One of the best things about the pandemic


was that, shut up with stuffed drawers and desks and  wardrobes we spent our time ignoring, we no longer could.  I know several people who have discovered the joys of going through the carefully saved whatever it was, only to discover that it could go …  I have a friend clearing the house for major renovation and she’s effectively permitted to do what she has always felt she should not. 

I am quite ruthless about clothes. 


If they are not being worn, I don’t keep them.  I’d rather give them to a friend or a charity shop than save something in case I use it again.  Yes, I have twice made a decision I regret but twice in a lifetime isn’t much.    And I know all sorts of people who keep clothes, out of fashion, wrong size, frankly unbecoming, but nicely made or good material or “it would do a turn” … only it never does.

Shut up with the evidence of fashion folly, the only thing they spent money on was black bags. And thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  I was one of the people who went through storage shelves (Oxfam benefited) and Wal gets the gold star because he committed to major overhaul.   After clearing out his extensive wardrobe, he embarked on the office clearout and like most domestic tasks, it has the joy of beginning, middle and end and you can see the results.

The only thing I try to avoid throwing away is food.


   No, that doesn’t mean you’d open my fridge and see six string beans on a saucer.  It means that by and large I shop very carefully having learned painfully that just because I bought family sized portions, it didn’t follow that I had anyone to serve them to. 

Last week however, I picked up by mistake a fish I don’t like in the chilled section, got it home, put it carefully in the fridge with the receipt and took it back the following morning.  Where it was refused  by a man who was both straightforward and likeable.  “Can’t help you, I’m afraid,” he said and when I asked why, he explained I had it from the chill counter  – so it had been chilled and unchilled and rechilled several times which is not conducive to food being good or safe to eat.   So sadly I took it home again, and ditched it.  

When I throw food away, I hear the voices of both parents.   You only discarded food in absolute extremis, and you must do all in your power to avoid that.  Even now, very much an adult, I feel badly throwing away food, It Will Be Noticed


and I will get a black mark.  I don’t think even custard pies met with much approval from my family  (“You don’t throw food around” was a childhood mantra.)

So I was struck when, within the first few weeks of the Ukraine hostilities, I’d seen a commodities broker on tv, talking about the destruction of various food stuffs by the Russians and how this would impact on different countries.  Since then the United Nations has made its repulsion clear.   Not only is the food destroyed but the ground it grows in is soiled and damaged and will take years to repair.

And farmers in Britain can’t get the hands to harvest the crops they have grown, backbreaking labour usually carried out from the people from the Eastern Slavonic and Baltic countries, and finding others to do the job is proving difficult.  So people who have grown crops are having to plough vegetables back into the soil,


a write off in food and money.  This may be modest in scale now, but it can only get worse and it represents lost income to the country.    

You can’t help thinking that at least some of the illegal migrants who don’t want to go to Rwanda could do this job for one season on a proper contract.  And I wrote to the National Farmers Union and suggested that able bodied pensioners could be seconded in, yes, it would take a bit of managing but at least they were on site – and got one those “don’t worry, it’s all under control” letters.  Only it isn’t.  In the ante room to war, we need to think strategically


– we need HTTP (hands to the pump).  Surely some of those able bodied moneyed early retired and OAPs could do something more constructive than tan and play tennis.  

Annalog is all about discussion, so feel free to leave a comment!

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