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You say you’ve been on 14 long-haul flights (100,000 miles) from Hong Kong to London in the past seven weeks. How do you justify your humongous carbon footprint?
My justification is that all of the carbon footprint comes from British Airways’ scheduled flights, and not really from my being a passenger. The weight of a loaded Airbus A380, on which I travel, is about 1.2m pounds. So my own 200lb weight is a mere 0.016 per cent of the total, which is far from having the “humongous” effect that you suggest. If you environmentalists are really serious about carbon footprints, you should lobby the airlines and not target the passengers. If there were no flights, we passengers wouldn’t be able to fly. Yet is it feasible for the airline industry to reduce flights when their profits come from increasing the number of passengers?
Being didactically green is often tricky, because everything interconnects in the world, and you cannot ostracise and penalise air travel alone. People need to travel, as mobility is one of the greatest signs of progress in the modern world, opening travel to most people on earth.
What is the correct way to introduce people? When my husband and I attend an event and come across people I know but he doesn’t, do I introduce him to the newly arrived acquaintance (“Friend X, this is my husband Y. Husband Y, this is my friend X) or the other way around? Is there a rule of thumb to go by?
It makes a difference only when there is “VIP” whom you wish to suck up to or show respect: such as a prince, president or prime minister. Then between VIP and Joe Bloggs, you would go up to the VIP and say, “VIP, can I please introduce (“present” on more formal occasions) to you Joe Bloggs?” And then you say to Joe Bloggs, “Joe Bloggs, VIP”. If there is no VIP, then introduce everyone to everyone however the hell you like. Nobody would care. And if you are like me and can never remember names, always introduce the person with the forgotten name to the person whose name you do remember, such as your wife, although sometimes I can forget even her name.
I enjoy your column but your piece on latex gloves was incorrect. Latex gloves are made of latex from rubber trees and are not synthetic.
You are absolutely right that latex is a natural ingredient from rubber trees. But all latex gloves are made with the aid of chemicals such as nitric acid and calcium nitrate solutions. In that sense, they undergo a synthetic process. But I take your point. Also latex gloves are often conflated with nitrile gloves, which are totally synthetic. Natural or otherwise, about 27bn pairs of latex gloves are used in the US every year. God knows how many billions more elsewhere. Thankfully, latex gloves are biodegradable, unlike nitrile gloves. So when you are next offered a pair of rubber gloves, insist on latex.
I had a little recollective smile at your comments about the need for discretion in job interviews when it comes to war paint and scent. In the mid 1970s I was one of the few regular female commuters on the 7am train from Brighton to London Victoria. And the worst part wasn’t the 5.30am alarm (my dear husband always woke me up with a cuppa), it was the overpowering smell of aftershave as one entered the carriage. Do you recall at that time the popularity of Old Spice and Brut?
I remember the Brut advertisement with the boxing champion Henry Cooper and the footballer Kevin Keegan in the shower! It was brutally embarrassing. I also recall the Old Spice advert, with the pounding opening passage from Carmina Burana over a wondrous surfer in a giant wave.
As for your battle against them on your daily commute, you should have worn a surgical mask. Everyone in Hong Kong wore one during the Sars epidemic. We looked like we were on a giant set in Grey’s Anatomy.
“That is why all tribes, both ancient and modern, take care to dress up . . . ” Then, I wonder why certain upper-class folks wear scruffy clothes and have holes in their shoes. Is it a new sense of sprezzatura, or just a way of showing how little one cares about public opinion?
Nothing to do with sprezzatura, but everything to do with ancien pauvre.
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