14 Monday, 19 October 2009 London Lite by georgina littlejohn Backlog: mail strikes loom Doh--isitreally20yearsalready? 85,000 apply for 30,000postjobsA TOTAL of 85,000 people have applied for the 30,000 positions to tackle the backlog of post left by the strikes which threaten to bring the postal service to a standstill. Royal Mail is taking on double its usual number of seasonal workers, earlier than usual, to help with the Christmas rush. But the firm insisted today the recruitment blitz was not designed to break a union, as last-ditch talks to prevent this weeks strikes went ahead. Operations director Paul Tolhurst said the extra temporary workers were needed to keep the mail moving and avoid a big backlog building up. He said he hoped that the strikes, planned for Thursday and Friday, could be avoided, but added that the company was gearing up for indus- trial action. His comments came as police warned of a threat of violence out- side sorting offices if the strike goes ahead. Royal Mail bosses were due to meet the Communication Workers Union today in an attempt to break the deadlock. Relations between the two sides became increasingly fractious over the weekend when the company announced the hiring plans. Union leaders responded by considering a legal challenge. Employing extra people to do the work of striking staff is illegal under employment law. Royal Mail said the recruitment drive was not about bringing in workers to do the work of strikers, but to ensure there were enough staff to clear backlogs, as well as tackle the seasonal mail increase. Mr Tolhurst told GMTV: We are not trying to break the union. But the most important thing for us is to keep the mail moving. Humptyshappy ending at BBC THE BBC has been criticised for rewriting the words to Humpty Dumpty to give the rhyme a happy ending. The last line: couldnt put Humpty together again became made Humpty Dumpty happy again for a CBeebies show. Labour MP Tom Harris, who watched it with his sons, said children needed to be exposed to real life a bit. The BBC said the line was changed to be creative and entertaining. Baby P stepdad in parent classes THE stepfather of Baby P is attending parenting classes in prison. Stephen Barker, who was sentenced to 12 years for his role in 17-month-old Peter Connellys death, and to life for raping a girl aged two, is being taught how to be a good dad in the lessons, which also focus on relationships. A Wakefield Prison insider said: It beggars belief he can talk about parenting after what he did. totally absurd.com FAnCy yourself as a bit of an inventor? Then check out the competition on this site for some of the oddest inventions, which are all US-patented products. Total gems include nappies for horses, a toilet snorkel, above, and the all-important knee skates. westegg.com/cliche Do yoU sometimes struggle to find the exact way to describe a particular situation? Well look no further than the clich finder. Simply type in a word and this site looks up all its clichs. So, honest as the day is long, youll never be lost for words again. KELLY ARMSTRONG EMAIL YOUR TIMEWASTERS TO: firstname.lastname@example.org/lite Timew@ster What to browse when the boss isnt looking THE SIMPSONS celebrated their 20th anniversary with a bash in California last night. Homer, Bart, Lisa, Marge and baby Maggie posed on the yellow carpet with their creator Matt Groening who said: The fact that were still standing here some 20 years later and talking about it is very peculiar. Star Treks George Takei and Joe Mantegna were among the guests.