Monday, 24 December 2012

Statistics: Indian Road Fatalities

So I was watching Top Gear earlier (the episode where they are idiots in India rather than just in England), and Jeremy Clarkson claimed that there are 196,000 road fatalities in India a year or, as he put it, 22 an hour.

Well damn.

However, this was said by Jeremy Clarkson, a man known for having zero credibility on anything (in my eyes anyway). So I decided, because I have literally nothing better to do, to check out this statistic, and also analyse what it implies.

So, first stop, WIKIPEDIA. Now I disagree with anyone who says Wikipedia is a poor source, because it contains good information in nice, condensed parcels. Just check their sources and you should be fine. And I checked sources, so I'm pretty confident when I say it is NOT 196,000.

It's 133,938. In 2010. Pretty high still. This number is specifically traffic accidents on the road and not, I don't know, incidences of people dying whilst trying to drive a classic muscle car onto a boat.

So how many deaths is that per hour? Well 133,938/365/24 = 15.3. (just to clarify, 196,000 deaths a year is about 22 an hour, so Clarkson was right)

Compare this to the UK's annual death rate, which is 2,222 (No I am not making that up), and therefore 0.25 an hour, and India looks like a pretty damn dangerous place to drive. India has the most road deaths of any country in the world (by the statistics I looked at ). However, it also has a bloody huge population and quite a few car owners. If you look at road deaths per 100,000 cars owned (which is kind of important) then India is pretty tame. The worst, according to Wikipedia AND I COULD FIND NO ACTUAL SOURCE, was Togo.

And that concludes this pointless blog post about road traffic accidents in India.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

£5 for 5 Days: Days 5-6

Wait, 5 to 6? It's £5 for 5 days! Yes, but I started midway through Monday thus I must end midway through Saturday!

Friday started, naturally, with porridge. I was so hungry all day though, and got through a lot of my bread and bourbon cream supplies. I also invented a new kind of beans on toast; kidney beans, curry sauce and bread. I forgot to toast the bread.

Saturday, and it's starting to take it's toll. I feel kind of weak, and walking down Guildford High street with all the smells of pizza and meat and bread was a challenge that almost made me fail at the last hurdle. Breakfast of porridge of course, and lunch of my special beans on toast, with actually toasted bread! Got some funny looks from flatmates but I enjoyed it.

It is now 4, which marked the beginning of this project on Monday (it's when I entered the shop). I can solemnly swear I have not eaten anything but that which I bought with £5. Drinking on the other hand....

Point proven, I guess. Now I just need to team up with someone for the actual charity event. Which also includes drinks in the £5....

Now. Where's that can of MEAT.

EDIT: Thinking of it, I ate possibly 2 sweets that someone gave to me. It was Halloween and seemed rude not to. Nutritional value nil though.

Friday, 2 November 2012

£5 for 5 days: Day 4

I would have liked to somehow compare this day to the temptations of Christ, but then I realised I don't actually know that story and also that's pretty big headed. And probably cliched. So instead I'll just tell you all; today was full of temptation!

Breakfast started the day alright, with porridge at around 8. But after lectures I was hungry, so it was fried bread and a bourbon cream by 10.30, then another slice around 12 because I didn't think I'd have time for dinner, so decided to have a lunch/dinner at 3. Unfortunately this dinner has exhausted my curry sauce supply, though I still have 27p to get more. Turns out I DID have time for dinner, so at 5.40 I flash fried some bread to keep me going for the evening. My friend came over and I cooked him soup, which was incredibly tempting to eat myself but I didn't buy it with the £5!

And then GameSoc. It seems the point of this society at Surrey is to play games and EAT LOTS OF PIZZA. As soon as I walk in I'm hit by the smell of Meat Feasts, Four Seasons, Mexican BBQ chicken beef sauce thing which tastes so very very very good.... I even end up craving kebab which, when you consider I've only ever had one, is quite impressive. In the end I leave early, when my opponents declare they are off for pizza too. Fried bread, a bourbon cream or 3 and a Nerf Gun make me forget the pizza, mostly.

Guess what I'm having first day after this is finished?

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

£5 for 5 Days: Days 2-3

Day 2 starts with my usual porridge (40g of porridge and 240ml of milk), except without my customary syrup. No complaints there. At lunch time I attempt to fry bread (reasoning that the amount of oil I use must account for less than 1p). Slice 1 goes well, slice 2 less so and slice 3 soaks up way too much oil. Dinner is curry again, although I cook it slightly differently by boiling the veg in the curry sauce having already heated it in the steamer. A bourbon cream or two makes a nice pudding.

