If we are all encouraged to show a ‘greener Britain’ to the world in the run-up to the great COP26, what do we think? There is nothing green about our rivers and seas.
Brown is a much more appropriate color, as shown this week in a social media film of untreated sewage being pumped into the sea at Langstone Harbor in Hampshire. The drain from a pipe that was 2.80 meters wide went on for 49 hours, according to a local filmmaker. You wouldn’t want your kids to take a dip there, would you?
I spend quite a bit of my time on the coast in another part of Hampshire, stretching as far as Dorset. I have often been tempted to go swimming in the Solent. It’s the best form of exercise out there, especially as you get older and need to keep the muscles in the arms, hips, and legs happily moving.
A movie shared on social media showed untreated sewage being pumped into the sea at Langstone Harbor in Hampshire. Pictured: Langstone
I ruled that out this summer when I learned that our local authority, Southern Water, had been fined £90million for dumping wastewater into the sea.
Ah, I thought, she’ll learn that. They will definitely make improvements. Then I found that just 12 hours after the government voted against the Environmental Bill amendment that would have made such filth no longer allowed, it did.
Singer and clean water campaigner Feargal Sharkey emphasizes that Southern Water continues to dump wastewater into our seas. Own data showed that wastewater — including untreated sewage — had been dumped at 60 sites on the south coast. Remarkably, this is allowed under the current rules under certain circumstances.
This was not an unknown practice in the days before the water companies were privatized in 1989.
Jenni Murray (pictured) said it is becoming clear that investment and profit are more important than what should be taken for granted – that water is essential for life and health
I can’t recall experiencing anything so disgusting when I learned to swim in the North Sea at Scarborough in the 1950’s, but my husband, across the country from Birkenhead, remembers spending weekends there with his brothers swimming and laughing at what was known as ‘Mersey goldfish’. It’s a wonder none of them died of cholera.
In the 1960s and 1970s, serious efforts were made to clean up the seas, beaches and rivers. At that time, the water boards were state-owned and considered a public health service. But since privatisation, it has become clear that investment and profit are more important than what should be taken for granted – that water is essential for life and health and that it should be of enormous importance for politicians to make that a priority.
My least favorite night of the year is just around the corner – and didn’t we let you know? Firecrackers are pinging all around us, children in horror masks are running around. Has everyone forgotten that you can’t party until October 31? And trick or treating is not okay. Why do we teach our kids that it’s acceptable to beg candy from a complete stranger and threaten something nasty if they don’t come with the goods? My door remains firmly locked.
A 2017 poll found that 83 percent were in favor of renationalization. Greenwich University concluded that we pay £2.3 billion more every year for our water than if it were still in state hands. In the 32 years since privatisation, that would have amounted to £73.6bn, which would have been nicely towards the £650bn reportedly needed to upgrade what is still a Victorian sewage system. Meanwhile, water company bosses took in £13 million in wages and bonuses last year, despite their companies discharging raw sewage into English rivers 400,000 times.
For now, any health-promoting swimming I participate in will be strictly conducted at a local pool. I feel sorry for so many of my friends who have become quite obsessed with wild swimming, including the strongest 80-year-old I know, who swims in the sea on the south coast every morning. I hope she doesn’t run into anything terrible getting tangled up in the seaweed. Of course!
Tatt doesn’t look good, Angelina
Jenni said Angelina Jolie’s (pictured) extensive tattoos all over her back struck her in photos published this week, as she wondered why someone born with such perfection would be inked on the skin in such a way. .
There are certain women who are so exquisite that they take your breath away. Angelina Jolie was one of them. I interviewed her in 2013 when she was working with William Hague to highlight sexual violence against women in conflict.
She was very beautiful, with perfect bone structure and flawless skin. So it wasn’t her slightly dodgy hair extensions that caught my eye in photos published this week, but the elaborate tattoos all over her back. Why would someone born with such perfection be inked on the skin in such a way? One day even she will sag and her tatts may not be as symmetrical.
If only today’s children could use cutlery!
Jenni said news that more than half of British children don’t eat with a knife and fork points to a serious flaw on the part of parents who don’t strictly enforce table manners (file image)
Shocking news that more than half of British children do not eat with a knife and fork. Sixty percent often eat only with their hands and many lick their plates clean or talk with their mouths full. That’s a serious flaw on the part of parents who don’t strictly enforce table manners. It is a huge social disadvantage, even in these more relaxed times, not to know which knife, fork and spoon to use in which order on a formal occasion.
Children should be taught to sit up straight at the table, engage in interesting conversation, and set aside tablets and phones.
Teenage girls need a good laugh
Jenni praises Brighton Girls School for introducing laughter classes as they can be the antidote to all the stress they get from Facebook and Instagram (file image)
They say laughter is the best medicine – and I can confirm it. A few years ago, when I was really fed up, I took part in an open-air laughter class on Hampstead Heath in North London.
Of course the laugh was false. We are made to do it. But after an hour we were all laughing because we thought things were funny and at the end we all felt so much better.
Well done Brighton Girls School for introducing such classes to their students.
It could be the antidote to all the stress they get from Facebook and Instagram. Just laugh about it, girls.