Peter Rhodes on acting insanely, fixing a dam and defying the police

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Perfectly mad. Jack Farthing in Poldark

THIS is a bit embarrassing. A few weeks ago I confidently predicted this would be the week when Boris Johnson would run out of bravado and admit that, cripes and crikey, he couldn't deliver Brexit, after all. Instead, the word from Whitehall seems to be that there's no way of stopping it, deal or no-deal. Let me state here and now that I have every confidence our leaders will hammer out a proper solution, as I retire to my shed with a solar still and 500 tins of baked beans.

ALL eyes are supposed to be glued on Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson as Ross and Demelza, the tempestuous, bodice-ripping stars of Poldark (BBC1). But for the past couple of weeks they've been acted off the screen by Jack Farthing as George Warleggan, mad with grief at the loss of his wife. Playing insane is one of the great challenges in acting but George's descent into madness is perfectly judged. Best supporting actor . . ?

ACCORDING to one description, hell is other people. And after a couple of nights sleeping on a camp bed next to other people you don't know and don't particularly like, and being treated like a Blitz survivor by smiling, worthy people with endless mugs of tea, you might just slip back to your abandoned home in Whaley Bridge. And I wouldn't blame you in the slightest. In fact, I think I'd join you. If it's a choice between an 80-feet wall of water sweeping all before it and yet another night of strangers snoring and humming interminable choruses of Kumbaya, I'd take my chance with the water, thanks.

I SUSPECT a few months from now the official report will tell us there was never a real risk of the Whaley Bridge dam collapsing. The core of the dam, a massive ridge of earth and clay, was intact and damage was restricted to the concrete slipway. Boris Johnson, on his visit, defined it as "dodgy but stable." Every gallon of water pumped out and every bag of rocks dropped made it more stable and less dodgy.

AS time passed, some residents obviously did their own risk-assessments and decided home was best. For this, they were pilloried by the cops, not only for allegedly putting their own lives at risk but also the lives of police who, we are told, have to keep visiting them to remind them of the danger. But why? These are grown-ups. They have made their beds. Let them lie in them without endless nannying from the authorities.

HOW strange it is that you can never get a police officer when you've been burgled but when you want a good night's sleep in your own home they're hammering on the door. I can see the old front-door signs being re-worded in Whaley Bridge: "No hawkers, no circulars, no cops."

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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