A spanner in the works though. I seem to have contracted some kind of infection or similar that has blocked my sinuses and given me a terrible cough. As a concession to health I have allowed tea, fruit squash and Vit. C tablets to enter my diet (3 different people's recommendations). To be fair I wasn't factoring in drink into this project anyway, but the Vit C tablets strike me as fitting in the "nutrition" department and I only take them reluctantly.

Day 3 and I have to run my girlfriend to the train station, so a quick breakfast of bread dipped in milk suffices. Lunch is porridge, because I have to have at least one bowl a day. A trip to town reveals a difficulty in this scheme. It's all very well having cheap food at home, but in town it's all expensive. So for two hours I'm staggering hungrily around Guildford, before getting home to fried bread and bourbon cream. Dinner is again curry and rice, although this time I throw in the kidney beans with the veg and curry. Also need to cook the rice less, as it is still going mushy. Half a tin of peach slices doesn't just suffice as pudding; it's amazing. I love peach slices. The cough persists, and stopped me sleeping last night. I hope the lack of protein doesn't fuel it... would hate to have to open that can of meat and render my entire endeavor null and void.

Monday, 29 October 2012

£5 for 5 days: Day 1

A long time ago I heard about the "Live Below the Line" challenge. People would live off £5 for 5 days and... and somehow that made money for charity. I'm sure they had a plan.

Not that I could ever do it at home, because dinner was always served and no one would understand me arbitrarily capping my consumption costs. Rightly so, because it is kind of stupid to do if not for charity.

So I'm Living Below the Line. And not for charity. Horray for Uni!

£5 can go pretty far still today, provided you don't care for variety. So I did one recon mission of Tesco's, jotting down every bargain I saw (tins and frozen food, basically), then let my current food stocks run out. Easier said than done; I compulsively hoard tins of stuff. I didn't even get halfway through my soups, so they are sitting on my shelf and must not be eaten! Bread went pretty quick, until I was using rashers of bacon to sandwich the cheese. (Note: Said combination is fucking delicious).

Then when I was reduced to what I considered a minimum, I set out to Tesco's! Now I already had porridge oats at home, so I simply took 55p off my budget (seemed a little silly to buy a bag. I have 1kg of the stuff!). In the end I came home with;

2x Tins of Kidney Beans; 36p.
Tinned Peaches; 29p
Tinned Mandarins, 19p
Chopped Ham; 67p
Bourbon Creams; 49p
Long Grain Rice, 1kg, 40p
Curry Sauce, 23p (That's not what it said on the shelf you liars!)
Bread, 47p,
Mixed Veg 75p
Fresh Milk, 100p.

Totaling that up it's... £4.85. Shit. 40p over budget when you consider the porridge oats. So that can of chopped ham I let myself indulge in must sit idly on the shelf. The extra 27p will go towards another jar of curry sauce if I run out (Or a slither of meat if I feel my sanity slipping from all the vegginess).

I decided to start tonight. My girlfriend was over so I cooked for her too ("You're feeding her with this shit!?" cried my flatmates).  So meal 1 was:

50g Rice, Handful of frozen veg (from an old bag, I noted how much was left and decreed not to drop below that amount with the new bag), a tbsp of kidney beans, and a bit of curry sauce for flavour. Per person, might I add. It wasn't half bad actually, with the curry sauce being surprisingly tasty for something that cost 23p (the shelf still said 20p!). As you may have noted from my list though, that's all the ingredients I have. So Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will ALSO be this meal. Unless I run out of curry sauce.

Pudding was two Bourbon creams. Living the high life there. Also not bad for cheap stuff.

In all a good start, even if I did turn the wrong hob on at one point. The curry sauce is already dangerously low, and my rice cooking technique could do with some refinement. Porridge without syrup tomorrow, first time in a month...

Here goes!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Two Child Policy

Just a short one today, because for once, I honestly don’t know what to think.

I read
THIS article in The Mirror today (yes I get The Mirror, please don’t immediately disregard everything I say). For those of you who don’t want to read the article; Mr Cameron is proposing that benefits for families with more than two children should be curbed. There’s no indication of how it’ll work, but the basic premise is to punish big families on welfare and thereby encourage smaller families. That’s what I got anyway.

