The locals have worse to say...

IT'S amazing how many people still believe that posting personal information on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter is like having a private conversation.

IT'S amazing how many people still believe that posting personal information on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter is like having a private conversation.

Durr. Who can't know by now that the whole point of social networking is to broadcast your 'news' to any nosy parker and snooper under-occupied enough to be interested in the minutiae of your life? People like me who can never get enough of others' goings on.

After so many sackings, outings and shamings by Facebook and Twitter posts you'd think the message would have got through to all but the seriously mentally challenged.

Surely Prince Charmless - sorry, Charming - in The Marina Theatre pantomime couldn't be so dim to believe that his slating the town paying his rent would never get out.

That his description of the place where 'Everyone is pregnant, No Starbucks. Hoodies dominate the streets. Poo' would be outed within seconds.

Personally, I was more offended by the 'Lowestoft. Near Great Yarmouth' bit than his alarm at the proliferation of hoodies.

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The winds blows so freezing round our parts that Lowestoft should be one of the few places in Britain where hoodie wearing should be compulsory in the interests of good health and keeping warm.

'Lowestoft. Near Great Yarmouth…' Indeed. Lowestoft has absolutely nothing to do with Great Yarmouth, is in a different county and is not near Great Yarmouth. If anything, Great Yarmouth is near Lowestoft. The buffoon - but then he does make his living in pantomime.

And Lowestoft should be grateful for not becoming yet another victim of globalisation and escaping the clutches of multinational Starbucks' same-old-same-old blandness.

Give me an independent teashop anytime.

Owen Woodgate might have committed the sin of biting the hand the feeds him and insulting his host.

But let's be honest here. What he tweeted about Lowestoft was pretty mild compared to the slatings some of its residents give their hometown.

I've heard far worse uttered by long term - even lifelong - Lowestoft people lamenting its 'decline' from its majestic fishing past, lambasting its influx of 'outsiders' 'ruining' their town, its degeneration and industrial bleakness.

Home grown Lowestoftians rarely give a spirited defence of their town. They run it down. They don't emphasise its positives - they don't even see them.

They moan about change, whinge about crime and spend so much time focusing on the shut down; demolished and lost they don't notice the new, regenerated and the reinvented. The hard work to breathe new life into the town.

They take for granted the varied beauty of the beaches, the broads on the doorstep, the efforts of regeneration, enterprise in the town and the creativity of so many.

They dwell on the negative - on its' 'decline.'

They sneer about people working hard to make a difference, innovating initiatives and putting their weight behind projects.

Get up and go is derided as 'showing off', entrepreneurs sniffed at as 'wide boys' with 'ambitious' - read: pie in the sky - dreams. Change is ridiculed and criticised.

So it is hypocritical for Lowestoftians to be offended, outraged or affronted by Woodgate when so many haven't a good word to say about the place themselves.

Woodgate's crime was to judge as an outsider, from London no less, a luvvie with all his London ways, pouring scorn on our town.

And he wrote it down. He should heed Omar Khayyam's words: the Moving Finger writes; and having writ, moves on; nor all your piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all your tears wash out a word of it.'

Words, especially the written kind, once uttered can never be taken back and are never forgotten.

Woodgate was out of order but so are so many people whose duty it is to speak up for their town and fight for its future because the town is in their blood.


HERE we go again. Evil television is wrecking civilization turning small children into monosyllabic problem communicators.

Children are growing up with speech problems because of too much TV, according to a Government advisor on children's speech.

Children might be struggling to string sentences together and converse but it has little to do with TV and everything to do with parents talking to babies and toddlers.

It's all well and good for the Government to want all mothers back at work but being behind a desk or on a production line makes chat to stimulate their children impossible.

And, although nursery workers and child minders do sterling jobs, it's never the same one-to-one contact as parent and child.

We can't have it both ways - full-time working mothers and eloquent children. Chatty confident children need time invested.

Buggy designers should also be in the firing line of blame. The invention of the outward facing buggy was the start of the decline in totspeak.

