Fields have been abuzz with scurrying tractors cultivating, drilling, harvesting maize and hedge cutting. As promised we enjoyed the all too short ‘Indian Summer’, which allowed us just enough time to get the wheat and barley planted at Ote Hall, but it required all hands on deck to get it all done by Sunday evening. Having seen little all week but the inside of the tractor cab, I absconded on Saturday afternoon to join Charley at Twickenham.
At the start the atmosphere was electric with English fans anticipating this epic match. However, by half time the mood became sombre as Australia played a blinder, giving England a ‘master class’ showing them how the game should be played! So for now I am transferring my allegiance to Ireland.
I have received dispatches hot off the press from North America where the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field and his consort Margaret, have been enjoying the stunning autumn colours of the ‘fall’, as the leaves, in particular the maples, display a magnificent spectacle.
They have been travelling for the past couple of weeks through Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. Peter’s emails made me realise how easy it is to be complacent of our own beautiful countryside, and history. It makes one appreciate the antiquity of Great Britain when reminded that is was not quite 400 years ago that in 1620 the Pilgrim settlers arrived on the Mayflower and settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
It is interesting to note that in 1884 Vermont had the first municipal water driven hydro system, which generated enough electricity to power the street lights. Very eco-friendly – it could catch on!
The party political conferences are nearly over. The last being the Conservatives, this year in Manchester. They have been the target for some abuse from the unions and the ‘dissatisfied’, who obviously had little better to do over the weekend than march through the streets brandishing red banners.
Delegates had been warned not to wander into the streets wearing their delegate badges which identified them as Conservatives. A warning obviously, and quite rightly, ignored by a feisty Young Conservative who took a direct hit. Commendably he faced his pathetic adversaries with a look of defiance and a straight back as a raw egg streamed down his face. He appeared to wear this trophy with a certain amount pride - Good for him.
The conference chairman this year is Steve Bell, President of the National Convention, the ‘parliament’ of the all-powerful voluntary party. Steve is best known to those of us who live in the constituency of Lewes, as ‘Mr’ Maria Caulfield! This remarkable pair champion true conservative Thatcherite values, and are excellent examples of the ‘real’ people who are the backbone of the party, representing the grassroots.
Steve was born and bred in a socialist home in East London. He became a conservative in 1967 at the tender age of 12, much to the surprise of his family, following Harold Wilson devaluing the pound.
Steve will tell you that he started life as a London ‘barrow boy’, he now works in the construction industry. He was in the Territorial Army for 22 years, in the Queens Regiment, he is now chairman of the Regimental Association. Steve’s fiancé, Maria, who won the Lewes seat in May from Lib Dem Norman Baker, also grew up on a council estate in South London, her family having immigrated from Ireland. She is a nurse who has specialised in cancer research.
Lord Feldman. The party’s chairman has introduced a bursary scheme to support Conservative parliamentary candidates. This is intended to help low-paid prospective MPs afford to spend time campaigning. As Maria was quoted in the Sunday Telegraph: “Standing as a candidate while working as a nurse did take a financial toll. This also sends a clear message that the Party want the brightest and best candidates, no matter what their background.”
The Labour conference in Brighton closed with something of a damp squib. New party leader Jeremy Corbyn did his best to sell himself as a gentle ‘quiet’ man, all things to all men. On the contrary, looking at his past record and line-up of shadow ministers, far from being ‘nice’, he is quite obviously a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The direction in which he is driving his party, should not be underestimated.
Today the world population is around 6 billion, and it is estimated to grow to 9 billion by 2050. Fresh food and clean water will be needed to feed these millions if they are to remain healthy. If the world wide epidemic of obesity is to be reversed, farmers of the world must produce not only enough food, but this should preferably never see the inside of a factory before arriving on our plates. Processed food is now probably the number one killer of our time.