Peter Rhodes: Nice car, shame about the tyres

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

TRACTION in the snow, trauma in the swimming pool and the terror of Dr Google.

Going nowhere?

OUR changing language. According to the BBC website: "The snow showers have sweeped across into London." Meanwhile, Mail Online reports someone being "murdered to death."

KIDS at a primary school in Telford who forgot their PE kit were invited to take part wearing their underpants. At least one parent complained but the authorities insisted that all the pupils enjoyed the lesson. I bet. I recall with a shudder being sent into the school swimming bath naked, aged 12, having carelessly left my trunks at home. Everyone enjoyed that, too. Except me. I really must sort out that claim for post-traumatic stress.

THOSE of us who feared the EU turning into a United States of Europe were howled down at referendum time last year by the Remainers who accused us of scaremongering. Eighteen months on, the leader of Germany's Social Democratic Party declares: "I want a new constitutional treaty to establish the United States of Europe." So is he scaremongering, too?

EVERY morning the end of the lane where we live is packed with four-wheel drive "Chelsea Tractors," owned by dog walkers. And very potent they look, too. However, when the snow fell, the 4x4s were nowhere to be seen. My guess is that their owners stayed at home, having discovered that four-wheel drive is not the go-anywhere, snowdrift-busting technology they imagined. Four years ago Auto Express compared 4x4s with conventional cars on both normal and snow tyres. The conclusion was blunt: "Without the right rubber, a 4×4 is just as useless as a two-wheel drive car.” In other words, it is pointless spending £40,000 on a huge 4x4 unless you also spend a few hundred quid on a set of winter tyres. Or a shovel.

THE BBC correspondent Nick Robinson who survived cancer has warned against visiting "Dr Google," on the grounds that online statistics about cancer can terrify some patients. He's right. If you really want a scare, just type your latest symptoms into a self-diagnosis website. If you have sleep problems, drowsiness, headaches or memory issues (and who among us does not?), these are all early symptoms of brain tumours. But you don't need the internet to scare yourself silly. In the classic Victorian comedy tale Three Men in a Boat, the author Jerome K Jerome tells how he studied a medical encyclopaedia from A to Z and realised he had symptoms of every single condition - except housemaid's knee. His doctor's advice, still worth heeding more than a century later, was not to fill your head with stuff you don't understand.

STILL on things medical, the chiropodist I mentioned a couple of weeks ago seems to have cured my painful heel with a single treatment. This makes me thankful I didn't heed the advice of friends who recommended seeing a chiropractor. I am sure they are fine, dedicated practitioners but I seem to know a lot of people who have told me: "My chiropractor is wonderful - I've been seeing him for years."

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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