YOU wouldn't expect an ex-RAF Police patroller to be anything other than straight-talking. And Mike Culley doesn't let you down (see pages 8 and 9 in Journal2).
The 72-year-old cycling fanatic teaches cycling skills through the Bikeability programme to children in many local schools.
He criticises how "soft and lazy" society has become and says too many parents let their children be entertained either by computer games or showbiz celebrities rather than encouraging them to get out in the fresh air and work up a sweat.
It's difficult to disagree. But life is so much more complicated these days than when I was a child.
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Not for me the delights of Jeremy Kyle in the morning – there was no daytime TV. In fact, we didn't have a television at all in our house until I was eight. When it arrived we made do with Blue Peter, Champion The Wonder Horse and Dixon of Dock Green – all in glorious black and white.
There were long periods when there was nothing on TV at all. Then for parts of the evening there was something called The Interlude, when the BBC broadcast someone doing some pottery. If you want to see how truly mind-numbingly dull this was, take a look at this YouTube clip on http://tinyurl.com/6cc2lx7
No child wanted to sit around watching that so we found something else to do.
We had no computers so there were no video games teaching us how to be serial killers. There was no Facebook teaching us how to be emotionally incontinent online. And there were no mobile phones teaching us "sexting".
There were no reality shows on television so we didn't believe we could achieve fame and fortune without hard work and application.
There were no bullies in my school stealing my lunch money – they'd have been surprised at how much fight I'd put up to keep my cash for Miss Elworthy's chocolate pudding and pink custard.
I had the good fortune to be brought up on a farm so my playing field was a couple hundred acres of field and woodland. If there was no school we were shown the door in the morning and allowed back indoors for meals.
But it's understandable that most parents these days wouldn't want to send their little dears out to play. The perception – there's some debate over whether it's the truth – is that the outside world is a dangerous place.
When I was young no one worried about a paedophile snatching us off the streets or being run over by some boy-racer. We were warned not to talk to strangers and taught the Green Cross Code – that's all.
So good luck to Mike Culley and his Bikeability programme – and to all those organisations that encourage children to get off their backsides and go outdoors.
It's got to be better than sitting glued to the TV to watch Rylan on Celebrity Big Brother.
THE first words I said to my better half on Sunday morning were: "Is there any particular reason why there is sweet and sour sauce in the cat's bowl?"
He looked at me with bleary, uncomprehending eyes, having been out with the boys the previous night.
After a long shower and a strong cup of tea, came the official SweetandSourGate explanation:
He came home from the pub and wanted something to eat. There was left over sweet and sour chicken in the fridge. He couldn't eat it all so he put the rest in cat's bowl (like she's a fan of sweet and sweet chicken...). Toffee, who has much more sense than her owner, ate the chicken and left the sauce.