Mums' irritations and Auntie's bloomers

THERE was a time when one could rely on the BBC getting everything correct grammatically. But things have changed and standards have slipped, I m sad to observe. There was a news report the other day about the number of out-of-hours doctors available in r

THERE was a time when one could rely on the BBC getting everything correct grammatically.

But things have changed and standards have slipped, I'm sad to observe.

There was a news report the other day about the number of out-of-hours doctors available in relation to county populations.

A graphic revealed that in one area there were "3 GP's" to so many people. Another area had "2 GP's".

Misuse of the apostrophe has become much more common in recent years. If one is talking about more than one GP it is GPs with no apostrophe. The BBC should know better.

But what was really unforgiveable was the last graphic used. This offered the information that "1 GP's" was available for 350,000 people.

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I could not help but laugh when I read about a Tesco store in Wales which had asked its customers not to wear their pyjamas while shopping.

It is not a phenomenon I have noticed in Comet country but perhaps they do things differently the other side of Offa's Dyke.

A company spokesman was quoted as saying that the ban on PJs (correctly used without an apostrophe) was introduced "to avoid causing offence or embarrassment to others".

It should have been obvious to customers that they could not wear their pyjamas. With many Tescos being open 24 hours a day, it is always no nightie night in these establishments.

Nearer to home, I know someone who would agree whole-heartedly with the results of a survey unveiled this week.

It details the top 50 irritations mums have to contend with, often on a daily basis.

Dirty clothes dumped next to the washing basket and toothpaste left in the sink come first and second in the bug bear stakes.

Overflowing waste bins, wet toilet seats, marks in the pan and tissues left in pockets in the wash all drive British mothers bonkers.

Then there are empty toilet roll holders, leaving toilet seats up, empty cartons and boxes in the back of the cupboard or fridge and depositing wet towels on the bathroom floor.

I'm glad I don't do any of these things. At least, I'm not aware that I do.

I suppose these domestic difficulties are encountered the world over. I wonder if they have similar problems with toilets elsewhere in the universe.

Maybe one day we (more likely our descendants) will find out. Scientists have been probing the skies for radio broadcasts from intelligent life for 50 years, but so far they have only heard static.

However, technology has advanced so much that boffins believe that for the first time there is the realistic hope of detecting planets no bigger than Earth orbiting other stars. And that could lead to alien life being discovered.

Britain's leading astronomer, Lord Rees, has been quoted as saying: "There could be forms of intelligence beyond our human capacity, beyond as much as we are beyond a chimpanzee."

Any chimp reading this may be affronted by that remark - there was a TV programme on the other day which showed that their kind can do some tasks much quicker than humans.

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