Peter Rhodes' Express & Star column, taking a sideways look at the week's big news.
A SURVEY by Waitrose reveals that most men haven’t a clue how to cook toad in the hole. The secret, chaps, is to buy only the very freshest toads, available at any branch of Waitrose. Don’t be afraid to ask.
WHEN the price of any commodity, apart from houses, goes up we call it “inflation”. When house prices go up, as forecast this week, we call it “good news”. No, I’ve never understood it, either.
BINOCULARS used upside-down, eyes that changed colour from youth to old age, a too-modern car. The BBC spy yarn Restless has provided rich pickings for us sad old souls who enjoy spotting the errors. For me, the most obvious one was the restaurant scene featuring tables laid with damn great quarter-litre wine glasses. In wartime Britain, wine was sipped from small glasses. It was not until the 1970s that we learned to knock it back by the bottle.
AND now, it seems, we are paying the price of drinking too much – and successive governments may be to blame. According to a Radio 4 documentary, the “units of alcohol” used in health promotion were simply plucked out of the air. They have no basis in fact and neither have the recommended alcohol-intake levels preached by every government since 1987. Latest research (you may wish to sit down at this stage) suggests anything more than a quarter of a pint daily increases your risk of getting a range of diseases including cancer. I suggested some months ago that politicians may already be aware that there is no safe drinking level but have no idea how to break the news without revealing that their previous “safe” guidelines were unsafe. Alcohol could be the new asbestos.
A REPORTER asks a councillor whether Birmingham Airport should be renamed in honour of Ozzy Osbourne and the councillor says: “It’s an interesting idea and I’ve got an open mind.” I bet there’s as much chance of renaming the airport after Ozzy as there is of styling it after that other son of Brum, Enoch Powell. As a general rule, when you put a local hero’s name above your airport, as with John Lennon in Liverpool or George Best in Belfast, the place is forever branded as second-rate and provincial. “Birmingham Airport” is a world brand and has a simple dignity. Don’t mess with it.
OUR changing language. They are drunken yobs for the other 364 nights of the year but at the New Year they become “revellers”.
THE NHS spends more than £5,000 million a year dealing with obesity. It is, in every sense, a growth industry. Now, the Royal College of Physicians claims the service is inadequate. In other words, we ought to spend a few billion more. The NHS was created to cure people who fall ill or infirm. Since when did stuffing your face become an illness? And why should we taxpayers fork out a fortune for people who could cure themselves simply by eating less?
I COULD certainly eat a lot less of one cheese I was given over the festive peiod. Why, when you have made a perfectly good Cheshire cheese, would anyone add apple, ginger and Irish whiskey? Yuk.
“THE sanctity of someone else’s marriage has no effect on the sanctity of yours,” declares a Daily Mail reader, in support of gay marriage. Oh, but it does. Right at the heart of the sanctity of marriage is the issue of adultery, a breach of trust so grave that it has always been grounds for divorce. It seems the new law will not recognise adultery in same-sex marriages. And if it doesn’t apply to gays, how can it possibly apply to straight couples without creating discrimination? One early result of making same-sex marriage legal will be that the broken-hearted woman whose husband cheats on her and who can no longer bear to live with him will be told she cannot get a divorce. Does anyone remember voting for that? Of course not. Same-sex marriage did not appear in any election manifesto at the last General Election. The nation is being bounced into it for no better reason than David Cameron thinks it will win a few gay votes.
AN eagle-eyed reader points out that a survey claims 46 per cent of Brits used credit cards, overdrafts, store cards or payday loans to cover Christmas spending this year while 36 per cent dipped into their savings. He asks: “Were the remaining 18 per cent shoplifting?”