SO MUCH for me saying that amongst the bad news – obesity, diabetes, antibiotics not working – we need to remember that some things are getting better (Bm@il, Wednesday, July 9)

Take teeth I said. The younger generation have benefited from good health information and fluoride. Unlike my parents who expected to have false teeth, or my generation who had our teeth drilled to death, today’s youngsters rarely need treatment on their pearly whites.

Fast forward to headlines in the national media only five days later: 500 Children in Hospital a Week with Rotten Teeth.

The alleged culprit according to the NHS? Fizzy drinks. That’s scuppered my image as a soothsayer then. I would probably have told Julius Caesar to Beware the Ides of May.

To the rescue, reader Margaret, formerly of Ruislip, who wrote in response to my column: “Definitely, life is better in many ways for people – it changes, that’s all, as do priorities.

“I’d rather live today health wise than, say, before the NHS. But I’m glad I am not a graduate looking for work.

“We live in a media age and bad news sells, therefore people perceive it’s all bad.”

Another reader points out how we can be cheered by little things. Carole Cook writes: “Last Christmas, LBH kindly decorated the north Hillingdon shopping area with very attractive lights.

“It would have been lovely to see hanging flower baskets there this summer similar to the ones in Ruislip, Ickenham and Uxbridge. It would have lifted people’s spirits and detracted from the two areas awaiting planning permission.”

My spirits were certainly lifted when I attended a recent writers’ festival in Winchester. Whether it’s train-spotting, metal-detecting or camping in mud at Glastonbury, it’s always great to link up with like-minded people. It was strange though to be sleeping again on a university campus.

I felt like a nun cooped up in my little cell with no TV, radio, kettle or Wi-Fi, but I slept well. Mr F, who stayed at home in Uxbridge, tells me that he enjoyed the peace too. Hmm…

However, it’s good to be home. There are sunflowers in the kitchen. Mr F is wearing his Grumpy Old Git T-shirt – a present to himself – and opening a bottle of wine.

No fruit juice or fizzy drink for us. We have heeded the professional soothsayers.


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