Naturally, it’s caused a bit of an uproar.... in The Mirror at least.

The problem is, despite hating the Conservatives pretty much on principal (an illogical, emotionally driven hate which I understand has little reasonable backing, but some things don’t change) is that I can kind of see his point. Bare with me a second here.

1. People do take advantage of the system, using the benefits they get from their children to live as good a lives as those who work hard for a living. Even The Mirror tends to target these kinds of people, branding them as drains on society. Now naturally Cameron’s plans would stop this abuse.

2. The Tories are doing this to slash £10billion off the welfare fund. £10billion. That’s a hell of a lot of money. We can put it in the NHS! (Not that they will. Has anyone ever noticed the government money just seems to get... lost? Or am I just paranoid?)

I said I don’t know what to think. Aside from a healthy bit of suspicion of all the Tories do, I’ve also noticed some flaws in their plan...

1. What do you do with people currently with 8 kids and on benefits? The plan works only on new families, not on those already (ab)using the system.  What do you do? Remove the children, put them into foster care? Let the parents pick their two favourites? The other option is to make one rule for current families and another rule for new families. I think you can see where that might go wrong.

2. What about people who have been made redundant? Imagine the scenario. Bob and Jane have three children, and both Bob and Jane are in pretty well paid jobs, so they felt safe that they could indeed have three children and support them. Suddenly, they are both made redundant, and have to go on benefits. Suddenly having three children makes them a drain on society and they are punished for it, even though they have been working all their life. Seems a bit unfair to me.

I said I’d keep it short. I think I have. Like I said, I don’t know what to think about this. On the face of it, the Tories have actually produced a sound, if nasty, plan. But whether it’d work in practice? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


The topic of cannabis, or rather, the legalisation or regulation of it, is one fraught with difficulty and misunderstanding. It makes it very difficult to work out what to actually think about it. Obviously I am not an expert on it, nor do I have any experience using the drug itself, but I think I can apply some common sense, and a bit of research, to this sticky topic.

In case you’re wondering, I’ll give you my idea now. Legalise cannabis.

It makes it safer.

You see, the problem is that as soon as a government make a substance a “controlled substance”, they lose all control over it. People still want the substance, but what they get is an impure version which is controlled not by a (hopefully) accountable government, but by criminals, gangs and “that strange looking guy who lives in the top flat”. They don’t know what’s in it, but the demand is still there. I’ve heard reports of crushed glass in cannabis. Not quite sure how that works, but I know if I were going to smoke something, I’d rather the ashes didn’t contain glass. Let alone if I were making tea out of it.   

And there’s no escaping the fact that people still smoke cannabis. It is the most used controlled substance in Britain. No amount of “controlling” has stopped that, so it’s better to make sure that what people are using is as safe as it can be. Better, then, to legalise it, and then impose regulations on the companies that produce it. Like how jam is only allowed a certain percentage of flies’ legs in it.

Now, astute reader, you have no doubt picked up two flaws in my argument, so far. 1) I’m implying that cannabis is safe other than the additives. 2) You may think that legalising cannabis would increase the usage of it. Therefore any negative effects it does have will affect a wider population. Let’s tackle these problems in the traditional way of starting at 1.

“Cannabis is safe.” Well, not really. I’m not saying it’s some wondrous substance that can make life better and won’t hurt you a bit. Chances are, it can. Most things can hurt you, after all. Just ask the Daily Mail. We have to put it into perspective. Cannabis has often been reported to be harmless (Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, 1893), and whilst I’d disagree with that, it is no more harmful than tobacco or alcohol. If you believe this article, it’s even less damaging than them. I suppose you can apply a bit of real life logic to this; how many people have you heard die of alcohol or tobacco related incidents? I can name a few myself. How many from cannabis? I’m willing to bet none, or maybe a couple. Of course there is the issue that cannabis use is a) less frequent and b) less advertised, so you would be unlikely to hear of it anyway.

“Legalising cannabis will increase its usage”. Sorry about this, but I’m going to bring in a very short bit of history. You can find it in the above article. Holland de-criminalised cannabis back in 1976, and yet the use of cannabis has not increased since then, nor has there been an increase of people moving on to hard drugs. I’d imagine there was probably a little bump up when people who had wanted to try cannabis but didn’t because it was illegal had a go, but there are no statistics for it, so it’s just pure conjecture. That’s not to say that legalising, or de-criminalising, cannabis in the UK wouldn’t lead to an increase, just that it’s not likely to.

