Peter Rhodes on pigs in blankets, a funny lady in New York and how to react to a haka

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Watch it with respect
Watch it with respect

SO we are to have a general election before Christmas. Whoopee. In years to come we'll be able to tell our grandchildren how in December 2019 there were more carol singers than ever - and most of them were after our vote.

BREXIT catastrophes are not what they used to be, are they? The latest panic in high places is that a shortage of EU workers may restrict the supply of Christmas delicacies, including pigs in blankets. Dear God, will this island race recover from such a blow?

THE good news is that we have 55 days to learn how to make our own pigs in blankets. First, wrap small sausages in streaky bacon. Next, secure the bacon with a cocktail stick. Finally, put them in the oven. It can be done. We will survive.

KEITH Vaz MP, suspended from the Commons for six months following an alleged sex and drugs scandal, is said by his staff to be suffering "a serious mental health condition." Would that by any chance be the unfortunate malady known as Gotcaughtitis?

SHOULD you snigger at a haka? The haka, as performed by the All Blacks before their ill-starred encounter with England, was originally a war dance, designed to intimidate enemies. It may well have put the fear of God into rival tribes in the days of spears and clubs. But when the enemy wears red coats and carries rifles, it's all over for the haka. The smile on England captain Owen Farrell's face as the All Blacks performed before the Rugby World Cup was an echo of the confident smile on British Redcoats' faces when they encountered yet another brave but doomed native army in the wicked old days of Empire, and the instant reply to the haka was: "Five rounds rapid fire, lads."

SMIRKING at a haka, or standing in the V-formation for which England have been fined £2,000, may be part of a legitimate mind-game when it is used by one team to unnerve the other side on the rugby pitch. But the rest of us should watch the haka and remember its history with admiration and respect.

LOOK, I only wrote that women did not often tell jokes. This has been interpreted by some readers as suggesting women are incapable of jokes. One of my all-time favourite quick-quippers is the New York writer Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) who famously observed: "I require three things in a man: he must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid." We seldom disappoint.

MY recent mention of the 1982 Falklands War reminds a reader of a friend, an aircraft rigger who, during the conflict, was dispatched to join a team fitting extra fuel tanks to Victor airborne tankers. He was late for the works bus almost every morning, earning himself the nickname Rigger Mortis.

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