Peter Rhodes on the turning year, more about scones and Scottish rules for England

Summer solstice today, Midsummer Day on Friday. They always come too soon, don't they?

Too soon, too soon
Too soon, too soon

I was rash to poke the slumbering dragon that is the argument over whether the jam goes on the scone before or after the clotted cream. A reader declares: “The answer is obvious. Jam is a spread, cream is a topping.” A tip, sir. Keep that to yourself in Devon. Fights have started over less.

In Scotland, the blood-alcohol limit for drink driving offences is 50mgs, much lower than the English threshold of 80mgs. But if you're nicked at between 50 and 80mgs in Scotland you will be banned from driving on English roads, even though it's not an offence under English law. I'm not defending drunk drivers, merely showing how regulations created north of the border can affect the English. It may be happening again. The Daily Telegraph reports that the proposed Scottish Gender Recognition Certificate could apply to some children in English schools. We haven't voted for it. We may not want it. We could be stuck with it. The tail wagging the dog.

After a recent column another reader upbraids me thus: “Your final paragraph gives away the fact that you're working from home.” Yes, and so what? Working from home is what journalists do. We also work from pubs, airports, council chambers, conference centres, courtrooms, concert halls. churches and phone boxes. I have been working from all sorts of places ever since I was 18 and phoning drama reviews from our local am-dram theatre to the Birmingham Post.

It was an intimidating business. In those days, the Post had a number of late-night copy typists. They were male, mature and frighteningly well-educated. They would undermine one's confidence by suddenly stopping typing to ask: “Mr Rhodes, are you quite sure you want to split that infinitive?”

Talking of which, a new campaign will stage its first major march next Saturday. It is called We All Want to Just Stop Oil. Are you quite sure you want to split that infinitive . . ?

A commoner problem with phoning copy was the crackly line. A colleague was half-way through phoning her report of a court case when the puzzled copy typist asked: “Are you saying burglary or buggery?”

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