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Peter Rhodes on trampoline lockdowns, a critical temperature and a murderer without a mask

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Very up and down

In the weeks to come, we may be hearing a lot about four degrees Centigrade. According to some scientists, 4C is the temperature at which coronavirus, which is always in the environment, suddenly bursts into life. It is the temperature found in meat-processing plants where several outbreaks have been recorded. More worryingly, it is the temperature on a typical English winter’s day.

So there may be some truth in two theories which were challenged by the experts early in this pandemic. Firstly, summer sunlight may indeed kill the virus. Secondly, a winter second wave is a racing certainty.

Mind you, there is a third theory which has been running for the entire duration of this contagion and seems to trump all the others. It is the one that says the more scientists discover about this virus, the more they realise how little they know.

More Covid-19 coverage:

I had a rather pained and indignant press release from a trampoline company complaining about the Government’s lack of guidance on when trampoline parks could reopen. I bet this is the sort of thing that haunts politicians and civil servants. You have just published your latest reopening guidelines covering everything from nail bars to water parks, to massage clinics and gyms. With every clause and sub-clause relentlessly examined, you retire to bed to enjoy the sleep of the just. At 3am you suddenly wake in a cold sweat, aware of a grotesque oversight. The trampoline parks! The bloody trampoline parks!

Note how I reported the above item without once using the phrase “up and down”?

According to an online report, Texas has just resumed carrying out the death penalty after delaying execution for five months “due to the coronavirus pandemic”.

If that makes you smile, the next bit will not. The first criminal to be killed by lethal injection in Texas after the break was Billy Joe Wardlow aged 45 who was convicted of a murder in 1993. In other words, a middle-aged man was put to death for something he did as a teenager. This may go down well in Texas but I bet it gives even the most pro-hanging Brits pause for thought. There is something particularly chilling, too, about the minute details of this pandemic-time execution. The official witnesses of the execution were given anti-viral masks and gloves. All prison officers and officials wore masks. Wardlow did not have one.

A reader took me to task for recently spelling visor as vizor, which he says is an Americanism. I turned to the internet for guidance and found this, which I had to read a couple of times. “As nouns, the difference between visor and vizor is that visor is a part of a helmet, arranged so as to lift or open, and so show the face. The openings for seeing and breathing are generally in it, while vizor is a visor.” I’m still not sure this grammatical tip is serious, silly, sardonic or just another example of computer-generated nonsense.

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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