Peter Rhodes on dodgy Durrells, an ITV sacrifice and the holiday that keeps on giving
THANKS for your birthday greetings. It was not a significant one but it will be memorable for having been spent afloat. As I write this, I am still getting that gentle rocking sensation. Three days on water generates a week's wobble. A boating holiday - the gift that keeps on giving, even when you want it to stop.
THE boat-packing process was the usual shambles. Having made absolutely sure I had my walkie-talkies, VHF radio, distress flares and an assortment of widgets from screws to anchors, I somehow overlooked the basics. Three days without bread or tea. Ships' crews have mutinied for less.
BACK in the real, unwobbly world, why was there even a debate about scrapping the Jeremy Kyle Show? Who among the great and good in the well-connected elite of ITV, with their swanky titles, grand designs and imposing mission statements, ever thought it was a good idea to turn the heartbreak and rage of inadequate and dysfunctional people into entertainment? It was a nasty concept, nastily produced, and our national life will be better without it. But Kyle is a sacrificial lamb to save those who knew for years what he was doing but were happy to take the loot.
SAVING the planet? Oh, that was ages ago. All that "climate emergency" stuff can be shelved as normal service resumes and our casual destruction of the ecosystem continues. If we took emissions seriously, we'd denounce the sheer insanity of flying two English football teams, Tottenham and Liverpool, with their support staff, agents, hangers-on and thousands of fans, to play the Champions League Final in Madrid on June 1. It could easily be played in England without wasting a single gallon of aviation fuel.
IF this were some ghastly one-off logistical cock-up, we might live with it. But wasting fuel is what international sport does best. A few days before the Madrid game, two London sides, Arsenal and Chelsea, with their vast retinue and fans, will be travelling 2,500 miles to play the UEFA Europa League final in, of all places, Azerbaijan.
THERE will, of course, be good reasons for choosing these football venues: prior bookings, contractual arrangements, national prestige, yadda-yadda. But the truth is it happens only because saving the planet, which ought to be their number-one priority, is actually their 479th priority, just behind the mascots' outfits and the colour-coded bootlaces.
AS a lad I was an avid reader of the Gerald Durrell books. The TV series "based" on those books which ended last weekend took some startling liberties with the stories, notably Mrs Durrell's ludicrous romance with Spiros. It became like watching an old friend gradually losing their memory. Still, I did look forward on Sunday evenings to the company of a pair of genuine, authentic little charmers in The Durrells. I'll miss the lemurs.