Peter Rhodes on old soldiers, a cry from Notre Dame and 60 years of Armageddon overload
Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.
THANKS to the reader who suggests that as the cost of rebuilding Notre Dame inevitably soars, there will be an anguished howl heard from the tower: "The bills, the bills!"
LOOK, if you wish to believe that our planet is on a precipice of pollution and climate catastrophe and the end is nigh, by all means believe. But please don't brand the rest of us as deniers or complacent. We are simply suffering from Armageddon overload.
ANYONE born after the Second World War has hardly experienced a moment in the past 60 years when the end of the world was not nigh. Casting my mind back, I recall the threat of annihilation by the following: Global Communism, flying saucers and alien invasion, nuclear proliferation, the Coming Pandemic, mad-cow disease, Aids, biological warfare, meteorites, DDT residues. super-tsunamis, super-volcanoes, nuclear winter, holes in the ozone layer, acid rain, assorted millennium and Nostradamus-related predictions, cruise missiles, dirty-bomb terrorism and, of course, the 2012 Mayan Prophecies. How are we supposed to maintain the required level of panic-stricken terror through this endless litany of horror without making ourselves ill?
IT may be that the latest forecasts of climate change and plastic pollution are the 100 per cent genuine article, the unavoidable horrors that, after so many false alarms, will engulf our planet and wipe out Homo sapiens. But if they're not, you can be assured that a year or so from now another even worse apocalypse will be unveiled. Do you think scepticism may be linked to DDT . . ?
MY personal theory is that we will all be eaten by large carnivores, having foolishly agreed to the "rewilding" of our countryside. The irony will be that, as we are devoured and screaming for help, people will ignore us because we are crying wolf.
IT occurred to me in an idle moment that if the wicked Press descends on Meghan and the new baby and become a nuisance, HRH could always unleash the ultimate deterrent. Bishop Michael ("Lurve is the way") Curry. He could be sent out to talk to the snappers until they drift away. He's the priest who went on, and on, at the Harry-and-Meghan wedding and I suspect he has plenty of material left.
PENITENT stool. I suggested a few days ago that somebody born in 1903 would have been too old to fight in the Second World War. Not so. Technically, conscription in 1939 included men aged up to 41, although I believe they took the younger men first. And, of course, if you happened to be a reservist or in the Territorial Army, you'd be mobilised at almost any age. I have some personal knowledge of this, being in my 40th year when I got called up for the first Gulf War in 1990. I never talk about it. (The reason I never talk about it is that I was mobilised and demobbed in the space of one week and never got further than Southampton)