Peter Rhodes on great hair, nursery-babble and another run-in with E.ON

Our changing language. “I take full responsibility” means “I'm going to sack some people.” (Keir Starmer, Hartlepool)

Jane Seymour – amazing mane
Jane Seymour – amazing mane

Jane Seymour has just passed 70 and is offering tips on how she keeps that amazing mane of hair so impressive. With a landmark of my own approaching, I felt obliged to offer you my lock-care advice. “Number three all over, mate. Tapered neck.”

Meanwhile, back at Chateau Rhodes, E.ON has crossed the line from incompetence to unpleasantness. You may recall I asked the electricity company why, when we have a smart meter, our latest couple of bills had been based on estimated readings. Instead of giving us a sensible answer, E.ON created an online account for us. We said we didn't want an online account and they said, fine, just don't activate it and you'll keep on getting paper bills.

And then out of the blue comes an email demand for payment with a grim warning that if we don't pay up we may incur additional charges and damage our credit rating – even though E.ON has never actually sent us a bill for this amount. We paid up in a matter of hours but the next day, by post, came an even more threatening letter demanding immediate payment. Grumpy old hacks like me can vent their spleen at faceless corporations but how many vulnerable customers simply crumble into panic and despair?

The only sensible, empathetic part of this entire saga came when a cheerful old bloke arrived to check the smart meter. He said it was working perfectly but in his opinion smart meters were rubbish and he wouldn't have one in the house.

More email bumf designed to separate us from our savings. One of those find-a-tradesman websites gets in touch with the offer: “Add £12,000 to the value of your house with a new porch.” Unanswered question: how much does the porch cost?

Perils of grandparenting. I have discovered over the past few months that one tends to become a fluent speaker of nursery-babble. I am not alone. A friend who is a solicitor and young dad, couldn't wait to tell his workmates about his brand-new Ford. Leaning across to his barrister in court, he heard himself whisper: “Daddy got a new brumba.”

Similarly, a reader, after total immersion for a day with her grandchild, was mortified to tell a manager, as she headed for a comfort break: “Nanny going pooh-land.”

I referred yesterday to scientists who claim daily drinking may be good for the heart. No quantities were revealed but the item referred to “moderate drinking” and “a couple of drinks.” I bet there isn't a single puce-faced, liver-rotted, trembling bar-room lush in the world who doesn't think he's a moderate drinker and that it's perfectly normal, after “a couple of drinks,” to have 14 empty bottles on your table.

When it comes to counting your booze intake, maths is often the first casualty.

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