MR PENDLE: Why the fuss about the discovery of Richard III’s bones?

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has the “compensation culture” world gone completely crackers?

That was one of the first thoughts to come to Mr Pendle’s mind the other day when he read of the Californians who intended to ask for their money back from the publishers of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong’s two autobiographies following his admission he cheated his way to seven Tour de France titles.

What, apart from getting a few dollars back for the books, do these people hope to achieve by this?

Would they not be better off (mentally, that is, not financially) simply throwing the books in their trash cans and forgetting the whole sorry episode?

And while we are on the subject of Armstrong’s autobiographies, Mr Pendle could not help but smile when he read of the library in Sydney that decided that rather than remove them from their shelves, it would reclassify their copies of the books – under the fiction category!

Mr Pendle may be in a minority, but he has not been overcome with waves of historical hysteria following the discovery of the bones of Richard III.

They may be the skeletal remains of a decidedly dodgy individual and murder suspect who succeeded to the throne in dubious circumstances in 1483 and reigned for just two years before his death on the Bosworth battlefield and may or may not have been a deformed hunchback, but is all the hullaballo really justified?

And no sooner have we dug up his bones and identified them then another group of archaeologists want to unearth those of the world’s worst cake maker, King Alfred, who ruled in the 9th Century.

Whatever for?

And if we do manage to find them, will we then see the same speculation as we did with Richard over what he might – might being the operative word – have looked like?

Don’t get Mr Pendle wrong.

He has a keen interest in the history of this country.

But he could not work himself up into a frenzy over the discovery of an old king’s skeleton 528 years after his death, no matter how colourful or controversial a character he might have been.

Whatever happened to the big freeze and the coldest weather for a century or more?

All winter long, so-called experts from unheard of weather services have told us, through at least one national newspaper, that we would have massive snowfalls and harsh frosts and the untold misery that this would bring.

They were wrong, of course.

And while we may be having a cold snap just at the moment after a lengthy spell of dry weather, Mr Pendle anticipates reports of water shortages, a hosepipe ban and predictions of a heatwave summer – something else our forecasting friends have predicted previously but which have never happened.