Continuing very briefly with the political slant, I felt impelled this morning to fire off an email to Boris Johnson. This is what I wrote:
Dear Mr Johnson
I just stumbled upon an online sample of quotations from your collection Lend Me Your Ears, in one of which you claim that ping-pong was first called whiff-whaff. I think you may be mistaken. Ping-pong was, at least in Britain, originally known as “Gossima”, and marketed as “Causing immense excitement and healthy exercise and is the nearest approach that can be to the game of lawn tennis as played out of doors” (1901).
I trust that in the mÈ‡lÃ©e of your constituency duties and campaigning for the London Mayoralty, you will do the decent thing and arrange for a correction to appear in any future edition of the book. Ideally, of course, you will also make a public statement on the matter. Such willingness to acknowledge past errors does smack a little of Stalinism, but may go down well with the ping-pong community.