If a picture paints 1000 words, BBC “Radio Times” still has a way to go!

Radio Times

In this week of celebrating the Suffragettes and increased equal representation for women,

the latest edition of the BBC Radio Times magazine doesn’t seem to get it!

In case you don’t buy the Radio Times, each day’s schedule is preceded by a two page spread highlighting some of the day’s programmes.

The main photo is titled Pick of the Day and fills 25% of the article.

Saturday 10th Feb

Elliot Daly and Alex Cuthbert      Rugby Players     MALE

Sunday 11th Feb

Shaun Evans and Roger Allan     Actors     MALE

Monday 12th Feb

Carey Mulligan     Actor     FEMALE

Tuesday 13th Feb

Douglas Henshall     Actor     MALE

Wednesday 14th Feb

Nameless Mammoth hunter     MALE

Thursday 15th Feb

Ardal O’Hanlan     Actor     MALE

Friday 16th Feb

Nigel Slater     Chef     MALE

There is a second photo highlighting another programme in the bottom right of the spread.

Saturday 10th Feb

Kim Cattrall     Actor     FEMALE

Sunday 11th Feb

James Norton     Actor     MALE

Monday 12th Feb

John Simm and Adrian Lester     Actors     MALE

Tuesday 13th Feb

Joe Wicks     Body Coach     MALE

Wednesday 14th Feb

Group of actors      MALE and FEMALE

Thursday 15th Feb

Helen Czerski     Scientist     FEMALE

Friday 16th Feb

Lydia Wilson     Actor     FEMALE

I don’t know if this week’s edition of the BBC Radio Times is typical. It only struck me this week because there’s a special Winter Olympics supplement in the middle of the magazine which celebrates and supports an equal balance of female and male winter athletes. That surprised me and prompted this little survey. I’ll check again next week.

We hear a lot about equal pay issues for top presenters at the BBC  but if this example of institutionalised sexism at the BBC is typical, they’ve still got a long way to go.

image credit: By Christina Broom died 1939 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Book of the Day at http://www.spurwing-ebooks.com/

5 Portraits of Octavia Hill born #OnThisDay in 1838.

Octavia Hill

Octavia Hill was born in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire on 3rd December 1838.

the eighth daughter of James Hill, a prosperous corn merchant and former banker.

Read more about Octavia’s early life here.

Octavia Hill
image credit: Charles Edmund Maurice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

After her father was declared bankrupt and suffered mental health problems,

Octavia, her mother and siblings re-located to Finchley, London.

Read more about Octavia’s social influencers here.

Octavia Hill
image credit: Charles Edmund Maurice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1864, Octavia became involved in social housing

when she persuaded John Ruskin to buy three houses in Paradise Place in one of London’s most notorious slums. Octavia was to manage the houses with the intention of making “lives noble, homes happy and family life good”.

Read more about Octavia’s plans here.

Octavia Hill
image credit: See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In addition  to her work in social housing, Octavia was also involved with local amenity societies, citizenship, the army cadet movement, conservation and the founding of the National Trust.

Read more about the history of the National Trust here.

Octavia Hill
image credit: John Singer Sargent [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Octavia Hill died from cancer on 13th August 1912.

She was celebrated in her day, but after her death her reputation declined and she has been largely forgotten until recently.

Her legacy was at odds with later social thinking which saw the role of the State enlarge. Octavia argued strongly against government involvement in rectifying social problems: she resisted any participation of the State in providing welfare services and objected to council housing, school dinners and free health care. (Of course, this attitude was fully in keeping with the ideology of the era as it remains in some quarters to this day.)

Octavia had a home on the edge of Crockham Hill Common in the Kent / Surrey borders. She’s remembered with this tomb near the altar of Holy Trinity Church.

Octavia Hill
image credit: By Glen (http://www.flickr.com/photos/l2f1/4946701090) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Read more about Octavia Hill’s connection to The Borough in Southwark, London here.

Octavia Hill
image credit: Stephen Craven [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

And read more about English Heritage’s Blue Plaque at 2 Garbutt Place, Marylebone, London here.

Octavia Hill
image credit: By Simon Harriyott from Uckfield, England (Octavia Hill Uploaded by Oxyman) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks for reading my blog today.

You might also like 5 websites about Ada Lovelace who died #OnThisDay in 1852.

Please check out the Book of the Day at http://www.spurwing-ebooks.com/


5 websites about Ada Lovelace who died #OnThisDay in 1852.

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace who died #OnThisDay in 1852

was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.

More information about the  Analytical Engine.

And a brief biography of Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace

In 2017 Ada Lovelace Day was celebrated on October 10th.

10 interesting facts about Ada Lovelace including some you may not have read before.

And this little video tells the whole story in three and a half minutes!

Ada Lovelace died from cancer aged thirty six years. She’s buried next to her father, Lord Byron, at the church of St Mary Magdalene, Hucknall, Nottinghamshire.

Thanks for reading my blog today.

You might also like On This Day in 1828 Franz Schubert died. #OnThisDay

Please check out the Book of the Day at http://www.spurwing-ebooks.com/


Public services for people not profit.

