Friday, January 30, 2009

Those generous Icelanders help our pensioners

On the face of it, this is a bizarre story. Icelanders have responded to a radio appeal and sent a 20 foot container full of nice Icelandic woolly jumpers to be distributed to pensioners in Hull. This is Iceland, which is bankrupt and which has much lower temperatures than us.

The BBC Breakfast team accordingly got out their best "chinky chonky" music to accompany the report of this - a bit like a sort of Eurotrash report.

But behind the bizarreness, there lie a few of serious points.

First, the kindness of the Icelanders who clubbed together to donate loads of jumpers in a few days is genuinely touching. One nine year old girl gathered 37 jumpers and brought them to the radio station for the Hull pernsioners. Thank you Icelanders! We love you!

Secondly, their jumpers really are proper thick woolly jumpers. Perhaps we need reminding what a real jumper is in these days of central heating.

Thirdly, how come Iceland can have a much lower rate of death of the elderly from cold than us? Katharine Whitehorn, on BBC Breakfast, reckons it is because their homes are much better insulated and have big stoves for burning wood. The cost of fuel relative to the pension in the UK, has to be the crux of the matter, though.

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