I'll tell you what's wrong with this country: I'll tell you one thing that's wrong with this country: people in Britain are allowed to own guns just for fun.

On the whole, I'm all for people being allowed to do whatever the hell they like, provided they don't inconvenience anyone else. But that's the problem with guns you see: being shot by some legal gun owner who's thrown a wobbler is definitely inconvenient. I want to be protected from people like that. And the most practical way to protect me from people like that is not to allow them to own guns in the first place. Guns don't kill people; homicidal nutters with guns kill people.

Which brings me to hydrocortisone cream. Hydrocortisone is a steroid used to treat skin inflammation. I use it occasionally for the mild eczema I get behind my knees and in my elbow joints during hot weather. It works wonders. Along comes the hot weather, along comes the irritating itchiness, on goes the hydrocortisone cream, away goes the ichiness, on goes my life. Fantastic.

Last weekend, I was getting low on hydrocortisone cream, so I went to the chemist to buy some more. No problem: they had plenty. Then, as an afterthought, I made the mistake of asking for a second tube of the stuff to keep at work…

The chemist looked at me as if I'd asked to shag his wife. What sort of psychopath would want to buy two tubes of hydrocortisone cream? He explained that selling me two tubes of hydrocortisone cream was against Sharia law, the Hippocratic Oath, and three of the Ten Commandments. A definite no-no. I told him that I was 45 years old, and asked what on earth he thought I was going to do with the stuff. The chemist wasn't interested in providing an answer; he was too busy trying to repel me from his shop with a homeopathic dilution of wolf's bane. So I said I'd see him next week and left, solitary tube of hydrocortisone cream in hand.

Which brings me back to one of the things that's wrong with this country: I want to be protected from homicidal, gun-wielding nutters; I don't want to be protected from myself.

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. I used to live in New Zealand. It was great for many reasons. One minor reason was paracetamol. You could buy a big bottle with 100 tablets, stick itin the medicine cabinet and forget about it as the whole family took one occasionally for a headache, a toothache, a hangover, a slight fever... Around a year later, I'd need to buy another box.

    Now back in England, I'm apparently a risk to myself if I buy more than one tiny packet, so just to be safe, it isn't allowed.

  2. My step-father died a couple of weeks ago. He had always made comments about shooting pigeons & rats etc. While clearing the house, we found an arsenal of guns, knives & swords. We phoned the police & they sent a 'firearms squad'with their own guns & bullet proof clothing to remove them safely. You should have seen the curtains twitching!

  3. Sorry to hear about your step-father.

    Wish I'd known you had guns going spare: there's a couple of cats which keep visiting my garden that need sorting out.

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