Peter Rhodes on submarines, slaughter and a sorry saga of six petrol crises

Has Bob Mortimer's heart condition changed his character? According to one review of the comedian's new book, And Away..., as reported on the Amazon website: “Since his brush with morality, Mortimer has come into his own.” Interesting misprint by Amazon. I'm sure that should read “brush with mortality.”

Amid the online torrent of applause for Mortimer's new book was this purchaser's assessment: “You can hear Bob's voice with every word... but then I did buy the audible version.”

Why was France's President Macron so furious at Australia cancelling an order for French-built submarines, in favour of a US/UK alternative? Was it because France had done a sinister side deal with the Chinese, secretly installing hidden transponders in the subs which could then be instantly detected by Chinese warships? Absolutely not. I just made that up. But if the programme makers are looking for a second series of the murder-in-a-sub mystery Vigil (BBC1), they might care to use my idea. Their own, frankly, were getting a bit stretched. Was I the only one hoping that when the intensely irritating detective Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) was locked in the torpedo tube, someone might push the button?

For some of us, this will be our sixth petrol crisis. The first followed the 1973 Arab-Israel war and the second after the revolution in Iran in 1979. The third was in 2005 when truckers protested over fuel duty and ditto in 2007, followed by industrial action and more queues in 2012. The lesson of history is that fuel crises can happen under Tory or Labour governments and the Opposition always claims to know how to prevent them. After the event.

I recall the 1979 crisis when the lads running an illicit workshop next to our house spent a day filling up their cars and decanting the fuel into dozens of jerrycans. By the end of the day we were neighbours to what amounted to a very large bomb. Tends to stick in the memory.

Our changing language. “There is no need to panic over petrol” means: “Form an orderly queue - behind me.”

After yesterday's gripping item on winter vomiting virus, I discover that norovirus is named after the city of Norwalk, Ohio, where there was an outbreak in 1968.

Meanwhile, in Schitt's Creek...

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