New Year’s honours, why do we do it?



I’m against them but torn. First of all my dear late Dad got a gong, for service to the police. I hasten to add he was a policeman not a ‘customer’ as he used to call his clients. He was delighted to get it but grumbled in a bemused sort of fashion when every New Year brought a new batch of odd people given knighthoods for being successful and usually very rich as a result of their success.

I ways got a frisson of pleasure at the thought of John Lennon sending his MBE back to the Queen in protest at some war or other that we were involved in. And there’s another thing, an MBE for the Beatles!!! Members of the British Empire, for crying out loud we’ve not had an Empire for decades.

Sir Paul, Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Cliff, Sir Ray Davies, Sir Whoever…do they realise how ‘un-cool’ that makes them? John Lennon, now there’s someone who’s cool. Don’t get me started on sportsmen and women.

So there we have my first rant of the New Year.And then last night I hear that Peter Brookes, the Times regular political cartoonist, has got a gong. This time the CBE. I was lucky enough to go to art college with Peter, for the foundation year in Manchester. He was already twice as talented as the rest of us, and I learnt from a podcast with him last night, that by the time he got there he had already got a degree in English and could fly jets after a brief career in the RAF. I could barely drive a car and my other qualifications were a smattering of “O” levels and a solitary “A” level. He was always the one who’s work was remarked upon. He is a brilliant cartoonist and it makes a change for a cartoonist to be honoured, so here I am ambivalent again. Against awards like this but for this particular one. He should, of course, have been knighted.

On to a different topic: gardening. Rhubarb is coming up, despite the cold snap and here’s a picture to prove it. I’m a big fan of rhubarb, great way to clean a saucepan, and makes a great pud: Rhubarb and Orange Crumble. Want the recipe? Well tough, I don’t have it, but just stew the rhubarb and add fresh orange to it before putting on the crumble topping.Then bake in a suitably hot oven until done, it’s hardly Elizabeth David I know but try it.You can’t go far wrong. I’ve always been amused that ‘extras’ who are supposed to be chatting in the background of a film set, tend to just repeat to each other ” Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb”. Try this too, with a serious demeanour, and you’ll end up with an inner smile.

Incidentally, I wonder if a knighthood is the crumble topping to a distinguished career.

Peter Brookes


8 thoughts on “New Year’s honours, why do we do it?

    1. You think?
      Did you notice the way my question went up at the end in an Australian manner?
      Like every sentence is a question?
      Dad was a policeman and my uncle the doctor!
      My mother a teacher and my brother an antique dealer.
      So there you have it full family history.

      1. Yes, I did notice! 😁
        Thanks for the tour, clears things up now…My dad was a psychiatric nurse and mum a sort-of lawyer and my stepdad an A-grade car mechanic. There’s mine. 🙋

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