Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on a deadly pan, too much beer and private driver courses – but only if you're famous

Dangerous world, isn't it? This is part of the warning about overheating that came with one of my latest purchases. Guess what fiendish item it refers to: “The aluminium core may melt ...releasing hot molten aluminium that may result in severe personal injury and property damage.”

One over the eight?

Molten metal whizzing around your ears? The object in question seems to have some of the characteristics of a high-explosive anti-tank shell. It is, in fact, a frying pan.

Mea culpa. I used the term “one over the eight” yesterday but forget to explain its meaning. According to an online dictionary, “the idea behind this idiom is that a drinker can reasonably be expected to consume eight glasses of beer without becoming drunk”. It dates from the early 20th century and originated in the British Army. As you might expect.

When I wrote earlier this week that Suella Braverman was stupid for trying to arrange a private one-to-one driver-awareness course, I was not aware that such arrangements already exist. The Lawyer Nick “Mr Loophole” Freeman, informs us: “I’ve arranged private courses for several high-profile clients . . . providers prefer it as it is less disruptive.”

This probably explains why you may have been on a course or know people who have been on courses, but you'll but never hear any of them saying: “You'll never guess who was on our course.” The celebrities do it privately. I wonder if the same arrangement applies to getting out of jury service.

If so, somewhere in the driver-awareness system there must be a standard pro-forma letter, sent to those who request special treatment with a celebrity exclusion and have to be informed that, frankly, they are not famous enough. The “Dream On” letter.

Incidentally, a friend who was summoned for jury service reckons a good way to avoid it is to turn up in a T-shirt bearing the logo: “He looks guilty to me.”

However, like so many would-be jurors he was summoned and later mysteriously dismissed before he even set foot in the court so we'll never know whether the T-shirt gambit is worth a try. Anyway, you never heard it from me, right?