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Peter Rhodes on a sceptical bishop and how BT mangled the Queen's English

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's Peter Rhodes column.

Always on the wrong side of the door

THE annual survey by Fisherman’s Friend reveals that people following a vegan diet are three times more likely to visit their GP during the winter cold and flu season than meat-eaters. This is not propaganda and it is certainly worth more detailed study. There is plenty of research to suggest that cutting out meat can lower your blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. But if the price of marginally reducing your risk of long-term diseases 20 years in the future is endless colds and regular influenza in the present, is it worth it?

NEXT door’s kittens are now five months old, have contact with no other cats and have not spoken to their mother since November. So how, why and at what stage in their development do they discover that, whichever side of a door they are on, it is the wrong side?

CONTROVERSY surrounds the Archbishop of Canterbury’s new ambassador to the Vatican, Dr John Shepherd because he denies the physical resurrection of Jesus. Oh, come off it. The Church has chucked out so many long-held beliefs over the past few years that a technicality like this can hardly be a big deal. In 1984 David Jenkins famously questioned the literal truth of the Resurrection, the Virgin Birth and Christ walking on water – and he was Bishop of Durham. He held the post for the next 10 years. He was also the funniest and most endearing bishop I’ve ever interviewed.

DAME Gail Rebuck, founder of the Quick Reads scheme, reckons that millions of British adults are functionally illiterate. Surprised? Me neither. How many official communications have you received that make no sense at all?

CONSIDER this. BT normally gives us a few days’ notice that our quarterly bill is due and the money will soon be taken from our account by direct debit. But their latest email arrived one evening and the money was taken from our account about four hours later. I complained that this could cause problems for anybody who hadn’t enough money in their account to cover the bill.

AND here, full and unedited, is BT’s response. Bear in mind this comes from the customer-relations department of a huge, modern British company at the forefront of the communications business: “This is regarding the direct debit amount taken from your account. As there is one particular day which should be updated so that we will take on that date only and if there is no particular date set up then we will take the amount within the next 7 working days from the bank through the direct debit this is what happens in the recent bill amount. We understand that you have got the bill notification one day before only and we apologies for that and we will make sure that from the next time you will get the remainders soon for the bills.”

INCIDENTALLY, BT produces a little leaflet entitled Including You: BT’s Guide to Help You Communicate.

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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