Whiff of the past in the air

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING: Could there be a link between pesticides and nasty diseases?

IT is unusual this time of the year for us to be still taking our morning walks, and by now we are normally well into our pre-breakfast swimming regime.

With the excessive windy conditions that we have been experiencing, the temperature of the pool has plummeted, and being a bit of a wuss about these things, I simply cannot be bothered if it is 24 degrees or less.

But as we strode it out alongside the canal this morning, I caught a hint of an odour I had not experienced in a good many years. A chemical, sickly sweet smell, and although only a momentary waft, it triggered disagreeable memories.

In our former Suffolk home, we were fortunate to have a fair sized plot in which to practise our gardening skills.

I say ‘our,’ but the truth is I am no Monty Don when it comes to the hydrangeas, and I am definitely not a hanging basket type of bloke.

I leave all of that stuff to the ‘princess’ who has a much lighter and sympathetic touch. 

However with a fifth of an acre, I felt an obligation to tend the vegetable garden, which to economise on work, I had laid out in raised beds.  

I was Mr Organic and living in horse country, the residue from the rear ends of our equine friends, was not in short supply.  

Perfect, except . . .

We were encircled by fields used for the cultivation of a variety of crops, and at certain times, tractors would arrive pumping out chemical gunk, presumably to maximise yields.

In spite of my organic aspirations therefore, clouds of this stuff would contaminate my healthy veg, bringing with it the same sickly sweet smell I experienced this morning.

I often hear about public bewilderment regarding the increase in certain types of cancer and other nasty diseases.

But when it becomes necessary for farmers to wear protective clothing and face masks when administering pesticides to the land, it does not take a genius to make the obvious link.

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