We welcome birds to our garden,
But one thing we won’t pardon:
Subjecting a nec–
Tarine to a peck;
At that our kind hearts harden.
We put a net over our small-ish nectarine tree again this year, and with the help of safety pins did a better job of bird-proofing it. A couple did find their way in and needed help to escape. I think they spread the word, because we had no further avian trouble and we harvested a bumper crop. Unfortunately our electronic scale’s batteries died at just the wrong moment, but we filled four-and-a-bit buckets and only had to cut out about 5% of the juicy, golden god-blessed flesh.
With such a surfeit of fruit to deploy, the next apple crumble that Mrs SG made was a nectarine crumble – and pretty good it is too – and the freezer is two-thirds stuffed with bags of sliced nectarines. A reminder of summer sun when winter comes.
Fruit is in the news in Australia, and in the UK too. As we have become wealthy (Australia’s per capita GDP is five times the global average) we have become lazy. It’s a socio-economic sickness that infects all rich nations sooner or later: it happened in Rome too, a long time ago.
A symptom of this infection has been highlighted by another: Covid-19. It seems that we no longer pick our own fruit and vegetables. Before the borders closed that arduous, low-paid work was done for us by European backpackers and Pacific Islanders on special work visas. Unemployment has peaked as businesses have been forced to close – many never to re-open – yet farmers cannot find people willing to pick their fruit. The Government has just announced a shipment of ni-Vanuatu workers to save the day, riding the foam as the US cavalry used to ride the prairie on similar missions.
Does this mean that we’ve lost our oomph, our get-up-and-go, our will to work and strive and build a nation? I fear it does. Let us hope that China’s burgeoning wealth brings it to the same torpid state before Xi Jinping becomes master of our world.
PS Watch out for the announcement of the winner of this year’s Stroppy (the Stroppy Git Award for Meaningless Twaddle). The excitement is mounting and assessment is under way!