Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on a smoke-free generation, a land-grabbing Church and the passing of a treasured colleague

The veteran writer Charles Moore rejoices in images of Tewkesbury Abbey high and dry above the floodwaters because “they remind us how well people chose their sites in the Middle Ages”.

What happens to a little girl who starts smoking?

Not exactly. The “people” chose their building plots only after the Church had grabbed the best. The Church had the finest building land, the lushest meadows, the fattest sheep, the best ale and 10 per cent of everything the peasants earned.

I wonder how many of today's poor parish priests are reading this and thinking: “Ah, those were the days.”


In his King's Speech to Parliament, Charles III commits the nation to creating a “smoke-free generation” by steadily raising the legal age for smoking. Maybe some stern warnings on fag packets are in order, such as: “What happens to a little girl who starts smoking?” The answer, of course, is that she becomes Queen Camilla.