Peter Rhodes on printing, protesting and the pandemic that refuses to go away

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Covid – still going strong
Covid – still going strong

A universal truth of DIY. “There’s nothing quite like doing it yourself to realise you should have paid someone.” Ali Wood of Practical Boat Owner after spending three days scraping a hull.

Our changing language. A retired teacher, reflecting on Covid-19 in the workplace, tells me she fondly remembers her classroom as “the germ casserole.” This appears to be an original construction with just a handful of references to it on Google. Not be confused with a widely-used school expression, this time covering the teenage years, when the classroom becomes “the hormone cocktail.”

Some of the Insulate Britain irritants have been jailed and yet few regard them as martyrs. The explanation is in the name.

Insulate Britain has the ring of a 1950s government campaign for extra pipe lagging. It sounds like the sort of advice your mum would give you. Clean under your nails, always carry a hanky, have a wee before you go out and, oh, insulate Britain.

After this week’s item on computer printers, a reader asks why, in this digital age, does anyone need to print anything?

It is a strange thing but at the proof-reading stage, you may overlook a misprint a dozen times on the computer screen but spot it instantly once it’s printed on paper. I can’t explain this. It just is. On screen, the misprint is invisible. Printed on a sheet of A4, it becomes more visible. If it gets into the finished newspaper or blog screen, it leaps off the page at you.

And if you’re working on something permanent and authoritative, like a book for example, a misprint does more than leap. Some years ago I wrote a history book and dutifully read and re-read the proofs at every stage until I was convinced I’d spotted every dodgy spelling, every aberrant apostrophe. At last the books arrived from the printer. The first copy seemed to pounce into my hands and fell open at page 170. And there, the result of pure incompetence and multiple overlookings, I read the name of “Martin Luther” which should have been “Martin Luther King.” Two quite separate people.

Great medical myths of our times.

“Coronavirus cases could fall significantly in November without any restrictions being reintroduced, modelling seen by the government suggests.” (Sky News, October 25).

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