Peter Rhodes on a surgeon's skill, paying to see the doctor and some unbelievable figures from Wimbledon

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

How many strawberries?

Truly unbelievable

AS the NHS prepares to ration 17 procedures, a reader suggests the ultimate aim is to ignore anyone who can be described as "poorly." Who knows? On this 70th birthday of our health service, all that seems to matter is that the NHS is "free at the point of delivery." Does anyone who spouts this well-worn and hugely misleading phrase ever visit a dentist or optician?

A READER in the Channel Islands says in Jersey patients pay to see their doctor. He suggests: "Perhaps a £10 booking fee in the UK might . . . allow the service to function better." Sir, I beg you not to utter such ideas here on the mainland where offenders can still be burned at the stake for heresy.

THIS email arrived from PayPal: "You may not use the PayPal service for activities that: … 2. relate to transactions involving … (f) the promotion of hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory or the financial exploitation of a crime . . . " And yet I see on eBay that - using PayPal - you can still buy "fancy dress" German SS uniforms, terrifying machetes and digital devices for weighing "herbal" substances.

THE worst job in journalism, apart from the tedious business of explaining "Who was St George?" every April 23, is the mind-numbing task of compiling Wimbledon logistic statistics. And because they are entirely believable, nobody really reads them. As it happens, the crowds at Wimbledon weigh as much as 10,000 elephants and in a single fortnight they consume eight million tons of strawberries and the equivalent of 14 supertankers of cream. The total distance covered by the balls in play is greater than all the Apollo and Shuttle missions combined and in an average year about 10 ball boys/girls are killed and several hundred are maimed for life. The word "tennis" comes from the ancient Apache term "tennis" which means tennis. (Note to Editor - is this enough?)

MY desk-diary entry for a year ago, July 10, reads: "Rutland Water - eye went wrong." The lens implant I'd had 15 years earlier slipped out of place somewhere between Corby and Oakham and I was getting double vision. Oh, misery.

SO we cancelled a holiday, everything went on hold and I went under the knife once again for a shiny new implant. It is a great success and a few weeks ago the surgeon removed the last stitch. I asked to see it. The stitch was no more than a quarter-inch long and spider-web thin, far finer than a human hair. I cannot begin to imagine how anyone becomes so skilled and so steady-handed that he can tie a knot in such stuff. If you believe all you read, robots will soon be carrying out surgical operations. Call me old-fashioned but I think I'll stick with the man who ties knots in gossamer, thanks.

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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