The latest example of Elf & Safety gone mad is the news that young children shouldn’t be allowed to keep hamsters as pets.
And it’s not just the humble hamster that’s been deemed a dangerous health hazard; also in the firing line are lizards, turtles and hedgehogs.
Fair play re: hedgehogs, given that they’re formed almost entirely of spikes.
And I can’t really see turtles or lizards topping my list of suitable household pets for children, either.
But, seriously, where’s the harm in hamsters? I had one when I was little; so did my brother; my best friend – oh, the horror! – had two.
As far as I’m aware, we’ve all made it into adulthood with no discernible side effects from our time spent looking after these little furry creatures.
The anti-hamster argument, which comes from a report by the American Academy of Paediatrics, is that they carry germs. (And kids don’t?!)
So, because children spend a lot of time chewing on their fingers, they’re more likely to ingest said germs, yada yada yada.
The good news, however, is that once a child reaches the age of five their immune system is better able to cope with potential risks from dastardly rodents.
Ah – but then they have to go to school…and who knows what dangers lurk there?
As of today, Energy Performance Certificates become mandatory for all new tenancies, and landlords will face charges of up to £200 per property if they don’t provide them.
The certificates, which will be valid for a period of ten years, must be issued by an accredited energy assessor, and provided free of charge to tenants.
EPCs rate a property’s energy efficiency using an A-G system of grading, with an ‘A’ rating being an all-singing, all-dancing top score and a ‘G’ being the equivalent of a ‘see me after class’ scrawled in red ink.
The certificates were introduced last year for homebuyers, and so far, the average rating has been a ‘could do better’ ‘D’.
While recommendations to improve a property’s efficiency rating are given as part of the EPC, landlords are under no obligation to carry out any improvements.
However, if tenants are faced with a choice of properties with different ratings, it seems likely that they’d opt for the more energy efficient one, as their fuel bills would be lower.
We’d be interested to know what you think about EPCs:
Now here’s a novel notion: a church built out of beer cans. Yep, that’s right. A church. From beer cans.
Although it may sound like something straight from the mind of Homer Simpson, this is actually a true story of ecclesiastical architecture.
Having lost their main church building to developers, the parish of Colston Milton in Glasgow could soon boast Scotland’s first recycled place of worship, pending the results of a feasibility study.
Of course, the new church wouldn’t be made entirely from recycled alcohol receptacles, fabulous though that may be; there’ll be all sorts of other stuff used, from old tyres and windscreens to earth and wood.
But the specific idea of using beer cans, according to the parish’s Reverend Rowe, came from ‘a wonderful group of men and women who drink in the woods’.
That’s a very sweet euphemism for what we Glaswegians call ‘jakeys’. The English definition, courtesy of the Urban Dictionary, is: ‘members of the street drinking fraternity’.
Yet praise where praise is due, as these wonderful winos have fully embraced the recycling concept and are regularly delivering their empties to the church hall for use in the project.
However, when the good Reverend revealed to the BBC that he hoped the locals would help in the actual building of the new church, it gave me pause.
Heavy drinkers? Drunk construction? Brilliant! This could unintentionally end up as Glasgow’s answer to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.