Tomato Growing In A Pandemic – Mask Wars

Deadly Bio Hazards, Everywhere
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2021

Mask Wars

It had to happen and, once it did, the inevitability of the reaction was, strangely enough, inevitable. The mask has taken on a symbolism all its own. On one side of the argument dodgy science, promoted by The World Health Organisation (after a quick about turn), SAGE, the Main Stream Media, the NHS, politicians of every stripe across the globe, “celebrity” talking heads, the cult followers of  “Woke Liberalism” en masse and a host of other commentators/organisations and “experts” insist that only by wearing face coverings, in perpetuity, can we survive as a race. On the other side, libertarians, evidence gatherers, curmudgeons, Covid survivors, anti establishment reactionaries, conspiracy theorists (of all degrees of belief), realists, pragmatists, some medical scientists, other “experts” and a great many ordinary people have questioned, with good reason, the efficacy of face coverings outside the controlled medical environment. British people, renowned as they are for their belief in the rule of law and the twin concepts of fair play and empathy for their fellow men and women, originally took to mask wearing in huge numbers, although a significant minority were sceptical.  Some never complied, some eschewed mask wearing after a period of time, once they realised the imposition was more to do with control than public health and others continue to reluctantly wear them, for fear of either being challenged (and not wanting the confrontation) or because not to do so would make them stand out from the crowd. Many, unfortunately, wear them because they believe the propaganda totally and unquestioningly.

Since the “Pandemic” began theory and counter theory have been bandied about, almost to distraction, as to where it originated, how deadly it is, who (if anyone) was behind it and what the ultimate goal of it (if there is one) could be. The truth is out there and, I have no doubt, shadowy (and not so shadowy) organisations, powerful bad actors (where’s Bill Gates these days?), greedy amoral opportunists and a whole clutch of useful idiots will do their very best to ensure “we” never get to the bottom of it. Amongst these opportunists and useful idiots are the members of SAGE, a decidedly dodgy bunch of individuals, mostly working to a not so hidden agenda. What they have in common are two things, political ideology and mask zealotry. Whether or not the government, which has consistently taken SAGE’s advice as gospel, even when a great deal of evidence has clearly proved it wrong, understands its views on masks are based (and shared globally) on the psychology of control & not the health and well being of the nation is now a moot point. The damage it has caused (and continues to cause), with its worst case scenario “modelling”, doom laden prophecies and psychological experiments, especially on the young, although hopefully not irreversible, will take many years to redress.

Hancock went and was replaced by Javid, the consequent immediate “volte face” in policy pricked up the antennae of the cynics amongst us. July 19th was to be “Freedom Day” but I’m guessing I wasn’t the only one who thought there was more to play out. Susan Michie, a member of SAGE and (allegedly) a 40 year member of The Communist Party had already made its (SAGE’s) position clear; it remained fully opposed to the lifting of restrictions and wanted to pursue the pipe dream of “Zero Covid”. Following the Downing Street briefing on Monday 06/06/2021 virtually the whole of the media, much of what we laughingly call the “opposition” and the usual talking heads, including but not limited to; David Schneider, Alastair Campbell, Priyamvada Gopal, John Sweeney (who him), A.C. Grayling, Femi (no show without Punch), Iain Dale, James O’Brien, Dr. Julia Grace Patterson, Andy Burnham, Piers Morgan, Gavin Barwell, Robert Peston, Keir Starmer  and a great many others, took to social media, radio & television to support SAGE’s position by demand restrictions (mainly mask wearing) remain in place to all intents and purposes.

Now here we are, a sizeable minority of bedwetters, who’ve never got over losing a referendum to a bunch of “knuckle dragging oiks” and emboldened, as always, by their very same social media and political idols (many of them, funnily enough, mentioned above) have a new outrage to deal with. “I wear my mask for you”, they cry; “By not wearing a mask you’ll put thousands of lives at risk”, they opine; “I’ll continue to wear my mask to flaunt my virtue”, they insinuate, “I’m a twice vaccinated Covid survivor, I’ll continue to wear my mask just in case”, they earnestly proclaim. A litany of virtuousness fuelled by spite, fear & weakness of spirit means the “Brexit” war is over (for the minute) and the mask wars are underway. Part of me can’t help thinking though, this is exactly how “they” want it (and us) to be.

