Peter Rhodes on Cornish scones, the agony of India and a campaign to ban crossbows

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Time for a ban?
Time for a ban?

If you believe everything you read, Sainsbury's has been forced to apologise after customers in Cornwall complained it had used a photo of a scone laden with cream - with the jam on top.

In this case, I suspect that “forced to apologise” actually means “spotted an opportunity for lots of free publicity” but let us plough on.

The yarn is that an image of the jam-topped scone appeared in a Sainsbury's branch in Truro. Local customers were “outraged” and complained because in Cornwall, by ye hallowed ancient folklore, they put the jam on first, topped with cream. The jam-top version is served in Devon.

Anyway, the moral of this story is that the post-pandemic new normal looks pretty much like the old normal. Unbelievably silly.

Still in holiday territory, I know a pretty beach where a little shop sells all the stuff you need for the seaside: buckets, spades, fishing rods, windbreaks and, for some bizarre reason, crossbows. In its window display, alongside the harmless paraphernalia for sunbathing and sandcastles, is a selection of these fearsome weapons, perfectly capable of killing a person.

Crossbows are also easily bought online. “Accurate up to 45 metres,” boasts an advert for an £85 model available by mail order today.

A cannabis-smoking loner Tony Lawrence, 55, used such a weapon to slaughter his neighbour Shane Gilmer and inflict a terrible wound on Shane's pregnant partner, Laura Sugden. Lawrence was later found dead of an overdose. Laura survived and is today campaigning for crossbows to be banned. The coroner in the case said: “I'm most concerned . . .that crossbows of this nature and danger can be bought in an unregulated fashion by anyone over the age of 18 and are not controlled in the same way as shotguns and firearms.”

Who can argue with that? Is there a single good reason why a weapon as deadly as a handgun can be bought online, in the high street or, most chillingly of all, alongside the flip-flops and rubber rings of a seaside holiday?

The agony of India, with its images of patients dying for want of oxygen and families begging for hospital beds, is heart-breaking. There is a deep bond between Britain and India and we must, of course, do everything we can to help.

Yet how can India reconcile its creaking, ramshackle health-care system with the fact that every year the Indian space programme gobbles up 2,000 million dollars and is planning to send unmanned missions to the moon, Mars and Venus, and even deploy its own space station? Whatever happened to priorities?

Meteorological mysteries of our age.

Does anyone know the difference between “light winds” and “gentle breeze,” as used by forecasters? I found this answer online: “Breeze is a light, gentle wind, whereas wind is real or perceived movement of atmospheric air.” This seems to suggest that while breeze is a wind, wind is not necessarily a breeze.

I don't know how we managed before the internet.

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