I’m sticking with my funny tomato

Human beings come in all shapes and sizes. Tall and small, dark and light, wide and thin, loud and quiet. That’s what nature’s all about… the greater the variety, the more chance of hitting on a winning formula in the survival stakes. Animals and plants are no different. Vegetables and fruit follow the same rules.

So why is it when you pass through the doors of a supermarket those rules no longer apply? Go to the fruit and veg section and you’re confronted by massed ranks of like lettuce, similar swedes, cute cucumbers. Where do they get these perfect objects from?

Of course they don’t grow naturally like that. For every perfect parsnip there’s another that doesn’t conform. And what happens to the perfectly good but misshapen parsnip? Its left to rot… well, not just one, but maybe twelve tonnes from a single field. Up to fifty percent of crops are left to rot.

Yes, the European Union legislated in the 1980s to regulate the size and shape of fruit that could be sold, but much of that legislation was repealed a couple of years ago. So why aren’t supermarkets giving customers the choice… to buy misshapen fruit and vegetables at reduced prices? We’re certainly already paying for the wasted food in the prices we pay at the checkouts. Supermarkets indicated they’d provide more choice when the legislation was changed… but nothing’s happened yet.

I’ll be glad of any shaped vegetables in the coming season, given that last year was so poor. Too much time spent strimming and weeding allied to general disorganisation. I’ve started harvesting my leeks and they’re DELICIOUS! Still using my onions and garlic, got loads left. Tomatoes went right through to November in the greenhouse. But didn’t get nearly enough of other salad crops. 2010 will be the year I crack it and get into a productive routine.

Already bought my new seed supply from Huntingdon Garden and Leisure, where they’re selling Thompson and Morgan seeds at half price. Usual thing happened… returned home to sort out my seed box, only to find I already had most of the seeds I bought in last year’s packets still within date, some even unopened ‘cause I was still using the previous year’s supply last year! When will I learn… I certainly don’t need to buy any seeds for a couple of years.

You may remember me bemoaning the fact I was only getting three eggs a day from my four chickens last autumn, and trying to figure how I could spot the errant bird. Well, problem solved… I’m now only getting one egg a day from the feathered fiends! I’m convincing myself it’s the recent freezing weather that’s caused a drop in production and all will soon be well. In other circumstances someone could be for the chop, but I’ve given them names now so they’re pets, which makes it difficult.

Spent days fiddling around with my new Nokia 5800 XpressMusic mobile ‘phone… probably took far longer ‘cause I had to do it sans user guide (it’s not that I don’t have the user guide you understand, just that real men don’t need to use it of course). Must say it’s a really great ‘phone after the disappointment of the Samsung Tocco. Going to stick with Nokia from now on.

Managed to get tickets for what I think will be England's last match at Wembley before the World Cup. So me and my two sons are off to see England v Egypt on Wed 03-Mar for a 20:00 kick off.

Read a great description of life in Rosamunde Pilcher’s short story ‘Toby’. Young Toby’s best friend, the farmer next door, has suddenly died and he’s asking his granny if it’s very frightening to die. ‘I don’t know’ she says, ‘I’ve never done it’. ‘But aren’t you frightened?’ ‘You know’ granny says, ‘I’ve always thought that each person’s life is like a mountain. To begin with you start in the valley, and it’s warm and sunny, there are lots of meadows and little streams, and buttercups and things. That’s when you’re a child. And then you start to climb. Slowly the mountain becomes a little steeper and the going isn’t so easy, but if you stop every now and then and look about you the wonderful views are worth ever bit of effort. And the very top of the mountain, the peak where the snow and ice glitter in the sunshine and it’s all beautiful beyond belief, why that’s the summit, the great achievement, the end of the long journey.’ And I can’t help thinking the view from the summit must be magnificent.

Next week’s going to be interesting. My daughter Beth starts work at the same place as me, in the contact centre for Huntingdon District Council. She’ll be sitting a few feet away from me when I work there on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Sure it’s going to be a good source of stories for this blog.


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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:20 pm

    We always get some brilliantly shaped carrots growing in our (rocky) raised bed - worthy of being featured on "That's Life". Do you remember the funny vegetables section of the show - classic TV!


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