There’s a really good website which I check out regularly called We Own It: public services for people not profit.

The campaign’s welcome page says:

We believe in public services for people not profit – whether that’s the NHS, the railways, water, energy, council services or care work.

Public services belong to you, me and everyone. We campaign against privatisation and make the case for public ownership.

We use it, we pay for it, we own it.

If you go to this page and click on one of the icons, you’ll find several accounts of privatisation failures across the whole of the public services.

And some of them are scandalous!

Especially those private companies making profits from  contracts with our NHS.

We did it before; we can do it again!

1947 National Coal Board

1948 Railways

1950 Iron and Steel

1968 British Leyland Motors

1969 British Telecom

2008 Northern Rock

2009 East Coast Main Line

Thanks for reading my blog today

You might also like Do You Remember Learning to Read on Cabbage and Semolina Blog.

Please check out my Book of the Day.






National Jukebox Day


Jukeboxes and American Diners seem to go in the same sentence so on National Jukebox Day why not visit

Jumping Jack’s Diner in Whitby

Holy Moly’s Deep South Kitchen in York

East Coast Kitchen in Scarborough

Rebels’ Smokehouse in Beverley

and try American Dining Yorkshire style!

Or if you just want some music


The Immortal Jukebox

A Blog about Popular Music and Culture.

Thanks for reading my blog today.

You might also like I ❤💟80s Music!

Please check out my Book of the Day.


Royal Wedding 1947


It’s 70 years since The Queen and Prince Philip tied the knot in Westminster Abbey on 20th November 1947.

Here’s a nice little clip from British Pathe of some unused footage from the big day. You’ll have to try and work out what they’re saying to each other for yourselves!

What a year 1947 was!

As well as the on-going post-war trauma there was the worst winter weather of the twentieth century; there was rationing of petrol, potatoes, bread and just about everything else; there were power cuts and make-do-and-mend; there was the nationalisation of the coal mining industry; the “Cold War” started and there was the inauguration of the CIA; the violent birth of independent India and Pakistan took place along with the partition of Palestine; the deaths of Al Capone and Henry Ford were  announced; the Marshall Plan was created by the USA to try and improve the situation in post-war Europe; the “New Look” would be created by Christian Dior in Paris while “Utility” furniture would be the best that most people could hope to buy; and there was a  Royal Engagement quickly followed by a Royal Wedding.

This eight minute film “The Princess Weds” has a commentary typical of the era which ends with the words:

The Nation and the Commonwealth will pray that the young couple may enjoy a long, happy and fruitful life.

Which they certainly appear to have done.

And what do you buy for a Platinum Anniversary for the couple who have everything?

How about a Royal 50p coin released to mark the Royal Wedding Anniversary; normally £6.25 but now just £3.99p.

Or, maybe a 70th Wedding Anniversary Engraved Presentation Cut Glass Gift only £24.95.

How about a platinum dipped natural rose, £129?

Or a very nice pavé diamond eternity ring showcases a full circle of round brilliant-cut diamond set in enduring platinum from £2628.

Oh no! The Queen’s got one of those already. Her platinum and diamond engagement ring was made by the jewellers, Philip Antrobus, using diamonds from a tiara belonging to Philip’s mother.

The Royal couple received over 2,500 wedding presents from well-wishers around the world.

Most were put on display for a few days in a charity exhibition at St James’s Palace. From India, there was a piece of crocheted, cotton lace made from yarn personally spun by Mahatma Gandhi. The central motif reads “Jai Hind” (Victory for India).

The couple received a pair of Meissen chocolate pots from Pope Pius XII
The couple received a pair of Meissen chocolate pots from Pope Pius XII
Other gifts from abroad included a gold and jade necklace given by King Farouk of Egypt, a writing desk from the Government of New Zealand and pieces from a Chinese porcelain dinner service printed with characters denoting “double joy” given by President Chiang Kai Shek of the Chinese Republic.

As well as jewellery from their close relatives, including the King and Queen, the couple received many useful items for the kitchen and home, including salt cellars from the Queen, a bookcase from Queen Mary, and a picnic case from Princess Margaret.

Other gifts, kindly made and given by members of the public, included a hand-knitted cardigan, two pairs of bed socks, and a hand-knitted tea cosy.

Over 200,000 people visited the special exhibition of wedding presents at St James’s Palace.

Read more facts about the Royal Wedding of 1947 here.

And how will the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrate their 70th-wedding anniversary?

The Tatler predicts six things they could do!

Thanks for reading my blog today.

You might also like Ruby Murray and the absent blogpost writer on Cabbage and Semolina Blog.

Please check out my Book of the Day.


On This Day in 1928 Micky Mouse was born. #OnThisDay

The stock market crashed just 20 days before Mickey Mouse was born on November 18th 1928.

A cute little mouse, that could bring smiles to the faces of children and adults alike, was probably just what was needed at such at uncertain time.

If you’ve got half an hour to spare, join over 11 million viewers and watch these Micky Mouse shorts  with Minnie, Pluto and all the rest of the gang.

