given the ambiguity around government advice, I think both the Premier League and the EFL have taken the right decision to postpone all football fixtures until the beginning of April at the very earliest. Whilst that decision may be disappointing to some, it is clearly in the interests of public health. What is now difficult to understanding is whether or not the football season will be concluded. In the Premier League, Liverpool have been far and away the best team and are only two wins away from securing their first title in 30 years. Some commentators are suggesting that the fixtures will not resume at all, and however disappointing that may be, in those circumstances, I cannot see how the title can be awarded to them. While most unlikely, it is still mathematically possible for Manchester City to catch them and,bearing that in

mind, it is therefore impossible for Liverpool to be crowned champions. My view is that the season has to be completed and therefore it seems sensible to delay Euro 2020 until 2021, in order to give a window of opportunity for the 2019-20 season to be finalised. At this stage we clearly don't know how long this terrible virus will last for and, if it extends throughout the summer months, then the season has to clearly be written off; null and void. In such circumstances, I think it's only fair that the top two teams in each and every football division be promoted. Then, over the next couple of seasons, there should be an additional relegation spot. Adopting such a method, over the course of the next two years, the balance of teams will be returned to normal. I also think all European club competitions should be scrapped this season, with the teams that started out in those competitions last summer/autumn being reinstated next season. While some may be unhappy with that approach, in such truly unprecedented times, what other solution is there? Lots of people are saying that the cancellation of sporting events is an overreaction but, simply put, if these measures prevent even one person from dying, then it will have been worth it. Regardless of what Bill Shankly once said, life and death really is more important than football (especially if it means West Ham don’t get relegated)!

BATTLE OF BRITAIN Didn’t Tyson Fury make light work of Deontay Wilder in their recent rematch in the States? That really wasn't a big surprise to me as Fury is a very technically capable boxer with a most unorthodox approach. Wilder, on the other hand, solely relies upon his incredible punching power. Fury was fully aware of that fact and knew exactly how to avoid his opponents looping right hand. If truth be told and you ignore all of the excuses, Fury gave Wilder an absolute masterclass in boxing. Lots of commentators are now saying that Fury is the best boxer in the world, and I agree, as it is hard to imagine otherwise. However, I think that they continue to underestimate Anthony Joshua. What people seem to forget is that Joshua is an Olympic gold medallist and, therefore, an incredibly talented, technically gifted boxer. What's more, Joshua not only has the power to knock Fury out, but also the technical nous to adapt his style. I'm not saying that Joshua is favourite going into any bout against Fury, but I do think their eventual fight will be much closer than most people think. However, disappointingly, given the politics involved in boxing, I don't think we will see Fury and Joshua come together when they are both in their prime. But seeing as they hold all of the belts between them, this fight really ought to be taking place at some point in the not too distant future.

Billy Hinken THIS COUNTRY If you haven't seen This Country on BBC3 then I strongly suggest that you give it a watch. The show is a fictional documentary based on life in rural England. It follows the (mis)fortunes of Kerry and Kurtan who are young adults growing up, with the guidance of an incredibly patient vicar, in a small village where not a lot goes on. It has a number of similarities with The Office (not least due to one of the main characters looking a lot like Gareth) and I am pleased to report that in my view, it is equally as funny. Everyone who watches it will know a Kerry, Kurtan or Mandy, regardless of where they grew up, and their antics will resonate and bring back similar memories for most. It starts off a little slowly and takes a while to get used to what is going on, but do persevere with it.

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My kids have been jumping on the bed, throwing couch cushions, and slamming kitchen cabinets for the past hour. Normally I'd intervene, but hey, today’s the day when this is between them and the staff at IKEA.

HERCULES John Cleese’s young nephew?

LIBIDO I went to the doctors feeling tired. He said, "How's your libido?” I said, "What do you mean?” He said, "Do you feel like having sex?” I said, "Well yes, okay. But we’ll have to be quick as my husband's outside waiting in the car.”

AA MEETING Went to my very first AA meeting. When it was my turn, I stood up and said, “Hi. My name’s Morris and I think I might have a Minor problem.”

SLOWLY EXHALES "Mummy?” the small human who has a room upstairs asks. "How did you choose my name?” Mum slowly exhales and rubs her temples. "Look, you know how places with lots of hills are referred to as ‘hilly’?” "Yes,” says Billy.

BUD LITE A young chap walks into a bar in Soho and asks for a Bud Lite. The Barman says, "Are you 18, sonny?” "No,” the young chap replies. "Then I can’t serve you,” says the barman. "Jeez!” screeches the young chap, immediately throwing an instant hissy-fit. “This is the third bar I’ve been in this afternoon and no-one will serve me. Just what does a sexually promiscuous 20 year old guy have to do to get a drink around here these days?”

HAUNTED My housemates think this place is haunted, but I’ve been living here 247 years and I’ve not noticed anything weird in the slightest.

KISSING A guy and his girlfriend are kissing in his car. Guy: [Gulp] "Oh dear. I think I’ve just swallowed your bubble gum?” Girl: "No way, you can’t have. I just have the sniffles.”

TUBA Dislocated my jaw playing the tuba. Now that it’s better, I decided to get some proper lessons. First lesson was how to blow through the little end. Doh!

SWEDISH AU PAIR Young Tommy was looking through the au pair’s key hole. His mother walked by and said with a grin, ”Why are you so concerned with what our new Swedish au pair is doing, Thomas?” ”I’m not,” young Tommy says. “I was just wondering what dad’s doing in there?”

FILM CRITICS What you fail to see in the film where Princess Leia is chain-choking Jabba to death is his giant sluglike erection.

TWINS I know, I know. A man of my age ought to know better. But in my defense, I’d had a stressful week, followed by a few too many drinks on a Friday night, when some couple passed me by dressed exactly the same, as though they were middle-aged twins, and I don’t know what came over me, but I started to take the piss out of them. Which is probably why they arrested me.

CHICKENS Damn it! I’ve just found out cockfighting is done with chickens. Well, that's my last 12 months of training gone right down the pan.

TEPOLE POO Dyslexics are tepole poo, you know?

QUESTION How long after someone has died before you can legally dig them up, take their jewellery, and claim it as an archeological find? [Just asking for a friend]

ALABAMA STATE TROOPER A couple of tourists are driving through Alabama after a game of golf when they get pulled over by a State Trooper. He walks steadily up to the car and taps on the driver’s door window. The driver winds his window down and the trooper immediately whacks him on the head with his night stick. "What..???” starts the man. "WTF was that for?” "It’s the law in these here parts that if you’re pulled over by the cops, you immediately have your details ready,” explained the trooper. When he’d got them, he walked steadily back to his vehicle and got on the blower. After a few minutes, he came back and said, "Everything appears to be in order.” The driver says, "Thanks very much, Officer. And I apologise about my details. I’m just a tourist. I’m not from around these parts.” The cop nodded, then walked steadily around the front of the vehicle to the passenger side and tapped on the window. The other guy rolled down his window and the cop smacked him straight in the mouth with his baton. He said, "Just making your wish come true, son.” "What the hell are you talking about?” stammers the passenger, teeth and claret everywhere. "Make what wish come true?” "Yeah, yeah,” the cop drawls. "But you know and I know that not five minutes down the road, you’d have been saying to your partner here how you wish I’d tried that shit with you.”

