Peter Rhodes: Famished finches, political puppies and ditching doors
CLASSY response to my item on the snowflake generation from a reader who points out: "I don't object to the term Snowflake. We're seeing at the moment what they can do when they get together, aren't we?" At the time he wrote, a few billion snowflakes flexed their muscles and paralysed the nation. But then they very quickly got overheated and ran away.
WE are still a long way from being a fully online society. The Office for National Statistics reckons nearly half of single pensioners have no internet access. And it's a fair guess that many of these older folks are claiming benefits, or at least trying to. Any Answers (Radio 4) took a call from a woman who, having no internet access in her home, had to use a computer at her local library to apply for benefit. When her passport and driving licence were not accepted for identification purposes, the system advised her to download an app to her smartphone. Seriously. That was my angriest moment of the week and I dare say some of you shared it.
ON a visit to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Environment Secretary Michael Gove says leaving the EU might allow Britain to impose higher animal-welfare standards and combat puppy smuggling. Why was this not mentioned during the referendum campaign? Why were our heartstrings not tugged by the ultimate campaign slogan? Vote Brexit - or the puppies get it.
DURING a little pre-Xmas decorating at Chateau Rhodes, it struck us that two doors in the house were always half-open or, if you prefer, half-closed. So we removed them and replaced them with heavy curtains. The heat insulation is improved and you wouldn't believe the extra space. Or perhaps you would. If you have ever bought a new house on an estate, you may wonder why the show house seemed so much bigger than yours. It's because show houses have the doors removed. Meanwhile, as cars slither to work, we hear the perennial advice (including in this column) to buy a set of winter tyres. But buying them is the easy part. In the average new home, with enough room to stroke a cat but not swing it, where are we supposed to stack four damn great tyres?
TALKING of cats, our old tabby settled himself on top of the boiler and snoozed away the cold snap. He ventured out only once, tip-toeing gingerly over the drifts as though they were burning lava. He does not do cold. Any resemblance to a snow leopard is purely coincidental.
PS: Can we still say gingerly?
MY sympathy for starving songbirds evaporated in the first 48 hours of Ye Great Freeze. If the little idiots would only eat, instead of posing and posturing at each other, they would fare a lot better. Robins bully blackbirds who bully tits who bully wagtails who waste hundreds of calories wagging, as the name suggests, their tails. So much wasted energy, so little brainpower.