When I was pregnant I trawled suppliers looking for a pram or pushchair that would face me so I could babble away to my baby. I never thought dogs' noses or people's knees were healthy views for my babies.

Communication and eye contact is the key to healthy adulthood and progress. Start in infancy and a parent can't go wrong.

I lost count of the odd looks I encountered in supermarkets as I chattered away to my babies, asking them what Daddy might like for supper, whether we should have red or white and if they needed more nappies.

Talking and making faces was such a major part of their formative years, I'm not surprised they've heard enough and tell me to 'stop going on' now but they're both good communicators. Sometimes too good.

And, yes, they watched a lot of TV, just like I did when I was growing up.

If parents put in the work the TV is what it should be - an entertainer and educator which enriches, not wrecks, a childhood. However much it's on.

Regional accents are apparently thriving with Geordie, Scouse, Mancunian and Brummie becoming more distinct.

It used to be thought that accents would all merge into a national tongue with slight regional and class variations.

But new research shows that big city accents are going from strength to strength with 'super accents' developing.

But on a map in some Sunday papers, our own regional accent wasn't even flagged up on the diagram let alone mentioned. Just a big blank bit of eastern Britain with no accent worth mentioning.

Every other regional accent is applauded, cherished and revered even but ours - arguably the most difficult accent to replicate by TV actors is ignored, dismissed or even ridiculed as 'carrot cruncher' talk.

Time for a campaign to get us noticed?


DIVORCE lawyers returned from their Christmas breaks to their busiest day of the year - D-Day - when the stress of being cooped up together over the Christmas break brought the final straw to marriages.

Divorce rates are set to rise this year because of the. A sad way to start the year for all involved.

Those queuing to pay a fortune to end a relationship in the hope of happiness should listen to Jan and Lee Jones.

After 10 children and 19 years' marriage, money and the usual pressures of life pushed them to separate last January and divorce in November.

But as soon as their divorce came through, written in black and white, they realised they couldn't live without each other and remarried on Christmas Eve - just a month after their decree absolute.

An expensive lesson but one nonetheless to everyone dreaming that the grass must be greener out there. It rarely ever is.


WOMEN don't come more fragrant and glamorous than Stephanie Beacham.

She oozes class and LA chic from every salon-closed pore. An icon, a legend and every other superlative that applies to a female with such poise and finish.

So what, pray, is such a real 'somebody doing in a house of dead-end nobodies? Not that Vinnie Jones could ever be counted as a nobody since moving from first-class football to Hollywood star. He's even one of Beacham's neighbours. I love that.

Celebrity Big Brother. What possessed her? How can a household name, lower herself to share air with the likes of Alex Reid (Jordan's cagefighter cross dressing boyfriend, to those who don't know) and people whose names I didn't even recognise - Sov? Sisqo? They sound more like continental supermarkets than 'celebrities' - before they went into the house.

Unless, of course, turning 60 has made her a little insecure and coexisting with such grubby nonentities will make her shine even

brighter as a beacon of true style and glamour.

Or she just fancied a bit of rough.


WOMEN are lying to their partners about their shopping habits even more during the credit crunch.

Slashing their true price in half when quizzed is old hat. Now we're keeping new shoes, handbags and clothes a secret, hidden away and taken out only when partners are out of sight.

I've always thought that supermarkets invented their clothing ranges to help women expand their wardrobes by stealth. They can do their weekly shop and pick up a few wardrobe treats and partners need never know.

Not even the carrier bags can give the game away.


THE Big Freeze, promising to be the coldest winter for 30 years, is giving us all something to talk about in January, usually the most dull and uneventful month.

No one can say enough about the weather, the lack of gritters, icy pavements and thermal underwear.

It's given us all a united interest and perked us up in the usual post-Christmas droop in spirits.

Also, it's a brilliant excuse for doing very little and staying at home.

Frozen pitches stopped most sport last week - bliss for parents like me who spend Sundays circumventing the countryside for football and rugby fixtures - and the same is looking likely for this week.

A chance to slow down, relax and make contact with elderly neighbours you rarely see - a visit and offer of help can often do almost as much good as a decent cold weather payment.