EMBARRASSING PROBLEM A bloke goes to the doctor’s surgery with an embarrassing little problem. His name eventually gets called and to his horror he finds out that the doctor he is seeing is female. "What seems to be the problem?” she asks.

"I don’t want to show you,” he says, timidly. "Oh I can assure you I’ve seen many odd things in my time,” says the doctor. “Don’t worry, it’s all just anatomy to me.” So the man drops his trousers and points to his wedding tackle. The doc balks and splutters under her breath as best she can at the sight of the smallest penis she has ever seen in her entire life. It’s about the thickness of a pencil and as long as the rubber on the end. But very professionally, she asks the man to explain his problem. "It won’t go down,” he says.

FIRST GUITAR Noel Gallagher picks up his first guitar. "What’s this knob at the front for?” "That's your brother. He wants to be the lead singer.”

ADULT STORE A guy worked in an adult store. One afternoon a friend walked in. The guy said, “Hey dude, thank goodness you showed up. I am Hank Marvin. I’ve eaten all my sarnies and drunk all my coffee, so can you watch the store for me for a few minutes while I run across the street to get something else to eat?” The friend looked around the store, then looked back at his friend vacantly. The guy said, “Dude, don’t ask any questions, just sell it to ’em.” His friend said, “Okay”. So the guy left for the deli immediately. A minute later, a customer walked in and came up to the counter. She said, without a hint of embarrassment, “I want a vibrator. What do you recommend?” The dude said, “Well, by the looks of it, we got red ones, white ones, black ones, big ones, little ones and medium sized ones.” The lady said, “I’ll take a little red one to carry around with me in my bag.” So he sold it to her. A couple of minutes later, another woman walked in. She approached the counter and said, “I would like to buy a vibrator, what do you have?” The dude replied, “Red, black, white, large, medium, small.” The woman asked, “What about the red, white and black checkered one up there?” The dude said, “It’s yours if you want it.” And with that, he sold it to her. A few minutes later, his mate came back from the deli. “Hey thanks, dude,” he said,” you’re a life saver. So did you sell anything?” The dude said, “Sure did. I sold a little red vibrator and your empty thermos flask.”

WTF She comes home suddenly and walks in on me. "Wha...? WTF were you just doing?” I freeze. "Oh my God ... it’s … it’s not what it looks like.” "Were…” she starts, her voice breaking. “Were you just dancing to Michael Bolton?”

HEADLOCK “Hey, man, ease off with the headlock, will you? I said I was ‘into resting’, you idiot.”

CASUALTY Casualty is now up to series number 34. To keep it true to life, some of the patients from series one are just being seen.

HIPPOCRATES Are hippocrates just bloody big boxes?

All jokes published are supplied by Edge readers. Please send your ‘egg yokes’ to

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Yet another movie The Edge didn’t like, nor can it see the point as to why it was ever made. For self-made billionaire Sir Richard ‘Greedy’ McCreadie quite clearly read Sir Philip Green, and there’s nothing funny about him. Yet Steve Coogan appears on BBC Breakfast TV and says, words to the effect of, “We’re not making light of a serious subject, we’re just tackling it in a humourous manner.” Oh no you’re not, Coogan, because you ceased being funny a fair few years ago. In fact, these days, you can’t even do an interview without mentioning fecking Philomena in it, by way of inferring just how multi-talented you are, even though you simply cannot act very well. You’re just Steve Coogan who does voices that sound a bit like other people. Apparently this movie is not so much an attack on a specific individual (namely fat cat Sir Philip Green, yet who could have blamed director, Michael Winterbottom, had it been) as a more general exposure of an unequal system and the cruel market that creates such monstrous disparity in wealth between the cavorting owners of high street fashion chains and the poor fabric workers in distant sweatshops, who make clothes for a pittance. But does that stop people like moi buying two to three cheap T-shirts (the throwaway variety) in H&M every summer? No, it seemingly doesn’t. So far as The Edge can see, this movie patently isn’t funny, the storyline is distinctly lacklustre (fashion mogul’s 60th birthday bash in Mykonos) and nor is it making any hard hitting statements until right at the very end of the movie, just before the final credits roll, when it hits you with fact upon fact, in the form of written statements, that you’d do well to take in before they disappear out of sight. Then there’s the Syrian refugees on the beach. It’s honestly as though they’ve been crassly thrown in to make an obscure point for good measure. Unless, of course, they were already there and Winterbottom simply decided to film the movie ‘around them’? And what the hell David Mitchell and Stephen Fry (for barely more than a minute in the latter’s case) are doing in this myopic shit is anyone’s guess? It so annoys the hell out of me to come out of a cinema not really knowing what that which I’ve just witnessed, instantly forgettable as it was, is truly all about. Stuff of this nature is better left to those making serious, in-depth documentaries that get us all thinking deeply about the subject at hand, rather than cheap, frivolous tosh such as this. We should be seeing McCreadie (aka Sir Philip Green) for the arsehole he undoubtedly is and be loathing him in equal measure, rather than merely contemplating: ‘What on earth was Steve Coogan doing letting Melanie Sykes slip through his fingers?’ (which is all I ever wonder).

International Women’s Day took place on Sunday 8th March, which is a celebration raising awareness about women’s health, striving to improve gender relations, promote gender equality and highlight female role models from various industries and backgrounds. As part of the celebrations, more than 250 women and men from the Essex emergency services came together to take action for equality at Hyland’s House, Chelmsford, on Friday 6th March at the International Women's Day Conference 2020. The day was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate some of the inspirational women from different areas and roles in the force. The Essex Police Women’s Leadership and Development Forum (WLDF) worked together with Essex County Fire & Rescue, East of England Ambulance Service and the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex to host the conference celebrating the #EachForEqual theme of the awareness day.

