Apologies to those who have already heard this news a thousand times, but this is for the benefit of those who may have spent the last 24 hours on one of the remoter satellites of Jupiter, or in Texas: England beat the Caribbean island 2 – 0 last night. This means that they will finish up in either first or second place in their group, and are therefore certain to qualify as one of the last 16 – whether or not we beat Sweden on Tuesday night. England were dire for the first ⅔ of the game, but then Sven sent in The Roon and Lennox, neither of whom scored, but they managed to inculcate upon the guys who had already been on the field for an hour a sense of urgency they had hitherto lacked. (The word ‘Roon’ does not appear in the Oxford, but its homonym is defined as ‘a mark of magic significance’, which is about right.) I don’t wish to be parochial about this, but goal #2 was scored by a different scouse, who for the first 90 minutes had thought he was Jonnie Wilkinson. (A rugby player.)
Whom we play in the quarter finals depends on a number of factors, but I think it comes out at either Germany or Equador. We will by then be in the ‘sudden death’ part of the competition – if you lose you’re out.
Enough about football – let’s discuss bananas. A shop in Sydney, Australia, has a sign in the window which reads ‘No bananas kept on the premises overnight’. Sound like the beginning of a joke? It’s no joke. Because of serious storms in its banana-growing regions, the crop has failed, and the cost of the phallic fruit has increased twenty-fold. So instead of putting your £100 in the stock market and ending up with £90, you could have had £2,000-worth of rotting bananas.
Do you get a wrenching feeling in the pit of your stomach when you get a message headed, "Introducing a simpler (or ‘safer’, or ‘more efficient’ or ‘beneficial’– you get the idea) policy", from a big organisation – or is it just me? Do you, like me, wonder who will reap these benefits? Today’s e-mail from British Airways is headed ‘Introducing a simpler baggage policy’. Flashing red lights – what is it going to cost me?
You will be pleased to learn that henceforth, in order to comply with ‘health and safety recommendations’, you will be charged excess baggage on every checked-in bag not included in the (unspecified - depends how much you paid for your ticket) 'free' baggage allowance, and that the maximum weight of said bag will be reduced.
But there's good news too: you will be allowed to carry two pieces of luggage on board – provided they are within certain measurement and weight limits. (To be fair, no efficiency or health and safety benefits are claimed for this procedure.)
The e-mail ends with a logo and the words:
‘In association with Samsonite’.