Express & Star

Cathy Dobbs: Acceptance and understanding are priceless

Cathy Dobbs’ weekly look at life.

Catherine, the then Duchess of Cambridge at Thinktank, Birmingham, in 2020

A pat on the back to Thinktank in Birmingham for their early opening this weekend for children with autism and other special needs.

The quiet and no queuing meant that families could access somewhere they had previously shied away from.

However, having these sessions does more than just give families access – if a child suddenly shouts or has a meltdown there is no parent rolling their eyes wondering how you messed up so badly, while they got it so right. Instead, there is something that makes all us carer parents relax – acceptance and understanding.


Growing up in the 80s you had to wait for Christmas and birthdays before you could have the latest fad styles. So, pink leg warmers appeared on Christmas Day along with scrunchies and plastic bangles, then Swatch watches would be given for birthdays.

Fashions hung around for a lot longer, but all that ended a couple of decades ago. Thanks to fast fashion, shops are churning out different styles each month and it seems even youngsters can’t keep up – and so they have given up. It’s the reason why you probably can’t name the latest supermodels. Instead old favourites such as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Elle Macpherson spring to mind.

Today, social media influencers, actors and reality TV stars appear on the front of fashion magazines. It looks like supermodels have well and truly gone from hero, to size zero.


Recent research has revealed 64 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds have experienced back problems in the past year. It’s not a surprise, as we are used to seeing teenagers hunched over their mobile phones and office workers with rounded shoulders, bent over laptops.

Maybe we need to adopt the approach they took in Willenhall during the industrial revolution when the area was nicknamed ‘Humpshire’. It seems pubs put holes in the walls for patrons to rest their humps in. So, if pubs are looking to future-proof themselves maybe they need to start chiselling away at their walls.


It’s estimated that in the UK around 300,000 tonnes of clothes are burned or buried in landfill each year. A third of young women consider an item of clothing to be ‘old’ after they’ve only worn it twice. Where are all the eco-conscious Greta Thunbergs that we were told are furious with us for causing climate change? Maybe their teachers covered landfill problems on that day thousands of them skipped school.