Chief Superintendant Una Jennings of South Yorkshire Police The event featured inspirational talks from speakers including Chief Superintendent Una Jennings from South Yorkshire Police and Group Commander Nicola Lown from London Fire Brigade. Una Jennings, who has been in policing for 18 years said: “‘Get out of your own way’, that’s what my mother would say to me. She was such and remains a most inspirational person to me. I put my head down and let the work speak for itself. It takes some maturity and time to realise I belong here as much as anyone else. “The people that I get to work with every day are some of the most exceptional people you'll ever meet. You’re all heroes and heroines.” Essex Police officers and staff also hosted informative workshops, including Specialist Operations PC Dawn Wood, telling her tremendous story of her journey to become the second fastest woman to row solo across the Atlantic in 53 days, whilst raising awareness of plastic pollution. Essex Police also raised awareness and promoted a gender equal workplace throughout the month of March by sharing stories about their strong female officers and staff members, including the women that inspire them and their advice for women who are thinking about joining the force. LPA Chief Superintendent Tracey Harman shared her advice at the conference, saying: "I have been able to achieve so much and still bring up my two children. Essex Police has been fantastic in its flexibility, but also enabling me to take opportunities whilst still managing my home and family life. Often, we are our own barriers and put our own glass ceiling on ourselves. “I would advise anyone considering a role in the police to give it a go. Once you join there are so many departments to consider and the ability to try a lot of different roles during you career is immense. You’ll be part of a big family and you cannot underestimate the friendships and interesting people you will meet, both out in the public domain and also within the workforce.” Whether you would like to become a Police Officer full-time, back the front-line as a staff member, or volunteer part-time as a Special Constable, Essex Police are looking for dedicated individuals to help make a positive change within our community.


Feeling inspired? If you're looking for a rewarding and diverse career where no two days are the same, why not investigate further the opportunities available within the Essex Police family (see back cover). Currently recruiting at Page 23

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THIS IS PARTICULARLY WORTH READING, SO PLEASE DO! When I was a kid, Corona was a variety of fizzy drinks with exotic flavours such as Cherryade and Limeade, as opposed to the more mundane drinks offered by R. Whites. More importantly, there was a 6d (21/2p) refund when you returned the glass bottle. More recently, Corona was a light beer that used to be served with a slice of lime stuck in the top of the bottle. Whereas nowadays, Corona has a much more sinister meaning, as it’s the popular name applied to the Covid-19 virus. As I write, in early March, the world seems paralysed by the Coronavirus pandemic, with hotels in lockdown, cruise ships moored offshore and Italian football being played behind closed doors. We now know that it will take up to a year to develop an anti-viral vaccine, but that’s assuming the virus doesn’t mutate. If the current infection rate doesn’t change, we’ll be possibly looking at prohibition of travel, cancellation of all sporting activities, which will include not only various Grand Prix, Euro 2020, but quite possibly the Olympic Games, not to mention our own domestic calendar of football, rugby and many other events. So what is it that our Government isn’t telling us, and why is the British press getting so worked up about all of this? Newspaper headlines such as ‘Hunt Down Hidden Virus Carriers’, ‘Government to Lock Down Cities’ and ‘Nothing Can Stop Virus Sweeping Britain’ don’t help. As I write, there are nearly 200,000 cases worldwide, or 0.003% of the global population. In the UK, the infection rate is currently at 0.00026% of the population. But remember, of the numbers tested to date (some 50,000 people) who all had flu like symptoms, only 4% were shown to have Coronavirus. OK, here are a few true facts. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the Coronavirus is twice as infective as the Influenza virus. Masks will not protect you, but washing with soap and water for 20 seconds effectively kills the virus (the soap disrupts the fatty protective coat that surrounds it). Yes, it does occur in certain species, such as the pangolin, that may act as a reservoir for the virus, but so do many other infectious diseases and they don’t usually cause an epidemic.


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N.B. Just a note, the Pangolin is a small scaly anteater highly prized in China for its meat and skin that is considered both as an edible delicacy and incorporated into Chinese medical treatments. Very occasionally these viruses cross over into the human population causing transient outbreaks of infections, such as the SARS epidemic of 2002 (from bats and civet cats), the MERS outbreak of 2012 (from dromedary camels), and the Central/West African Ebola outbreak of 2014 (bats, chimpanzees and other forms of bush meat). Meanwhile, the conspiracy theorists are having a field-day. The web is alive with views that this is an escaped, manufactured virus from a secret Chinese laboratory in Wuhan. What is true is that the Wuhan Institute of Virology have been studying similar viruses for many years, but the theory that this was a manufactured virus has been rubbished by articles in many of the reputable Scientific journals, namely ‘The Lancet’ and ‘Nature’. One explanation for the confusion is that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is located near the infamous ‘Wet Market’ where bats and pangolins etc. were being sold (for food) and is attached to the hospital where the first cases of Coronavirus infections were treated. None of this is helped by a prominent US Senator (Tom Cotton of Arkansas) backed up by the US President’s former Chief Strategist (Steve Bannon) going on US TV to rant about Chinese duplicity and hiding the truth about the origin of the Coronavirus. But what do you expect from FOX NEWS? Even more absurd is the belief that Dean Koontz, in his book ‘The Eyes of Darkness’, which was published in 1981, foretold the pandemic of 2019-20 with a virus he called ‘Wuhan-400’. But it’s a novel, for goodness sake, not some form of prediction by Nostradamus! All of this just adds to and demonstrates the confusion and concern about the possibility of this becoming a pandemic. What is even more worrying is the knee-jerk reaction of the government with COBRA meetings (which stands for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A); the imposition of the ‘Civil Contingencies Act’ (effectively an Emergencies Powers Act) with the authority to shut down schools/public events, cancel various forms of transport and impose isolation on infected individuals. The government has declared this a ‘Level 4 Incident’, stating that 20% of the population may become affected while the economy is going to fall off the edge. But remember that not everything that’s happening is down to the Coronavirus. The failure of Fly-Be is due to poor management and the inability to fill seats on their flights - not Coronavirus. Similarly, a lot of the flights being cancelled by BA and Ryanair are down to travellers failing to book flights (due to the sheer worry about a possible pandemic). And be aware that cruise ships have always been a breeding ground for a whole variety of virus outbreaks; for example, in 2018-2019 there were ‘documented” outbreaks of Norovirus on 22 cruise ships affecting more than 60,000 passengers. Sound like a familiar story? At the time of writing we are in the Containment Phase (stage I) of the epidemic i.e. trying to contain the spread. Next up is the Delay Phase (stage II - if required) when they’ll start to ban large public gatherings etc. to prevent wider spread within the community, which may last a couple of weeks and then there will be a fall-off in the numbers infected.

T. 03453 403915 M. 07786 558875 / 07771 646942 E. Page 24

The incubation period of Coronavirus (Covid-19), according to the WHO and The Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta (US), varies from 5-14 days, during which time you are infective and can pass it on to others via droplet spread or direct contact. It’s for this reason that the WHO, the UK and other governments, recommend self-isolation for 14 days. If you have no symptoms after that, then you’re OK. The majority of people infected will have a transient flu like illness and after 14 days they’ll be unlikely to pass on the virus. And (sigh), normal life resumes. So a rare ‘well done’ to the government for commencing sick leave from the start of self-isolation for the full 14 day period. The Edge 01245 348256

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Here’s another word that has taken on a whole new meaning recently. Warrior. Now, a warrior used to be exactly what it says on the tin. A man (Boudica excepted) that went to war. So it might have been a soldier in the trenches of WW1, a Native American defending his land against thieving Europeans or even Genghis Kahn’s men raping and pillaging their way across the globe. The threat of potential physical violence against your person made you a warrior.

