Peter Rhodes on bursting bubbles, dodgy distancing and the good old, bad old age of petrol

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Destination Avignon (Photo: Henk Monster)
Destination Avignon (Photo: Henk Monster)

Is this the ultimate lockdown chat-up line? “My body is bursting with antibodies.” That's enough of that sort of talk, Boris.

The Prime Minister's new quarantine reveals the truth about so-called social distancing and “Covid-proof” workplaces. It doesn't always work. When people work together, they tend to drift close. They take the masks off for coffee and forget to replace them. And if there's a chance of a photo with somebody famous, of course you stand close. If people could only see how far their breath travels, they'd be far more cautious. A day in the office with everybody visibly vaping would be more effective than a hundred warning posters. Watch the vapour, as a single sneeze travels from reception to forward planning, carrying your destiny with it. .

And we still haven't been told how the anti-Covid “bubbles” supposedly keeping everybody safe at Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1), resulted in Nicola Adams and Katya Jones being dropped from the show after Jones tested positive. Any explanations, Auntie?

Downing Street, a term once used to describe the Prime Minister and Cabinet but now extended to cover the PM's fiancee, wants to bring forward the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to 2030. So where's the electricity coming from?

While some experts believe drivers will use car-charging points “intelligently” by staggering the hours of re-charging their vehicles, others fear that most drivers will simply plug in their cars in the evening, creating a sudden demand for power which cannot be met unless the UK can generate an extra 20 gigawatts, equivalent to twice the energy pumped out by all of Britain's nuclear power stations.

Meanwhile, HS2 is looking for a contractor to build 50 electrical sub-stations which will also draw vast amounts of energy from the National Grid. Something's got to give. I wonder how many HS2 passengers will miss their train because the bloody car's bloody battery's bloody flat again.

Given the limited range and pathetic towing power of electric vehicles, what is to become of caravanners and sailors who delight in towing their little home or hobby around the land? And if the makers ever produce an electric car capable of lowering a boat down a slipway, what will happen if the brakes fail and there is a sudden immersion of a huge electric battery in the water? I'm guessing a big flash and lots of dead fish.

But it is a sobering thought, if you've just bought a typical new car with a seven-year warranty, that the shiny thing on your drive could be the last petrol or diesel vehicle you'll ever own. The age of petroleum is passing and, of course, that is a good thing. But, oh, the great times we had in the bad old, good old days. Like driving my old Triumph Herald from Leamington to Paris, then on to Avignon, Arles, Nimes and the Camargue. We were 22. What will kids do in the post-petrol age?

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