The daffodils are extraordinary this year in their abundance, but once again our county is let down big time by the mountains of trash alongside the roads. I doubt it has all escaped from the waste trucks, but whoever is responsible for the dreadful eyesore should be ashamed for making the countryside resemble a municipal tip.
Our lane, a busy thoroughfare, requires a litter pick every week. The trash includes McDonald packaging, beer cans, newspapers, plastic bags and bottles. Clearly discarded through car windows as they drive by.
Perhaps communities and councils could be persuaded to ‘Bag it up for Britain’, with the aim of restoring a sense of pride and value.
The Animal Sentience Bill, unwisely introduced by the government, has caused many hours of heated debate in both Houses. It has at last reached a conclusion, which although not ideal, at least includes an amendment introduced by Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown which requires the new Animal Sentience Committee to “respect legislative or administrative provisions and customs relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage”.
Personally, I am not too keen on the ‘religious rites’ bit but certainly hope that ‘regional heritage’, will carry some weight. The wording came from the Lisbon Treaty provision on animal sentience that applied while we were a member of the EU. The debate has come full circle, as Tim Bonner, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, said, “it would be better if this committee did not exist at all.”
He added, “The Bill is still a fundamentally bad piece of legislation. The risk remains that a future government might weaponise the Committee to promote the animal rights agenda”.
Lord Herbert, chairman of the Countryside Alliance summed up the exasperation of many peers when he questioned why: “at the height of a pandemic which has killed thousands of people, cost our economy billions, we have decided to devote time to ensure that no government policy can hurt the feelings of a prawn.”
Sitting in the heart of Westminster Abbey amongst a formidable congregation including those representing Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Princess Royal, and those representing the Chief of the Defence Staff, the 1st Sea Lord, the Chief of the General Staff, and the Chief of the Air Staff was humbling. I sincerely hope the reason for our presence, Dame Vera Lynn, heard the tributes, love and joy we all felt for her, and a long life well lived.
The admiration, praise and sincere ‘Thank You’ from all the many tributes to this extraordinary lady were genuine, tender, and true. She was clearly not just a national treasure but an international paragon, a one off.
Dame Vera’s life, like her extraordinary talent, was remarkable. Her voice, crystal clear, and her stardust shone wherever she performed whether in the jungles of Burma, for Her majesty The Queen, or the London Palladium.
So many charities have benefitted from her patronage and the many fund-raising concerts at which she performed; her generosity and modesty are legendary.
As we sat amongst the many well-known faces from the world of entertainment, politicians, guests from overseas, the forces, and many familiar faces from across Sussex, Ditchling in particular, my thoughts and prayers drifted from the peace and spectacular beauty of the Abbey, to war torn cities in Ukraine where equally ancient and beautiful cathedrals in Kyiv, Odessa, Lviv and countless others are being targeted by the evil Putin, hell bent on raising them to the ground and annihilating innocent men, women and children.