Greetings once again from the west coast. The relentless advance of Covid-19 means that as this monthly missive is being written in early March, and if the gloomy predictions are correct, it seems to be a bit of a toss-up as to whether there will be an April edition of The Edge to feature it. But hey-ho, chin up and carry on, right? So… The English language is a thing of wonder. Words come and words go, words change meaning and all the while nobody except dictionary compilers really takes much notice. Oh, and language pedants, but we’re a bit of a sad bunch really. Take the word wow for example. For decades it’s been an explanation of wonder. A particularly good firework display might have elicited a “wow” but that was about the extent of it. In the last year or two though it seems to have been hijacked by online opionistas. It has a very specific connotation on the web. It is used to refute an argument and imply stupidity on the other side. Whenever someone says wow in such a context it means ‘you moron’. The internet is such a joyous fluffy bunny type place isn’t it? Then there’s ‘elite’. In years, nay, decades gone by, elite implied the very best of anything. The word would be used sparingly and to be elite something not only had to be expensive but also classy. Trump’s gold toilet is expensive no doubt, but very definitely not classy, so therefore not elite. In recent times though, the word is used by populist leaders around the world to stoke up anger amongst the plebeians. In the UK Farage and his ilk have ranted against Metropolitan Elites. Out here in the US it is Coastal Elites that get the blame for everything. Same sentiment though – the implication is that the plebs are real Brits/Americans

whereas those millions that live in cities, no matter how little they earn, are undeserving of being called British/American because they think differently from you. And there’s the crux of it. Elite now has nothing to do with money or class, it’s a case of your politics. Think about just how stupid it is to use that particular word to describe a man that cleans the streets of London for a pittance. Yet in its modern meaning, that guy is a member of the Metropolitan Elite because he voted to stay in the EU. It’s nuts. And on the other side of this ridiculousness, Farage, in his carefully tailored 1950’s country gent tweed suits is not elite? Gimme a break. Actually the populists have used the word pejoratively against another type of person too. No matter whether that person lives in a city, the provinces or in the middle of nowhere. If that person has an education or expertise in something, they too are stained with the elite tag. Note here that there is a corollary to that. If you insist on denouncing those with an education as elite, then by definition your are identifying yourself as the opposite. Just saying.

And now? Well, it’s another hijacking by the populists. These days to be called a warrior you don’t have to do anything potentially dangerous to your health. No, all you need to do is to be very angry and shout online loudly about snowflake liberals and, yes, elites. That’s it. No trenches. No swords. No guns. No hand to hand combat. Just the ability to spout populist mantras in block capitals. Does any of this language evolution matter? No, of course not. If you read English as it was written 300 years ago you’d hardly recognize it and nobody cares. The point here is to, er, point out, that populists are repurposing language to make a divide between themselves and those of us that don’t want to be perpetually angry and antagonistic and start fights in pubs. Proudly snowflaky, that is. And on the subject of language, one day this column might take a look at the differences between English as it is spoken over there in the UK and the version used here. Someone once said the US and UK were two countries divided by a common language. There’s truth to that, but on the other hand, have you ever tried to converse with someone from Glasgow? How did that work out? Anon

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’m going to try not to tread over the same ground already covered by the excellent Silver Surfer’s article this month, but equally there’s no way I can resist putting in my tuppence worth about the Coronavirus pandemic, sorry, global epidemic, that’s gleefully rampaging its way across the world and, for some reason, making us all run out of loo roll.

KiNGPiN The Kingmeister reports

As virtually every news outlet across the world is already saturated (can I say infected?) with virus related news, you might understandably be suffering with fatigue (and if you’ve got a fever with to boot, you might want to go and get yourself checked out), so I want to try and come at it from a slightly different angle. Rather than focus too much on the virus itself, I want to look at the social, psychological and economic effects it is having, which could be longer lasting and far further reaching than the virus itself.

We’ve seen that our current working and living practices are basically designed to help a virus spread, so perhaps we’ll finally see employers realising that it’s the 21st century and fully embracing a mobile and remote workforce? For the hundreds of thousands of us that are office based, there’s very little we can’t do at home that we can do in the office, so why are we still cramming ourselves cheek-to-jowl and sneezing over each other in crowded metal tubes all day long? Just imagine if everyone did even half-a-week at home and half in the office, how much nicer would those journeys by rail and road be, with 50% less people using them? People would get more time and less stress, while less commuter traffic means less pollution, yet the work would still get done.

We simply need to get away from the ridiculous concept that employers pay for our time rather than what we get done. For instance, if what I do is worth X amount per annum, then it’s still worth X amount per annum if I do it in 5 hours of a day, rather than 7.5 hours, surely. If the work gets done, who cares if I get a couple of jobs done around the house, or watch a movie while I’m working at home?

PANDEM IC! (Or ‘The Great Loo Roll Shortage of 2020’?)

Firstly, let’s be clear about one thing: we all knew this was coming. It was always a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ a pandemic would occur, and though it might not seem like it, it looks like we’re getting off pretty lightly with Coronavirus and Covid-19. I’m not downplaying it by any means, but it could have been much, much worse, and I hope that governments, and people, around the world will learn some valuable lessons for when the next one occurs. If you’ve spent any time on the various news forums online, you’ll probably have been as surprised as I am that there are so many epidemiologists and virologists out there. Admittedly their scientific career appears to be more of a sideline to their successful insurance businesses or window-cleaning rounds, but they’re definitely experts in their field. That, of course, is sarcasm. Every man and his dog has been spouting all manner of contradictory, ill-informed and plainly idiotic nonsense since this whole thing began. It’s like I’ve woken up in some bizarre alternate universe where everyone has watched that old BT ad with Maureen Lipman when she said to her downcast grandson: “You’ve got an ‘ology? You’re a scientist!” and somehow took that as gospel. From what I can see, people seem to be split into 3 groups. Group 1 are the: ‘Bugger, it’s the end of the world’ types. “Quick, grab all the loo rolls!” Group 2 are in the: “Yes, it’s a definite cause for concern, but with sensible precautions, I’m sure we’ll manage.” While Group 3 just can’t stop saying: “But it’s only the flu. What’s all the fuss about?” In case there are any doubts: Groups 1 and 3 are morons. No, this isn’t going to result in a Mad Max style apocalypse with me finally being able to wear leather trousers without feeling stupid. But nor is it simply the flu. I would have thought this would have been be evident by one of the world’s largest economies basically switching itself off for 6 weeks, quarantining millions of its people and disinfecting entire cities, but obviously I don’t have the right ‘ology. Perhaps one day a virus will evolve that only targets credulous, ill-informed internet gobshites and we’ll all be a whole lot better off for it. There’s an extremely tiny ‘winning-the-lottery-

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simply making money.

