Express & Star

Peter Rhodes on energy bills, old-time religion and a pig who banished fear of thunder

Having crunched all the numbers and taken account of my direct debits and the Energy Price Guarantee, E.ON emails to let me know my electricity for next year will cost £182.12p more than this year's. Add that to the inevitable rise in council tax and I expect it to wipe out any cash I get from the Chancellor fiddling about with income tax. As I pointed out last week, they put money in your right pocket and remove money from your left pocket. Two steps forward, two steps back.

Peppa Pig – unharmed

Margaret Ferrier, the MP who travelled by train from London to Scotland after testing positive for Covid-19, thus putting others at risk, has been ordered to do 270 hours of community service. Isn't that what MPs are supposed to do anyway?

Researchers in Portsmouth and Paris claim that television, far from creating square-eyed dimwits, can actually improve children's thinking skills. No surprises there. Our two-year-old grandson was woken by a ferocious thunderstorm after the heatwave. He was surprised and worried but he didn't panic or cry because he knew all about thunder, having witnessed a storm on TV. Peppa Pig came to no harm, so why should he?

We learn a valuable lesson from the BBC drama Crossfire, set in the endless corridors of a Spanish hotel where two terrorists are shooting staff and guests. It is this: if you happen to get a gun and find yourself with a chance to shoot one of the killers in the back, just do it. Do not shout “cooeey!” “behind you!” or “armed police!” even if, like our hero Jo (Keeley Hawes), you are a former cop. Fittingly, Crossfire was viewed by the critics and shot on sight.

After the royal funeral, there's been a rash of think-pieces on whether the nation wants to embrace Her Late Majesty's traditional brand of religion. I think not. It must be truly wonderful to believe that when we die we actually go on living somewhere else and are reunited with our partners and all our friends. But who would organise it all, and to what end?

How many of the clergy who took part in the ceremonies actually believe literally in life after death? How polite the rest of us are never to ask them the question.