You don’t believe it

You may have known it but I didn’t. After being ridiculed at school for pronouncing the name of that chivalry revivalist of the middle ages as “quicks oat” I now discover we shouldn’t be calling him “key hotae” after all. Apparently Quixote should be pronounced Quixote and I was right all along.

It was episodes like this that led to me becoming the traumatised individual I am. As well as arguing with my physics teacher telling him that water expands as it freezes (it does under 4ºC but that didn’t fit with where he was in the syllabus so he ridiculed me too), I’ve been right about loads of other things that those in the know proclaimed differently. But it’s not just me; you’re more often right than them too.

All you have to do is read the letters pages of any newspaper and you’ll see the common man continuously bamboozled as to why those in power or positions of influence tell us one thing while our logic tells us something else.

For instance, I’ve never understood why we pay road tax. Apart from the fact that little of it actually gets spent on the roads, why should it be that those who only take their car out of the garage once a month get charged the same amount as someone who does 30,000 miles a year? Surely an element of tax in the fuel purchased would be more equitable.

And while we’re on taxation, shouldn’t our tax system be simpler and better enforced? Why can’t income tax be used more broadly? That way, those that earn more would pay proportionately more rather than so much of it being taken via a flat rate on purchases. I’m no economist, understand that the subject’s complicated and recognise that there’d always have to be different tax bands but I loathe the fact that how much we get taxed is made deliberately unclear by using things such as VAT, national insurance, stamp duty, benefits and so on and so on – no matter the colour of the government.

I know I’m right and you agree with me.

Then there was the story in this week’s Echo telling us that researches had just discovered that erratic bedtimes make children difficult. Yeah right. Stating, to quote Monty Python, the bleedin’ obvious. Well that was money well spent by the University College of London. We were right again.

And now there’s Saint Mary Berry saying that children should be taught to cook ten meals before leaving school. Oh yes! Finally someone with influence has stated what seems to be so obvious to most right-thinking people. I’ve long argued that because eating is so important a part of our lives – that we have to eat every day we’re on this planet, that we really ought to understand what we’re putting in our bodies – that it’s so obvious we ought to have cooking as a permanent part of our children’s syllabus. For the last two generations we’ve messed around teaching Food Technology, where our precious progeny are taught how to box a frozen pizza but not how to actually cook. Bonkers.

So we’re going to have to come up with dishes for them to cook because if we leave it to the policy makers it’ll lack all common sense. I suggest there should be a couple of meat casseroles with a few vegetables so that they could be eaten as complete meals or turned into pastry-topped pies or suet puddings. Maybe a roast chicken dinner, a couple of soups (perhaps using the leftover chicken carcass for one of them), some grilled fish and a couple of puddings. It’s so easy I’m already over ten.and that’s without the aforementioned pizza without the box.

Mary Berry’s right of course. She’s only speaking common sense but at least we could then turn out some well-adjusted children who are better prepared for the big wide world. At least I’ve an excuse for being a difficult individual. It was being right all the time that’s damaged me; or at least that’s my excuse. But even you never thought Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

Previously published in The Northern Echo

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