A further point I’d like to make is an economical one. I’m not great at economics, so I won’t pretend to be. But if you legalise cannabis, you remove an aspect of organised crime. After all, who wants unsafe black market cannabis when there is perfectly safe cannabis for sale? This means fewer resources being used to detect and destroy it. Naturally, this applies to any illegal activity (if you legalise it, you don’t have to hunt down lawbreakers), but if cannabis isn’t that harmful, you can justify legalising it.

Okay, so there’s my argument for legalising cannabis. “Okay, Mr Filthy Liberal, why has it stayed illegal for over 80 years, if legalising it would not have a negative effect?” Well, hypothetical member of my tiny audience, I have some theories on that, too. I’d like you to consider the above argument concluded, and then move onto this one, as they deal with slightly different issues within the whole general topic of cannabis legalisation. Also, the following theories are much less well supported, and there’s no real conclusion, but bare with me.

The first reason is that I think the public is poorly educated on the topic, and quite frankly they probably don’t want to be educated on it. If you’re not going to do it, why bother? Here’s the general premise of most arguments.

“Cannabis is bad.”
“Why is it bad?”
“Because it’s banned.”
“Why is it banned?”
“Because it’s bad. They must have their reasons.”

“Cannabis is bad” is quite well ingrained into our thoughts. It’s the domain of delinquent teens, rock stars and outcasts. Might I just add that this stereotype is incorrect. Cannabis is used in all classes and walks of society, in the same way as alcohol is (unless you’re Amish or Muslim, I guess). More widely in some than others, granted, but still it is not limited to a single demographic. The people who break that mentality cannot express it, and we get nowhere.

The second reason is that it’s not just our government who makes the decision. Most drug laws have some kind of international basis, because drug control needs international action. To legalise cannabis would require more than just convincing the Great British public. In short, it’s hard to do.

The third reason is “the slippery slope” argument. You probably all know this one. “If the government legalise cannabis, what’s to stop them legalising harder drugs like cocaine, or heroin?”. It helps if you read that in a slightly hysterical voice. My blog today is focusing on cannabis, so I won’t discuss the merits or downsides of other drugs. However, I’d counter this by saying, one: look at how hard it has been to legalise cannabis. People have been fighting for 80 years to turn back the law (since it was made, basically) yet nothing has happened. Whilst certainly not the best counter, it does mean that any law to allow cocaine or ecstasy would be similarly contentious. So, hysterical parent, chances are it won’t happen in your lifetime, anyway. The other counter I’d propose is that cannabis legalisation is sought because controlling cannabis doesn’t make a lot of sense. There are a lot of arguments for legalising it, and I’ve only covered a few. Legalising heroin? Less so. It is an obvious danger, and therefore less likely ever to be legalised.

That concludes the second part. Sorry there’s not much more, I would love to hear all your views on the topic.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Afraid of the Flag

If there’s one thing that the World Cup, the Royal Wedding and the Jubilee had in common, it was the flags. The Union Flag (Doctor Who told me it was only the Union Jack when flown at sea... or was it the other way round?), or rather, multiple Union Flags, were strung up all around the country, turning every shopping centre, high street and half of our houses into red, white and blue masterpieces.

Oh it was glorious.

Oh wait. I can’t say that. People might think I’m a nationalist!

See, that is the issue. We can’t enjoy the flag anymore and, by extension, we can’t enjoy our own country. You love Britain? Wait there, I’ll go get my UKIP leaflets. Liking us all flying the flag? You ever heard of the BNP? You should join...

This issue has been playing on me for a while, but it became evident during the Jubilee. Put simply, nationalist parties like the BNP make more centre-orientated (read: most people) or left-orientated (read: filthy liberals like myself) scared of loving their own country, their own flag. They reduce patriotism by making us ashamed of being patriotic.

There’s two interlinked reasons I can think of.

1) BNP and UKIP are often viewed as the worst part of our country. Racist, isolationist, homophobic, violent, etc. You can argue the toss all day whether the generally held perception of them is true or not (I tend to err on it being so, if only amongst the leaders) but it is generally a common perception. At least in my experience. These nationalist parties are viewed as a stain on Britain. Which leads me to point two.

