Peter Rhodes on sunburn, orchids, tinkies, spinners and the dark secrets of horse racing

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

They're off to the glue factory
They're off to the glue factory

Shock, horror. Panorama (BBC1) reveals that some thoroughbred racing horses are sent to the abattoir when their racing days are over. And you thought they were taken to spend the autumn of their lives on a lovely farm tucked away in the countryside?

The grisly truth is that all animal-based sports – even the ones with royal approval - have a darker side, which may also explain why you see so few old greyhounds. As a general rule, when animals no longer make money, they make glue.

As night follows day, a spell of hot weather is followed by hospitals reporting hordes of kids stricken with sunburn. It can happen quickly. My father had a saying: “Small fry fry fast,” which is a useful maxim for this sort of weather. Sadly, some parents are beyond the reach of any sensible messages. I wonder how many of this week's crop of red and blistered kids are the offspring of people who, when they should have been minding their children, were fixated on those silly damn smartphones?

According to research in Boston, eating whole-grain foods such as porridge can help you lose weight. Depends entirely how you make it. If you add water to rolled oats, boil the bejabbers out of it and allow it to stand in the traditional, mirthless Rob Roy manner, you will certainly lose weight, largely because you won't want to eat it. However, if you follow my method and enrich it with vast quantities of Golden Syrup, sugar and double cream (better still, custard), it becomes highly palatable and you'll definitely lose a little weight, owing to your teeth falling out.

We don't hear much these days about demographic acronyms, do we? You may recall the sort of thing – Yuppies were Young Urban Professionals, Dinkies were Dual-Income, No Kids and those middle-aged couples ripping through their pension lump sums were Skiers: Spending the Kids' Inheritance. I thought of those labels a couple of days ago as our grandson, now 17 months old, and running everywhere, joyously dashed down the garden in his underpinnings to hurl himself in his paddling pool. He has joined that most-envied, pampered and happiest sector of society. Behold, we have a Spinner, a Small Person in Nappy.

NB: Out and about, you may find Spinners being looked after by Orchids (One Recent Child, Heavily In Debt). Other carers, usually looking more laid-back and with better prams, may be Tinkies (Two Incomes, Nanny and Kids).

A repeat showing of the 1963 comedy Doctor in Distress on Talking Pictures TV reminds us that obesity was once regarded entirely as a matter of personal responsibility. Urging the rotund Sir Lancelot Spratt (James Robertson Justice) to lose some weight, Dr Simon Sparrow (Dirk Bogarde) tells him: “The commonest instruments of suicide are a knife and fork.”

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