Sunday, 5 January 2020


Are you one of the 3 million + people living in the UK today who regularly work nightshifts? 

According to research undertaken by a Federation of Trade Unions, night workers now account for one in nine employees across Britain with the majority being between the ages of 30-49. There has been a recent surge in the numbers of over 50s working in the small hours, while I count myself proud to be among the almost 200,000 workers over 60 years of age who regularly keep the UK ticking over in the dark hours when the rest of the world are asleep.

In this ever increasing 24 hour society, it is suggested that non-standard work hours have a negative influence of the work/life balance and it identifies a greater level of marital problems and divorce.

The US National Sleep Foundation notes that night work also increases the risk of health issues, being associated with the risk of certain cancers, metabolic problems, ulcers, gastrointestinal problems and obesity.

I have worked night shifts, on and off, for the best part of 40 years. From working in the Security industry to now being a part-time cashier in a petrol station, I have to say there are advantages and drawbacks to working in the dark.

Much of my night working has been undertaken alone and for someone like me who is comfortable with their own company, it is invariably quite pleasant. 

My first graveyard shift took place back in 1983 when I got a job as a security officer in an insurance company in my home town of Guildford, Surrey, UK. I used to patrol the buildings every 2 hours carrying 4 enormous bunches of keys while resembling a gaoler doing his rounds of a prison.

I would start at 5pm and work 15 hours through until 8am the next morning and they didn't pay by the hour, it was a straight £12 per shift. I wasn't alone in the building at night as there were generally a few staff working in the computer suite.

In my time in the security industry I have had a few incidents to deal with. Once I was working in an International school where I came across 2 youths who had broken into the gymnasium and were trying to run off with certain equipment. I called the Police who were on site within a few minutes and apprehended the culprits.

On another occasion I was working at a TV Cable company warehouse where I disturbed some gypsies who were trying to steal a generator. In their hurry to get away when being rumbled, they drove their vehicle directly at me and only a full length dive into a chain link fence ensured I would be capable of writing this column!

When working at night I have generally found that my body hits a brick wall at about 3am. Before that time and afterwards it is generally quite easy to stay awake, but at the witching hour the head decides that it should be asleep and sometimes it is difficult to keep awake. In some jobs I have had this would not be a problem as sleep was possible during the shift, but in others it was not.

Something to be careful to avoid is to not eat too much. It is so easy to pass the time just keep munching on things and this certainly can pile on the pounds if you are not very careful.

Do you work nights?
Do you find it easy to stay awake throughout your shift or can you find time for a nap?
Do you feel a change in the supposedly natural life routine is detrimental to your health.

Please feel free to comment and let me know.

'til next time, Tatty.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019


I love listening to the radio. Indeed maybe more so than watching TV.

It is generally with the volume turned up very high however being as I am somewhat hard of hearing, so my listening pleasures are generally reserved to times when I am alone and do not disturb anyone. This is often when I am alone on the night shift at work.

My choice of programme is invariably very varied. Anything from vintage comedy on BBC Radio 4 Extra to current affairs, sport and music programmes (usually from around the 60s and 70s), the choices are endless.

I find the BBC Sounds app to be invaluable. The possibility to record any programme from anywhere in the country and listen at leisure is something my father would have loved (he passed away over 30 years ago).

One of the stations I did like to tune into from time to time is BBC Radio 2, although I have to say I have very much gone off it over the last few years. There seems to be an insistence within the powers of radio stations to rather employ TV and music stars to present as opposed to the traditional radio deejay.

For example, Radio 2 uses the likes of Vanessa Feltz, Graham Norton, Jamie Cullum, Jeremy Vine, Dermot O’Leary and others to front some of their shows and I don’t dispute that they are very popular - they are just not my cup of tea!

And this is not only on Radio 2. The likes of Heart, Magic, Absolute and Smooth Radio's do the same. There is little worse than the thought of having to listen to the Myleene Klass show on the radio I reckon (although Amanda Holden pushes it close).

What I consider to be the traditional radio people on Radio 2 are still preferable in my opinion and I enjoy shows presented by Johnnie Walker (I love “Sounds of the 70s” on a Sunday afternoon) and Ken Bruce on weekday mornings. There are other old style deejays I am not so keen on however such as Tony Blackburn and Steve Wright, but again they draw in decent listening figures and are very popular.

Alex Lester
Elsewhere, hidden away on the Beeb in their regional stations, are some of my favourite radio jocks from over the years. Former Radio 2 overnight man Alex Lester can be found on BBC Radio WM on a Saturday evening with a wonderful music programme in which he personally selects the playlist along with a few requests here and there.

Graham Dene - back in the Capital Days
Back in the day I used to live in London and was a big fan of Capital Radio. Graham Dene, who presented their Breakfast show for many years (long before Chris Tarrant took it over) was a favourite of mine and he can can now be found on Saturday lunchtime on BBC Sussex and Surrey.

Nicky Horne who hosted the rock show “Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It” on Capital each evening between 9 and 11 (click here to listen to a show from 1976), has had a total change of style and now presents a nostalgic look at yesteryear each Sunday evening on BBC Radio Solent.

Another hidden gem to be found on the BBC Sounds app is broadcast late on a Friday evening on BBC Radio Merseyside. The Late Late Beatles show does exactly what it says on the tin and anyone who was or still is a fan of the Fab 4 really shouldn’t miss it.

Anyway, is time to go. Be good, see you soon.
Uncle T x

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Hello and Welcome!

Hello and welcome to Tatty’s Take – the online newspaper column.

As you may, or may not know, I have been successfully participating in this so-called writing and publishing lark for a good number of years now, but as I enter my seventh decade spinning around on this glorious planet of ours, I thought it was high time I looked for a change in direction, hence the creation of Tatty’s Take.

Now before I go on, you may be wondering what on earth has happened to the site that used to appear at this address, namely Uncle Tatty Remembers? Well it is still to be found on the internet at Sadly postings had become a little thin on the ground in recent months, so maybe now is the time to try something new and digress.

Why have I decided to write an online newspaper column? Well I cannot imagine that any actual newspaper would have any interest in publishing it, so I will do it myself thank you very much. If you are an editor however and you have some regular empty space in your publication, then maybe your people and my people could get together and talk (fire an email to

So where did the idea originate from? In truth I have always fancied the idea of becoming a newspaper columnist and having a vehicle to fire out personal opinions on this, that and the other (OK, so maybe we’ll leave the other well out of calculations for now!).

Have you had a chance to watch the imported BBC daytime comedy/drama “800 Words” which tells the story of an Australian writer who moves his teenage family to a New Zealand backwater? In the show he supposedly writes a column for an Australian newspaper where each of his posts are of the total of 800 Words.

Although the series is maybe not quite BAFTA award winning material, it did make me think of how much I would like to be in a similar position, but without the teenagers or living down-under parts maybe. I figure that even if nobody actually reads my musings, it would still give me an opportunity to get things off my chest. The only thing I would add at this time is that do not expect all postings or columns to be of the full 800 words, or anywhere near it come to that.

So hold on tightly, the road may be bumpy and the ride could be somewhat white-knuckled, but hopefully we will get wherever we are going safely in one piece. You have been warned!

Back soon
Uncle Tatty x 

P.S. you may be interested to know that this column has been the grand total of 472 words – somewhat of a way to go to keep up with our Aussie friend methinks!