Peter Rhodes: Lieu - a great place to spend some time

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Perks, political symbols and a new job for llamas.

Mark who?

HOW to deal with the modern problem of kids on motorbikes committing endless robberies? It occurs to me that all these offences begin with the theft of a motorcycle or scooter. So a few tempting-looking machines could be left unlocked, waiting to be stolen. They are identical in every respect to normal bikes, except that the seat is impregnated with sulphuric acid. Pain for the ungodly, harmless amusement for the masses.

THE Lynx Trust, which wants to introduce lynxes to wild parts of Britain, says it is considering supplying sheep farmers with free llamas to protect their flocks. It might work. A sheep farmer I know bought a llama some years ago to keep foxes at bay. For a joke, he called it Mark, after a television celebrity. But fame is fleeting. The llama is still with us but the celebrity has almost vanished from our screens. When you explain the joke these days people ask: "Who's Mark Lamarr?"

NEWS reaches me of a bright young thing who passed a job interview with flying colours and was enthusing about the company perks, including what she called "some sort of time-share holiday arrangement." Her parents explained the true meaning of "time in lieu."

THE row over National Trust volunteers being asked to wear Gay Pride badges, on pain of being banished to backroom jobs, reminded me of two things. First, ye olden times when the aristocracy not only employed the peasants on their estates but virtually owned them and took their political support for granted. The second was, of course, the Third Reich. Adolf Hitler was very keen on people wearing little badges to identify themselves or their beliefs. Thus, Jews were forced to wear yellow stars and homosexuals wore pink triangles. We ought to be surprised that no-one at the NT recognised such echoes from 20th century history but then how many kids study history these days?

FOR me, the most chilling moment came on a newspaper website where one self-appointed thought-policeman said those who refused to wear the badges clearly had been exposed for their "prejudiced thoughts" and "now must live with the consequences." Joseph Goebbels would have been proud of you, sonny.

AND here are the wisest words I found on the subject of the National Trust and its Gay Pride badges: "The NT has treated its volunteers shabbily. If this were a story from, say, 1976 when the NT or similar might have asked homosexual volunteers to stay in the backroom, people now would rightly be outraged. No-one of any sexuality, least of all the LGBT community, should feel comfortable with the imposition of conformity, and the NT should, as a national body, show respect for a genuine diversity of values and attitudes." This comes not from the harrumphing columns of the Daily Mail or Daily Telegraph but from a reader of the gay website, Pink News.

NATURE notes. A reader was walking her two small dogs before dawn and became aware that the two fuzzy blobs in the darkness had become three. For a few memorable moments, a badger had joined their walk.

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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