Peter Rhodes on the scientist we never really understood, a tardy warning and a great name for a detective

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Farewell, Stephen Hawking.

Adored, not understood

I REFERRED recently to the strange names used in television crime dramas. (Cormoran Strike, Kip Glaspie, etc) Walking past a canal the other day I noticed the place where chemical toilets are discharged. What a great name for a detective it would make. Introducing Elsan Point.

INCIDENTALLY, what was the point of giving Kip Glaspie (Carey Mulligan) in Collateral (BBC1) the back-story of being an Olympics pole-vaulter, when it featured absolutely nowhere in the action? She might as well have been a former grocer.

I AM taken to task for suggesting that in Black Country dialect, Barclays Bank might be pronounced "bonk." A reader insists that while "bonk" would be used to describe a hill or steep rise, a high-street bank is "bank." To make things entirely clear, he adds that "bankers " is pronounced as " them robbdoggin' piggantin' wammels." I am much obliged.

SO farewell, Stephen Hawking. Never in the field of modern science has one man been so admired, cherished and respected by so many millions of people who hadn't a clue what he was on about.

THIS eternally slow spring reminds me of a conversation with an old chap on the harbour wall at Axmouth some years ago when the rain was hammering down from a leaden March sky rather like this week's. "Summer must come," he intoned with a wise smile. That year, it didn't.

WAS anyone else of a certain age surprised by the oft-repeated safety warnings from the gunpowder makers in Lucy Worsley's Fireworks for a Tudor Queen (BBC4)? When I were a lad, you could buy a chemistry set at your local toy shop which not only contained the ingredients for gunpowder but also the instructions on how to blend it. While the Beeb's experts mixed gunpowder cautiously with a non-metallic stirrer, we merrily whisked ours up with a teaspoon. It really is amazing that so many men now drawing a pension have a full complement of fingers and toes.

STILL on weapons of mass destruction, how strange it is that the NHS, which is constantly wagging its finger and warning us of the long-term dangers of booze and baccy, waited a week before suggesting it might be an idea for people close to the Salisbury nerve-agent attack to wash their clothes.

WORSLEY'S fireworks extravaganza was interesting enough but lasted almost as long as the Middle Ages. Every scene was shown twice or thrice and then in slow or ultra-slow motion. This endlessly-padded programme lasted for 90 minutes and could have been perfectly well in half that time.

NOTE the use of the word "thrice" in the above. It has almost passed out of usage and some language experts reckon "twice" is going the same way, being replaced by "two times." If you can say it in one word, why use two?

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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