DO we really need four seasons?
Two ought to be enough for anybody. We could have one called Sprummer and another called Auter. There would be an awful lot of economic and social benefits. Imagine ringing a helpline or an insurance company, for example. If they could only play Vivaldi’s “The Two Seasons” – interrupted by an assurance that “your call is important to us” - then you would be put through much more quickly.
This might all sound rather eccentric or the ravings of a crank [“Yes, yes, it does” – reader’s voice]. But, mark my words, it is an idea whose time will come!
Maybe it already has. We have just learned about the latest act of omnipotence from our great supermarkets. Nothing less than the re-ordering of the British seasons.
Until now, our pesky four-season system has meant that produce such as strawberries, asparagus, cabbages and pears only grow at certain times of the year in Britain. This used to mean that we could only eat them during the so-called spring and summer months. The rest of the time we had to get by on turnips and nettles.
Fortunately, our supermarkets were having none of this. They began by importing “unseasonal” fruit and veg from overseas. And now they have gone a step further and begun to insist that British farmers abandon seasonism and supply them with home-grown fruit and veg much earlier and later in the year, threatening them with financial ruin if they don’t play ball.
Farmers are up in arms, as you would expect and the NFU has been whinging about it. But what supermarkets want, they usually get. It would not be so surprising, for example, to eavesdrop on a meeting of Wondercash or MartoSave executives and hear a conversation on the lines of...
“I am deeply concerned about the profit margin on eggs. They are quite simply too small and this is because they are habitually produced by hens, which are comparatively diminutive creatures. I therefore propose that we instruct our farmers to supply us with cow eggs in future and that they come to us ready-boiled, poached or scrambled. All in favour?”
A forest of hands shoots up and the meeting moves on to the next item on the agenda, namely the All-Year Round Christmas (with brief interludes for Halloween and Mother’s Day)....
No, no. That is far too implausible...