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A guide to making your life in Norwich even more enjoyable

PUBLISHED: 13:07 08 March 2017 | UPDATED: 21:39 08 March 2017

Dogs can help children become more confident readers. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

Dogs can help children become more confident readers. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

PA Wire

As part of the Evening News’ ongoing project to enrich the lives of its readers, I’ve been asked to compile a brief guide into making our fine city an even happier place in which to live.

Tim Cook - new columnist for the Evening NewsTim Cook - new columnist for the Evening News

I presume you’ve already taken some basic measures in this regard, such as shaving off a hipster’s beard and giving up on listening to Norwich City away match commentaries, so let’s leap in at the deep end.

1) If you have children, encourage them to read by buying them a dog. Children who are nervous readers can find confidence by reading aloud to dogs, who are generally an uncritical audience. The child will improve its literacy skills and the dog may learn a second language.

2) Talking of dogs, if you’re a driver (and as a cyclist, I’d rather you weren’t), encourage your canine to lean out of the passenger seat window as you travel along. There’s nothing more likely to cheer people up than the sight of a dog with its head out of the car window, ears and mouth flapping away in the wind. Makes you smile just to think about it. Never allow the dog onto the drivers’ seat; fun to think of, less so in practice. And I should know.

3) Talking of cars, and literacy, but not dogs, improve your own writing skills and give your fellow drivers something to read in a traffic jam. Simply write a few words of wisdom, such as a proverb or a Bible quotation, in the grime on the back of your car. This works best for van drivers, who’ve room enough for a paragraph from some literary classic, such as this column, on their double doors. A van I saw driving along Earlham Road one morning last week had just one word written on the back, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t written by the driver, but it lightened up my commute no end.

4) Keep yourself well-informed on current world events without ever watching the news. The advent of twenty-four-hour news channels has caused a gradual worsening of the news and by 2020, all such stations will consist of a news anchor screaming into the camera while a tickertape caption runs along the bottom of the screen, composed by a chimpanzee who hasn’t seen daylight for a month. Save yourself the bother of insanity and stick to your local newspaper.

5) Make the most of our libraries and parks. No punchline or ‘joke’ here, just get yourself to a building full of books, or same green space with perhaps a river going through it, and life will feel a little better. Or at least, a bit less worse.

6) Get more sleep. If you’re the sort of person who stays up late watching films or TV on online streaming services, give this up for extra sleep, and pretend your dreams are the latest hot must-see shows from America. No-one, but no-one, wants to hear about your dreams, but you’ll be the envy of your friends when you tell them about the new show in which a squad of musical otters buy a theatre and produce an opera about the Norwich North by-election of 2009. Seriously though, get more sleep. You look like you need it. I’m off for a nap right now.

7) HooMins listen to ME, I am nOT a CAT but Hooomin like YOO are. U MuSt feeed CATs MOR chickn beef pork fish aNd TREETz like CAT bizkits No I am NOT Cat I am teh hooMIN ‘TimCOOOK,’ who haz CAT named JARVIS teh CAT.

8) That’s better. Now, on a clear night, look up at the sky. Isn’t it pretty? And it costs nothing. Learn about those twinkling white dots and feel more at one with world and your place within it. You might want to think about patching up that hole in the roof, however.

9) As Steve Downes said in the Evening News of March 1, don’t waste time in filming every sports or musical event you attend. No item of technology can match the fine editing techniques of the human mind; no camera can capture a shot in so perfect a manner as your own memory. Try hard enough, and you too can imagine a life for yourself that never really was, and a past that exists only in a febrile never-world. You can also venture on a second career as a politician.

10) Always read the label.

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