INSECTS – STOP MOWIN’ THE EFFIN’ LAWN

I am concerned that my attempts at wildlife gardening are not resulting in many insects. My friend Di has said the same and she has a very well established garden with lots of pollination plants. Maybe it is too early after some unseasonal Weather earlier this year. Claims are often made that pesticide use is reducing in the UK. The variety of pesticides being used on single crops has increased and their toxicity is breathtaking – some neonicotinoid insecticides are 10,000 times more toxic than the most notorious insecticide in history, DDT. If we do not look after all parts of the food chain things will not node well for Planet Earth. It has been suggested that solar farms could be planted with native flowers and pollinator plants to encourage biodiversity and insects.

FOOD

Back in the news, especially with newspaper editors not knowing the difference between good and bad news! The Guardian/Felicity Cloake (and I absolutely love her book), printed what “Easy ways to cut down on sugar and salt”. Which is OK but a bit over the top in my opinion. There are treats like ice cream which should be encouraged “as a treat”, I love cheese, but have cut down massively on meat; ketchup can make a bean based stew delicious; smoked salmon is too expensive not to be a luxury – but is lovely; I have and will continue to see how low I can get the sugar recipe in cookies and cakes. And I love a packet of crisps once a week or so, no Felicity crackers (unless with a mature cheddar), rice- or oatcakes or unsalted nuts are just not the thing.

CLIMATE CHANGE – AWFUL PLANING

Western states of the USA and Canada continue to suffer from the extreme heat. And whilst the temperatures have dropped the rain has not. Huge fires rage out of control covering a total area greater than North Somerset. The world’s hottest place is thought to be Death Valley, California at 54 C. Although parts of the Sahara seem pretty hot to. Australia should be in winter I think? But temperatures of 25-29 C do not seem very winterish?

Major flooding in Western Germany and Belgium and the Netherlands with over 50 deaths reported.

No hurricanes of note yet, but it is early in the season/

The Uk has had a typical summer with bits of everything except a long dry spell – which is now predicted for the next few days/weeks. Temperatures up to 28/29 C here over the weekend.

Many, possibly more than 70, people have been killed by lightning at the onset of the monsoon season in India..

Weather prediction has come a long way and there are few surprises, just awful planing!

NATIONAL FOOD STRATEGY

A grand title with ok ideas, but they are just that, ideas. up to now most initiatives have failed or been so watered down as to be useless. The food lobby is powerful and rich. But the cost to the NHS and government via other support payments, and to industry in days lost is also very high.

SUSTAINABLE CITIES

Floods in London after 70mm of rain fell in 90 minutes. Yes that is heavy rainfall but should not have led to flood waters a metre high. The reason being that we have paved over vast areas of our cities and towns to create parking spaces. What we really need is to create more sponge type areas. mature trees can absorb 250lts or more per day, with the added benefit of ameliorating temperature extremes, and during hot spells providing welcome shade and habitats for wildlife.

HEATWAVE UK

Western Canada and the USA are continuing to suffer from extreme temperatures, not just hot but life threatening. The concerning thing is that British Columbia is in a very similar geographic position regarding latitude and proximity to ocean currents and continental air mass. So there are no geographical or meteorological reasons why the UK could not suffer a similar wether pattern. Politicians – you have been warned – so act now!

BUY A WOOLLEN JUMPER

Whilst New York is fitting air purifiers in every classroom, and Belgium is fitting CO2 monitors in public buildings, our wonderful government thinks rhetoric will ventilate our schools and public buildings. So my recommendation for the winter will be to buy extra layers to keep warm – bamboo t-shirts are wonderfully soft, nice woolly jumpers (we have a glut of wool in the Uk, and throw open those windows!

WEATHER

Excellent. Perhaps not usual July weather, but wet and cool. My water butts are full, I am saved an hour or two of watering and all my new plants seem to be thriving. The forecast is for a bit of heat wave later in the month so I look forward to enjoying the best of the British weather at its best, providing a little of something for everyone.

My tomatoes are nearly ready for ripening (I have picked 3 so far) but my next job is drying herbs and putting in jars, jam making, then sun dried tomatoes.

FINALLY

At last we have a policy from Labour. And a very sensible one too. “Make, sell and buy more from Britain”. makes total sense. Economically we need to reduce the debt and increasing manufacturing, especially in high tech and environmental areas would also create skilled, well paid jobs. Educationally we need to shift away from University for the sake of it to more engineering and vocational courses. That is without cutting support for the arts and media where we are already world leaders. Like. it or not, and I do not, Brexit is here – so we need to make the best of it. It is creating problems that will need ingenuity to overcome – a favourite quote of mine is from Boserup “necessity is the mother of invention”.