I love food, and not just the taste of it. I love that smell that seeps out of kitchens - think fresh bread; and the colours - rich chocolate, tomatoes all red and juicy... (I'm a rubbish cook, but that's another story.)
I woke at sparrowfart the other day, and turned the radio on to catch Farming Today. (For the benefit of overseas readers, this is a programme that comes on just as farmers will be settling with breakfast having finished milking the cows, so at about 6.30 in the morning. And it's all about, well, farming.)
The presenter and a farmer were walking through his fields, looking at what should have been spring crops. We've had so much rain the ground is waterlogged - many farms have had to let the winter wheat rot in the fields for want of the weather to harvest it. Agronomists (consultants to farmers) are telling them to wait before planting seeds for summer crops - if we have a few clear days the topsoil might be dry enough but it's so soggy underneath that one shower and the seeds will die. At the same time, supermarkets are pressing for harvest dates - they need to know there will be wheat for bread this summer, potatoes for barbecues, fresh salads with fancy lettuce.
And all the farmer can do it stand in the corner of his field, look at the film of water lying over everything, and know his livelihood might swimming down the river. Not just his job - his house, his lifestyle, his dreams.
I'm a consumer; I rarely think behind the supermarket shelves. But almost all our food begins life on a farm - somewhere in the world. There are millions of fields with farmers standing in the corner, looking at the sky, and maybe praying. They are willing to get up in the dark to milk cattle; to spend days in lambing sheds with frozen fingers to make sure their sheep are healthy; they sit on tractors for hours, planting and maybe spraying and harvesting. All so that I can have bread for my breakfast and potatoes for my tea.
Next time I stare across our low-lying fields ankle deep in water, I shall try not to think about the rising price of bread and spare a thought for the farmer.
One thought - to lighten the mood. I saw this outside a local cafe: Vegetables are good for you; trees are vegetable; cocoa grows on trees; chocolate is a vegetable ... it works for me ...