The Duke - January 6, 2016

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Kids, hey. Just when you think you’ve got them worked out they pull a flanker.

Most of us do our best to bring them up properly in the hopes they turn out happy and confident, won’t incarcerate us in a rest home just after we turn 60 and have signed the house over to them in good time to avoid them being taxed on it.

And what thanks do we get for it all? The chance to buy them a meal and a drink in the pub if all their mates are busy doing something else – or there’s a birthday on the horizon?

Then there’s the look somewhere between disdain and downright pity when they see what clothes we’ve just bought in the January sales because we thought they looked cool?

But now it seems we can’t even rely on our teenage offspring doing things foolish enough for us to reprimand them about from our wealth of experience.

New data has dubbed them the Goody Two Shoes generation. The age of the unruly teenager indulging in illicit drinking and smoking is in decline. And not only are they shunning alcohol and tobacco in droves they’ve also taken to eating their fruit and vegetables without moaning too much. What are they up to for goodness sake?

The next thing you know they’ll be doing their homework on time, switching lights off, closing doors and not answering back.

According to the recent Health Survey for England only a small minority of under 16s have ever tried an alcoholic drink or a cigarette and almost a quarter of the obedient little blighters eat the recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day.

Whilst their parents, minders and older siblings are apparently still happily binge drinking their way to oblivion and eating anything unhealthy they can lay their hands on, in 2014 (the latest figures available) only five per cent of eight to 15 year olds said they’d ever tried a cigarette compared with 19 per cent in 2003.

Over the same period the number who had ever tried an alcoholic drink fell from a massive 45 per cent to just 17 per cent. It’s the same shock news with fruit and veg – up from 11 per cent to 23 per cent eating the approved amount.

The changing statistics are being put down to it being more difficult for youngsters to get their hands on tobacco and alcohol as well as the cost involved.

Not only that but it seems more youngsters don’t like seeing the effect drinking and smoking has on grown-ups.

There is a note of caution in all this surprising data. Rachel Craig, the head of health surveys at NatCen Social Research, which carried out the study in association with University College London said although comedian Harry Enfield’s Kevin and Perry stereotype of alcopop drinking, cigarette puffing teenagers was now “much less likely to be the norm” children were now “rebelling in different ways.”

It almost makes an increase in self harm, eating disorders and lack of sleep due to the “digital immersion” of the internet sound reassuring.

On the subject of bad habits have you been keeping up with the advent of Dry January – the latest variation on how we vow to get healthy each New Year only to let things slide again by Fat February.

I was momentarily tempted by the advice to give up alcohol for two days in the hopes of becoming a little healthier.

I’d even set aside a date in June and another in August until The Manager informed me it was meant to be two days EVERY week. What kind of crazy is that?

My dreams of a windfall founder with the post

Just for a very split second I thought that this might be the last Wednesday column I’d be submitting – or at least writing – from wet and often windy Poulton.

Having pretty much given up on my chances of winning the Lotto Big One since operators Camelot increased the number of numbers and decreased the chances of winning – especially as I’m too superstitious to change my six choices – I’d pretty much resigned myself to living off my pension until my first letter of the new year offered to change things forever.

It came first class from Jim Mushu-Bla, associate financial officer of the Yinhua Fund Management in China via a “friend” of his visiting the UK and contained URGENT (his capitals) about “the late David Duke (deceased)” (his duplication) who popped off in 2002 leaving unclaimed funds of “a million American dollars” which 
I’m probably entitled to a big slice of.

Clearly, that turkey wishbone I’d struggled to snap after lunch on Christmas Day was paying up early and all I had to do was e-mail my new mate Jim and he’d fly to the UK and meet me to “talk about all our plans” and show me “how serious I am about this deal of mutual benefit.”

Well, at least it made a change from the Nigerian businessmen and Romanian women offering to change my life (in very different ways.

File under CON (my capitals). I hope.