Diane Davies: Motorways, exam stress and a charity champion

By Diane Davies | Peter Rhodes | Published:

A drive up the M6 to Manchester proved as a reminder to me of what a car park our motorways network has become.

Our motorways have become a car park

The blame largely seems to lie with the introduction of ‘smart motorways’. The smart thing to do would be to only cone off the two or three miles where the work is currently taking place – and not the 10 miles either side. Of course that would mean the lucrative average speed cameras would cover a shorter distance and fewer drivers find themselves forking out for hefty fines. We can’t have that now can we.

I confess to standing on the precipice of becoming a grumpy old woman, but my main topic of conversation these days is the state of our roads. If it is not roadworks or infuriatingly idle parents on the school run then it is potholes. My drive to work has often felt like the Dakar Rally as I bounced in and out of the many craters. What a relief that some of the roads are now a patchwork quilt of repairs. Although, I am sadly aware that some of these potholes have been repaired before. How long before I am once more facing a bone-shaker ride to work?

At last SATs week has come and gone. Despite assurances from schools that pupils are not put under pressure during this week of exams, it is apparent that countless Year 6 children do feel the strain of this concentration of tests ahead of the move to ‘big school’. My children were told that the purpose of SATs was merely to decide school league tables. They then actually enjoyed SATs week - no real lessons and extra PE. Do we really want to hear of worried 10-year-olds enduring sleepless nights because of these exams which will not effectively define or adversely affect their future at all. If we needed any reason to question the worth of school league tables, this must surely be it.

Poor Susanna Reid. Little did she know when she stepped out to buy a morning coffee dressed only in her PJs that some lucky snapper would happen to be there and she would find herself making tabloid headlines once again. Or did she . . . . .?

Queen of the tabloids and supreme media manipulator Katie Price swanned into Banks’s Stadium for a charity football match almost an hour late. You knew she was there because of her huge pink moniker-emblazoned horse box taking up a chunk of the car park. That and the large entourage including a reality TV crew trailing behind. She demonstrated little football knowledge to justify her appointment as manager and cynics might have thought this just another photo opportunity for her. But whether you love or hate the Marmite character that is Katie Price, she did travel to Walsall on Saturday afternoon and was without question a massive draw for the event. Ultimately the Katie Price phenomenon helped raise thousands of pounds for the benefit of two very worthy charities.

As the manager, however, her team lacked strategy, stamina and relied on a physical game to win the match rather than demonstrating technical skills. She may have a career in football after all.

*Peter Rhodes is away

Diane Davies

By Diane Davies

MNA Group head of weekly titles, and former deputy editor of the Express & Star. Specialist interest in music and theatre scene with regular reviews from our wealth of top venues.


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