The East coast of the United States is having a pretty cold time of it. Temperatures falling to -1C overnight here are quite enough for me, let alone going down to -20C!
After the chilly night we woke up to bright blue sky and sunshine, frost still clinging to anywhere the sun did not hit. So we took ourselves off to a nostalgic walk up the hill and down the valley, past the house where we used to live thirty years ago, and where we were snowed in at least twice. You had proper winters back then! None of this one day’s snow and a lot of moaning! As luck would have it someone was coming put of the door of our former house, so we had to have a little chat.
Countryside conservation people have been at work in the valley, putting up notices asking people to keep to the footpaths and not stray onto the seeded area. In wonder what exactly they have been seeding. I am told that there are deer in that valley nowadays but we didn’t see any. Perhaps we were too noisy. Otherwise not a lot has changed. We like to walk the footpaths every so often, partly on the principle that if nobody walks them then someone will take away the right of way. These things happen!
Back home we treated ourselves to a cup of tea and a toasted tea cake and a look at the papers. It seems that President Trump’s liking for Big Macs is partly because of his fear of being poisoned. You would have thought that if you were a self proclaimed stable genius and probably the best president the country has ever had, with a huge popular following, you might not harbour such fears. Or at any rate, you could employ someone to be your official taster, as in kings’ courts of old. But apparently McDonald’s food is safe because nobody knows he wants it until he orders it and so there can be no conspiracy. This fear predates his being president. Do other rich people live in fear of being poisoned? I wonder!
I came across another food fad today: raw water. Yes, it seems there are people advocating drinking natural water, water that has not been treated, nothing taken out and nothing added. Farmers feed it to their animals. They use it to irrigate the land. In some third world countries they are trying hard not to drink it as it makes people ill. So in first world countries cranks are saying we should drink it, presumably for fear of what gets added to the stuff that comes out of the taps. And the hundreds of years of developing a safe water system just goes lut of the window!!! Madness!!
Then there are the coffee cups. Not real coffee cups. Not pottery but paper cups that you see masses of people drinking from as they walk along high streets throughout the land. There is a problem with disposing of these cups and it has been proposed that an additional 25p should be added to the cost of a portable cup of coffee so that proper arrangements can be made to dispose them or even to provide more easily-recyclable cups.
People are losing sleep over the rights and wrongs of this. It’s a big imposition expecting people to pay more, to dispose of their cups more responsibly or to carry around with them an easy-to-carry but re-usable cup of a suitable size to hold the regulation half pint of coffee.
Of course, there is another solution: stop expecting to eat and drink as you walk along the street. It’s about time we had the kind of coffee shops where you can pop in and get a quick, small coffee, often standing at the counter so that you don’t lose time from your busy schedule.
It seems to work in France and Spain and Italy!