‘Go-it-alone tenant’ must be admired
Martin Hesp would have seemed to have grasped the muddy end of a very long stick. The ‘Leavers’ see the opportunities for Britain’s future when released from the shackles of a domineering, unelected bureaucracy that is Brussels. Whereas ‘Remainers’ would prefer staying tied to the apron strings. But leaving that aside, his analogy of the house tenant wanting to move has a few problems. He neglects to mention the landlord who lives in the penthouse flat. Finding space for 28 tenants would indicate a large building with 28 bedsits in, I suspect, Spartan conditions. That one of those 28 who has ambitions and wants to leave and set up on their own away from the losers, would indicate a degree of self improvement and ambition, surely to be admired and congratulated upon. One of the few things with greater agreement than most about Brexit is that whatever form it takes the UK will be worse off than if it stayed in the EU.
If, by some chance, a further referendum does happen may I suggest that the question be; Do you want yourself, your family, friends and the United Kingdom to be worse off ?
I assume should we stay in the EU the £39 billion bill which Mrs May and Co have signed up to will not be payable.
Now, what could be done with £39bn I wonder? The railway at Dawlish would be a mere bagatelle? Potholes at £100 each would be an historical memory. Funding cuts to social care, what are they? Austerity, what’s that?
Thank you With Christmas around the corner the spirit of goodwill to all men and women has bypassed the feminist movement. Its members are enraged about a display of lingerie by Marks and Spencer in its shop window in Nottingham. The display shows sexy and attractive female under garments next to a men’s must-have outfits to impress.
The outraged feminists lobby is demanding Marks & Spencer reveal who organised the display. Don’t these women who campaign for equal rights realise that the store does not give such a vast display to men’s undergarments because they are very boring and unattractive .
Women spend twice as much as men on underwear because they have a choice of what is feminine, attractive and makes them feel confident.
Men’s socks and pants as Christmas gifts might be essential, but they are far from enticing.
I hope that Marks & Spencer does not give and remove the display.
Forget Brexit and save £39 billion Lingerie row is over the top
We lived in Mirador Place, Mount Gould, Plymouth, during the 1940s and 50s. These lovely houses were given to Plymouth by Lady Astor, together with a hall called Astor Institute for the people to hold dances and plays or roller skating, giving joy and pleasure during those dark days of war. I have a photo of my sister and I dancing the hokey cokey with Lady Astor.
We think she was a wonderful person and she did so much for Plymouth. We would love to see a statue to remember her by. At Hollowtree Toby Fairbrother’s busy packing up his gin bottles to meet a keen seasonal demand. It seems the market for craft gin is booming. And according to the artisan gin maker I heard on BBC Radio’s The Bottom Line, it’s being driven by the search for things “authentic”.
Well it’s true that Toby picked a bunch of herbs from Lynda Snell’s garden to supply the “botanicals” for his Scruff gin. Whether this makes it authentic I wouldn’t like to say. But if I were looking for a tipple that’s as genuine as Ambridge village pond or the bells of St Stephen’s church I’d go for Joe Grundy’s farmhouse cider every time.
No one’s quite sure how long Joe’s been making cider at Grange Farm, but it must be at least 70 years. When I first arrived in Ambridge back in the 1980s – I was a script-writer in those days – rumours were rife about some of the unspeakable things that ended up in the barrels. A dead rat was once mentioned.
Now I’ve learned more about Joe’s methods I can see that these rumours were baseless. They probably originated from certain parties with an axe to grind. Joe always blamed the Archers, though I’ve no way of knowing if this is true.
What I can say is that
Joe’s cider-making methods are an object lesson in sustainable production that’s good for both consumers and the planet. In fact as farmers like Adam and Brian go around spraying toxic chemicals all over their crops, they might like to ask themselves if there’s anything they could learn from Grange Farm cider.
A good starting point would be the soil in the old orchard. My suggestion would be that in a quiet moment they sneak over to Grange Farm with a spade and lift a section of orchard turf. My bet is the soil underneath would be rich and dark in colour, full of earthworms, and having what gardeners call “a good crumb structure”. Soil like that could grow anything – even after producing an annual apple crop for more than 70 years.
The Home Farm team might want to compare it with the soil on their own land, the soil that grows their wheat and oilseed crops. They know only too well what it’s like – light and dusty, lacking earthworms and with no discernible structure. Blowaway land I’d call it. Or during heavy rainstorms, wash-away land. It only produces crops because Adam doses it with chemical fertilisers and pesticides year after year.
Should Adam and Brian take a closer look at the soil in Joe’s orchard they might see something even more remarkable – a network of fine, white threads spreading out from the tree roots. These are known as mycorrhizal fungi, natural, free-living organisms that help the tree roots collect vital nutrients and moisture from the soil. They’re also what scientists think enables trees to “talk to each other”.
Across most of Britain’s farmland chemical fertilisers and pesticides have destroyed these wonderful organisms. This is why many of today’s foods no longer have the healthful nutrients they had in our parents and grand-parents time. And it’s why apples from old orchards like Joe’s are chock full of flavour and health-giving vitamins and minerals.
These are the apples farmhouse cider-makers like Joe use in making their artisan products. The pure juice is fermented in barrels using wild yeasts to produce ciders that genuinely have that local distinctiveness the French call terroir.
Fortunately, we in the Westcountry have dozens of local cider-makers using traditional methods like these. Close to my home in Somerset Roger Wilkins at Mudgley on the Somerset Levels has become something of a legend. He’s even got a cider shed that’s not unlike Joe and Eddie’s.
In nearby Street, the Heck family make an impressive range of single-variety ciders from cider apples with glorious names like Porter’s Perfection,
Kingston Black, Port Wine of Glastonbury and the unforgettable Slack-MaGirdle.
Among the new players in the game are Joe Heley and Todd Studley, co-founders of the Secret Orchard range made from the fruit of old orchards, just like the one at Grange Farm. In Cornwall Barrie Gibson makes fine vintage ciders at Fowey Valley Cider using apples from a small orchard at Golant as well as other nearby orchards.
Sadly no Westcountry producer will be able to match Joe Grundy’s triumph of last season. He made a Christmas cider using a local apple variety now thought to have disappeared – the quaintly named Tumble Tussock. Unless, of course, a lone tree survives somewhere in a long forgotten Westcountry orchard?
Statue is fitting tribute to Lady Astor
The Secret Orchard range of ciders are made from the fruit of old orchards, just like the one at Grange Farm.