Let us start off with a disclaimer, I’m neither a doctor nor a scientist, and my information has been taken from the Daily Telegraph. What I am doing is questioning the statements made from my own experience. In simple terms the article says that Cancer Research UK, states that drinking two large glasses of wine a day creates a risk of bowel cancer by a quarter. (it doesn’t say a quarter of what) This is in spite of the fact that doctors have promoted wine-drinking to resist heart problems. The study goes on to state that it is based on 500,000 samples taken in Europe, when almost 2000 were found to have bowel cancer. It goes on to say that every year 35,000 people are diagnosed, presumably in the UK, with bowel cancer.
Years ago I made 60 gallons of wine a year, of which 54 gallons was drunk after racking off the lees. During this time I learned that the containers, the water; the yeast, from grapes, in bottled or dry form; all contributed variables which modified the quality, the specific gravity, and the final flavour. Breweries in this country used to be found where water sources either in streams or Artesian, were of a pure quality. One therefore must assume that the quality of water in winemaking is similarly carefully selected, but across the world will have different impurities. It is the variation in the natural yeasts found on the bloom of the grapes, that gives them their distinctive qualities, but as the grapes are crushed straight from the vine, they must in themselves carry other impurities. So I feel it is safe to say, as I found myself, that no vintage of a given grape, from a given vineyard, will be the same as any other, so perhaps one can’t make sweeping statements about its effects.
The amounts of wine that people drink as a proportion of their total daily intake, must be small and yet I am sure that when these half a million samples were taken, they didn’t also take note of the diet that the people ate during the day, let alone while they were drinking wine. If 35,000 people are diagnosed per year, in a place like Britain, where wine with a meal, and alcohol generally are not a staple, as it is abroad, will I be stretching it a little to suggest that the variations in the actual manufacture of wine, with the variations, or indeed lack of variation of some with respect to diet, could possibly invalidate the survey? In other words the survey has been specialised without taking into account other vital issues which might produce the same effect.
Years ago, when we went on holiday, we lived with French people in their own environment, speaking their language, eating their food and living as they did. It was noticeable that many of the children daily drank diluted wine with their meals, and while I took no actual survey, I think it is safe to say that everybody drank wine in fair quantities. Whether all this has diminished with the advent of Coca-Cola and other modern concoctions, I don’t know, but it seems to me that it is very late in the day to discover that the French people have not themselves discovered that they have had a higher than normal rate of bowel cancer for generations, compared with other countries, where the drinking of alcohol is not taken as a staple.
Our Special Relationship. I am old enough to remember the problems that Churchill had with persuading the Americans that not only was our situation dire, but that a Hitler Europe would do no favours to America. Ever since, I have been suspicious of the so-called special relationship, none more than when we were inveigled into the two current wars. I have never felt that Bush was a leader at all, let alone a strong leader, rather a puppet being worked from the wings. I believe he is just a showman. One only has to listen to his speeches to gather the vagueness of his intellect, and watch him striding in a military fashion, as he thinks, hilariously as I think, to his helicopter, or a cenotaph, or to a platform to make yet another speech, to realise it. So when I see how Prime Minister’s, and especially our latest one almost genuflecting before him, I get frightfully worried. When Churchill met Stalin and Roosevelt at Yalta, there were few smiles and nobody was under any illusion that they were not three tough men fighting their own corner. For some reason that I cannot put my finger on, the quality of the leaders has changed so much. It is an interesting exercise to see them, from all the countries in the world, on television, and assess, more from body language than anything else, who are the hard men, who are cheats with their glib smiles, and those so overawed with their position, or concerned for their status and reputation, that their body language tells you that they’re uncomfortable. The photo opportunities for all those attending Summit Meetings, is a dead giveaway.