How many have died?

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

PETER RHODES on the London inferno, the resignation of Tim Farron and why symbols are better than warning lights.

Tributes to the Grenfell Tower fire victims

THE sensible drink for this heatwave is nursery cocktail, made with equal measures of ginger beer and fresh orange juice. My preferred, and slightly less sensible, alternative is a blend of dry cider and home-made elderflower cordial created by friends at a garden party. Like all the best summer cocktails, you think you could drink it all day long. Don’t.

TWICE the money, half the clothes. Back home after our week in Devon, the wisdom of that old holiday-packing adage was obvious. This being England, we had packed heavy sweaters, waterproofs, boots and thick socks, and used none of them. My entire Devon wardrobe consisted of two pairs of shorts, three T-shirts and a pair of Crocs.

ON our arrival home, the cat greeted us in the way that cats do. No panting, no slobbering, no wild elation, just a sort of luke-warm indifference bordering on contempt. Cats are always very careful not to be mistaken for dogs.

TIM Farron stands down as Lib-Dem leader because his Christian views have become easy meat for his political enemies. The people I despise most in politics are those who claim to cherish diversity in all things when the truth is that they cannot tolerate diversity of opinion. If you don’t share their mind-set you’re worthless. They are the worst sort of bigots.

DON’T we all understand the suspicion of the Kensington fire survivors, bereaved and friends that the truth about the scale of casualties is being concealed in some great high-level conspiracy? Although the figures are constantly changing, the calculations don’t make sense. We were told Grenfell Tower was home to between 400 and 600 people. The fire erupted when most were asleep in bed, and devoured the tower block within minutes. Thirty bodies have been recovered and police say the death toll may be about 70. Which means either the number of tenants was grossly understated, or the inferno was the greatest deliverance in the history of major fires, with hundreds of tenants scrambling to safety (and telling nobody) - or the true death toll runs into hundreds.

GOT home to find my chronically unreliable BT broadband not working. The bloke on the BT helpline wanted to know which malfunction lights were flashing. Tricky. Like millions of males, I am colour-blind. The lights on a BT hub are red, green and orange. But the red is a sort of orangey red, the orange is reddishly orange and the green is somewhere between red and orange and strikes me as a bit yellowish. Anyway, long story short, the earliest they can get an engineer out is tomorrow (the fault was reported on Saturday morning). The lad at BT gave me the usual guff about putting the customer first but rather spoiled it by adding that if the fault’s on my side of the hub it’ll cost me £100.

WHY, I wonder, do so many electrical gizmos rely on coloured warning lights? A simple system of letters, numbers or symbols would be perfect for everyone, including us of the hue-challenged community. Hello, BT? Your hub’s giving me the V-sign again....

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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