twice-odds’ chance that Group 1 could eventually be proven correct if the virus mutates in a completely unexpected way. So at this point it’s worth a quick crash course in how viruses work to demonstrate why this is unlikely. When we say the word ‘mutation’ we think of the X-Men, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, turning something from one thing into another in spectacular fashion, while mutations in viruses are actually the norm. Our building blocks are DNA while a virus is made from RNA. Think of DNA as a professional writer, carefully checking and proofreading his work, while RNA has turned off the spell-check and frenziedly hammers at the keyboard, probably posting: “It’s just the flu. LOL!” on a forum somewhere. Viruses mutate, it’s what they do, but they mutate to ensure they propagate as widely as possible, not to be as lethal as possible. If they kill off all of their hosts, then they die too, and they’ve evolved not to do that. Yes, one day we might be unlucky enough to get the perfect storm of a virus that’s virulently infectious with a just long enough, asymptomatic incubation period topped off with a 99% mortality rate, but if that ever happens, we’ll be as dead as disco and it’s not worth worrying about. So what can we learn from all of this? Clearly: ‘If One Of Us Sneezes We All Catch A Cold’. For better or worse, this pandemic has shown us just how interconnected we all are, and that some of those connections are also as fragile as they are vital. One of the main drivers behind all of the panic buying we’ve seen (apart from people being idiots) is because we’re worried about our supply chains being threatened. Hardly any nations can fully support themselves these days and, to greater or lesser degrees, we’re all dependent on each other for food, fuel and power (and loo roll). Trade between nations has always been a positive thing, but perhaps not to the extent it is now? I’m writing this on 11th March when it’s looking highly likely that even more countries will either be going into lockdown or seeing their productivity being impacted as their workforce self-isolates or gets sick. The odds are that our supply issues could get even worse, so maybe after this we’ll begin to see countries attempting to mitigate that risk by producing more of what they need to become better self-sufficient? And personally, I’d quite like that. I think it would be nice to see a return to growing and making actual things, rather than

Predictably, we’ve also seen the finance sector collectively ‘shit the bed’ yet again (perhaps that’s where all the loo roll went?) and the stock markets go into the worst freefall since the financial crash of 2008 when, oh yeah, the finance sector collectively ‘shit the bed’. Yet it’s worth noting at this point that ‘the markets’ never really recovered from 2008. Instead they’ve managed to limp along due to literally trillions in quantative easing (which is a fancy way of saying ‘printing more money’) and perhaps this latest crisis will be another straw on the back of the lassez faire capitalist camel? Coincidentally, I wrote last month that our current socio-economic system is inherently unstable and here we are seeing it clearly displayed. Again. So maybe, just maybe, this might be a good time to rethink things, rather than just keeping the current system upright enough to lurch from crisis to crisis like a drunken sailor? With climate change becoming an increasingly urgent issue to address, something that goes hand-in-hand with decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels that are a cornerstone of the stock markets, why not try and get ahead of the game for once? Coronavirus has shown us just how interconnected the world is and just how fragile a lot of our crucial systems really are. However, on the plus side, it has also shown us what can be achieved when we all work together. We know change is coming, it has to. Without sounding like a fortune cookie: ‘Life is change’. Or if you want to be Darwinian about it: ‘Adapt or die’. So we know that change is coming and that it will be painful, but surely we can mitigate that by driving the change, rather than being driven by it? We’re witnessing an almost unprecedented upheaval to our normal way of life right now, so maybe this could be the perfect time to zero the clock, use what we’ve learned, and make some real, positive changes? Perhaps even a world driven more by happiness and quality of life than by sheer profit? Who knows, maybe we could even make something good out of all this. Now wouldn’t that be nice for a change?

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We’ve all had a sneaky peek at these types of columns from time to time, haven’t we, folks? One The Edge happened to read during a few spare minutes over a recent gloomy weekend was about a guy, a woman’s husband, who had unfortunately suffered a stroke, and honestly, I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone, readers. However, the tale did make me chortle despite its saddening subject matter. So here goes... Dear Connie, a lady wrote. I am at my wits end which is always a good start as to how to deal with my husband since his stroke of last year. He completely denies his minor physical issues are due to said stroke, while the real problem lies with his personality change. The stroke caused damage to the part of the brain which governs ‘executive skills’ and the ability to understand that certain behaviours are unacceptable. It was immediately clear to me that he was ‘different’. I hoped things would improve, but these days my husband tends to completely dominate any form of conversation, while overruling any attempts to change the subject matter. O-oh. My husband also now makes regular derogatory comments about me, followed by nasty laughter (I have never heard him laugh in such a way before). A couple of our friends have suggested he gets therapy, but you can imagine how that went down. These days he is continually unappreciative about my cooking skills, yet he never was before. At which point The Edge just wondered whether he’d been ‘sitting on the matter’ for nigh on the past 35 years? He also has lots of memory lapses, such as leaving the car running in the drive Jesus, he’s still allowed to drive, is he? It has now got to the point where his appalling, embarrassing behaviour is now being noticed by others. Furthermore, I am also being subjected to a continual barrage of etc. etc. Dear, oh dear, oh dear. If I dare to counter his remarks, I’m simply accused of being argumentative. If I say I’m simply expressing an alternative point of view, that seems to immediately light the blue touch paper. I have to confess that I chortled in the extreme at that particular description of such a travesty. Unfortunately, both my GP and my husband’s GP have informed me that nothing can be done unless my husband agrees he needs help, or accepts that his behaviour needs modifying. But how can I live like this? I don’t really know how to leave him, even though I hate him and cannot stand being in his company. Sincerely, Sarah. Connie’s reply: “This is an appalling situation. You have my deepest sympathy. Mood changes are common after a stroke and, sometimes, people’s personalities can alter very much for the worse. It could be because, deep down, they know they are impaired (even if they deny it, as many people with dementia do too) and what they are actually expressing is rage and frustration about the after-effects of their stroke. But to know that is clearly no consolation when the person you are living with is vile to you and you feel that is not what you signed up for when you got married.”


