Carola Godman Irvine. Farmer, Campaigner & Columnist. 30-03-22

  • Written by Carola Godman Irvine
  • Posted on Mar 30, 2022
  • Articles

Driving through Sussex it is good to see cattle out in the fields basking in the sunshine. The grass is beginning to grow although the frosty nights have not exactly encouraged it to do so.

We have plenty of hay left over and are certainly in a better position than this time last year when the barns was almost empty due to the poor yield in 2020 following the drought.

I am told a heat wave is due in April. I sincerely hope not, but if true let us hope there are plenty of April showers. The arable crops are looking particularly well across the county,  so the last thing they need is to be stressed due to a lack of rain during the growing season..

Last Friday The Daily Telegraph featured a picture of England’s largest rhododendron at South Lodge, Lower Beeding. It is said to be bigger that an average three-bedroom house.

It, along with several others were planted more than 150 years ago, by the owner of South Lodge, the explorer, plant-lover, entomologist and RSPB founder Frederick DuCane Godman, a distant relative of my late mother’s.

At the time several varieties of rare orchids and alpines were also planted. The head gardener Paul Collins said, “We have rhododendrons in flower almost every month of the year.” How fortunate that our ancestors created such beautiful gardens throughout Sussex and beyond.

Winston Churchill was a frequent guest during his time in Parliament, and during World War II South Lodge was used as a hospital. Following the death of Frederick Godman his daughters Edith and Eva lived there and were well known. Following their deaths, the house was sold and became the high-profile hotel and spa it is today.

It is concerning that there are plans to relax the planning requirements for onshore wind turbines. It is clear that communities facing even one turbine being erected in their neighbourhood, creates tensions.

It is understandable that Ministers are concerned by the looming energy crises, but it is also clear that wind power is not the answer unless of course thousands of them are to be constructed over every inch of open ground across the country. This is surely unacceptable.

The boffins tell us that currently, during an average windy year just 4 per cent of our energy requirements come from wind. Apparently last year when for months there was little wind the output was even less. Perhaps we should not be quite so dependent on the weather; notoriously unreliable, for our energy needs.

When the cost to the environment of producing, transporting and erecting wind turbines is considered, not forgetting their disposal within 20 years, questions should be asked before going down this road. Are the energy companies who put up these turbines required to put aside funds to clean up the sites when they come to the end of their life and lease? When they are taken down, they leave a lot of waste behind. The steel towers can be recycled, but the fiberglass blades typically would end up in landfills which we don’t do anymore! I wonder just how much regulation regarding these aspects are being considered.

The world quite obviously is getting madder by the minute. It has been reported that a pub in the Dartmoor village of Belstone has re-branded the good old ploughman’s lunch as the ‘Ploughperson’s lunch’. This apparently makes the dish more befitting of a gender-neutral age.

The original name can be traced back to 1837 when it was referred to as, “a lunch for the ploughman” in Memoirs of the life of Sir Walter Scott. Every day the pages of the national press are littered with such ridiculous stories. When will people grow up and develop a backbone? Who exactly cares about such things?

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