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Since he was inaugurated just over a month ago, a lot has been spoken and written about President Donald Trump. Many commentators have criticised his policy proposals, complained about his way of running the government and even cast doubts about his character and questioned his suitability for the role. Well, whatever you might think of him as a world leader I can tell you this: he is an extremely generous man. If you don’t believe me, just read the following extraordinary email that arrived on my computer yesterday (in the “Junk” folder, curiously). The subject line read: “Greetings From White House Official Residence Of The President":

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Ladies and gentlemen, the red carpet has been rolled out and it's time to step into your finest frocks and don your tuxedos because this Sunday, 26th February, sees the 89th Academy Awards - better known as the Oscars. Yes, this is the time of year when the stars come out to shine at their brightest, although, dare I say it, not necessarily their best! Somewhere over that glorious Technicolor rainbow, accompanied by the roar of the MGM lion and the 20th-Century Fox fanfare, the leading performers are preparing themselves for Hollywood's greatest night of the year. Once the cameras start rolling they will be polished and preened to perfection, posing like a parade of peacocks as they pause for the greedily snapping photographers and the headline-hungry reporters lining the red carpet. I love the way the stars have perfected that dazzling, megawatt smile that remains firmly in place even when the precious statuette doesn't come into their beautifully manicured grasp. But just take note of how enthusiastically they applaud the victorious nominee. Is this a method of positively channelling their despair? In 1965, when the Oscars were first televised in colour, Bob Hope memorably quipped: "For the first time, you can actually see the losers turn green."

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Poor Jane Park. I feel for her, I really do. In fact it would be a stony-hearted individual indeed who, hearing about all the stress she has suffered during the last four years, didn’t feel enormous sympathy for the unfortunate 21-year-old.

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Without wishing to pry, how was your Valentine’s Day? And, most importantly, did you present your beloved with flowers – or were you lucky enough to receive them? If so, might I enquire as to the type of bloom and its colour? There is a very valid reason for my asking because there is much more to a perfectly tied posy of flowers than you might think. Indeed, the word “posy” is derived from the old English word “poesy”, which meant love motto or poem.

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Having attended university there for three years, I’m surprised I haven’t mentioned it before, but I’m really rather proud that Hull (or Kingston-upon-Hull to give it its full name) is UK City of Culture for 2017. A lot of events are planned at various venues in and around the Yorkshire port during the year, with everything from art, dance, film and music to theatre, fashion and food and drink represented.

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During the last fortnight, we’ve had several visitors at Evergreen and This England. The first to step across the threshold at The Lypiatts was one of our freelance photographers and writers who came to see us from Somerset. Then, earlier this week, we had a visit from three of our colleagues who made a much longer journey travelling down from Dundee. We always make sure we have the kettle on for thirsty travellers and, as we welcome them, it's interesting to hear their thoughts on Cheltenham (always complimentary!) - especially if it's their first visit here. A visitor's view of your hometown gives a fresh perspective, which is fascinating, and offers another reminder of Britain's richly diverse scenery and heritage.

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Ever since the first copies of This England (Spring 2017) arrived at our offices a few days ago, I’ve been busy sending off some magazines to a few American newspapers. It’s quite a coincidence that, just as Prime Minister Theresa May has been talking about our country’s “special relationship” with the United States - and, of course, visiting the new American president in Washington - our latest issue should contain an article about an American writer who absolutely adored England and, as the Second World War loomed, wrote passionately about the need for the US to support her ally across the Atlantic

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As soon as I saw the headline, I knew that it would be met with harrumphs of disgust in the Evergreen and This England office. It read: “Sugar police say ditch cake at work!” The story centred on the civil service employees who had been alerted to the fact that “office cake culture” could be seriously bad for their health because it would increase their intake of sugar. Naturally, it prompted a heated response and most of it was not sweet natured!

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If you were around in 1957 I hope that you made the most of it, because despite the fact that most families did not possess a washing machine or a refrigerator and had to rely on a coal fire to keep themselves and their houses warm, that was the year when, apart from a brief period at the end of the 19th century, the people of Britain were happier than they have ever been, either before or since.

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Are you sitting comfortably? Then it’s time to switch on and tune into some television nostalgia. This is something we love doing in Evergreen’s regular "TV Memories" feature and if you read on you can discover exactly what our programme planners have got lined up for you in our spring issue, which is published on 1st March (click here for subscriptions).

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