Saturday, 16 October 2010

Past, present, future

Channel 4 are showing Time Team's visit to Burford at 5.30pm tomorrow: "They have just three days to uncover a medieval hospital under the front lawn whilst searching for Anglo Saxons in the vegetable garden."

Another trip, probably the final one before we move, over to the kitchen garden at Mucknell. I have been struck by how many apple trees there are between Broad Marston and Mucknell, in orchards, front gardens, back gardens, and at the roadside. They are laden with fruit, from pale green to lustrous red. Evesham Vale is the fruit and vegetable basket of England, and apples and plums are particularly important. Local varieties still grown include Pershore Purple and Pershore Yellow Egg plums and Hanwell Souring, May Queen, Gladstone, Lord Hindlip, Worcester Pearmain, Pitmaston Pineapple, Catshead and Green Purnell apples. And yet in the UK, we are grubbing up orchards and losing varieties (wow, never thought I'd link to the Daily Mail!), while the supermarkets import blandities from Argentina and New Zealand.

In the Old Testament reading set for morning prayer, Isaiah prophecied to king Hezekiah that "Days are coming when all that is in your house ... shall be carried to Babylon ... Some of your own sons who are born to you shall be taken away". Hezekiah responded with " 'The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.' For he thought, 'Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?' " (2 Kings 20.16-19; NRSV). Woah! And he was supposed to be one of the good guys! But this is how many people in this country respond to the issue of climate change: it's not going to affect me in my lifetime, so why should I care? But the generations who it will affect are being born, and it is already affecting millions of people in the developing world.

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