This was first posted on Facebook on 5th February 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
I am not a fan of PMQs.
The format, which alternates grovelling questions from Tories inviting self-praise from the PM, with questions from Labour and from the SNP, isn’t really conductive to anything except letting the Tory PM self-praise and spout BS.
(I am not arguing that Blair or Brown’s PMQs were any better, but the last time I listened to a Labour PM at PMQs was at least a decade ago.)
I listened today because it’s the first PMQs after Brexit, and Boris Johnson was taking them himself instead of squirrelling off somewhere else and handing the job to one of his minions.
On 7th August, I went to the first day of the Foodies Festival in Inverleith Park.
If you haven’t been, you should: it was a fantastic day out “celebrating its 10th anniversary in Edinburgh with a three-day showcase of Scotland’s finest culinary talents and regional produce”. (To be clear upfront, my free ticket was provided by Lanyard Media, but I got no instructions from them what to say or what to blog about.)
Edinburgh is full of festivals, but I unashamedly love this one: so much good food and drink to celebrate and share.
One of the free lectures for Friday was on urban beekeeping, by Brian Pool, a third-generation professional beekeeper, who teaches beekeeping at the Secret Herb Garden and is Beekeeper in Residence at Edinburgh Zoo (where they’re having a Bee Festival on 29th August, free to anyone who visits the Zoo that day).
I learned that the British black honey-bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) is more aggressive and more inclined to sting if provoked than the mellower Italian honey-bee (Apis mellifera ligustica) which Brian Pool attributes to the Italian bee expecting to find honey all year round, breeding to huge numbers within the hive and therefore needing to be fed by the beekeeper: whereas British bees (“hardier and have smaller populations going into winter, so they need less food to survive, and they also have fewer mouths to feed during a cold spring snap” says Terry Clare, president of the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders’ Association) are better at saving honey for a rainy day.
We always hear a lot about weather in the US, and right now, it’s cold.
Prolonged cold, prolonged rain or wind, are all more dramatic than the dangers of drought.
Prolonged dry spells, as recently seen in parts of Europe, can cause the ground to sink by so much that cracks appear in the earth, tearing apart the foundations of houses, bridges, factories and other structures. In the worst case, whole buildings can collapse. Climate change will magnify these risks as factors such as rising average temperatures and more erratic rainfall continue to alter soil conditions.
And extreme cold of course means that people who know nothing about science but like bloviating about weather are claiming that unusually cold weather means climate change isn’t happening.