Peter Rhodes on magic beanstalks, an idle king and the men who witnessed the A-bombs

One of the traditional perks of being a Regimental Sergeant-Major is to approach young officers with the words: “Is you hair hurting you, sir?” After the inevitable negative reply, the RSM adds: “Well, it should be hurting you, sir, because I'm standing on it.”

Time for a royal trim? Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Time for a royal trim? Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Sadly, not even the most senior RSM can use the above line to his monarch. So I dare say His Majesty spent all of Remembrance Sunday without anyone suggesting a trim might be in order.

Come to think of it, some monarchs are not above the RSM's grasp. The late King Hussein of Jordan, during his training course at Sandhurst, was famously upbraided with a brisk: “You, Sir, are the idlest King on this parade, Sir”.

Still on khaki, the former British servicemen who witnessed the 1950s atom-bomb tests are campaigning for a medal in recognition of what they did and the alleged ill-health that ensued. So far successive governments have refused but who knows what a new crew in Downing Street might decide?

While they're at it, His Majesty's Government might reconsider the long campaigned-for medal for those who served in the Cold War. Having seen the horrors unleashed by Russia's terror troops in Ukraine, it is surely time to recognise those UK service personnel who held the line at the Iron Curtain, 1947-1991, and kept us safe from such horrors.

I should precede this next item by pointing out that I failed Maths O-Level three times. This may explain why I can't understand how a few bonkers ideas from Liz Truss can possibly lose £30 billion or how a crypto-currency company can be worth 32 billion dollars one year and tiddly-squit the next.

But I suspect the pantomime season may be partly responsible. This is the time of year when the dope who sells the family cow for five beans, and is condemned by all right-thinking investors, ends up as a millionaire thanks to a magic beanstalk. If beans can offer such a huge return, why not peas, lentils or crypto-currency? Just be aware that today's smart punt may be tomorrow's tsunami of desolation, and you may not even see it coming. It's behind you!

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