Tess Lewsey

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Tess Lewsey's Talking Point

My talking point feature is taking a rest at the moment.

Below are details of previous talking points as broadcast on Wey Valley Radio.

   School Uniforms
This week's talking point is about school uniforms. After up to 6 months off school and many children apprehensive about returning, should schools be strict with their school uniform policy or give a little leeway in these strange and unsettling times.

Listen to this week's talking point:

Bank Holidays
Last Monday was the last bank holiday until Christmas. It has been a strange year where a bank holiday has just been like an ordinary day. But with life slowly returning to 'normal', should there be another bank holiday between now & Christmas?

Listen to this week's talking point:

Originally the Bank of England observed about 33 saints' days and religious festivals as holidays.

In 1834 this was reduced to four - May Day (1 May), All Saints Day (1 November), Good Friday and Christmas Day.

In 1871, the first legislation relating to bank holidays was passed. A century later, the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 was passed.

The majority of the current bank holidays were specified in the 1971 Act – although New Year's Day and May Day were introduced later. New Year's Day did not become a bank holiday in England until 1 January 1974 whilst the May Day bank holiday came about in 1978.

Among the most notable dates absent from the existing list are the feast days of patron saints:

23 April (St George's Day and the birthday of William Shakespeare) in England and 1 March (St David's Day) in Wales are not currently recognised. However St Patrick's Day is a public holiday in Northern Ireland and, since 2008, St Andrew's Day is a bank holiday in Scotland.

And some of your comments:- 
David: Yes. There was a discussion about a bank holiday at the end of October.  
Jodie: Yes as kids will need a break from school and parents will need a day off from staggered school drop offs and the rush of post covid life.
Chris: Should be a bank holiday every Monday; hate Monday mornings.
Marie: What’s normal?  Certainly not what we are living now.

I think we are just getting used to the fact we have no normal any more.

Favourite Day of the Week 
What's your favourite day of the week?

Listen to this week's talking point:


There have been a number of surveys. The website Retire By 40 reckons Saturday is the clear favourite followed by Friday, whilst the goodreads.com website
came up with this:

Friday    41%

Saturday    20%

Wednesday    19%

Monday and  Thursday 6%

Tuesday and Sunday both 4%


The Goody Feed website reckons it can determine your character by your favourite day of the week.

So what about Mondays?
A 2018 LinkedIn survey
revealed more than 80% of people do not look forward to Monday. An article by Elle Kaplan published in July last year – asks what can be done  to make Mondays more enjoyable?

And she lists 4 suggestions to help make Mondays something to look forward to.

So your comments.

Lindsay: I love Mondays. Fresh start, new week.
Marie: Tuesday or Thursday, but definitely not Wednesday.
Trudi: I like a Saturday best… Chinese night & good telly, or maybe go out. 
Rafit: Best day is Saturday. But at the moment the days are still samey, until I go back to work & the kids go to school.
Mel: Sunday – a day to chill out.
Michelle: Sundays are so boring, unless I’m working. Never liked them.
Mark: What is a day of the week?  Since lockdown, haven’t a clue.
Paul: They are all the same at the moment as I’m working from home.

Pet Hates
Is there something that really bugs or annoys you? 

I don't like to see cute new born babies with huge, brightly coloured dummies in their mouths. 

Listen to this week's talking point:

The "Best Life" website suggests the top 3 pet hates are  chronic lateness, loud chewing and people staring at their phone all the time. 

A survey in the Daily Telegraph in 2009 lists rude shop assistants, people who cough and do not cover their mouths, slow internet connections and poor customer service in their top 10.

Amongst the comments I received, Sally dislikes parents who insist on covering the baby’s pram with a blanket, even though you can ‘cook’ baby. Isn't that what sun umbrellas & F50 sunscreens are for? she asks.

Mark: Fish stuck to the wrapping paper when buying fish and chips, so the batter comes off.

