Chronologically, summer is half over, but meteorologically it started only last weekend. With the lambs having departed several weeks ago to rendezvous with some mint sauce and Beaujolais, the grass has grown nearly chest-high. So it’s mini-Harvest Time in Wiltshire, as the farmers happily (or is that an oxymoron) spent the weekend cutting, bailing and stacking the winter feed. We’re hoping that even our treacherous weather is going to ease up for what’s left of summer 2007. (Quote from this morning’s BBC weather forecast: ‘There’ll be dry periods between the showers’! What else would there be?)
Four legs bad I hope they didn’t eat all the lamb, because there could be a shortage of beef this year – you see they have these research laboratories in Surrey that were supposed to help us eradicate foot and mouth disease. But, rather than being the solution, it seems the labs are the problem, as the only outbreak has been in the vicinity of the laboratory. They’re pulling out all the stops, and hope to tell whether or not we’re facing national disaster ‘within the next 48 hours’.
Meanwhile there’s a total exclusion of movement of livestock, and people have to wash their boots and cars when entering and leaving farm areas – but the public footpath that runs through the exclusion area (including the infected farm) is open. 'We don't want to give the impression that the countryside is closed', said the ministers in charge this morning.
Funny you should mention that If you’ve got a copy of the original hard cover edition of my book - remember that? - hang on to it. You could get seriously rich. It is now officially out of print and is being paid Amazon’s highest accolade: they’re selling new copies at above full list price. But worry not – The French Riviera Literary Guide will be available in paperback next month (price $11.99 or $15.95) and can be ordered NOW. And I promise I won’t mention it again – for at least a week.