Peter Rhodes on protocols, pressure and a pandemic caused by accident

It's March. A dank, bone-chilling fog in the meadow, frozen fingers, a viciously raw nor' easter and the car won't start. I always thought global warming would be warmer than this.

The silent killer – who says?
The silent killer – who says?

After much research and the personal experiences of several readers, I have discovered how to cope with Britain's alleged tomato famine. 1) Go to a shop. 2) Buy tomatoes. 3) That's it.

Rejoice, rejoice and thrice rejoice for the deal is done, the great minds have agreed and the Northern Ireland protocol has been replaced with something altogether better, brighter and shinier. Rishi's played a blinder, everyone's smiling and the sunlit uplands beckon. Best of all, we hacks no longer have to pretend we understood a word of it. (Something to do with sausages, wasn't it?)

"Facing up to the silent killer" is how one national newspaper introduces a feature on blood pressure this week. We are assured that hypertension is known by this label because it is undiagnosed and untreated in millions of unsuspecting people. However, I've been on blood pressure tablets for 30 years and I've never heard a single nurse, GP or consultant use that term. In fact, I suspect the only people to use “the silent killer” are headline writers, and I wonder how much stress, anxiety or worse their headlines cause. Just off for a lie down . . .

I write this column in the company of my three-year-old grandson. Both of us are engrossed in the recipe for dinosaur falafels on Big Cook, Little Cook (CBeebies). The ingredients are: sweet potato, olive oil, garlic, pitta bread, chickpeas and hummus. He is fascinated by anything involving dinosaurs but I'm more intrigued by the thought that when I was his age hardly a single British kitchen would have had any of those ingredients and our mums hadn't heard of most of them.

One of several US investigations has concluded that the Covid-19 pandemic began with an accidental leak in a Chinese laboratory, while claims of a biological weapons programme are “unfounded.” If they're right then this global nightmare, like so many catastrophes, began not with a warcry but a simple “oops!”

It is announced that tickets for the Eurovision Song Contest will be offered to Ukrainians who have fled to the UK. Ye gods, haven't they suffered enough?

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