Megan: People who can’t agree to disagree.

Chocolate The majority of us like chocolate. What's your preference - milk, dark or white chocolate? And is it best kept in the cupboard or the fridge?

Listen to this week's talking point:

According to chocolate expert Luke Owen Smith, your sweet treats should NEVER be kept in the fridge, even when the weather is warm. He said that chilling chocolate in a fridge made it “dull”, and "doesn't release the flavours".

Other advice I have come across for storing chocolate is that you should NOT refrigerate.It seems that chocolate easily absorbs odours of whatever’s in the refrigerator (French cheese, curry — you get the idea). So instead of the fridge, store it in a cool, dry place and in an air-tight container.  

But what do Chocolate manufacturers say? In an article in the Independent Newspaper in May this year, Cadbury has revealed the correct way to store chocolate is in the pantry - not in the refrigerator as many prefer. Cadbury’s said that chocolate should always be stored in a slightly cool, dry, dark place such as a cupboard or pantry at temperatures less than 21C to ensure the quality isn’t compromised.

And your comments:
Some of you like high cocoa chocolate, like Marie and Barbara. Barbara says: "Dark chocolate, 70% cocoa (but I like all chocolate). And kept in the cupboard" whilst Marie loves high cocoa chocolate. Mint is her favourite. 

Paul: Dark is best. Try not to put in the fridge because it destroys it. Cool, dark place. 
Trudi: Dark, but not in the fridge, it gets too hard. 
Pippa: Dark - cold from the fridge so it snaps in my mouth. 
Sally: Dark from the fridge, but not slab chocolate, it's too strong. 
Taz: Dark. You only need one square to satisfy you, if you suck it slowly. Yummy. 

And milk chocolate? Anthony: Milk chocolate in the fridge, dark chocolate, cupboard. Both for white chocolate. 
Mel: Milk all the way. Cupboard or fridge, but mainly fridge. 
Zoe: Milk from the fridge. 
Rafit: Milk chocolate from the fridge, at the moment, but nornally from the copboard. 
Simmi: Milk chocolate from the cupboard. 
Venita: Milk chocolate, but got to be Cadbury. 
Ciaran: Milk chocolate all the way. 
For Chloe & Carol it's white chocolate.

  Face Coverings
Last week it became mandatory to wear face coverings when in shops and other enclosed spaces (with some exceptions such as pubs and restaurants). 

Listen to this week's talking point:

I asked what kind of face covering do you use? A plain white one? One with a design or picture - maybe supporting your local football team? 

Or what about a snood or a homemade face covering. Is it wacky or creative, or just something simple and functional?

According to official Government guidance - a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth.

The guidance says you can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.

According to the ‘Glamour’ website, they're the new wardrobe necessity. They list a whole range of different face masks from ones which have frilly lace bits round them – animal skin designs and even silk masks (with a cotton lining inside) whilst the British Fashion Council has launched ‘Great British Designer Face Coverings.


So your comments:

Michael prefers a snood or a head tube. He’s been using them for some time and are useful in the winter when he’s out for a run or cycling.

He’s built up quite a collection of designs.


Susan: If they were critical to wear the prevention of spread of Covid 19 then they should have been implemented months ago.
Simmi: I prefer to use the disposable ones as more convenient, but have a cloth one as well.
Rafit: I’ve got the disposable ones as well – but may change to cloth ones when used up.
Paul: We had ones made by my wife’s aunt in France, sent over for her to wear at work, as my wife is a key worker.  I have to pick one of them that doesn’t have flowers on!
And Barbara posted a picture of hers.

Gin is my tonic.


A warm summer's day? Or do you prefer a cold crisp winter's morning. What about spring and the rebirth of nature? Or maybe golden autumn days.

Listen to this week's talking point:

Amongst the comments this week, Marie loves the summer. She hates dingy, gloomy weather although she does love a spooky foggy day.

