Quirky and funny stories in the Dunstable area

Kevin McCloud
Kevin McCloud

I was delighted to see a former Dunstable student recognised by the Queen in the New Year Honours.

Who was it? A certain ex-Manshead School student – Kevin McCloud.

Writer, designer and broadcaster Kevin is the familiar face from Channel 4’s Grand Designs, of course.

Now he has been appointed an MBE. Hooray!

The prestigious gong went to TV presenter Kevin “for services to sustainable design and energy-saving property refurbishment”. Phew.

Grand Designs led to a spin-off magazine and books.

But the programme is just part of his TV work – there’s also Kevin McCloud’s Man Made Home series, Kevin’s Grand Design, and so on and so forth. Impressive.

And his support for “sustainable living” also led him to set up a firm called Hab.

The firm’s website says Hab stands for “Happiness Architecture Beauty”.

And it goes on: “We build houses that make people happy, that keep people warm in winter and cool in summer and generally comfortable and cheerful all year round.

“We work with brilliant architects and landscape architects to make places that look great and work well, and have lots of outdoor space for people to play, chat, lie in the sun, throw a good party, grow their own food.”

And the site adds that the team does lots of other things, too. Nice to see that the team have said “congrats” on the site to Kevin about his honour.

On a more light-hearted note, I bet there’s a battle for pride of place in the trophy cabinet with a certain other honour which was given to Kevin some time ago.

Back in 2007, I told readers of this column that there was something sexy about Kevin.

No, nothing to frighten a maiden aunt. (Do maiden aunts frighten that easily nowadays, I wonder?)

He’s clearly a good-looking chap, but I was talking about... his brain.

Kevin had come in fifth in Britain’s Sexiest Brains poll that year, according to Psychologies magazine.

The names on that list might not be the usual types who crop up in a sex appeal poll. But they all offered a unique combination – wit, intelligence and natural charm.

That’s Manshead students for you!

Congratulations to Kevin on his latest success.

MBE is short for Member of the Order of the British Empire.

Hmm. How about an alternative to celebrate Kevin’s success – Manshead Boy Excels!

So was it Blue Monday this week or wasn’t it?

By rights, Blue Monday should be on January 20 this year. It’s said to be officially the most depressing day of the year. Oh dear.

Psychologist Cliff Arnall came up with a mathematical formula some time ago to work out the gloomiest day.

A whole host of depressing factors add up to Blue Monday, including the weather, debt, the time elapsed since Christmas and failing to keep New Year resolutions.

Grim stuff. This week, though, there was a lot of talk about January 6 being “the new Blue Monday”.

UK protein drink company Upbeat claimed that its Upbeat Barometer showed post-Christmas blues started this dreary, drenching Monday.

Think happy thoughts, people.The most depressing day may already be behind us.

That really is good news “out of the blue”!