Saturday, December 9, 2023



This month we’ll try to observe the summer convention and keep the bees in our bonnet under control – there will be plenty enough to worry and complain about once September comes.

Let’s, while we still can, paddle our toes in the calming recognition that people are, happily, becoming more and more laid back.

Sure, they are increasingly engaged, taking to the streets in enormous numbers to point out, peacefully, that perhaps things should be done better – from maintaining cordial relations with our closest neighbours to ensuring we don’t broil the planet – but there is a parallel move towards getting back in touch with nature on very local levels.

It all has a feel, to those of us who can remember, of the late 1960s, when many people felt the world was not being run in their interests and chose to protest or just tune out . . . or sometimes do both.

We’re seeing some of these “vibes” around our villages and in the pages of this magazine, starting with the lovely picture of wildflowers on our front cover.

This was taken at Alvechurch railway station and reflects the hard work by local people who pressed the train operator to allow wildflower seeds to be sown on some of the surrounding bare patches.

They then had to keep up the pressure to stop contractors blindly and blandly mowing them all down; but it was worth it and the colourful greeting must lift the spirits of commuters heading into Birmingham for a day’s work.

A similar patch has been sown by the high street in Barnt Green, inspired by the Pollinators programme. It is flowering already and the instigators hope to find more areas to cultivate over coming years.

Back in Alvechurch, the Incredible Edible movement is blossoming in a number of sites, but most obviously in the shopping precinct where a number of planters are overflowing with vegetation and vegetables.

What better way for youngsters to see how a cabbage, runner bean or tomato grows in nature rather than believe they can only be cut from a vacuum-sealed, un-recyclable plastic container?

It is all very “hippie” – a word that became a term of derision during the 1980s as this nation, and others, were overrun by the curse of the “yuppies” – but it is an understandable and very human reaction to the way the world and humanity feel it is being treated by its leaders, both in governments and boardrooms.

Such “flower power” looks like being just the start and we can but hope the next generation, currently watching through their fingers in horror as the suits in power right now make a terrible hash of their task, are learning some very important lessons.

So, you see, no bees in bonnets or complaining in this column; just a pastoral ramble through village life.

Happy holidays!