Whatever you do, don’t get me started on “Build Back Better”.

Salad Days & Strawberry Haze
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2021

I’ve cleaned up and replanted the salad bed with radish, beetroot, a couple of varieties of lettuce, rainbow chard, rocket and something which the seed packet calls “Chinese Greens”. The Lobjoits lettuce, in the top left of the picture, started off well but seems to have stalled without forming any heart and the leaves that have grown are pretty tough & virtually tasteless. Nicking packets of seeds from the covers of discarded magazines in the recycling bins obviously isn’t the best way forward. On the plus side the strawberries continue to provide decent amounts of tasty fruit. Fortunately, the young blackbird I had in residence for a couple of days wasn’t too interested in them. Blackbirds normally love a strawberry.

It’s All Greek To Me
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2021

Some really good tomatoes are beginning to develop and we’re now just over a week into the feeding regime. I’ve taken it on myself to try something a little different, which while reducing actual numbers of individual fruits should improve quality and size consistency. In previous years I’ve allowed trusses to continue flowering for as long as they are able to do so. This has often led to “straggly” looking plants and small, misshapen fruit on the extremities of the trusses. To try and avoid this happening I’ve “nipped off” the truss ends, halting further outward growth. Leaves, which will also need to be removed, will probably form at the ends of the trusses, but early results indicate no detrimental effect to the pants themselves.

Straggly St. Pierre
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2021

This is a truss which hasn’t had onward growth altered, the fruits which have formed are larger than standard English salad varieties and the combined weight has been known, on occasion, to break the truss away from the plant stem. I took out the last three flowers on this particular truss, once I’d taken the photograph.

Very Rough Bean Growing
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2021

Some concern over the climbing beans. One of my standard French bean plants has developed a brown mottle on some of its leaves, although It still seems to be quite vigorous in its efforts to evade my clutches by escaping through the roof vents. Of slightly more concern is the larger of the two purple climbing beans. The picture isn’t the best, but the leaves, although a bright and verdant green, have gone limp. I have a suspicion I’ve over watered during the last couple of days, during a period of not much sunlight. Hopefully, if this is the case, holding off watering for a day or two, without starving the plant of moisture will redress the balance. Purple climbers are a new venture and I’m hoping they don’t fail, given I haven’t planted either my usual Borlotti or any standard runners this year. The earliest peas, which have cropped well, are now starting to die back, always a problem under glass. I’m guessing that if I bothered to look it up I’d find they simply don’t adapt well to the really high temperatures that are reached on a really sunny day.

Nice First Harvest
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2021

Took my first harvest from the climbing beans this weekend. Given that the leaves are causing me some concern it looks as if the cropping will be quite prolific. A really tasty, plump sweet bean with a nice crunch, when slightly under cooked for eating as a salad ingredient, they also eat well as a more traditional side dish. They freeze well too, I blanch them in boiling unsalted  water for a couple of minutes, halt the cooking procedure by cooling in iced water (to retain colour) before bagging and freezing them. Summer veg, all year round.

I found this pair of tweets very interesting. In 14 of the thirty years on the graph the per capita death rate for England and Wales has been on a par with or higher than 2020. Given what we’ve all gone through, to a greater or lesser extent, and not withstanding that possibly many more would have died without restrictions; were the lock downs, the pan banging sessions, the cost to both mental and physical health, the massive collective debt, the loss of countless jobs and the destruction of a great many small businesses really worth it? Another conundrum in a seemingly endless list of them.

Next Time: Red Tomatoes, Purple Beans, Mask Wars Part Deux………

© Colin Cross 2021

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