2). People don’t want to be associated with that stain. BNP has the “monopoly” on patriotism, because no one else wants to be patriotic in case they are associated with the BNP.

As always, I’d like to add my own little disclaimer here. I say no-one because I’m basing this off personal experience. I’m keen to point out that that experience is pretty limited, and within a small demographic (South England, educated, middle class), and may not be representative. If it suits you, just replace every reference to other people with "I". 

But if you want to take away something, it’s that I think that nationalist parties hurt their own cause, by making patriotism abhorrent. If they weren’t there, the central-orientated and leftist people of this country would be more willing to be patriotic.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012



There is a “pattern” that all people seem to follow in terms of their relationship with their family (providing it fits into the generally accepted “ideal”).

First, your parents love you unconditionally, even though you rob them of all their sleep, and you shit on them.

Then there’s a balance, where you still deprive your parents of sleep and freedom, but you can also repay that with nice deeds and those pictures they put on the fridge and show off proudly to their bored neighbours. (Again, talking in ideals, here. My parents never put any of my pictures on the fridge, mostly because I kept them away).

Then you mature, and they sleep more. Sure, you’re horrifically consumerist and want everything you see, but at least you know when to shut up. And your parents can be all proud when you get into a certain school, get a certain mark in a test, get a certain teacher to say certain nice words, or whatever floats their boat. It’s all rosy.

And then come the teenage years. Now, I would contest the idea that “teenagers are just moody”. Look at them around their friends. Are they moody then? With those kids parents despise, with the odd parents they didn’t want to know but have to put up with because they are the taxi service. Listening to the music that is apparently all about suicide or gratuitous whoring (seems to be the main stereotype. I’m still not sure which one is rap and which one is rock, but then it never made any sense anyway).

No. Teenagers can be and are happy. Why, then, are they such moody bastards at home? “Lust for freedom”? Biological programming? “Where did we go wrong with them” seems to be a common question. Lack of discipline? Too much love, too soon? Letting them hang around with those friends that make said hypothetical teenager happy, so they hate going home?

There is no one answer to this. But let me offer a perspective. A perspective from a non abusive, generally fair family; a perspective from a generally happy, just past teenage years adult. Who also happens to know a fair few families who are similarly non abusive, and the teenagers and young adults in them. Well, I say non abusive. I’m talking here in terms of physical, emotional and mental abuse. The kind of stuff people get taken to court for. None of that is happening in these families. Not court worthy anyway. According to society they are normal and healthy.

Not according to me. Because despite my family being as I’ve described above, I still think there is an issue that is not addressed because quite frankly, no one wants to address it.

Family is destructive.

Not demolition ball destructive. A tide against a rock destructive. Slow erosion destructive. Consider:

Conditional Regard. Rogers, a humanist psychologist, said that when we are young, our parents give us unconditional positive regard. That’s my first stage up top. Parents love their kids even as they’re washing faeces off their hands and taking aspirin just to deal with the damn screaming. Then we get conditional positive regard, which means they’ll love you, providing you give them something to love you for. The pictures, the quiet nights, the lack of crap and crayon streaked stools (true story. Repeatedly). All good, really. Give and take.

But what we’re seeing here is the parents giving conditions to the child. At a young age, we don’t mind. We don’t know any better. But once teenage years hit, we suddenly realise “hey, they expect all this from me, and yet I’m supposed to just suck it and take it? Where are my conditions?” The response is always a variation on “who gave birth to you?” “Who cooks and cleans for you?”, etc. etc. ad infinitum. You can’t give conditions because your life, literally, is in their hands. Any attempt to impose conditions (which I view a lot of teenage behaviour as) is viewed as unfair or unruly, and punishment ensues.

Why is this? Yes, they did give birth to you, but you didn’t ask to be born. It just kind of happened. Unless our souls actively seek out a pregnant woman and nestle themselves in the fetus’s fledgling brain (in which case why am I not an eagle? Damn legs, I want wings!), we had no control. I’m not saying that gives us the right to challenge everything our parents say. All I’m saying is that “I gave birth to you” is a god awful counter assertion.

