Peter Rhodes: The great taste of Devon
Mumbling in Poldark, paying the EU bill and black Romans in ancient Britain.
YOU are about to leave a restaurant and ask for the bill. "How much would you like to pay?" says the waiter. "Just the bill, please," you insist. "Yes," says the waiter, "but how much?" Bonkers? Of course it is. Yet this is how Britain's "divorce bill" from the European Union is being decided. They want us to suggest a figure.
WE should tell Brussels to do the sums and give us a properly itemised invoice. Then we can move on to the "I never had fried rice" argument, followed by tearing up the bill and rushing for the door.
THE madness of Brits having to come up with a figure is that we offer £36 billion and discover later they only wanted 40 quid towards the laundry.
ANYONE else confused by Hugh's (Josh Whitehouse) plea to the lovely Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) in the finale of Poldark (BBC1)? Hugh is going blind and mumbling a bit. As far as I could hear, he told Mrs Poldark that he wanted a snog in order to go into the darkness "knowing I once tasted Devon." Heaven, apparently.
A BBC schools video on Roman Britain features a black soldier. The historian Mary Beard says Roman Britain was indeed ethnically diverse. For this, she has been pilloried on social media (why don't we call it antisocial media?). Consider what Rudyard Kipling, proud spokesman for the British Empire and the man who urged us to "Take up the white man's burden," had to say on the subject. You might imagine that Kipling, of all people, would believe in an ethnically pure, all-white ancient Britain. Not so. In his poem about the Thames, The River's Tale, he writes: "And Norseman and Negro and Gaul and Greek / Drank with the Britons in Barking Creek ." A black face in Londinium 1,800 years ago would have attracted no more attention than it does today.
MARCUS Hutchins, a 23-year-old from Devon, is in an American prison awaiting trial on malware charges that could carry a 40-year sentence. Don't you find it amazing that anyone could know such a lot about computing and get himself into such a huge amount of trouble at such a tender age?
THANKS for your horror stories of deliveries by couriers. I loved the tale from a reader who received a text message that a parcel would be delivered to his address at 11am. Which was odd because he wasn't expecting anything. Next came a text with an image, apparently showing the parcel delivered by his side door. It turned out the photo was of somebody else's side door. The parcel, which had nothing to do with him, had been safely delivered to an address in Liverpool. The reader lives in Walsall.
THANKS, too, for your tales about dodgy pub quizzes. They reminded me of the one occasion when I objected to a quiz result, on the grounds that the rules stipulated teams of four and the "winning" team had six. "Oh, it's just a bit of fun," laughed their captain, collecting a handsome prize. Depends on what you call fun.