Saturday, 27 August 2016

My Mulberry Tree

Some 25 years ago I had the foresight to plant a Mulberry tree. Not just to plant one either but to plant one strategically in the right place namely on the route I normally take when going for a walk with my dogs, which is at least three times a day.

Now I am reaping the harvest of my good work. Every time we pass the tree we stop and search among the leaf for full ripe mulberries. They that are black as pitch and drop off into your hand at a touch are truly nectar of the gods. The dogs are as keen as me and pester me to share my booty with them, which I reluctantly do.

To me it is strange why so few people plant Mulberry trees in their gardens or on their walks. Unlike most fruit trees they have one enormous advantage they are true 'plant and forget' trees and have the added advantage of being beautiful to look at, having lovely leaves (dry them and -apparently -they make a very good tea) and, when old, produce a very valuable timber much prized by cabinet makers. Also -and this -for a lazy gardener like me - is the really good news- once they have 'got away' they need no pruning or watering or manuring they just grow and produce, in most years, this most luscious of fruits. forget raspberries, or strawberries or any other kind of 'berries'  a black mulberry is the true king of 'berries.'  

Thursday, 4 August 2016

The Border Force - A cheap & cheerful solution

There is a cheap and cheerful solution to our currently over stretched border force - paid volunteers.

Just as we rely increasingly on a paid volunteer Reserve Army and in rural Britain we rely on a paid volunteer Fire Brigade why not have a paid part time volunteer Border Force?  But let's take this simple idea a little further though - why not let the volunteers provide the means as well as the muscle-I mean of course fast offshore boats and surveillance aircraft.

This is not a new concept. Once volunteer cavalry, the Yeomanry, all had their own horses which the government fed and paid for when on service while in both World Wars private boats where pressed into service with their owners as often as not as skippers. Tied up in virtually every small harbour along the South Coast are fast offshore boats like Ribs idling around doing nothing. Many of their owners would love the chance to put them through their paces 'for real' and the same goes for the fleet of private aircraft sitting around airfields up and down the land.

With just a little Vim & Vigour on the behalf of government such a volunteer force could be up and running in months. The government would provide the necessary communication and surveillance equipment for the boats and aircraft and pay for the fuel.  Volunteers would be formed into units centred on individual ports and airfields and each unit would have a full times professional running the show. I know of course that the BBC, The Guardian etc. would have field day at mocking a 'Dads Army' Border force.  Well I say - better a Dad's Army Border Force than virtually no Border Force -which is the case at the moment.