Country Mouse on Blitz spirit

During the Battle of Britain, my aunt made silk knickers from a discarded German parachute for all the girls in her village. When the house pig was killed, various cuts were given to others, who in turn would return the favour when their pig met the butcher. Community is the victor in adversity, and there are plenty of signs of a renaissance in this credit crunch.

Bartering is back, people are sharing and life’s little pleasures are increasing. In the countryside, the main bartering currency is not sterling, but pheasants. Whereas once a poacher risked mantraps and worse to feed his family, now pheasants are swapped for mere trifles. They are ridiculously cheap. At the farmers’ market in Alton last Saturday, you could buy five for a tenner.

In Britain, we import 90% of the fruit we eat. This is unlikely to be sustainable in the long term. We’ve got to get back to planting orchards of apples, pears and cherries, both on a large and small scale. Winter is the best time to plant fruit trees if you haven’t done so already, ask for a tree for Christmas; it will give you and many others pleasure for years to come.