Day 50 from your lockdown

I realise many of you have had a longer lockdown than the UK, and have emerged to a new world where we all wear face masks and observe social distancing. We watch with hope as those of you wander out into the new world in whatever country you’re in, and try to make this new way of moving about work.

We’re all depending on everyone in China, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, France, Denmark and the Netherlands to show us how we head towards “staying aware”, as the British government exhorted us to do very recently. This is a social experiment on a grand scale for the human race, and let’s hope we don’t see a second wave of infections. Good luck to everyone. I think we humans can do this thing.

The opening up of certain establishments shows a country’s priorities, it has been noted. In Italy, it was coffee shops. Here in the UK, the opening of garden centres has been heralded as a key moment. As the renter of an allotment, I am thrilled myself. It has been fully dug over for the first time since we got it 15 years ago, but I am not sure what I will do with myself down there until it is time to plant to the tomatoes out. Maybe start weeding at the other end again.

However, issues remain. Looking to the European Union, the EU’s storage policy seems to be a bit of a blunt instrument to handle the cheese glut that is being seen in countries such as France, which has suffered due to the lack of foodservice and restaurants. It has seen a 60% slump in sales of cheeses, according to the Politico website. The EU has offered French farmers money to store 18,000 tons of cheese to keep it off the market, but this has been rejected by people in the industry, who say it will only delay the oversupply problem going forward. Also, some of the cheeses just don’t keep, so makers are asking to reduce their production.

It is a pickle in many countries, and I suppose what people have to think of is that there are so many unintended consequences of setting policies in these strange times. But we do our best, anyway.

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