Peter Rhodes on funeral music, dignity in hospitals and a land unfit for heroes

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

The last lonely walk
The last lonely walk

There is a strange mind-set in this country. It goes something like, we want the pandemic to be over, therefore it is over, so why bother with spacing, open windows or face masks? Strange delusion. It may yet be the death of us.

When all the cars are electric, what will happen to those nimble scumbags who make their living slipping under petrol-powered cars and stealing the catalytic converters? I am grateful to a Daily Telegraph reader who suggests that heat pumps, due to replace millions of domestic gas boilers are valuable and accessible and will provide a nice little earner when all the catalytic converters have gone.

NHS England's medical director Professor Stephen Powis says single rooms for patients should become the norm in NHS hospitals, providing “privacy and dignity.” And will the NHS continue to make patients wear those back-fastening gowns that offer neither privacy or dignity and seem to have been designed to let your bum hang out?

There is a certain irony in the song You'll Never Walk Alone becoming the most played number at funerals in Britain, as reported by Co-op Funeralcare. Wherever you're going at your own funeral, be it paradise, hades or purgatory, one thing is certain. Nobody wants to walk there with you.

Some of the heroic Afghan interpreters who served the British Army well are now living a wretched life in hotel rooms, desperate to get out, find jobs and get their children into school. It is feared some will have to live like this for months. If it's any consolation, the Afghans are being treated exactly the same as British soldiers throughout history, revered during wartime and reviled when peace comes. As Kipling put it: “For it's 'Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute!' / But it's 'Saviour of 'is country' when the guns begin to shoot.”

If he were alive today, Kipling might add a couple of lines to his poem in honour of the interpreters: “It's 'Our heroic ally!' out on Afghan's bloody plain / But it's 'Lock 'im in a B&B!' when peace breaks out again.”

After my recent piece on the Simon and Garfunkel album Sounds of Silence, a reader emailed an image of some creative graffiti. It shows a Subway cafe. On one wall someone has scrawled: “The words of the prophets.” Perfect.

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