IN TERRIBLE times good people need to do something. The public response to the disappearance of April Jones has shown us just how many good people there are out there in our communities.

Good people who took time off work to scour the hills for the Machynlleth five-year-old.

Those who raised funds to pay for the petrol for searchers, those who kept them fed and watered, those who shared all the information they could on social networking sites, those who, if they could do nothing else, showed solidarity with her family by placing pink ribbons outside their homes and businesses.

A pink ribbon prayer.

The search co-ordinator told reporters: “Several shops and a building firm have closed so that staff can join the search – even though it’s a recession and they can’t afford to shut.

“One woman had to beg money for fuel so she could drive here with food parcels...

“This has made us all realise how money is worthless...”

People from Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham joined the search, a pair of elderly holidaymakers from Sussex gave up their holiday to join the hunt.

The media – so under fire in the few past months – also played an important part in the hunt for this little, vulnerable girl, reaching millions of potential witnesses.

What happened in Machynlleth and across the UK is important because if good people do nothing, all we have is our helplessness in the face of appalling acts and those who commit them. So however pointless some may feel it is to tie a pink ribbon to a fence, we have to remember that.

If each act was relatively small, it added up to something very significant.

What I hope is that Machynlleth and terrified parents everywhere will remember this coming together of so many people to stand together against the terrible.

Even if that stand was just a small, pink act of defiance.

Does Nigella eat this stuff?

A PHRASE I heard a lot as a child comes to mind when I see the new slimline Nigella Lawson peddling her full fat, butter-laden recipes in her new TV series and book: “Don’t do as I do, do as I tell you”.

Don’t get me wrong, Ms Lawson looks great.

But she didn’t get that way by tucking into her own recipe for a 7,000-calorie Nutella cheesecake on a regular basis.

I suspect there was a fair amount of salad, sweat and self-deprivation involved in her new look.

But then, do any of us actually cook these recipes at home?

Don’t we just put on some toast while we sit in front of her BBC2 series and treat it like ‘food porn’?

Fifty Shades of Gravy?

To paraphrase a quote from American writer Henry David Thoreau: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, the mass of women eat supermarket boxed salads while watching Nigella.”

Sport a beard, girls, no time Toulouse

SO BORED with the usual ‘outrage’ about the Turner Prize shortlist from people like Andrew Vicari.

He raged: “The world has gone mad and the Turner Prize is turning the art world even madder. It seems to me to be a competition for extremists in their profession – it makes my blood boil!”

Yawn. Forget that... what’s far more interesting to me is the strange synchronicity surrounding women in beards.

No sooner was Turner Prize finalist Spartacus Chetwynd photographed sporting a stickon beard than the Smoking Gun website published an appeal from police in Carolina who were seeking a female shoplifter spotted committing ‘larceny’ while wearing a goatee.

I have been replaying the ‘women in beards’ scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian in my head ever since.

Now, could I get away with a stick-on beard in Maesglas?