Peter Rhodes on a Black Country legend, the EasyJet hack and the return of parliamentary debate.

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

The Pie Factory

Terms for our time. EasyJet says the personal data of nine million customers was compromised in a “highly sophisticated” computer hack. So what is the difference between “highly sophisticated” and “oops, we missed that one”?

Meanwhile, the old, unsophisticated internet scams rumble on. A reader tells me he almost fell for a TV licence email which begins: “Dear Customer Your TV licence is due for renewal.” As a general rule, if they don't use your name, they're crooks. Bin it.

As MPs drift back to Westminster brace yourself for the art of parliamentary debate:

“We prioritised the NHS.”

“Well, you should have prioritised the care homes.”

“My mistake. I meant to say, of course, that we prioritised the care homes.”

“Well, you should have prioritised the NHS.”

And so ad infinitum.


Now, here is a strange thing about the internet. I wrote about a reader who grows figs. Instantly, an online reader emailed to say I must have readers in Algeria. In fact, it is perfectly possible to grow figs in Britain on a sunny wall. So why, given that he is already online and connected to all the knowledge of humanity, does someone choose to leap into print with an opinion without first Googling “grow figs England”?

I can't explain it and I'm not complaining, but it happens all the time. Why are people emailing each other to ask when the Second World War started or what is the capital of Outer Mongolia when the information is a couple of mouse-clicks away?

Professor Carl Heneghan, who rejoices in the title of Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University says by the end of June the pandemic may have virtually vanished. This chimes with my personal, and entirely non evidence-based, view which I have believed but not aired ever since the contagion took off in February. It is that things will be back to normal by August. But I do worry about October.

Good to see that Black Country icon, Mad O'Rourke's Pie Factory in Tipton, is back in business, if only as a take-away under the inspired sales banner: “Stay safe, Save NHS, Eat pie.”

I recall an office Christmas dinner there many years ago when we all ordered the Desperate Dan Pie. It was a sort of gastronomic Tardis - open the lid and the interior was massive and stuffed with half a bullock, a vanload of sausages and a number of hens. I exaggerate only slightly. The ladies admitted defeat early. The editorial artists barely made it half-way through. Sweating somewhat, only the features editor and I lasted the course and ate the entire pie. At the next table were a couple of big local lads. Having polished off their Desperate Dan Pies they sat back, mopped their foreheads and ordered two more.

A tip. If you're collecting a large number of items from the Pie Factory, do check your back axle.

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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