Snowdrops are peeping through, and so rather prematurely are some tulips which generally delay their arrival until well into April. Perhaps the more recent colder nights will check their growth until a little later in the season.
A debate is gathering momentum regarding how best to reduce the risk of flooding from future storm busts. On one side is the method of keeping rivers and streams well cleared and flowing freely to allow water surges to travel more quickly downstream, and on the other a suggestion that a series of natural dams and silting should be encouraged in order to flood farm land. Thus delaying the water flow in the hope that by creating temporary lakes this will prevent residential areas, towns and villages from flooding.
So far the jury is still out on this debate. Let us hope that whatever the outcome, it is settled appropriately for each site and not as so often happens, a ‘one hat fits all’ policy.
Perhaps advice from the very practical 10 year old who fathomed out how to rescue thirty cars which had been trapped for several weeks, following a land slide over Christmas, should be sought on the matter. Charlie Southcott obviously has so far not been brainwashed and is able to recognise practical solutions when considering a problem.
This young man thought on his feet when he realised no adults were capable or willing to sort out the dilemma. He put in a request to the Royal Marines who used the exercise for training, and using four amphibious landing craft ferried the vehicles across the River Tamar in Cornwall. A simple solution which had obviously not occurred to any officials.
Sadly by the time young Charlie has completed his education, unless he is very fortunate and attends an exceptional school, such common sense will have been programmed out of him, and all sense of ‘thinking on his feet’, banished.
We have all grown up hearing the saying ‘An apple a day keeps the Doctor away’. But British apple growers are barred from promoting such benefits from eating apples, despite sound independent research backing this claim. A recent Daily Mail story reported that Oxford University researchers said that if everyone over 50 ate an apple a day, 8,500 deaths from heart attacks and strokes could be avoided each year in Britain.
They found that apples are just as beneficial for cardiovascular health as medicines such as statins, but carry none of the side effects. But despite this Brussels red tape prevents apple growers from making such health claims which have not been vetted and approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
Even if British apple growers combined with every other apple producer in Europe there would not be enough money to fund a formal health claim application.
The British apple industry is desperate to support healthy eating and promote their produce by encouraging shoppers with slogans promoting their healthy attributes. However the EFSA will not allow even a hint on packaging that an apple a day could be a healthy option. It defends its vetting regime by saying it has to be tough ‘to ensure that only those claims which can be substantiated by sound science receive positive assessments’.
One has to wonder if the little people in Brussels can differentiate between fruit and vegetables which are grown and plucked from a tree, bush or grown in the ground, and food which has been processed within an inch of its life, or chemically produced from questionable origins.
I think the British press and media should promote British apples every day for the next few months with headlines stating Support our Farmers, Buy British, and An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.
Let them support and promote British growers and to hell with the European Bureaucrats and Red Tape. A little common sense and less bureaucracy and red tape would do no harm but would promote healthy eating and support British agriculture.
Carola Godman Irvine