I’m referring to the way the Green Machine is changing our lifestyle, and ever more will change our lives. The problem I have with it is that it is not being applied rationally but more as a political football, the means of drawing attention to the person rather than the problem, and is so selective as to defeat its own object. In our domestic sphere we are being cajoled to turn off lights, buying food transported by air is costing the environment, and so on, but they don’t turn off vast electrically illuminated advertising after say 10 o’clock, when most people are tucked up with their tellies. All this business about charging the gas guzzlers is more of the same and equally doesn’t make sense, and it doesn’t take me to list all the other absurd new strictures that are being placed upon us, blamed on the Green Machine, but are in fact sleight of hand – we all know them.
My generation was born into a period of scarcity, and subsequently relived it, all of which we took for granted. There were some things we imported by sea, like oranges and bananas, but most of what we ate was home-grown, and consequently seasonal. We didn’t feel deprived, because we knew no better, the really exotic stuff was brought in in small quantities for the ultra rich, and some of it I still think today is not worth the journey. I do quite a lot of the shopping now, and to improve our diet I try to buy fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables, but the problem is that when I buy them they are almost invariably uneatable, because they are unripe. The ripening process therefore takes place in my house, and I would suggest that 50% of the time the material rots rather than ripens, the level of waste is very high, and the taste of those parts that are ripe is in no way the same as if the products had been picked off the tree or whatever. The only way to taste a proper tomato is to grow it yourself under glass in summer. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is not I who am looking for strawberries in January, it is the supermarkets who want to increase their turnover by tempting me to buy something that I hadn’t even thought of, and which in actual fact I don’t really need and is unripe anyway. The corollary of this of course is obvious, it is not that we, the population of Britain, who are demanding the air transported imports of all these exotic foods, it is the supermarkets who are thinking up ways of tempting us.
Our masters will soon be stopping people from forcing produce in tunnels, using artificial light to induce out of season conditions to meet the demands of the supermarkets. The average housewife doesn’t walk out of a house thinking I must buy a flowering cactus, she buys it because she sees it, and is tempted. In fact they are going to be stopping all sorts of things, mostly by taxation, including unnecessary flight transportation. If you add the effects of the Green Machine to those of personal security endangered by foreign bombers, our future is going to look a lot like what we had in the 30s. By now most of the readers of this blog will have got me weighed up as a traditionalist, so you won’t be surprised when I say that over the 80 odd years of my life, which I have enjoyed thoroughly, I believe that 1935 was the golden age. We hadn’t all the gadgets we have today, in fact we had very few, but I want to assure you that of all the restrictions I can see ahead for us and you after I’ve gone, you could do a lot worse than go back to the standards of probity, care, and personal responsibility, as well as the home cooking of seasonal food that is fresh and wholesome, and holidays that are not spent in the halls of the airports.