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Peter Rhodes on littering a loch, grim images of retirement and a "murder" that was no such thing

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

SOMETHING called a "Lifestyle Retirement Magazine" has just arrived from Legal & General.

Loch Litter

Dear God above - is this the future? The front cover shows an old bloke with a grey Corbyn-like beard riding a bike while wearing a plastic helmet. On his feet are trainers, worn over black socks, presumably to indicate he is English. They call it "lifestyle" but what sort of life is this and where, oh where, is the style?

TURN to page 5 of the L&G leaflet and there's a graphic of a toilet roll. Why? Because according to a survey, one of the things that surprises people when they retire is "How many toilet rolls we use." For the record, I know several retired folk who don't own a bike or a beard, would never be seen with black socks or plastic helmet and who never, ever fret about bog-paper. And if they found themselves morphing into Jeremy Corbyn I'm sure they'd do something about it. If this is the image most people have about retirement it may explain why so many are happy to keep on working.

IN my dispatches from Loch Lomond I should have pointed out that jetskis not only give people the power to irritate their fellow humans through noise. They also bring a new dimension to littering. The most remote and beautiful places are now within easy reach of folk for whom no day is complete without chucking tins, bottles and plastic bags everywhere. On the exquisitely lovely beach on the island of Inchmoan - as pretty as anywhere you'll find in Greece or Spain - a sign pleads with trippers to treat the place with respect. In front of the sign a pile of litter was dumped like votive offerings to the gods of trash.

IF Scotland ever voted for independence, I wonder whether England might negotiate custody of Loch Lomond. We don't have a really big lake of our own anywhere in England and I'm sure we would take better care of it than the Scots.

EVERY journalist knows that sinking feeling experienced by the detective in Twenty-Four Hours in Police Custody (C4) when the threads fall apart and you suddenly realise the great story you're working on isn't a story at all. In this case it came when an officer uncovered medical records showing that a woman found with her throat slashed - and assumed to be a murder victim - had a long history of self-harming, including trying to cut her throat. But then the only eye-witness had already told cops she had seen the "victim" alone at the death scene. I found it surprising that anybody, in this case the woman's oddball partner, could be arrested and held in custody on little more than an assumption. They tell us we're innocent until proved guilty. That's not how it looked.

BUT then police and hacks work differently. For example, "never assume anything" is one of the golden rules of journalism. At least I assume it is.

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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