I am sure most readers remember the days before everything came in plastic. The butcher wrapped the weekly joint in greaseproof and then crisp, white paper. Cheese from the provisions counter came the same way and was placed in a white paper bag.
In station buffets a cup of tea was served in white china cups and tasted so much better for it.
Everything was placed in a brown paper carrier bag, usually with the company’s name advertised on the side. And there was no charge.
Why do supermarkets have plastic bags for everything such as carrots, apples and potatoes when large, medium and small white paper bags would be appropriate? According to the internet you can buy 3,000 brown bags for 8p each. With their buying power it must be even cheaper. White paper bags bought in their thousands can be purchased wholesale for less then two a penny.
It is not often I get on my high horse, I am a live-and-let-live person, but after seeing that TV programme recently in which sea creatures and birds choked on plastic bags, it appears to be a case of live and let die. Not to mention uninhabited islands in the middle of the ocean with their tidelines littered with plastic.
I really have changed my attitude to the problem. Seeing those poor animals made me feel sick.
It is a world-wide problem of course.
I was watching seafood chef Rick Stein recently when he was in Mexico. He bought food from a street market and piled up behind the vendor were dozens if not hundreds of plastic trays in which customers could take away their food. What happens when the trays are thrown away? We know the answer.
One little way in which we could help would be to reintroduce deposits on glass bottles so they can be returned and recycled. I remember getting 3d back on Coca-Cola bottles. In fact we used to search the streets and Southsea beach looking for them. A tidy sum could be had if you searched hard enough.
As for plastic bottles... just look at the picture I took on Monday this week at Portcreek beside Eastern Road, Portsmouth. I counted more than 50 plastic bottles in this picture plus piles of other man-made filth. This is just a plea to change your attitude.
n I see there's a plan to bring back multiplication tables in schools. Not before time.
Mental arithmetic is crucial to daily life. How can you play cribbage if you cannot add up in seconds?
When I was at school on the back of exercise books were the two to 12 times tables. The teachers made us learn them by chanting them and by the age of eight or nine they were in our heads.
There were also all those other maths charts like how many yards, feet and inches were in a mile; chains and furlongs in a mile (still used on the railway), and of course, everyone’s favourite, the unit of length of a rod, pole or perch. I can still quote them from memory.
Like thousands, I left school at 15 without a certificate to my name apart from annual school exams in which I excelled. The results told our parents how we were doing, not that they paid any attention. Even when I came first out of a class of more than 40 boys it was a case of ‘Did you really?’ End of story. Not a 'well done' or here’s 10 bob for doing so well.
My niece once told me she had A-levels in maths and English. I asked her what eight times nine was and then to spell 'professor'. ‘Oh no, Uncle Bob, its not like that,’ she said. I pushed her and she still could not answer. I said: ‘How come I left school with none of your fancy exam results but do know those answers?’
I don’t suppose today's teachers will accept what has been suggested as I suspect most do not know their times tables. I await with interest to see what happens.
Phil Knight, billionaire co-founder of Nike, 80; Denis Law, commentator/former footballer, 78; Paul Jones, blues singer/broadcaster, 76;
John Stapleton, journalist/TV presenter, 72; Dennis Waterman, actor, 70; Alain Prost, racing driver, 63; Billy Zane, actor/director, 52; Lleyton Hewitt, former tennis player, 37.