Peter Rhodes on fosty frogs, the national scandal of courier deliveries and the case for a blitz on seat belts

Just cultural differences, innit?

A reliable courier
A reliable courier

THIS is the time of year that weather forecasters dread. I have just heard my first "fosty with frog."

METEOROLOGY for beginners. How do you know that it's the coldest night of the year? Your boiler goes out.

TWO weeks after an eBay trader assured me my parcel had been delivered (it hadn't), it finally turned up. I won't bore you with the details because, with Christmas approaching, and delivery companies recruiting armies of new and untried staff, you will probably be getting enough courier-nausea of your own. If you want to know what to expect, just type the name of your delivery company plus "rubbish" into Google and experience the bitter, nationwide seething of those who have locked horns with an industry where lying seems the norm.

AT the root of the problem is the standard of proof required by both the supplier and the delivery company that their parcel has been delivered. If the courier says he's delivered it, that's good enough for them. Even when, as in my case, the courier claimed he'd put it in our front porch when we don't actually have a porch. Turns out he had left it in somebody else's porch, about half-a-mile away.

BIZARRELY, the delivery company, having received the lowest possible online ratings from me about their service, invited me to take part in a survey with valuable prizes to be won. I declined. Supposing I won one of their valuable prizes. What are the chances of it ever arriving?

MY vanishing parcel was, thankfully, nothing precious. But there is clearly a vast and growing scandal of expensive items vanishing in transit. This is the sort of issue, irritating and inconveniencing millions of ordinary people, that Parliament should investigate. Don't hold your breath.

MY recent item on cops issuing warnings to drivers based on the testimony of other road users raised the question, do the constabularies have nothing better to do? And the answer is that they certainly do. For while the police have been faffing around nicking drivers at 34 mph and posting "advisory letters" based on untested evidence, something shocking has been happening. Latest figures reveal that a quarter of all road deaths among car occupants now involve people not wearing safety belts - a record level. If police focused their time and energy on seat-belt offences, instead of persecuting harmless "speeders" and sending out stern letters, they might actually save hundreds of lives. Just a thought.

THE new 50p coin to mark Brexit will carry the message: "Friendship with all nations." So does that include the sort of nation that summons a citizen to its consulate, batters him to death, chops up the still-warm body, disposes of it, fakes an alibi and then describes the West's reaction to the murder as "hysterical." Just cultural differences, innit?

ANYWAY what's wrong with the traditional Brexit message "Up Yours, Delors"? Further suggestions of pithy mottos for the new coin are most welcome.

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