Rhodes: On rediscovering ale and this green summer

And so farewell to Devon. Waiting for me at home was a box of contact lenses with a new prescription. The whole world seems to have a fresh coat of paint.

But it’s not the lenses that make the world look so green. I’ve just driven from Rutland to Warwickshire and the entire heart of England was as lush as a rainforest. Obviously, most of this amazing growth and verdancy is down to billions of gallons of rain and some Med-hot days.

But is there something else going on? Plants love carbon dioxide (CO2) and, thanks to emissions, the CO2 level in the air we all breathe is now well above 400 parts per million – a level unseen on Planet Earth for about 3 million years. Is this green summer evidence of a changing atmosphere?

A highlight of our holiday in Beer was definitely the beer. As a law-abiding lockdowner I hadn’t been anywhere near draught ale since March 2020. The tinned and bottled stuff simply isn’t the same.

I broke my duck last week with a pint of IPA in the beer garden at the Anchor Inn. Words cannot capture the satisfaction. Welcome back, old friend.

Most predictable holiday event was my angling tally which stands at the traditional zero. Quite how the art of chucking metal lures into the sea ever came to be dignified with the name of fishing is anyone’s guess.

My personal holiday heroes include those shopkeepers who pretend to recognise you from two years ago, even though you’re all wearing masks. “And how are you and yours?” they inquire tentatively, fishing for clues.

It seems pointless to comment on the nation’s obesity epidemic, so clearly displayed in summer clothing. By now, people know all the risks but pig on regardless.

A visitor from outer space would conclude that millions of Earthlings would rather be fat than alive.

At last, for the first time I can recall, all the fishing trips, fish shops, restaurants and cafes agree that the blue and silver jobbies are called mackerel. “Mackeral” was a durable misprint and still has 400,000 references on Google but I didn’t come across it once.

I keep well away from social media and Julie Burchill’s downfall is a reminder why. When you’re a hack, you work among people who are eager to keep you – and themselves – safe from libel lawyers.

A stray word here, a hint of innuendo there, and you’d be scuppered were it not for the eagle eyes of others.

Burchill was well protected for her column at the Daily Telegraph but ventured alone into the wilds of Twitter where she made a joke about the naming of the Sussex's baby. Her offence on Twitter led to her being “let go” by the Telegraph. Golden rule of social media – it always ends in tears.

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