Grim up north is it?

WHO said it's grim up north?

WHO said it's grim up north?

I don't know but the last time I did mention that the north isn't very nice and I wouldn't want to live there, thank you very much, preferring the glorious undulating (not flat) Suffolk countryside to the dales and moors, I received a couple of letters from rather annoyed readers telling me I didn't know what I was talking about.

They, of course, may have been right though I noted both wrote from Suffolk addresses.

Anyway, one thing I have learnt since becoming an almost-but-not-quite-celebrity-columnist with pretentions to be an opinion former and fete opener, is that people love to correct you when they think you are unsure of your facts - which is, to be honest, most of the time in my case.

Nevertheless I have, this week, dear readers ventured into the hinterland that is the great unknown beyond the A14 at Cambridge. I found myself taking the Great North Road for an appointment in Bradford.

The journey was to take my father Duncan, who is now getting on and needs to sleep at certain times of the day, to look at some machinery he is having fixed up in a workshop up there.

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Not that I shall bore you with the details but after our appointment during which we looked at large bits of metal and discussed things about which I knew little like rivets and flanging, we decided to have a little tour of the north while we were up there.

And isn't the M62 fun? What an amazing road. The Orwell Bridge is impressive I know but this road includes dams and things and climbs to more than 1,200ft. British engineering at its best.

We also found ourselves driving across Saddleworth Moor - the scene of the moors murders and for any journalist always a source of fascination.

It was only this month that Greater Manchester Police classified the search for the body of Keith Bennett - a 12-year-old victim of the murderous Ian Brady and Myra Hindley - as dormant.

For 45 years Keith's mother Winnie Johnson has wondered where her son is and has begged Brady for help to lay her son to rest but he won't. I suspect because this knowledge is the only power he has left.

It might seem slightly macabre but I was interested to see the area where these outrageous crimes took place and the terrain. Saddleworth Moor is a forbidding place and back in the 1960s would have been even more remote than it is today. What those two did doesn't bear thinking about.

The murders have cast a long shadow over that region but crimes happen everywhere and I did notice that people in restaurants and shops were noticeably more friendly and welcoming than they are round here.

Here in Suffolk we are perhaps, though you might not agree, a little wary of strangers with different accents.

I wouldn't go as far to say that the Pennines are the new Tuscany or the West Riding the Dordogne of the North but maybe, just maybe I was wrong when I dismissed it all as grim.

IT is been a most interesting week here in the Edwardian spa town of Felixstowe where I enjoy the benefits of a small apartment with sea views (distant).

Not only have I planted a lupin - though I suspect this might be a bit late - but the powers-that-be have announced what has been described as a �2.8 million revamp to make the town centre “people-friendly” and cut car congestion and danger.

I am sure it is all very admirable though I rarely feel in danger in Felixstowe town centre - it is hardly Port Au Prince.

Anyway, according to reports it is all part of some sort of blueprint to regenerate the resort and will mean Hamilton Road will become pedestrian friendly, car parking will be taken away and only blue badge holders will be able to find a space.

Exciting news eh?

But it seems to me that almost everyone in Felixstowe already has a blue badge anyway and there are certainly lots of rather overweight people with buggies hogging the pavement as it is.

For those of us without disability who just want to park up for ten minutes and quickly pop into the shops it sounds a most unfriendly scheme. Oh well.

The second phase of the plan, I understand, will include turning The Triangle into a place for flowers, fountains and fun - the toilets will be demolished and the taxi rank moved.

This is all very well and I quite like the idea of a place for open air entertainments and the like but the people of Felixstowe have also been threatened with the awful and terrifying prospect of a “space for public art”.

This is most concerning.

Have you seen a pleasant piece of “public art”? Ever? I didn't think so.

WOULD you strip and bare all in the pursuit of a story?

Well it didn't stop my fellow media types of BBC Radio Suffolk fame Mark Murphy and Rob Dunger.

They lifted their shirts with the boys from Here Come the Boys - a group of young men who take of their clothes in the name of entertainment for the ladies - last week.

There's no way I would have done that and I was most impressed with the bravery displayed by Mark and Rob, it was quite feat - at their age.

ISN'T this swine flu stuff a little over-talked?

Nearly 3,000 people die every year on our nation's roads but we aren't up in arms about that are we? And while we might be taking our children away from schools where swine flu has struck we still drive them around.

Thought terribly sad for those who have lost loved ones I feel sure swine flu has been slightly blown out of proportion.

Yet again it is ridiculous hype without the benefit of perspective.

It is almost as if some of us in the media - the TV boys included - were hoping for more of a dramatic story which hasn't happened.

At least, thankfully, not yet.

CAN someone tell me what's going on with all these greenfly?

Have you been plagued by them?

It seems swarms of them are intent of spoiling the lovely English summer evenings.

Is it a good year for them? Or a bad year for ladybirds? Or it is just that I've noticed them for the first time?

Do drop me a line.