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Brains all over the place. Peter Rhodes on Peaky Blinders, grammar schools and rehoming eels

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

IT was, of course, very wrong for a popular high-street bakery to produce a yuletide advertisement showing the nativity shepherds adoring a savoury snack instead of the Baby Jesus. On the other hand, it did give us one of those headlines you know you will never, ever see again: “Greggs ‘sorry’ for replacing Jesus with sausage roll in Christmas advert.” Perfect.

Brainless? Peaky Blinders

INCIDENTALLY, have you noticed how the avalanche of Xmas adverts on the telly which started in early November, is making everyone feel really excited and extra-special Christmassy? No? Me neither. I dare say we will eventually enter into the festive spirit but it will be despite the conspicuous-consumption efforts of John Lewis, M&S and the rest, not because of them.

I DIDN’T see this job advertised anywhere. More than 500 rare European eels have been found during the draining of a reservoir in Worcestershire. According to reports, ‘each eel was removed by hand’. Must be like juggling beaten eggs.

THE eels were apparently rehomed in a canal leading to Birmingham. Bit of a come down from Worcestershire, aye it?

AND talking of Brum, a reader tells me she made the mistake of watching the return of Peaky Blinders (BBC2) immediately before Detectorists (BBC4). The first is wall-to-wall savagery, climaxing with a mafioso’s brains splattered over a scullery. The second is the gentlest, cleverest comedy we have seen for ages. My reader says she was in such a state of shock and revulsion after Peaky Blinders that she simply couldn’t relax into the bucolic charm that is the world of Detectorists.

INCIDENTALLY, what clot decided a national treasure such as Detectorists should be tucked away on BBC4?

THE Highway Code is very strict on drivers keeping to their own side of the road: “If you have to stop on the roadside, do not park facing against the traffic flow.” Yet, to the horror of some driving instructors, the latest change to the driving test requires L-drivers to park on the opposite side of the road, reverse two car lengths and then rejoin traffic. Why not go the whole hog? Let’s see this manoeuvre performed in the dark, with headlamps blazing into the face of oncoming drivers, while the vehicle is unattended with doors open and radio at full volume. Posties do it all the time.

A READER is surprised at my claim that ‘millions’ of bright working-class kids benefited from grammar-school education. Do the maths. England had 1,300 state grammar schools admitting about 100 pupils per year for the 25 years between 1945 and 1970. I make that over three million pupils although, despite the best efforts of the grammar-school system, I managed to fail maths at O-level three times.

I SUGGESTED recently that most homes have a ‘magic drawer’ containing things you never thought you’d need. A reader says if you throw anything away from her special drawer, you will suddenly require it. If a single sock is chucked out, its missing partner reappears. I fear we may have crossed the line between furniture and exorcisms.

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world

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