Ciaran: Summer. So long as we have a good breeze, otherwise I hate just heat and no air whatsoever.

Sally: Summer. Hate autumn and winter with a passion. Always have to wear up to 8 layers of clothes in the winter to keep warm.

Andrew: Autumn – for the build up to Christmas. And spring. "I’d rather be cold and able to layer up than be hot and unable to take anything off."

Megan: Autumn, no contest. I have very low tolerance for hot weather, but autumn has crisp leaves, bright but cool days and of course Halloween!

Shaun: Nice and warm. Summer is my preference.

and Mel: Hot, hot, hot!

  Ketchup, Mayo or Gravy?

When the chips are down, what do you prefer, ketchup, mayo or gravy?


Random Acts of Kindness

A random act of kindness is an unpremeditated - inconsistent action designed to offer kindness towards the outside world. The phrase "practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty" was written by Anne Herbert on a placemat in 1982. 

The phrase is commonly expressed as the suggestion to "Practice random acts of kindness."
Anne Herbert subsequently wrote a children’s book “Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty” which was published in 1993. 

Research by the Mental Health Foundation shows that helping others can be beneficial to our own mental health. It can reduce stress, improve our emotional well-being and even benefit our physical health.

Acts of kindness don’t have to be grand gestures. Showing someone that you care could take something as little as paying for their coffee order or wishing them a good day. 

Examples of random acts of kindness can include smiling at someone, holding open the door, letting someone go in front of you at the checkout, thanking someone who you appreciate.

Amongst the comments, one listener noticed a random act at Clapham Junction. A lady with a small child in a buggie was struggling down the stairs to the subway. A young lad with a hoodie came up to her and offered to help and when she was down in the subway she thanked him and he said no problem and went on his way.

This thing about this story is that the young lad in the hoodie looked quite threatening so it also goes to prove you shouldn’t go by appearances only.

Tomato Ketchup or Brown Sauce with your cooked breakfast?

What sauce do you prefer with your cooked breakfast? Deciding between Tomato Ketchup and Brown Sauce can be a bit like the Clash of the Titans at the breakfast table.

The original recipe for HP Sauce was invented and developed in 1899 by Frederick Gibson Garton, a grocer from Nottingham.

The “HP” stands for Houses of Parliament, a picture of which appears on the HP bottle to this day. Apparently, the sauce was used at the turn of the 20th century in a restaurant at the Houses of Parliament.

Introduced in 1876, Heinz Tomato Ketchup is one of the world’s best selling ketchup brands. It is clearly very popular as more than 650 million bottles of Heinz Tomato Ketchup being sold every year throughout the world.

In a survey conducted in 2012, 50% preferred ketchup, with 34% voting for brown and the other 16% undecided or preferring no sauce.

But things change when it comes to bacon sandwiches. It seems that 42% chose brown against 32% for red and 26% who like neither.

The website Ask Jeeves commissioned the survey after receiving frequent questions about which sauce was best with each food.

But a spokesman for Ask Jeeves admitted: ‘Somehow, I don’t think this will settle the argument once and for all.’

While it is all a question of taste, it is clear that some habits have formed whether it is by region, gender or age.

Older Britons are more likely to ask for brown sauce, as those in areas like the North West and Wales for instance. London and the south east has a clear preference for ketchup.

But what about Jamie Oliver? He likes to mix brown sauce, ketchup and tabasco to create a gourmet sauce for his perfect bacon butty condiment.

So your thoughts.

David says: "Never tomato ketchup for me, horrible sweet sickly taste. HP Brown sauce every time. Has some bite to it and gets the taste buds working", whilst Jennifer can’t stand tomato ketchup but prefers brown sauce. But it has to be HP though.

Pippasays: "There is only one sauce for me – Ketchup. We never had HP in the house as a child growing up, so I actually have only tried it once or twice in my life, either at someone’s house or in a hotel."

