Peter Rhodes on a tennis spat, aches in the snow and how science is beating blindness
FAREWELL, winter, and with it the annual debate about what to call the pain when you put frozen hands in warm water after a snowball fight. A friend suggests 'finger cramps' but at Chateau Rhodes we are sticking with 'hot aches'. Suggestions welcome (apart from the obvious one that I ought to get out more).
FROM time to time this blessed realm of ours produces MULBOs – Much Loved British Objects, things like blue passports, red telephone boxes, Last of the Summer Wine and the Queen Mother. The only thing they have in common is that they must not be criticised. I fear the latest addition to this hallowed list may be The Durrells (ITV) whose new season has begun with a cooing of 'blissful business' and 'cheerful lunacy' from the critics. Oh, please. This series ran out of steam long ago and is now reduced to Corfiot caricatures, silly slapstick and a farcical three-girlfriends-at-once episode which was about as funny as a sick salamander.
PS: I wasn't mad about the Queen Mother, either.
STEPHEN Hawking was a supremely gifted theoretical scientist and I do not pretend to understand his undeniably brilliant ideas about black holes, not-so-black holes and multiple universes. But as far as I'm aware, nothing Hawking did had the slightest impact on me or my loved ones. So by all means sing the praises of this remarkable man stricken by paralysis, but don't overlook scientists like Pete Coffey and Lyndon da Cruz. Never heard of them? They are professors working on a cure for macular degeneration. Their first results were released this week. It seems that before long their stem-cell retina repair will save the vision of millions of people who would otherwise have gone blind. The theoretical inter-galactic sort of science is all very well but it's the unglamorous, practical sort that means a grandmother can see her grandchild.
ARE you beginning to suffer from equality overload? Me, too. Martina Navratilova complains that she was paid 'only' £15,000 for her stint as a commentator at Wimbledon while John McEnroe got 'at least £150,000'. Really? So flippin' what? Is it worth pointing out that, at the peak of their game, both of these tennis stars were paid much, much more than the ball boys? In spats like this involving the super-rich there's only one question that should be asked: Were you paid the sum that you or your agent negotiated and agreed to accept? If the answer is yes, stop wasting our time.
IF tennis throws up pay anomalies, God help us if the equality police get to work on Glastonbury. I strongly suspect that performers at music festivals are paid not by gender, age or race but solely on the basis of their market value.
AND while we're at it, has anyone noticed that the winner in Olympic sports gets a gold medal but the runner-up only gets silver and number three gets bronze? How long can this scandal go on?