Peter Rhodes on tax dodgers, renaming a capital and sub-zero fashion up North

A reader caught by a speed camera must attend a driver-awareness course. Owing to the pandemic, the course will be online. He says it's ironic that a bunch of speeding drivers are summoned to Zoom.

Newcastle is the English city most likely to see a white Christmas, prompting one news website to advise that locals should be “searching out their hats, scarves and sledges.” Fat chance. As anyone from Geordieland will tell you, the usual forms of dress for snow in Newcastle are T-shirts for the lads and short skirts for the lasses. A tough breed.

To relieve pressure on hospitals, thousands of patients will be treated for Covid-19 in their own homes with remote monitoring of their oxygen levels. And why not? Since this pandemic began, many victims have been nursed by their own wives, husbands or partners. And the strange thing (admittedly based on only a few conversations) is how many of those carers, despite being in close proximity to sufferers, have not caught the disease. Any explanations?

Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem about a Norman baron who, on his deathbed, told his son this about the conquered Brits: “The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite. / But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.” When it comes to the growing scandal of unpaid road tax (vehicle excise duty, for you purists), there is much bellyaching about justice and right.

And rightly so. Latest figures reveal that there are more untaxed vehicles on the road than ever – about 720,000 of them. This is three times the number when windscreen tax discs were abolished seven years ago. We are reaching the stage where taxing the car is something only honest people do. No wonder the honest are also the furious.

As the sabre-rattling continues over Ukraine, you may have noticed that, thanks to a Ukrainian political campaign, its capital, Kiev, has been renamed Kyiv. However, the delicacy Chicken Kiev seems to be unchanged. In similar vein further east, Peking may have become Beijing but the little dogs are still Pekingese.

My 50 gallon oil drum that went missing in the post? You will be pleased to hear the courier delivered it at last, having taken 20 days to cover 25 miles. To call it snail mail is offensive to snails.

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