I live in Tunbridge Wells. I would be happiest in Chester. I should avoid Wealden. But if I couldn’t make the journey then Sevenoaks is my best bet.
That’s what I learnt from the interactive test entitled ‘Where in Britain would you be happiest?’ that’s now available on the BBC website. Do it. It’s fascinating. The foundation of the test is work done by scientists in Cambridge and Helsinki Universities along with BBC Lab who ran something called ‘The Big Personality Test’ in 2009. You can read more about it here.
Apparently I’m an open, agreeable, conscientious sort of guy who is moderately neurotic and not that extrovert. All very encouraging on a Wednesday morning I can tell you. Funnily enough Sevenoaks is where I was brought up!
I was in Tottenham Court Road in London on Monday. As I waited in the queue at the cashpoint outside Sainsbury I watched some Cancer Research UK charity chuggers go about their work. They had ‘Research kills cancer’ logos emblazoned on their backs.
I know a lot of people don’t like being stopped in the street by charity fundraisers but I rather admire the young people who do it. These ones seemed particularly good. Cheerful, pleasant, respectful of those pedestrians who didn’t want to stop. But, from what I could hear, good at talking about the need for more cancer research to those who did. No wonder ‘chugging’ is one of the most effective forms of fundraising going.
The Cancer Research UK message is a timely one given that yesterday Macmillan Cancer went hard on the results of the CONCORD 2 global study showing that our cancer survival rates are lagging behind those in Europe for many tumours. And yet, and yet..
One of the most interesting aspects of this story – which points to many failures of the system around early diagnosis, prevention etc. – is that people are just not going to the doctor early enough because they don’t want to waste their GPs time. Is this the deferential nature of the English kicking in big time? Perhaps compounded by perceptions that the system is already overloaded and they don’t know want to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back?
You might say that there is a similar thing going on behind other health stories this week – obesity, and health in old age springs to mind. Strangely enough I was going to return my Dad’s slippers to him this morning which he had left at my house. But now I am having second thoughts.
This suggests that while research is vital, it’s is not going to solve all our problems. And the biggest seems to be that, in spite of the many messages thrown at us each day we are not taking our health seriously as citizens or collectively as a nation; that when we do, we are maybe not convinced that that others will. All of which suggests we may need to radically rethink the way we engage people about their health.
I wonder whether we should be stopping people in the street.