And about food, and shelter. Do we have a choice? Have we been given a chance to prove otherwise? To prove that we can provide and fend for ourselves. No. Thankfully most parents don’t throw their kids into London with a fiver and a good luck. That’s called abuse. But at the same time, the lack of chances to prove that we can look after ourselves means the argument “who feeds and clothes you?” is an unfair one to make. I suppose you could also add “who is GOING to feed and clothe you?” once they get old, if you are so inclined, but that seems just as vacuous.

What is my point here? I will admit it may be a little hard to find. It usually is, considering I rarely think these blogs through and just let myself type.

My point is that this conditional/unconditional inequity is not healthy. Hiding behind a seemingly impervious shield of time proven counter-assertions is not the key to a good relationship between teenager and parent.  It’s the key to a hellish one. It just makes things worse. That clear, for now? Then let’s move on.

It is all too common that I hear a friend being shouted down and told they’re wrong by their parents. It’s not abusive shouting; it’s not swearing; there are no “I wish I’d never had you”s. It’s simply a parent asserting that they are right, the offspring is wrong, and that’s the end of it. Again, at a young age, this is necessary. You cannot explain to a child of six or seven or even eleven why certain things are right and wrong. There’s not enough time or patience in the universe. But teenagers? Teenage years are the years we realise that parents are wrong. Some of the time, a lot of the time; it depends. But they are wrong and sometimes, despite the apparent laws of the universe, you are right. But they can shout, and call in all the above arguments, and ground, and ban, and whatever. So, you are always wrong, even when you are unequivocally right.

Why has no one noticed that this is dangerous? I’m right, you’re wrong, even if you’re right. Because I’m older. Because I’m smarter. Because I’m desperate not to cede any bit of intelligence to you. Sure, you can excel academically, but don’t you dare try and be smarter than me in real life, you upstart. Who do you think you are? I gave birth to you! (or helped your mother do it, anyway).

When you are with friends, it is an entirely conditional and frankly healthy relationship. Rob’s being a dick. Fine, Rob can’t play with us. Or whatever it is you do. Maybe Rob only gets half the weed (not condoning that, kids. But maybe that’s what Rob and friends do). It’s not perfect, because Rob might be stronger, and so harder to stand up against. But you can leave those groups. Shout, insult, swear, on a level footing.

You can’t do that with family. You have to suck it up. That is not healthy. It’s not abuse, not by a long shot, but it’s not healthy either.

Then why do people always say family is the strongest support group you have? At the risk of bringing in personal experience, I find that there is very little I can talk to my family about. Trivial things, maybe, but nothing serious. Whereas my friends, even the crappy, less trustworthy ones, I can open up to. Obviously Traitor McSnitch doesn’t get much, but you get my point. That is healthy. Family is not. They want all your secrets, but you don’t want to give. Some of it is genuine concern. “Who were you with” might be intruding on your privacy, but if you’re with “Crackhead” John, then maybe there is some genuine concern. But if you’ve proven that you are trustworthy, and that you’ve never even spoken to John, why do the questions persist? I’ll leave that one open.

There is a reason I’ve waited until I was an adult to write this. If I wrote this before, it would be disregarded as teenage angst. After all, people love their families once they’re older! Yes, that’s because they don’t have to spend every day with them, and you’re finally being treated like the rational being you were from the age of fifteen. And you can finally put on the conditions without all the vacuous counters. That is why you love them then.

What is the point of this? Well, damned if I know. I’m sure it can’t be easy being a parent, and I’m mostly writing this because I feel my parents did a damn good job, and that’s let me see where even a generally good family can fall into pit traps and difficulties. I may only represent a very small demographic, in which case I apologise for wasting ten minutes of your time. But please bear this in mind:

a) Teenagers are smart. Maybe even as smart as the parents. Don’t disregard things on principles. Don’t call things “teenage angst”. Chances are they have a point.

b) Teenagers need freedom. Sure, put some conditions on it, and maybe check once in a while the “Crackhead” John isn’t giving them spliffs in exchange for favours, but don’t delve so deep into their personal life they feel they can’t breathe without letting you know by signed letters. Hiding one’s personal life doesn’t necessarily mean one is doing something bad. It’s called a personal life for a reason.

c) Teenagers live in a different world to parents. Totally different. Different music, different standards, different friends. They’ll never turn out like their parents wanted them to because what their parents want is probably incompatible with this day and age. And parents might not like their children’s friends, but if they make them happy, then what gives them the authority to intervene?

d) This post has been very rambling. If you have reached this final point, well done.