According to NBC, New York schools are bringing back cursive writing into the third-grade school curriculum.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said, “…it’s important for young people to “know how to write a signature of their own to identify themselves, and have the ability to sign a legal document, check [cheque], or voter registration form. Without knowing how to read script, students can’t even read historic documents like the Declaration of Independence”.

I guess she doesn’t go online much.

A story in the Daily Mail claims that the key to a longer life is visiting museums. During a long study, researchers at University College, London (UCL) found that people who visited museums, art galleries or the theatre every few months or more, had a 31% lower risk of dying early. Another study carried out by the World Health Organization found that both receptive participation, like visiting a museum, and active participation, like singing in a choir, had health benefits.

Sadly visits to the cinema didn’t count.

Another story in the Mail informs us that the HEART education trust in Norfolk has banned packed lunches. This has nothing to do with childhood obesity, the reason they have given is that it is to reduce plastic waste. I guess all those little packets of snacks and crisps are to blame, you can even buy single portions of fruit salad nowadays.

The schools affected will be providing pupils with hot lunches, but parents are up in arms, and 500 have signed a petition against the move.

Now for some Christmassy stories.

Q – What does the Queen buy her staff at Christmas?

A – A Christmas pudding – from Tescos.

According to the Daily Mail, she normally hands out puddings from Harrods, but I guess austerity bites again. Anyway, it’s the thought that counts.

Another Christmassy story about Quality Street. Quality Street are a popular sweet in the UK, sold in boxes and tins containing toffees, chocolates and sweets. A bit of a scandal has broken out according to the Daily Mirror, as a recent study carried out by iProspect, found that out of 67 sweets in a tin, only four were Green Triangles, but a sickening nine were Strawberry Delights.

This is a long-running scandal, as in 2018, consumer magazine Which reported that you’re only likely to find “five to six” of the much-loved Purple Ones in each box. The Telegraph ranked the nations favourites in the same year:-
12 – Orange Creme
11 – Strawberry Delight
10 – Caramel Swirl
9 – Toffee Penny
8 –  Milk Choc Block
7 – Fudge
6 – Chocolate Toffee Finger
5 – Toffee Deluxe
4 – Orange Chocolate Crunch
3 –  Coconut Éclair
2 –  The Green Triangle
1 –  The Purple One

So, if you have a tin of Quality Street, get in quick, before all the good ones are gone, and you are left with an Orange Creme.

A final bit of festive frivolity made it all the way to the New York Post, but it originates in Southport England, where 32-year-old Matty James, bought a blow-up Santa on e-Bay for $130.00. When it arrived he started to inflate it, and in his words, “… it kept growing and growing…”. The Santa turned out to be a gigantic “25 feet” – bigger than his house. The giant was so large it took 5 people to tether it. Sadly it had to be deflated due to high winds, but Mr James hopes to reinstall him for Christmas.

I think he probably ordered an 8 meter Santa, but I wonder how he is going to fit down the chimney.