Simmi likes Brown sauce for breakfast. She don’t mind tomato sauce but only with chips.

Janette: "Definitely Heinz tomato and I keep mine in the fridge once open." Another debate there I think.

Taz: "I don’t like cooked breakfast, but fish fingers etc, it has to be tomato."

Trudi: "I like HP brown sauce with a cooked breakfast and also have it with other meals. I do like tomato sauce too and have that with scrambled egg."

For Paul it has to be Heinz Ketchup and HP Sauce.

It's HP for Mel. She says she doesn’t like tomatoes.

Foods You Don't Like (that others do)
(broadcast 27 June 2020)

A recent survey by Save the Children has uncovered the 10 most hated foods in the country. 

The countdown starting at number 10 was marzipan, liquorice, olives, blue cheese, sushi, black pudding, tofu, anchovies, liver and at number 1, the most hated food in the UK - oysters. Did you know you can get special oyster knives for prising the shell open before swallowing the raw oyster?  

My Talking Point on Wey Valley Radio came up with a wide range of foods including some on that list, anchovies, olives and liver, but also kidneys, mushrooms, beetroot, radishes, lamb, mince, baked beans, sweetcorn & peas and brussel sprouts.

Chris asked: "Why were brussel  sprouts even invented? It’s the only thing that spoils Christmas."

Mel: "Vegetables I hate except for salad vegetables, those I don’t mind. I hate the smell of vegetables cooking. But my wife loves vegetables but not keen on salads." I bet it’s interesting in your house then, Mel!

David dislikes anything green, with the exception of peas.

Lucy commented: "I love marmite and I love peanut butter, but you can now buy them in a combined product. I thought I would like it but NO! Even my dog (who eats anything) turned his nose up at it."

For Sandra peanut butter on toast is a no no: "but it’s OK as an ingredient in satay sauce."

Jennifer likes all food: "If it’s edible, then I like it. Oh, except tripe."

And Sarah says whole fish: "Who wants to eat something with it looking at you!"

Do you like - or hate - Thunderstorms
(broadcast 20 June 2020)

Thunderstorms are common occurrences on Earth. It's estimated that a lightning strike hits somewhere on the Earth's surface approximately 44 times every second, a total of nearly 1.4 billion lightning strikes every year. In the UK thunderstorms are most common over the East Midlands and the southeast.

Thunder is the sound caused by lightning. Depending on the distance from and nature of the lightning, it can range from a sharp, loud crack to a long, low rumble.  

Lightning Myths and Facts

Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it's a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building is hit an average of 23 times a year.

Myth: If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning.
Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the centre of the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud. A “Bolt from the blue” can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm.

Myth: If you are in a house, you are 100% safe from lightning.
Fact: A house is a safe place to be during a thunderstorm as long as you avoid anything that conducts electricity. This means staying off corded phones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, computers, plumbing, metal doors and windows.

So what about you? Do you love a good storm or do you hate them? What did your parents tell you what the thunder was?

Mel said: "Love a big storm, especially when you're laying in bed at night listening to the loud claps of thunder and the brilliant lightning flashing across the dark sky."

Sarah agreed with Mel about the lightning - all the different colours and shapes shooting across the sky.

Tom  also loves a good storm and several others of you as well. Pippa says: "The power of nature is awe inspiring." But Barbara: "No. Just no. I'm petrified of thunder and lightning. I can't even watch through the window."

Whilst Wendy said that she was always told rain is God watering his plants, "thunder - he's moving his furniture and lightning was him putting the lights on/off."

What age is too old to party?
(broadcast 13 June 2020)

Is there an age limit? I'm 49 and still like to listen to music and boogie on a Saturday night, yet my friends say they are too old.

What do you think?  


Suzy: "Age isn't a number but a mindset. I'm partying hard in my 40s and long may it continue! The kids have already been warned about what I'll be like as an OAP! Life is for living. Dancing and music form a big part of that for me."

