Sheila Quigley: Stupid surveys

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WALKING up a friend’s path the other day I saw her waving a newspaper at me. Oh oh, I thought, what’s got her goat now? Didn’t take me long to find out, she was absolutely foaming.

“Have you ever heard anything so stupid? Thought we had nowt. Thought that’s why we had to lose jobs and take pay cuts, and all the other nonsense.” When I read what she shoved into my hands I fully agree.

Half a million pounds, in these days when reports of child poverty, higher taxes and council cuts are top news, some bright spark came up with the idea of asking prisoners if they are being looked after and if they get on with their prison officers. Well, I ask you, who’s bothered?

Another question – there are 128 altogether – but this one’s a laugh – does their stay in prison feel like a punishment? Er, isn’t it supposed too?

Apparently this exercise has been going on since 2002, so how much has that cost? What beats me is how can these surveys cost so much? . Perhaps someone should do a survey on the survey people. Now I wonder how many services that are doomed to be scrapped, could be saved with this money.

SUNDAY was such a splendid day, I thought: got to get out of here and taste the sunshine.  

 I managed to cut myself free from my shackles and escape when the computer wasn’t looking.  

 I picked up my three-year-old grandson Jamie and off we went for a ride along our beautiful coastline from Roker to South Shields, where it was wall-to-wall people. It was as if the whole of the North East had descended there.

 We had a wander round the showground, then over to the park. Jamie was fascinated by the magnificent swans, as was I.

 Then we got an ice cream each and sat on a seat. Tucking into mine I glanced down at Jamie and got a bit of a shock, he was doing the strangest contortions with his face. Then it hit me – brain freeze.

 Now, there is not a lot you can do for someone afflicted with brain freeze, except hold their hand and laugh your socks off. Poor little soul, I couldn’t help it, still chuckling now at the image!

NOT much into reading biographies unless they have led an extraordinary life. How on earth teenagers or 20-somethings can bring one out is laughable.

But I was sent one the other week. On The Brinks, is crime writer Sam Millars excellent no-holds barred biography. What a life! What a journey!

From its beginnings in the world of Belfast in the 60s, On The Brink takes you on an extraordinary journey, to the Bogside streets of an innocent teenager caught up in Bloody Sunday in the 70s, to the brutality and loss off innocence in the notorious H-Block of the 80s, to a new life in U.S. and the New York of illegal gambling dens, magical comic books and a planned heist of millions of dollars in the 90s – a heist that would send him to the toughest penitentiaries in America. He was finally pardoned by President Bill Clinton.

This is a totally fascinating story.

Only two weeks to go to the paperback version of Thorn In My Side! See you in the shops.

SOMETIMES I have felt sorry for Fergie, but she just keeps on putting her foot in it.

 Some people never learn.  

 She’s been taking money from a pervert – 15 grand to be precise – and now states that she has once again caused deep embarrassment for ex-hubby Prince Andrew. Who, she claims, is a man of high moral values and unshakable honesty.

  I quite believe he is – bad judge of wife material, and friends though.