From the outset this war has been stalked by the hope that Putin's wickedness would suddenly be recognised and stopped by his own people. Remember those early predictions that he was gravely ill and irrational, and his generals would remove him? Or that he would never risk the international revulsion that would follow the bombing of civilian areas? Or that the pressure from the mothers of his doomed young conscripts would scupper him? So far, not a chance. And I suspect by the time those holiday-making Russians return home from Crimea they will have decided that what they saw was merely an unfortunate accident, and that's what they'll tell their neighbours. Nothing to see down there, comrades.
As you may recall, my online invitation to dump some stuff at our local tip involved three emails on separate dates from separate organisations. A fourth has just arrived. It is from the ticket-issuer Eventbrite and begins: “Rate your experience. Tell the recycling centre about your event experience. Let them know what you loved and what they can do better next time.”
Ah, yes. That trip to the tip, darling. How was it for you...?
You may think this plethora of praise-seeking emails is harmless, if silly. Think again. According to experts, about 10 per cent of the world's total electricity consumption is being gobbled up by the internet. That's a big worry. Anyone care to review it?
The title of Roger Lytollis's excellent memoir of life as a local reporter reflects the occasional shortage of hard news in quiet towns: “Panic as Man Burns Crumpets.” You may think television offers bigger and better headlines that that. Not necessarily. This, from Sky News a few days ago: “Hedgehog gets head stuck in plastic pot.” Big broadcaster or tiny tabloid, there is no escape from the silly season.
“Water is like money: there is no shortage but it is all in the wrong places.” Letter to Daily Telegraph.