This is a fairly stressful time of year for the fish as the new intake of ducks arrived a few weeks ago. They seem to take a sadistic pleasure in dive bombing the poor unsuspecting inhabitants of the ponds and compete for feed and open water. So with the water level having risen over the weekend I am hopeful they will be feeling a little safer.
We managed to get the last of the wheat safely gathered in late on Friday night. And the straw which I had sold was being baled directly behind the combine and was also off the fields and under cover before the predicted rain arrived during the night.
I suspect the rain has done more good than harm as it will encourage the grass to grow and could well hasten on the ripening of crops which are still some weeks away from being fit to harvest. The subsequent strong sun has already dried things up, and will encourage fields which have been stubble cultivated to germinate annual weeds, black grass and remaining grain from the crops. All of which will help to ensure we have a clean seed bed when planting next year’s crop.
The costs of the police operation in Balcombe where they are attempting to keep the peace, has escalated as predicted. The Sussex Police Commissioner is asking the government to help out with the costs as she suggests this is a national not local problem. She may be right but had the police been less willing to humour the interloping protestors when they first arrived and sent them packing as they should have done, things would not have got into such an expensive mess.
It is all very well advocating that people have ‘rights’ and should be allowed to voice their opinions and concerns. But when you have outsiders such as the green witch of Brighton using this local issue as a personal soap box, so she can be sure to get arrested and hit the headlines, I think both the police and the ‘rights’ of those involved have lost the plot.
Nasa’s robotic explorer celebrated its first anniversary on Mars this month. There are differing views as to whether a manned mission in the future will be feasible within the scientific space research world, which give an insight into the harsh conditions on the Red Planet.
The cosmologist Stephen Hawkins sees the establishing of an outpost there not just as a challenge but as essential to mankind’s survival. He said “The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet,” he added, “If nuclear proliferation, climate change, shrinking resources, a growing population, or a visit by hostile aliens threaten humans on Earth, a colony on Mars could serve as a lifeboat.” He believes that we will eventually establish self-sustaining colonies on Mars and other bodies in the solar system.
So far there is no budget for a manned mission, let alone the technology to land humans safely and bring them back. But Nasa is working on a plan. Earth and Mars are 34.8 million miles apart and it would take a manned spacecraft six to eight months to get there. The astronauts would need very tough protection against cancer inducing space radiation and they would need to take a vast amount of water, provisions, equipment and fuel.
As the atmospheric pressure in just 1 per cent of Earth’s, this makes it difficult to slow down a 40 metric ton spaceship which is hurtling towards the surface at 13,000 MPH. If they did survive the landing, zero gravity, exposure to radiation and fine dust on the surface containing highly chlorinated salts which cause respiratory problems and thyroid damage, the chances of not being able to re-launch and return to Earth are considerable.
However, no doubt these obstacles will be overcome in due course. And the good news is that farming will be a priority as food production is of course essential. I am happy to supple a short list of potential farmers who should be encouraged to partake in the adventure.
It is a pity that the ability to populate Mars or any other planet is still just a distant pipe dream. In years gone by our forefathers were able to send rogues, criminals and undesirables to the Colonies including Australia or just lock them up in a selection of austere prisons here in the UK.
Today Australia no longer welcomes our castoffs and our prisons are so full that it is being suggested that most criminals should be allowed to roam the streets even if convicted of aggravated burglary. One does have to wonder how this will prevent or deter reoffending. I would hazard a guess the criminals don’t believe their luck.
Carola Godman Irvine