Ed­i­tor’s let­ter


As I drove in to work this morn­ing, ready to send this is­sue to the print­ers, a small news item caught my ear. It was dropped into a mael­strom of glum­ness in­volv­ing the usual sus­pects of Brexit, Trump, state­spon­sored mur­der and to be hon­est it was, of it­self, small beer.

John Humphries said that the price of a pint of ale may reach £10 as a re­sult of global warm­ing ad­versely af­fect­ing the na­tion’s bar­ley har­vest.

Now I com­pletely un­der­stand where this fits in the league ta­ble of global prob­lems and it is nowhere com­pared to the fate of mil­lions who will be more dra­mat­i­cally and se­ri­ously af­fected. But as soon as I heard the snip­pet I vi­su­alised fields of Nor­folk bar­ley swish­ing in the sum­mer breeze; golden acres of Maris Ot­ter and Flagon, dot­ted with the weeds that farm­ers’ sprays failed to touch.

And then I was at the bar, a glass of clear liq­uid am­ber in front of me, hand­ing over a ten­ner and get­ting no change. I’m no big drinker but it’s po­ten­tially an­other lit­tle piece of the cli­mate change jig­saw that will af­fect our daily lives in so many small ways.

It was the jig­saw that also had me up on the roof the other week­end, fix­ing new gut­ter­ing to our stately sin­gle-level ru­ral idyll. The ‘once-in-a-cen­tury weather events’ which we now get ev­ery year have been over­whelm­ing our gut­ter­ing and lead­ing to a sce­nario where it ap­pears to be rain­ing as hard in­side our con­ser­va­tory as out­side.

And so I spent sev­eral ner­vous hours on the roof, seek­ing a so­lu­tion to the prob­lem while pick­ing lumps of moss from the tiles and lob­bing them into the hedge. Any passer-by would have thought I was an in­mate stag­ing a rooftop protest against my in­tol­er­a­ble liv­ing con­di­tions.

Even­tu­ally a fix was made and I clam­bered care­fully down, like an anx­ious old chimp, if anx­ious old chimps use wob­bly lad­ders. All we can do now is await the next bi­b­li­cal weather event and see if it’s worked.

LIKE MOST peo­ple, I have a dread of cars or bikes break­ing down. Luck­ily, it is a rare oc­cur­rence these days.

I can re­mem­ber my dad hav­ing to get the fam­ily Vaux­hall ser­viced for any trip longer than 100 miles to give it a chance of mak­ing the jour­ney without stop­ping for re­pairs (to be fair I can’t ac­tu­ally re­call it break­ing down – un­like a Jag which was a to­tal 1970s bas­ket case).

But last week our lit­tle run­about, en route for an MOT, de­vel­oped a fault which caused it to stop as dead as a fish fin­ger, right in the mid­dle of one of Nor­wich’s busiest junc­tions.

Be­ing Mr Pu­ni­verse 1992, I could not shift the thing and Mrs C is still hors de com­bat. So I zipped off to seek aid. She was still there when I re­turned 15 min­utes later. Not a soul had stopped to as­sist.

Luck­ily, at that point a man (also en route to an MOT test) did stop and the car was shoved out of harm’s way. He was en­raged that no-one else had stopped to as­sist a driver in dis­tress. If the age of chivalry isn’t dead, it’s cer­tainly on life sup­port.

We’re para­noid now that ev­ery hic­cup and twitch of the car presages some fresh catas­tro­phe, but to date all seems to be well.

Happy mo­tor­ing!

Nor­folk bar­ley – threat­ened by cli­mate change?

DO­MINIC CAS­TLE, Ed­i­tor, EDP Nor­folk Mag­a­zine 01603 772758/07725 201153, do­minic.cas­tle@ar­chant.co.uk

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