Hello. Happy Bank Holiday. That is if you have a holiday today. Obviously, you will not if you work in retail as, for most people who work in retail, a Bank Holiday just means longer and more bolshy queues. I think the sector I envy least at this time of year is the shoe shop sector which has horrified looking parents queuing outside from half an hour before the shop opens. All of them are accompanied by children who are giving fair warning of how the visit is going to pan out by shouting – “I don’t want anything in there! I want to go to Primark for pink trainers!” School uniform policy is of no consequence when you are nine.

In fairness, I don’t think proper shoe shops always help themselves here. FOW2 had slightly larger feet than normal and when we gave the assistant her details they would usually come back, admittedly looking shamefaced, with a pair of shoes that Corrie Ten Boom would have worn in her “Tramp for the Lord” days. Ok for an eighty-year-old – not so much for a fashion-conscious schoolgirl. And that is why parents go to these terrible stores because you can get nice shoes that are good for school, in lots of sizes, and usually have the money left over for the pink trainers. And yes, I know how terrible the working conditions are but when you have to be as rich as Lady Docker to afford shoes in an unusual size – normal people will do this.

Anyway, if you have today off, please enjoy it while you can. Someone in the know told me that large supermarkets lobby the government every single year to allow supermarkets to open on Christmas Day. They say they have the staff and there is a demand which I am sure is true but not everything we can do is necessarily something we should do – as a wise man very nearly said.

Anyway, I seem to have started off with a rant which is unfortunate but not unusual. Apologies for the non-appearance of this last night. I have been running late all weekend because we had an unexpected visit from some friends in Dorset which was lovely. Although, doesn’t it take some time to work out what the rules are when someone different turns up? Because no-one was sure, we spent a lot of Saturday afternoon route marching them up and down Devil’s Point to keep everyone in the fresh air, just in case. Fortunately, the weather was as above so it was very nice. Anyway, HOH was watching Strike last night and I kept getting distracted. I kept looking down at my computer screen and it was nonsense so I left it. (I know what you are thinking but please keep your thoughts on the nonsense level under your hat. I am a sensitive soul).

Because I am on my jollies, I started the week with er…Start the Week on Radio 4. I have to admit, I rarely seek this out because I’m not sure I have the brain capacity for it. However, today was really interesting. Some of it was a bit dispiriting. They were talking about how all these post-Brexit trade deals that are being negotiated by TOP people may well have clauses in them that prevent our food from having the country of origin on them. This means we will have no ideas about animal welfare and husbandry etc. and no way to keep an eye on standards. How is that a good thing, Michael Gove? Answer me that! In a slightly better segment, they were talking about how lockdown had affected the natural world. We generally think it was a good thing with sheep popping into the local newsagents and mountain goats setting up homes in the middle of the A38. But it isn’t that simple. Apparently, some areas need strict husbandry to thrive – certain nature reserves, species, and natural areas need human intervention and have struggled in lockdown. Well, who knew? Well, you may well have but I didn’t. I think I always had the impression that the world would be much better if humans just packed their bags and cleared off.

God blessed them:
        “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
    Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
        for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”

This is in Genesis. It struck me that we are really good at the taking charge bit – or subduing as older versions say but not as good at realising that following on from that is the fact that these creatures are our responsibility. We are meant to look after them. This is not a call to veganism. I am with Princess Anne on this one. I am not a vegetarian but proper animal and land husbandry is our responsibility.

My question is, how do I help? I’m sorry but I am not prepared to dress up as someone from The Handmaid’s Tale while walking around Tavistock banging a snare drum. There must be a way for people without that level of confidence to have a say. I did the “I am the Devil” sketch on Bolton Precinct once and I am never, ever doing that again. Ever.

Anything I should be reading? Or joining? Any other ideas gratefully received.



  1. August 31, 2020 / 10:39 pm

    OH took me out for wonderful, belated, wedding anniversary lunch today. Half way through my main course a bunch of cheerful protesters walked past bearing banners saying “we need system change not climate change” I wondered if I should go and march with them. But a meal in a fancy restaurant with my beloved doesn’t come my way that often. (Twice since January I think – and one of those had been postponed since last summer) No easy answers to this one. But I do want to feel the chickens and pigs and cows have had a relatively happy life (until they get to the abattoir) …

  2. August 31, 2020 / 10:54 pm

    I am not vegetarian, but I do care very much about the welfare of farm animals, and about humane slaughter. The most conscientious sources of animal products I have found are Primal Meats, Graig Farm and Abel & Cole. Of course they are not as cheap as the budget-ed supermarkets, so for those of us who need to be careful about money that means smaller portions of meat and not every day.

  3. August 31, 2020 / 10:55 pm

    Sorry — “end” not “ed”.

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