Friday, 7 September 2007

Back home

Listening to: Death or Glory (The Clash)
Drinking: black coffee
Watching: weather coming towards us at an alarming rate

I'm back on Westray after my trip south and it's astonishing the difference 10 days can make. The weather has turned and winter is clearly on the way, migrating birds are gathering on the beaches, seals are hauled out on the rocks and killer whales and dolphins have been spotted in the seas around the island.

We are still pig-less. I had planned to pick the chaps up from Thurso on my way to the ferry, but sadly the holding I was due to collect them from was under a 21-day standstill, an emergency measure introduced after the foot-and-mouth scare.

The breeder's son had bought a new sheep and took it to the holding a week ago, meaning that no animal could leave for another three weeks. This restriction is in the process of being lifted, but that's no help to me now.

It's nobody's fault other than the careless numpties at Pirbright Laboratory and successive governments who either believe that private firms can operate with the best interests of the community at heart or who couldn't give a toss as long as it makes money. That's not a political point, it's a question of what's right and wrong.

And many people are unaware that imports of Brazilian beef into EU countries including Britain are going unchecked, despite the inability/unwillingness of the Brazilian authorities to tackle foot-and-mouth, which is endemic there. So, if you can't prove exactly where your meat comes from, don't buy it. Better still, find a local, small producer and buy direct (cash, no questions asked, wink, wink).

Anyhoo. . . back here on Westray, we've had the report from the building inspector who has basically recommended we pull the house down and start again, so I'm pretending that hasn't happened and spending time out of doors, banging in fence posts and tensioning barbed wire in readiness for the day that the pigs finally arrive.

Oh. . . and to cheer us all up, it's sausage roll day at the bakery on the island. . . and the rugby world cup starts tonight. . . O'Driscoll's fit. . .

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