Maureen isn't 49 - she was partying at 70! She still loves to boogie. Carol is 66 and a camping/festival goer. She love her music and dancing whilst Alan said that music is timeless, as are the people who love it and play it.

Mel is 68, she loves her music - mainly from the 60s. She goes to big BBQ competitions across the country where there's plenty of live music.

Karen is 64 and still loves her rock and blues and a bit of Rhianna whilst Jodie says there is no age limit. "It's good for the soul."

And Chris: "Hmmm. So long as you're not actually dead, you're not too old to party. Unless you're a zombie of course. They're good at Halloween!"

Is there a pub, cafe or restaurant you have missed during lockdown?
(broadcast 6 June 2020)

Lockdown is easing slowly, but many places still remain closed. 

I wondered whether there was a pub, cafe or restaurant you have missed going to over the last couple of months?  

The Ivy House near Marks and Spencer in Alton was mentioned as was the The George. 

Sara said: "Nosh Cafe bar and The George are 2 of my faves that I've missed. Great local businesses."  

Chris said the Offf the Rails - the brewery tap at the FFF Brewery in Medstead. "Miss that awesome beer."

Jane: "We (us and the dogs) miss the French Horn."  

Sue missed the Botega Del Sapori on Crown Hill as she usually go every Friday for lunch whilst Becky misses the Garthowen Garden Centre and Tree House coffee shop for cake and milkshake and wandering round the flowers.

Venturing a little further afield from the Alton area, Adrian misses The Mad Squirrel Brewery Shop in High Wycombe.

And for Jodie: "The car boot at Country Market... it's not a cafe but I miss it."

Favourite Sweets from your childhood 
(broadcast 30 May 2020)

Marathon or Snickers? Starburst or Opal Fruits? Do you remember the Dime bar? Why change the spelling of it - Daim?

My cousin Andrea is in the U.S and said that in the U.S, a Mars bar is a Milky Way and a Milky Way is a Mars bar. Can we can fix that nonsense ...?  

Do you remember the original Milky Way?  A new chocolate bar was brought out called Flite.  Apparently it was just the original Milky Way.

And Wagon Wheels. They're still about, aren't they? But I'm sure they used to be a lot bigger. Do you remember the pink panther bar?  Pink chocolate.  I used to think that was weird.

My favourite was the Texan bar which was mentioned a few times in this Talking Point. And then in the late 80s, I think, I like the Bitz bar - bit I don't think it was around for very long.

But what do you remember?

Joyce: "Orange Jubbly. Used to hide it in my desk at school in the summer term. Very refreshing."

A few people said Spangles but I must admit I can't remember if I liked them or not. Others mentioned were Opal Fruits, Gobstoppers, Aniseed Balls, Barley Twists, Sherbert & Strawberry Sherbert, Sherbert Fountains and Liquorice Sticks in Sherbert.

Fran said: "I don't like Liquorice, so I'd give that to my dad (the only member of our family who does like liquorice), then just pour the sherbert out of the yellow cardboard tube straight into my mouth.  Love sherbert."

Other sweets mentioned were Dib Dabs, Cough Candy, Pear Drops, Cadbury's Curly Wurly (They're still around but I'm sure they're a lot smaller than they used to be), Campino Strawberries and Cream sweets, Black Jacks & Fruit Salad chews, Mint Humbugs with toffee centres.

Jennie says Pacers: "Why do so few people not remember Pacers? Chewy mint sweets. They were my favourite."


Previous Talking Points

School Uniforms

Bank Holidays

Favourite Day Of The Week

Pet Hates


Face Coverings


Ketchup, Mayo or Gravy

Random Acts of Kindness

Ketchup or Brown Sauce?

Foods You Don't Like (that others do)

Do you like - or hate - Thunderstorms

What age is too old to party?

Is there a pub, cafe or restaurant you have missed during lockdown?

Favourite Sweets from your childhood


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