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Are you a toothbrush traveller?

Are you planning to travel by air this year? If so, do take extra care when booking your flight – and packing your bag! I’m totally confused by new surcharges being added by operators Ryanair which is currently advertising 1 million flights at a fiver for one way. According to The Times today, Europe’s top airline has introduced additional baggage charges in a bid to price...
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The loss of a beloved son

I am deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of six year old Ivan Cameron and send my sincere sympathies to his devoted parents, Conservative leader David and his wife Samantha. The young boy, who had cerebral palsy and epilepsy, became ill overnight and was taken to St Mary’s hospital, Paddington where he died early this morning. Who could fail to be moved by Cameron’s...
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Celebrating brains

I think Gail Trimble is tremendous, not just for her brains, but for her modesty, warmth and humour too. And she is good looking. I can see no reason why in this day and age, her intelligence should become a sexist issue, and that men might find it off putting. The Latin literature Oxford student and captain was quite magnificent in University Challenge’s final last night. It is too...
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Feeling sorry for James today

James has been given an after school detention for playing snowballs at school. Admittedly, he had been asked not to, and 10 minutes later was found still doing so. I was informed about this in a letter which James brought home from school just before half-term break 10 days ago. Because we live outside the school catchment area and pay for a private bus company, I wrote to the school explaining...
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Are ramblers and farmers friend or foe?

I experienced my first difficulty today as a rambler. Thirty of us were enjoying the great weather and scenery around Wimpole and following our leader through a woodland path. Suddenly, we were confronted by a man with a large dog who told us we were not on an official footpath and redirected us along the muddy route you can see in the pic. A few seconds later I found a footpath sign in the...
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What Jade Goody and I have in common

I wonder how different Jade Goody’s life would have been if she had known where “East Angular” was. “I am intelligent, but I let myself down because I can’t speak properly or spell,” was one of her most touching statements from Big Brother back in 2002. That sentence really speaks volumes. After recently learning she only had weeks to live due to cancer, Jade...
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The economic recession and women political candidates

At a time when more women should be encouraged to become parliamentary candidates, I fear they may be even more deterred by the severe economic downturn. Contesting a parliamentary seat is an exhausting task and financially crippling. The immensely dedicated Robert Halfon describes in this article the soaring costs involved which candidates have to meet; he told how he had spent £30,000 in his...
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The nonsense about labels with country of origin

It seems a nonsense to me that every item of clothing I am wearing states its country of origin on a stitched in label. I’m afraid to say they come from less than glamorous locations -my favourite fuchsia pink cardi from M & S was made in Vietnam, while my black Wallis skirt was stitched up in Romania. My crisp white shirt had an exotic start in Malaysia while my stunning black...
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Tolly’s flowers, raffle tickets and poor pensioners

I pulled out my husband’s winning raffle ticket last night and didn’t know what to do. “He bought it fair and square, it’s his prize,” said  fund-raising  officer Tracy who was standing next to me. “He’s always lucky, he always wins raffle prizes. The week before he won a bottle of whisky at a Conservative Association dinner,” I laughingly replied....
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Comic Relief and TwitterTitters

Fellow scribe and twitterer Linda Jones has had a brilliant brainwave – to gather a collection of new comedy for Comic Relief via Twitter which  will then be published to raise cash. She has been thrilled with the positive response since her announcement earlier this week. Even the BBC has picked up on it. What an inspirational idea. I can see Linda going on TV on Red Nose Day, Friday, 13...
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25 random things about me

I have been tagged several times about this latest meme, 25 random things about me. So here goes: 1. I have ghost written the life of a truly extraordinary man which is being published by a leading publisher on September 3. I can’t say more now, but it is very exciting, so watch this space! 2. I love music and wish I could sing like an angel, instead of a frog. 3. I failed maths GCSE three...
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Euro election news coverage

It’s very challenging trying to persuade local newspapers to print stories about the important work of their MEPs. The best coverage in my patch, East Anglia, has come from the East Anglian Daily Times. Each week it has published a Letter from Brussels column written by each local MEP on a rotational basis. Now, unfortunately, it is coming to an end. An email I was sent this week blamed...
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Blog housekeeping

I have had a long overdue housekeeping session on my blog and many links have been eliminated because it was a chore to trawl through them all. If it happened to you and you would like your link reinstated, please let me know. I have also added a link for my twitter followers which you will find in the left panel – I deleted 100 or so last year when I was getting strange, anonymous phone...
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Impact of pesticides’ ban

My MEP Robert Sturdy fought tooth and nail to try and persuade his colleagues in Brussels to see sense over voting for the EU’s pesticides’ ban without having an impact assessment, warning it could affect our future food security. Unfortunately, he was not successful. He even petitioned 10 Downing Street. He has just issued this latest press release on the controversial issue,...
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Is California heading for bust?

I am shocked to read in today’s Times that the state of California could go bust this month if an agreement cannot be reached on fixing a budget to cover its $42 billion ($28.4 billion) deficit. This is the home of Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Its streets, once paved with gold, have no glitter left. Everyone is fighting for survival. Unless Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger can reach a...
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