Peter Rhodes on Harry's book deal, Piers Morgan's malady and how the pandemic may be spread – Down Under

Prince Harry's reported 20 million-dollar book deal depends on one of the books not being published until after the Queen has died. This assumes she will die before he does. And if history teaches us anything, it is to assume nothing. Especially royal history.

Piers Morgan – bad luck?
Piers Morgan – bad luck?

Meanwhile, a reader in her sixties who hasn't got Covid but still needs treatment for a long-term condition, tells me her latest hospital appointment was cancelled at four days' notice, and the NHS couldn't offer her another date. Her suspicion is that “someone younger needs attention, so we'll just shove this older woman out of the door to make way. I have lost all faith in our health service and I'm feeling that it is now run only for people of a certain age.”

Statistics for our time. According to the Alcohol Health Alliance, cider is being sold post-lockdown for as little as 19p per unit of alcohol. And what that means is that cider drinkers can get a weekly “ration” of 14 units of alcohol for less than the price of a single cup of high-street coffee. Does anybody think this is good news?

I bet we'd all love to believe the story about how the new chief inspector for schools in Wales was once a naughty pupil who sent his schoolteachers racing for the loo by feeding them cakes laced with laxative. Cor, wot a hoot. And yet while the internet is abuzz with various versions of this tale, I can find no original account of Owen Evans's schoolboy prank in his own words. And if the incident happened as reported, does this make Owen Evans, 52, a role model or a toilet-roll model? According to one report it happened when Evans was 16 and it led to 23 out of 40 teachers missing lessons the next day. If so, was this not a serious case of poisoning, which is a criminal offence? And can we really believe that members of staff in a secondary school would be daft enough to break a cardinal rule of teaching - and eat food offered to them by a pupil?

By his own account, Piers Morgan ignored his wife's advice, attended the Euros final with his mates, had a few drinks, took off his mask, posed for selfies in the “cannabis-reeking, beer-sodden” depths of Wembley and woke up two days later to discover he'd caught Covid-19. Just pure bad luck, innit?

Morgan seems particularly miffed that, despite having two vaccine jabs, he was still very ill. That sort of logic is rather like wearing a seat belt and deliberately driving into things.

But at least Morgan has the dignity of having caught the virus most likely via a cough or sneeze. In Australia, scientists believe that in rare cases (they examined an infection between two men in a lavatory), it may be spread by flatulence. The Down Under variant?

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