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Not another castle: Peter Rhodes on thankless parenting, missing luggage and the pure hell of church bells

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

THE Daily Telegraph makes the old mistake, in its leader column, of seeing the future through present-day eyes. It suggests that Boris's Bridge, the proposed link from England to France, would have to be big enough to take petrol stations. But why? By the time this wildly-ambitious bridge is built (if ever), petrol will be a fading memory and the only petrol stations in a world of electric transport will be the ones lovingly preserved by the National Trust.

Moaning - Dan Snow

THE Telegraph leader column reminded me of those warnings from scientists in the 1930s that radio satellites would never be possible because they would have to be big enough to accommodate several men to change all the radio valves.

STILL on progress, a reader says my item about robot suitcases which follow their owner reminds him of childhood holidays abroad. He recalls: "Our suitcases followed us but normally they didn't catch up with us until we were on the way back."

AT least the lost-luggage misery affected rich and poor alike. In the earlier days of the supersonic airliner Concorde, one wag re-wrote the sales pitch to read:"Fly Concorde: breakfast in London, lunch in New York - luggage in Bahrain."

A COMMITTEE of MPs has been told that poor-quality accommodation is driving men and women out of the armed forces. No surprises there. Treating squaddies like animals is a long tradition. I bet thousands of old soldiers remember Rollestone Camp on Salisbury Plain being loaned from the Army to the prison service in 1980-81 during a warders' dispute. Rollestone was closed before the prisoners moved in, in order for improvements to be carried out. Barrack blocks deemed good enough for soldiers of the Queen were not good enough for convicts.

DAN Snow, the TV historian, was moaning on the radio about the lack of enthusiasm his kids show for traipsing around castles and other great monuments. I sympathise. At the age of seven our daughter was hauled out of the car and force-marched up Glastonbury Tor on the promise that it might be steep, cold and windy but one day she'd thank us for the experience. That was 23 years ago. Still no thanks.

WHITEHALL wants to change planning law to deny newcomers to towns or villages the right to object to church bells. My sympathies are entirely with the newcomers- or offcumdens, as they are known in Yorkshire. In this technological age, there is no earthly reason why a church bell should carry on ringing past midnight into the early hours. A peal of bells at 3am merely signifies that the Church, founded on the creed of the good neighbour, has become a bad neighbour. When the Church is our neighbour it is not unreasonable to demand silence between, say, midnight and 7am. Everyone, priests, peasants and newcomers alike, would appreciate a little hush.

INCIDENTALLY, in some Yorkshire villages it is perfectly possible to be a resident for 50 years and still be an offcumden. Especially if you moved from Lancashire.

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world

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