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Peter Rhodes: A growing crime wave

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Stolen hanging baskets, bad parenting and local headlines for local people.

A local pilot

THE blatant theft of hanging baskets from a garden in Shropshire was caught on CCTV and went viral. The gardener says the baskets were "worthless." Not so. The stealing and re-selling of hanging baskets, usually at car-boot sales, is big business for crooks.

MY spies tell me the best way to spot stolen baskets is the condition of the plants. Those offered for sale by a genuine gardener tend to be in uniform condition. If some plants on a stall are luxuriant but others are scratty, they've probably been nicked from a variety of gardens. Rawlplugs clinging to the mounting brackets should also arouse your suspicion.

AND of course no-one at a car-boot sale would ever dream of buying stolen goods. Right?

KEEP it local. That old maxim of provincial newspapers was observed by the North Wales Daily Post which announced the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's latest news with the headline: "Former Anglesey helicopter pilot expecting third child."

THE eagerness of the authorities to make excuses for useless parents knows no bounds. Why do so many four-year-olds arrive at school unable to speak properly? According to the National Association of Head Teachers, it is "the pressure of family life." Come off it. Families have never had so many labour-saving devices or instant meals. They should have more than enough time to talk to their own children. If they are not doing this vital part of parenting, what are they doing? And if the answer is gassing on their smartphones 24/7 or being glued to daytime telly, they are probably unfit to be parents and the authorities should get a grip before their kids' lives are blighted any further. You only get one go at childhood. We should not tolerate anything that destroys that precious chance.

IN any case, what greater joy is there in life than talking to toddlers? Mind you, it is important to tell the truth. As another autumn approaches, I blush with shame at the memory of telling my little girl that seagulls lay their eggs in the earth, to be cut open next year by the farmer's plough. If you need the evidence, just watch the tractor's progress. The plough turns over the soil and the seagulls appear. My little girl is 31 next week. I really must put her right about this.

A GUARDIAN columnist who was a great fan of the Greenham Common peace camp of the 1980s writes a piece headlined: "Why anti-nuclear protests need an urgent revival." Not all her readers are convinced. As one puts it, tongue firmly in cheek: "If there is one thing that will stop North Korea it is a load of women in monkey boots eating lentils in a field."

YET another survey, this time by a home-decor company, claims that young Brits are useless when it comes to changing lightbulbs, setting the timer on a boiler, defrosting a freezer and so on. Don't you wish these survey people would mind their own business? If young people learn to do stuff that only old people know now, what is the point of old people? Incidentally, kids, the simplest way to defrost the freezer is to leave the door open.

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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