I tip my hat today to a lady worthy of admiration.
During the First World War, she was an apothecary’s assistant in a Torquay hospital tending wounded soldiers.
With her husband, she discovered the joys of surfing in South Africa, where the style was to lie flat on the board. In the early 1920s, she was one of the first Brits to surf standing up whilst in Hawaii.
Waters of a different kind were sampled in Harrogate in 1926, the spa town where she was found after she went missing for 10 days, after her husband asked for a divorce.
Not that she was depressed for long.
She married an acclaimed archaeologist whom she accompanied and helped on digs throughout the Middle East.
During the Second World War, she worked in the pharmacy of a London hospital and discovered the properties of poison.
The work of both her husband and herself was recognised: he was knighted and she was made a Dame in her own right.
Oh yes, and in between times, she wrote 66 detective novels, 14 short story collections, six romances and the world’s longest running play: The Mousetrap is in its 62nd year and counting.
This is Agatha Christie Week.
The writer was born this day in 1890.
Her books have been translated into more than 50 languages and she ranks third of best sellers of all time, after the Bible and Shakespeare, with collected sales of four billion copies of her novels.
A lady from a comfortable middle class background, and one to be admired for her energy and output.
I confess I have never been a fan of her work, although I’m fascinated by the period in which she set her mysteries.
Perhaps part of the enduring success of Dame Agatha are the many film adaptations of her books and the TV series of Poirot, superbly played by David Suchet, and Miss Marple, both made with loving period care.
Dame Agatha died in 1976 but remains a literary icon for perpetuating the myth of a delightful English way of life that probably never really existed.
The average Briton spends over a year of their life nursing a hangover.
Ah yes, I remember them well. The cool embrace of a toilet bowl. The time I fell into the frozen pea section in a supermarket.
Research for Macmillan Cancer Support came up with the year-long estimate.
It says people in the north are more likely to suffer, with 22% having four hangovers a month, compared to15% of southern softies.
Men take an average of seven hours to recover, while women suffer two hours longer.
One in 14 people will have more than 3,000 hangovers in their lifetime. They cause one in 13 to miss a first date, and one in 10 a job interview.
Hannah Redmond, head of national events marketing for Macmillan Cancer Support, says: “This research shows hangovers are a waste of time and are causing people to miss out on everything from romance to their dream job.
“That’s why we’re asking people to sign up for Macmillan’s Go Sober fund-raising event, abstain from drinking alcohol for the month of October, and ask family and friends to sponsor them.”
On the face of it, a plea to Go Sober for October sounds like a good idea.
However, those who leap on the wagon with the enthusiasm of an ice bucket challenge, are likely to fall off it in November with a thunderous crash and several nights of straight oblivion to make up for lost time.
Wouldn’t a more measured approach be better for the sake of their health?
A month without hangovers is possible by responsible alcoholic consumption.
Which means you can still Go Sober whilst enjoying the occasional tipple.
Perhaps pubs and clubs could put donation jars on their bars so drinkers can donate the price of a pint they might otherwise consume.
Sponsorship might have to be adjusted but it could have the joint benefit of raising funds for Macmillan – which does a wonderful job – and teach folk to drink sensibly.
Folk in Redcar, the North Yorkshire seaside resort, have apparently gained the title of being the most foul mouthed in the country when they take to Twitter.
This revelation came about after scientists for a BBC study monitored tweets around the nation for a week.
Have scientists nothing better to do, I hear you ask? Has the cure for cancer already been discovered?
The f-word was the most used swearword in all the tweets, although it only featured in 2.16%.
Researchers created a map of the UK corresponding to the use of coarse language.
Redcar and Cleveland came top with almost 8% of tweets from the area containing a swear word. Which makes you wonder why folk in Redcar – which is about 20 miles north of Whitby – swear so much.
To find out the positives and negatives of the place, I went on-line.
Best things in Redcar, according to holiday adviser sites, were the lifeboat museum, owl centre, a long walk on the beach, watching the wind turbines out at sea and the Redcar Clock (1913, Grade II listed building).
There are also numerous pubs and clubs where locals can go and mull over the rich composite of their lives (staring out at a wind turbine before checking the time on the Redcar clock).
“Flipping heck, our Maurice. But the pace of life here is flipping hectic.”
But what a shock when I looked for the worst things in Redcar on the Knowhere Guide where locals have lodged excoriating criticism without mercy.
One of the worst things they list? The road into Redcar.
No wonder they flipping swear.