Peter Rhodes on drunks, e-scooters and a few reminders on how to behave in pubs

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

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A statue for Boris?

The pubs reopen tomorrow. A reader suggests that from henceforth, the Fourth of July should be known as Inn Dependents' Day.

Sadly, the nation's Accident and Emergency units are on standby for record numbers of booze-induced injuries tomorrow night. It is a strange thing about the Brits but we have been dabbling with alcohol for at least 5,000 years and still haven't got the hang of it.

By a hideous coincidence, tomorrow will also see rented e-scooters made legal on English roads. So that's booze, drunks and a new and unfamiliar mode of transport. What could possibly go wrong?

After such a long time away from pubs, some of you may have forgotten the ancient etiquette and customs of these establishments. For example, never pay the asking price for a drink - good-natured haggling is expected. And be aware that it is considered good luck to spit on the floor on entering the premises and to kick the landlords' dog on leaving.

As lockdown eases, there are hopes that swimming pools may soon be open. A reader tells me his local pool is ready to comply with social distancing by having no water in lanes one, three and five.

Let us peek into the future, 100 years from now. A campaign has begun to tear down the statue of Boris Johnson in Westminster. Not because he was was a Tory or a toff or a racist or sexist or imperialist or untrustworthy in the trouser department. No, this campaign is based on the outrage of vegetarians, butchers, canine charities and others at the discovery that in 2020, describing his state of health post-Covid, Johnson said he was “as fit as a butcher's dog.” Distressing to vegans. Unfair to dogs.

The curious summer gets ever odder. Farming Today (Radio 4) introduced us to a farmer with a booming pick-your-own business. It's been a great growing season and PYO is the perfect outdoor activity for families during the lockdown. This is a rare sighting of that reclusive rural species whose Latin name is Laetus agricola. A happy farmer.

Latin can be a very economical language, expressing an idea that takes twice as many words as in English. Take the four-word motto on the grave of Christopher Wren in St Paul's Cathedral: “Si monumentum requiris circumspice” which translates as our nine-word equivalent: “If you would seek his monument, look around you.” But nothing is quite as economical as modern English slang in which the inquiry: “Do you know what I mean?” becomes the single word “Jinarmin?”And then there's that useful modern phrase: “Nah, yer orright” which translates as: “Thank you for your proposal. However, after careful consideration, I have decided to stick with the status quo.”

I dare say we will hear a lot of this little phrase following the announcement that GCSE and A-level students who don't like the grades they receive for their coursework will be offered the chance to sit special exams. Nah, yer orright.

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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