The Edge said last month that it would have to feature the legend that was Adrian Street in the mag at some point, and what better time than right now, seeing as the end of the world is nigh. At a time when wrestlers were featuring in the mid-afternoon slot on ITV’s World of Sport in the most unsexiest of woolen trunks, along comes Welshman Adrian Street and it was like Glam Rock meets Wonder Woman all rolled into one. The Edge took to him immediately, no matter what disapproving looks it got from its Grandma. He was like a pumped-up David Bowie, totally androgynous and happy to play the pantomime villain. Born in Brynmawr (it’s in Brecknockshire, apparently), Street began bodybuilding in his teens and left home when he was but 16, presumably to avoid a lifetime spent down the pit, like his dad, and had his first professional wrestling bout four months shy of his seventeenth birthday, which he won. Later in his career, he developed his ‘Exotic’ Adrian Street image, an outrageously-attired, effeminate character who was hinted, but never outrightly stated, to be gay. Street has explained that this gimmick was born by accident as a result of him playing up to taunting from an audience one evening, commenting, "I was getting far more reaction than I'd ever got just playing a poof (apologies to all of The Edge’s gay readers for publishing that remark, but that is what Street has gone on record as saying). After that, my costumes started getting wilder and wilder." Indeed, his wrestling attire evolved to include pastels, glitter make-up and he clipped his bleached hair into mini-pigtails (think Marc Bolan crossed with Gary Glitter). As ‘The Exotic One’ (eat yer ’eart out, Jose Mourinho), his signature move in the ring was to kiss his opponents in order to escape being pinned down. Fact is though, readers, your 8-year-old pre-editor (at that time) doesn’t remember any of that. He was just a damn good, aggressive wrestler (once you properly got into watching it, like) and he used to strut across the stage like Freddie Mercury on steroids. After retiring from a full-time career in the ring, Street ran the Skull Krushers Wrestling School in Gulf Breeze, Florida, along with his long-time (wrestling) partner, Linda, until being forced to close its doors following severe damage from Hurricane Ivan. They then returned home to Wales where they went into business designing and selling professional wrestling gear and other sundries via their website. They eventually married after almost a lifetime together after Street proposed to Linda in the Cauliflower Alley Club (who the hell says that romance is dead?). After his very last professional bout, on 14th June, 2014, in Birmingham Alabama, Street estimated that throughout his career he had wrestled somewhere in between 12,000 and 15,000 bouts. Now seriously, readers, if you are wondering whether your editor has completely gone and lost his marbles, oh no, no, no, no, no, he hasn’t, for Adrian Street was a true wrestling legend and, fingers-crossed, a biographical feature film is soon going to be made all about his inspirational life story by producer and director Joann Randles, with a current working title of simply ‘Adrian’. Hey, have any of you seen the movie ‘The Wrestler’ starring Mickey Rourke as Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson? Check it out if you haven’t, for Adrian Street did not look a million miles from the character that Rourke depicted. Oh sure, professional wrestling may well have been rigged and been far more theatre than sport, but Adrian Street was still very much ‘the man’.

Connie then goes on to tell Sarah that she might benefit by simply leaving the room (“always walk away from aggression,” she advises) when her husband kicks off, before offering the contact details of the Stroke Association, the Samaritans and Relate. Pre-Coronavirus, I feel as though I have had a fairly easy passage through life to date, but you never know what’s around the corner, do you? They say that humour can be found in any situation, and I admit that I was finding ‘the funny side’ of this as I was reading the Agony Aunt column. However, if it was affecting me personally, then doubtless I’d be feeling nothing of the sort, and I repeat that I truly wouldn’t wish a stroke upon anyone, bearing in mind that Edge mum has pretty much lost her memory.

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Max Headroom’s


4-7-8 METHOD Not being able to get to sleep is one of the most frustrating things, whilst most people will try pretty much anything to help them nod off. Anyone who has failed to drift off while trying the usual tricks, such as listening to relaxing music, counting sheep, or spritzing your pillow with lavender spray, should maybe give the old 4-7-8 method a go. Fans of the process say it can take less than a minute to master and it's as simple as changing the way you breathe, says Timbuktu’s Out Like A Light magazine. Dr Nobby Zeds, a specialist in integrative medicine at the University of Sleep in Bognor Regis, explained to Max Headroom that the breathing technique comes from Indian grand masters who use it during their meditation practices. Dr Z says: "It’s the single best method that we’ve found for dealing with getting back to sleep if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night. The technique is easy. Simply breath in for four (seconds), hold for seven, and exhale for eight. Then repeat the process until you get tired of it and eventually succumb, even if it takes you a good two to three hours.” As well as helping insomniacs, Dr Z reckons it also helps to calm overstressed minds, managing anxiety and controlling anger responses, by forcing your heartbeat to slow way down. Dr Z continues: "The theory is that by imposing certain rhythms on the breath, gradually these are induced into the involuntary nervous system. And it’s the regularity of doing this over and over a period of weeks, months and years that produces the immediate changes that you’re after." Dr Z suggests using the technique twice a day to start with, until you begin to experience the benefits, although never whilst driving home from work. And if you start to feel lightheaded, hey, don't worry, that's completely natural. But it’s best, the first few times you try it, not to be up a ladder, just in case it does actually work and it’s not all just total bollocks.


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Most psychologists agree that our unconscious body language says a lot about our state of mind. What’s more, they have also revealed that the best way to sleep is on our back (to thus aid really loud snoring), on our side, but not on our stomach, because this puts far too much pressure on our bladder and makes us want to get up to go pee-pee. A person sleeping close to the edge of the bed suggests they are either (a) demonstrating that they can be ready for action at a moments notice, or (b) that their partner is prone to farting whilst asleep. Meanwhile, a person who suffers from anxiety will often wear layers of clothing in bed and make sure that they are totally covered by the duvet, which identifies a need for protection, or that their boiler is faulty. Alternatively, a person who sleeps in a ‘star’ shaped position and takes up every available space in the bed is said to be (a) confident, and (b) a fairly thoughtless bastard. Those of us who sleep on our backs are often out for the count for a very long time, as well as being generally loud grunters, while those who sleep on their front are comfort seekers and in their waking hours often tend to be social butterflies. Many of us prefer the fetal position, which shows that we value our own company, whilst also being in a decent thrusting position ready to produce one of the aforementioned nighttime farts. The Edge 01245 348256

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Man on the Clapham Omnibus COFFEE

I like coffee, but I like tea more. On a Sunday morning, if I know I am not going to be driving, I have a big mug of creamy coffee for elevenses. But it has to have a decent slug of whisky, rum, or something equally tasty in it. Home coffee has come a long, long way from the dark days of my youth, like the shops that sell it. Back in my rapidly disappearing past, it would have been a side item in a ‘caff’ that sold tea, lots of tea. We all know about coffee shops, unless you truly have been living in a cave for the last twenty years. I accept you may well have been living in a cave, but such is the proliferation of quirky artisan coffee shops these days, said cave has probably been turned into one whilst you popped out one day. What’s more, it will have a witty name too, such as Bedrock Coffee Roasters. There used to be a few bars selling ‘frothy coffee’ back then, which was a side item in ‘caffs’, while most people drank dodgy instant coffee at home. Naturally there was nice stuff too, if the budget could run to it, while most of us, of a certain age, were brought up on a cup of ‘mellow’ Birds, Nescafe or Maxwell (sodding) house. In the 1970’s, when Birds ‘Mellow’ was launched, mellow had a very different meaning. Being mellow was caused by something a tad more exotic than instant coffee. Meanwhile, the coffee cup has also become a ‘must have’ symbol these days and is a de rigour accessory. Let’s face it, no detective should be seen without one, from the king of them all, Columbo, to Gibbs in NCIS. Columbo, it seems, simply cannot function unless he has a cup of cawfee, as his beautiful New York accent would announce. Then we have Gibbs in NCIS and the coffee joke is a key part of the show. His underlings all quake if the ‘boss’ turns up and nobody has a pint of coffee, black and warm, to put in his hand. Which is probably Gibbs’ rule number 1. And we cannot ignore the show that allegedly brought coffee culture to the UK, Friends. I guess this is partly true and the beverage industry certainly surfed that particular wave. People fantasied that they could drop into a coffee bar and lounge about in a relaxed atmosphere, whereas the reality of TV is somewhat stark against the madhouses we seem to have had dropped upon us. Think of the now departed Starbucks in town and the even madder Costa fortune that EE likes to inhabit on his nearest retail park. There’s more peace to be found in Boris Johnson’s trousers, although let’s face it, they seem to have been pretty busy of late.

