A round-up that includes my childhood, the land of my fathers and my adopted home:

Ivor the Engine and the Clangers shaped my early life.

The little steam engine from North Wales and the slightly surreal depiction of life in space were the two programmes guaranteed to get me inside and watching TV – back in the days when it was fashionable for children to play outside or with games, not be plonked on the sofa for hours on end watching a screen.

Throw in Bagpus, Noggin and countless others and it is safe to say that their co-creator Oliver Postgate had a very big, special and influential part in my childhood. I’d go further and say he had a more profound impact than any of my teachers.

I loved the slightly off-centre approach of his programmes, which never talked down to the younger viewers and always encouraged me to enjoy the daydreams and flights of fancy that I still enjoy 30-odd years later.

This collection of Oliver Postgate’s work is a fitting tribute.

Encouraging news from the Welsh Assembly, which is looking to give itself additional powers in order to provide carers with a high level of support.

The idea is to help officials identify carers, assess their needs, deliver services and provide carers with relevant information. Wales has the highest proportion of carers in the UK, with unpaid carers providing around 70% of care.

It would be even more encouraging if Westminster woke up and followed suit.

A think-tank is recommending that the West Midlands and East Midlands should merge to form one giant economic region in a bid to stop the wealth gap with London growing even larger.

There is a lot of common sense in the suggestion from the Centre for Cities.

But there is one obvious stumbling block.

If so many in the West Midlands struggle with the proposal to rename it as Greater Birmingham, what hope is there of persuading them to join forces with another part of the country?

At a time when there is a lot of talk about generating some big ideas for Birmingham’s future, this is one suggestion which possibly doesn’t have much of a shelf life.

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