Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on magical oil, queuing ambulances and a kiss down your smartphone

A Chinese company unveils a distant-kissing device. It's an app-controlled pair of silicone lips, replicating via a smartphone the pressure, temperature and movement of your partner's kiss. Whatever will they think of next?

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No more queues?

Can we assume the days and nights of endless queues of ambulances at A&E are over? What else can explain the sudden re-appearance of the NHS telly advert warning us about strokes? “The faster you act, the more of the person we save,” is the pledge. And they could hardly offer that service if the ambulance will take 12 hours to arrive, followed by another 12 hours in a corridor. Could they...?

Another TV ad event is the disappearance of all those witty, cocky, self-confident little promotions for Purplebricks, the online estate agency which threatened to put office-based agencies out of business? After a collapse in its share value, the company is, as they say, “troubled” and looking for a buyer. Pride, fall, et cetera.

I bumped into a friend, a lady of a certain age who told me “my days are all over the place.” Her daughter who usually visits on a Friday had come on Sunday instead. Consequently, Sunday felt like Friday and Monday was alarmingly Saturdayish. I dare say many of us sympathise. Indeed, there may be a medical condition known as wrongdayitis; more research is definitely needed. Wrongdayitis has been with us for decades. In 1937 a cartoon in Punch magazine showed two hippos immersed eye-deep in a huge tropical lake. One hippo says to the other: “I keep thinking it's Tuesday.”

In accordance with ancient ritual, King Charles will be anointed with sacred oil at his Coronation. To ensure authenticity, the oil has been made from olives grown on the Mount of Olives and blessed by a number of priests. However, the recipe has been modified for our enlightened age by the removal of animal products such as whale and civet oils. So the oil is traditional and yet not traditional.

The big question is, will it work? Will the blessings of the Coronation be helped or hampered by this untried ersatz unguent? And if the Church really must dabble in such magic, might it be better to move the Coronation from Westminster Abbey to somewhere else? Hogwarts, perhaps?