A few factual bits. Firstly, it’s not a bean. Nope, it’s a berry. It’s called a bean purely because it looks like one. Also, if you add cream it will stay hotter for 20% longer. You and the drinkers of the other 2.25 billion cups consumed every single day around the globe were not expecting that, were you? Coffee is most effective between 9.30am and 11.30am. We know this makes sense because the pubs are usually open by 11.30am. It is estimated that roughly 80 to 100 cups of coffee would be a lethal dose for an average adult. I can confirm, after extensive testing and some near-death experiences over the past 40 years of consumption, that a similar fact is also true when substituting coffee with cider. As mentioned, I like coffee, but I do not understand the slavish devotion to it. Mrs Mott has compared my devotion to fermented apple juice in the same vein, but each to their own, I say. My girls cannot seem to function without slurping the stuff at all hours of the day, while Mrs Mott is actually a barista at ‘not just any’ department store. There really is no escaping the stuff, even in outer space. One of the things astronauts say they miss most is a good cup of coffee. Starting your day sucking freeze dried coffee out of a bag through a straw has to suck in every way. Good news for astronauts, SpaceX recently delivered to the space station a new microgravity coffee machine named ‘ISSpresso’. An engineering company have actually designed a coffeemaker that can function in microgravity conditions. The coffee company Lavazza and the Italian Space Agency have managed to get authentic Italian espresso onto the International Space Station. This is drunk from special Zero G cups, apparently. Can you imagine the conversation? First astronaut: “Hey, I can’t find any milk for my coffee?” Second astronaut: “In space, no one can. Here, use cream.” Yours aye,

Beaulieu Park Housewives

A Beaulieu Park Wife’s Diary in which names have been tweaked to spare blushes and exposed breaches to Pre-Nup Agreements. I’d convinced myself that I wasn’t going to use the C-word in my diary entry, but it seems unavoidable, all things considered. Covid-19” arrived in March with a bang and what I’d referred to in passing just the month before is now front and centre. I, personally, subscribe to the view that life is all about balance and, in my book, that typically refers to working hard/playing hard, the haves and the have nots, 5:2, a legs day versus arms but, wow, this one is certainly a leveller, is it not? My lot (in that, I of course mean my fellow Beaulieu Park peeps) are the type of people who usually throw money at a problem; buy the solution, iron out the wrinkles, pay to get their way, shell out to ‘have’ what the ‘have nots’ can’t. Well, that’s not happening now, I can tell you. No amount of extra cash can source that elusive loo roll, hunt out the phantom Paracetamol, or procure that store cupboard staple, the humble penne. Never in my life (aside from a particularly bad experience coming to blows over a Dior lambskin handbag in the Selfridges sale) have I witnessed such scenes of anarchy in a retail outlet. Of course, ordinarily I wouldn’t be seen dead frequenting a supermarket, particularly a downmarket one, but when your favourite little grocer decides to cease taking any further online orders, unfortunately I have to forage in the aisles, like every other poor soul. Nat believes that I have become fairly adept at what he is referring to as ‘Supermarket Bingo’ i.e. see how many different stores you can visit in one day, picking up random essentials in each until you have a full house! I can’t begin to tell you how mortified I have felt on entering Lidl and Asda in the vain hope of getting my now chapped and moisture-less mitts (from using a vat-load of hand sanitiser) on as banal an item as a jar of Bolognese sauce. Goodness, I don’t even eat the cardboard that passes for Cornflakes, yet here I am stockpiling them, ‘just in case’ the four horsemen of the Apocalypse should descend on us anytime soon. Needless to say, I have been donning the biggest shades I own and taking in my own reusable hessian bags for fear of anyone from B.P. catching me in the act.

But it hasn’t been all doom and gloom – the gay neighbours, who Nat insists on referring to as Elton and ‘Schofe’ (as you can probably tell, he is being a complete dick at the moment, first the ‘bingo’ comments and now this) are fast becoming firm friends. Yes, Matt and Ryan are a breath of fresh air in these ultra bleak times – I mean, what better antidote than sharing a glass of fizz whilst poring over photos of some Z-lister’s new pad in Hello; the temporary high of having the privileged insight into ‘the incredibly minimalistic living room as [insert name here] shares glimpse of luxury new home’. Who would fail to be temporarily distracted from all the strife and shortage in the world by greedily lapping up the interiors’ porn featuring perfectly placed garments in a Kondo-esque walk-in wardrobe?

As well as Matt and Ryan bursting onto the Beaulieu Park scene, with all their joyful vibrancy and flamboyance, we also saw the arrival of baby ‘Sach-tair’. Yep, Sacha and Alistair’s much anticipated baby boy put in an appearance around the same time as a global pandemic – far cuter, but no less disruptive to his parents’ continuing desire to work out at the gym. He is to Mr and Mrs A’s fitness routine what Coronavirus is to my ability to find an appointment with someone who is willing to top up my lip-filler. As I say, it hasn’t all been bad and, as you all know already, I am definitely a ‘glass half-full’ kind of girl – the fuller the better! So in a bid to leave you on a high this month, I thought I’d remind you of some of the benefits we are reaping from this chaos: It’s far cheaper to fill up your gas-guzzling 4x4 (have you seen how cheap Diesel is at the minute?); I can now get from B.P. into town in under 5 minutes as the aforementioned gas guzzlers (or any other vehicle, come to that) on the road are few and far between. AND, big one this, there is far less sport on the TV – hoo-bloody-rah! I finally have control of the TV remote as football and F1 are as scarce as a school assembly (double bonus). Stay safe, folks. And, assuming I haven’t committed a violent crime against my annoying other half or extremely bored mini-moi, I’ll see you on the other side of self-isolation. Page 29

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WAITROSE ARE SUPERMARKET CHAMPS WAITROSE recently topped a supermarket satisfaction survey for the second year running. The upmarket chain beat discount rivals Aldi and Lidl (well, of course they did, sniff) to be crowned ‘the absolute bollocks’ by Which? magazine. In fact, Waitrose scored a maximum 5 stars in almost every category, including ease of finding products, to fast moving queues and friendly staff. It’s only failing was to be the collecting of but 2 stars for value, but that’s the price you pay for keeping the riff-raff out.


The Slob’s of this world are not the sort of customers Waitrose are at pains to attract.

Oh come on, readers. Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade, don’t you, and recognise that, for instance, Naomi Campbell would never set foot in, say, Asda. Because she wouldn’t find any of her own kind in there, would she? In fact, the only supermarket Naomi would probably send any of her ‘little helpers’ to would be Waitrose, because it’s a cut above, as is she (she thinks). In the survey of more than 14,000 Which? members, Asda was rated the worst supermarket (What? Didn’t it even score a gratuity star for they’re amazing in-house Asda FM radio station?). Although shoppers liked their range of in-store goods, they wanted a greater availability of products with recyclable packaging. (Blimey. Whoever would have though Asda customers would be so discerning?) The survey also revealed that neither does poor old Asda provide a noteworthy ‘in-store vibe’ (well granted, it’s hardly a night out at The Ritz, but can you get a packet of Hobnobs at the latter?) like that of Waitrose or Marks & Spencer, or the value of Aldi or Lidl. Furthermore, Asda only scored deux pwa for the quality of its ownlabel products (talk about kicking a supermarket when it’s down). Meanwhile M&S lived up to its own reputation for quality when it comes to food and drink, scoring 5 stars for both its own-brand and fresh produce. In fact, its overall customer rating of 73% placed it just below Waitrose’s 76%, with only a failure to match its rivals in-store experience and product range. Discount stores Aldi and Lidl were rated best for value, with both receiving maximum points. Those two supermarkets are seen to be ideal for those shoppers wanting to save money, without all of the glitz and glam, as rock-bottom prices seemingly make customers a little more forgiving of their less impressive traits, such as long queues and unhelpful staff. One Aldi customer explained to Which?: “It’s not a particularly pleasant place to shop, but you can’t half get a bargain or two.” Morrisons and Sainsbury’s ranked mid-table (the Burnley and the Crystal Palace of the supermarket world), with Tesco sliding in just below, a bit like one of Lewis Dunk’s tackles, while Iceland strolled in at second-to-bottom. Shoppers liked Iceland’s value, but the supermarket failed to impress with it’s frosty aura. The survey also found that shoppers became most peeved when waiting for help at self-service checkouts (36%) and lack of staffed checkouts (25%). Ocado, the UK’s only purely online supermarket, scored highly in the Which? analysis of online grocers (only do bear in mind that it’s in a league of its own). Conclusion: The quality of fresh products is the single most important factor when it comes to supermarket shopping and more customers rate Waitrose than any other store. Apart from Chelmsford shoppers, of course, as we haven’t even got one. So when, eh? When? Page 30

“Who shall have a fishy, on a little dishy, who shall have a fishy, when the boat comes in?” Not Me! Well, what a difference a month makes. Last time I compiled my column I was talking about travel and holidays and fulfilling bucket lists, whereas right now, all flights have been grounded while borders are closed. Whoever thought such would happen in our lifetimes? My son is very ill with type 1 diabetes, asthma and heart problems, so I have been really worried about him of late. He has a responsible job, which involves keeping the supply chains open, and he wanted to stay at work for as long as possible, but that may no longer be possible and he is angry as he loves his job and will continue to work from home just as much as is humanly possible. Anyway, last week I did my usual shop and thought I’d buy a couple of extra things just to keep in the freezer. So I bought a few Admiral’s Fish Pies, as I like a bit of fish, I do. Come the weekend I thought I’d have one for my lunch. So I cooked it (well, I heated it up) and was really looking forward to it. But when I took it out of the oven and put it on my plate, it looked nothing like it looked on the picture on the packet. But I sat down to eat it anyway and that’s when the fun really began, as I playing ‘hunt the fish’ (or piece thereof)! And the more I hunted, the more I couldn’t even find one single bit of fish in the whole damn pie, even when I piled it up on one side of my plate like a mushy Tsunami. So there I was, eating pretty much dry mash and yellow gloop, thinking to myself: ‘That bloody Admiral must have been blind. What a liberty - a fish pie without any fish in it’. It even had the cheek to say ‘Unsuitable for Vegans’ on the packet. Talk about taking the rise. Then, on the TV, it was announced that Boris was calling for those with technical minds and production lines to turn their hands to making respirators. Well, all I can say is be careful who you ask to change their production lines, because this well known food supplier cannot even put a bit of fish in a Fish Pie. So heaven help us all!

3.00am RESET Thank you to all those who contacted me to ask about ‘Waking up at 3am’ that I’d written about in the January editions of this year. It generated the

biggest reader response I’ve ever had and there seems to be a whole plethora of Edge readers who, like me, have regularly woken up in the middle of the night. It was probably the thought of tackling the Army & Navy the following morning (it just doesn’t look the same without the flyover). So I did a bit of research and asked my friendly Chinese Medicine Man and a Shamanic friend of mine to explain it further to me. Here goes. Alternative medical practitioners believe that different parts of our body heal at different times whilst we sleep and that 3am is when our emotional responses are supposed to heal best, a bit like a computer does when they hits a glitch and reboots. Thus we wake up. So the key to dealing with this is to address what is troubling us so that our healing program keeps working. Apparently the key to overcoming this annoying problem is to talk it through in our minds, address it and put it right by acceptance rather than fighting it. For me, it worked. Either that or I couldn’t stand listening to Him Indoor's snoring while I laid awake beside him all night. But it did work for me as I am no longer waking up at 3am. In fact, my new problem is being fast asleep when my alarm goes off and rolling over and turning it off absentmindedly, only to wake up and have to bomb around in order to get out the door. One extreme to other. But I hope it works for you too.

WE WILL SURVIVE Us Brits are a strange breed. We are tough and strong and passionate about our beliefs and it will see us through this crisis. I was out buying holiday paraphernalia for my so called upcoming travels when all flights were cancelled and borders were closed. At a time when our old and vulnerable are going into isolation, where there’s panic buying in shops, businesses are having to close and hospitals are overwhelmed, our amazing medical staff and doctors remain in the front line, putting themselves at risk everyday to treat others selflessly. They then go home at night putting their own families at risk in order to save others. So if one thing comes from all of this, it is that we must all pull together and help one another. We must appreciate our elderly parents more, as we might not always be able to visit them whenever we like. And we clearly need to plan our shopping trips better (I am guilty of throwing things past their sell-by-date away each week, but this will teach me to appreciate food more when it is not so easily available). In fact, it gives us all a chance to take a step back, read, connect, declutter, wash our hands far more often, and not go to work when sick. We have long since had a culture that we go to work with a cold and infect many others, which drags our health service down each year. Whilst things are very, very bad, maybe we can all get something positive from all of this? I wish everyone safety and that the virus passes us all by and we soon discover a vaccine for it. We will get though this and be stronger for it.

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