Happy Birthday, Micky Mouse!

Thanks for reading my blog today.

You might also like September Song on Cabbage and Semolina Blog.

Please check out my Book of the Day.

Your National Health Service in 2017 #NHS


69 years ago this country was facing a war-weariness, an economy in disarray, the end of empire, a nation negotiating its place in the world, a need for massive house building. At that point, this country stepped-up, and took a bold and optimistic view. Not only on a whole range of social topics, but about the need for and the benefits from a National Health Service.

Stirring words from the penultimate paragraph of Simon Stevens’ speech to NHS Providers in Birmingham on November 8th.

In the speech Stevens also warned of a waiting list of 5 million patients by 2021 on current funding and called on the Government to meet the Brexit NHS promise.

Stevens also pointed out that our NHS is grossly underfunded when compared with similar economies in Europe.

Now some may say: aren’t we spending at the European average? Well, only if you think that bundling-in austerity-shrunken Greek and Portuguese health spending should help shape the benchmark for Britain. If instead you think modern Britain should look more like Germany or France or Sweden then we’re underfunding our health services by £20-30 billion a year.

Read the full text of the speech here; it only takes a couple of minutes and is well worth the time.

Who is Simon Stevens?

Simon Stevens is the Chief Executive of NHS England.

He became CEO of NHS England in 2014 after an early career in NHS management. This lead onto becoming the president of the global health division of United Health Group, a giant US private healthcare company. He also advised Tony Blair’s government where, as well as advising on a huge public reinvestment programme, he championed the use of privately-run independent sector treatment centres. Read more in this Guardian article.

According to this Guardian report, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that Simon Stevens will be held personally responsible for ensuring the health service does not end up in a crisis this winter.

A winter with the prediction of the biggest flu scare for years.

No wonder Simon Stevens was telling a few home truths to Theresa May’s government in his speech last week.

Does anyone actually understand how the NHS works in the twenty first century?

Check out this graphic from the King’s Fund which attempts to summarise how the NHS (oops! sorry! NHS England) works.

You will not believe it!

Unless you work in the NHS but you probably can’t believe it either.

How can one individual be responsible for this lot (even if he is paid £189K)?

Notice in the King’s Fund video how the Secretary of State for Health aka Jeremy Hunt is so arms-length from our NHS.

I can remember a time when Government Secretaries of State were supposed to take responsibility for their department and resign if something went badly wrong!

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard Jeremy Hunt blame the failure of the NHS to meet more and more of its targets on the rise in patient numbers due to our ageing population.

Yes, Jeremy. That’s right! We’re called the “baby-boomers”.

We needed more school places, more training, more jobs, more houses, more maternity services, more school places and injections for our children, and more doctors, nurses, dentists and teachers for them too.

And now Jeremy we need lots more health and social care for ourselves.

So why, Jeremy, are you so surprised? Surely, Jeremy, you knew we baby-boomers were there. Didn’t you realise we were getting older? That we’d need more health and social care. Why weren’t you and your department making preparations? Why weren’t you planning for the increasing demographic? Isn’t that what government is supposed to do? And if you have been planning, well you haven’t made a very good job of it, have you?

And that’s hardly surprising when we look at the King’s Fund graphic.

What was said at the time of the 2010 General Election?

No more top down re-organisation of the NHS!

Come on, Jeremy. Get a grip! Let’s have a Secretary of State for Health who takes responsibility for what’s going on in our NHS. Or move over for someone who will!

Thanks for reading my blog today.

You might also like Belated Birthday Greetings to our NHS on Cabbage and Semolina Blog.

Please check out my Book of the Day.


Well said, Daisy Goodwin!

10 Downing Street, London

In the News today is Daisy Goodwin’s #MeToo story about the day she was groped in Number 10, Downing Street.

If you missed Daisy’s assertive story you can read it on the BBC News website.

Maybe more women who have stood up to sexual harassment can share their stories and describe how they took back control of a situation. Hopefully the official concerned in Daisy’s story learned his lesson and mended his ways. Probably too much optimism on this one!

The other day I told you about my sexual harassment experience.

After my “fight or flight” decision I thought about what to do if I ever again found myself the subject of unwanted physical attention.  I used my strategy several times over the ensuing years and it always worked.

Step 1

Look the perpetrator in the eye.

Step 2

Articulate clearly in a low, slow, calm, quiet voice, “Fuck Off!”

I have several theories why my strategy worked but most importantly it made me feel good and in control and therefore not afraid.

Sorry about the Anglo-Saxon but you can’t be wimpish in this situation.

Which reminds me of an old adage my mum often quoted when we were growing up.

“Say what you mean and mean what you say,” was one of mother’s many lessons for life.

Of course now I wonder where she found the quote.

Maybe, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

“Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on.

“I do,” Alice hastily replied; “at least–at least I mean what I say–that’s the same thing, you know.”

“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “You might just as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I see”!”

Maybe not!

Thanks for reading my blog today

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And please check out my Book of the Day.

Alice in Wonderland
image credit: John Tenniel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons