I'd like to respond to Mary Simpson's
article about Rosalind Franklin. Franklin was very talented and did take an X-ray that was crucial for interpretation of the structure of DNA. But she did not interpret it for any general/specialist scientific outlet. She might have had the ball in her hand but it was Watson who carried it to Crick. The party at fault might conceivably be Wilkins who sat on the evidence.
The Wilkins/Franklin problem was one of personality not gender. I was often at the MRC Biophysics Lab at Drury lane and met Wilkins there, so have some claim to knowing the ground. Trying to make gender politics out of science sucks. It demeans those that do.
Dr R J M Wilson
How many more Antiques Road Trips
can I make? The trouble with the pandemic is it has introduced one to programmes that exercise a kind of gruesome fascination, especially if one was lucky enough, as I was when flat furnishing on a shoestring was required, to have a secondhand emporium just round the corner. It is long gone, but in its day Austin's of Peckham was legendary and much plundered by European secondhand/antique sellers buying things to stock their own emporia with.
The Road Trip's
fascination is finding just what people will spend good money on, although one has to remember it is a programme and television programmes are created. In other words, don't trust it and don't try that haggling technique – or at least do it cautiously.
Eyes were opened when one emporium I visited said never again would that lot cross their doors as they had to close for filming, the researchers did a lot of the looking and, while there was haggling over the price, it was to add drama to the storyline and possibly to the actual auction. But after all was over, someone came back and coughed up what had been deducted. Now all this may or may not be true, but never trust an entertainment programme. The pairing of the 'experts' is also part of the set up. At least the people who said it was all fake passed on the name of the one all antique sellers hated but that I will not disclose.
Have you ever found a hair in a hotel bed? That is the great sin of the other lockdown television staple which puts four ill assorted couples who let rooms into a competition to win a plaque saying they were the winner of the best B&B of the week. Again, look at the competitors. They are not chosen because they run like for like establishments, otherwise all those glampers offering life with nature and a make your own breakfast hamper instead of being given that horror of all horrors – a full English – and no ensuite would never appear. It only works if they all fall out over the quality of the sausages, how the eggs are cooked and, of course, those hairs in the beds.
To this list of things everyone watches at weekends, Vera
. Anne Cleves' books have long been disposed of, but the plots by the later writers follow a route map that one eventually starts to recognise as the oldest policewoman in history with a Yorkshire accent challenger for the title of worst accent ever, held by Dick Van Dyke for his cockney reveals all in the final moments.
I sit through yet another Sunday at home wondering whether to start watching the latest 9pm serial that require me to spend the next however many Sunday nights in or rummage around in catch-up. The only consolation is I am not alone. Out there all over the land there are millions of us. It really is a case of Sunday, bloody Sunday.
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