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June 2008 - I'm a Sprout Short

Good day to you all and a very warm welcome along to June's fantastic edition of Nick Harvey's Comment.

Well, dear viewers, I seem to have steamed off directly into a few of my little rants, right at the top of the page, each time in recent months, so I thought it was about time I did the polite thing and got a proper welcome out of the way before anything else transpires to sidetrack me.

Mind you, even those initial two words could turn out to be a problem and somewhat misleading.  Most of the people who've come here straight from one of those search engine machines, and not via any the indices, will now be firmly of the opinion that, having opened this epistle with the phrase 'good day', I'm actually from the Australian continent, rather than dear old Blighty.

Oh goodness me, confusion now builds upon confusion, even before I get properly started this month.  That would be Blighty as in the slang term for Great Britain, madam, not Blighty as in New South Wales, Australia.

That's the problem with this web lark, though, isn't it?  If I was writing for tomorrow's morning paper, I'd be quite safe in starting with 'good morning'; or if I was appearing on the radio on Wednesday evening, then 'good evening' would suffice; but writing for the jolly old world wide spider means you haven't a clue at what time of day he'll be taking in your wonderful words of wisdom.

So it has to be 'good day', you see; that all-encompassing greeting which works, more or less, at any hour of the clock and wherever in the world you happen to to be partaking.  Okay, I could have gone for something a little less formal, like hello or even just hi, but I felt that having been deprived of your initial greeting for so many months, you were entitled to nothing less than a full, two word salutation.

Which brings me, somewhat neatly, yet for no particular reason, to these e-mail things that we now have to suffer.  Am I the only one in the entire universe who commences my electronic correspondence with the full 'Dear Sir or Madam'?

Nearly all the ones I receive seem to just start with the two characters of 'hi', or if you're really lucky the five of 'hello'.  Some of them just start, with no preceding greeting whatsoever, a bit like most recent editions of Nick Harvey's Comment, I suppose.

So who am I to complain?  It's not for me to get into the depths of all this political comment, with a small 'c'.  I'm just here to do Comment with a large one.  I'll leave all the small 'c' comment to the experts, you know, very important people like celebrity chefs.

I'm sure you can't have failed to notice that Mr O chappie with his school dinner campaign over the last few years.  How many children is it that have stopped having school lunches since he got involved with fiddling about with them?

Well, now I see his friend, or perhaps not, Mr R has decided to join in with a campaign to have restaurants fined if they dare to serve out-of-season fruit or vegetables.  I understand that it's all something to do with the carbon footprint of a sprout in July.

Now I'm not quite sure why it's Mr R, specifically, who's decided to get involved with this particular issue.  Was it not this Mr R who used to partake in the great game of football in a previous life?

You must know about football, madam.  That's the extravaganza where twenty two players, dozens of officials and thousands of fans all travel from London and Manchester to Moscow, for a ninety minute match, which comes to no conclusion whatsoever and finally gets decided in about five minutes of goal kicks which could have been done the previous Saturday afternoon, somewhere in Birmingham.

Think how many sprouts you could fly in for my Sunday lunch with the carbon footprint that that one football match used up.

And, I'm not sure if the celebrity chefs and the football officials have quite noticed this tiny little fact, but there's actually no alternative to eating in order to stay alive, yet there are plenty of alternatives to football in order to get a bit of exercise to simply improve one's life.

Which, as far as I can see, brings the score to food one, football nil, when it comes to allocating a bit of carbon footprint for the good of the world.  Personally, I'll abstain from the football, thank you very much, and get my exercise by walking down to the greengrocer's to buy some sprouts.  Tell you what, I'll even be a really good chap and take a re-useable carrier bag down with me.

So why don't Mr R, Mr O and all their cronies move on to something really important and start a campaign to bring all the sporting seasons back to their previous, sensible and shorter, lengths instead of rushing round, hounding my turkeyburger and sprouts?

Why on earth go round fining restaurants for serving the wrong vegetables in August when you could do far more good fining every sporting venue that hosts a football match between the first Saturday in May and the third Saturday in September.

Why on earth do they think that they need to stretch the football season longer and longer every year.  It won't be very long now before the new season starts on the day after the previous year's Cup Final.

It has to be said that there's not much love lost between me and your average, disgustingly overpaid football player, but even I would happily support them in having a much longer off season, especially if it allowed more time on television for meerkat documentaries.

And it's not just football!  We've had two cricket Test Matches over and done with before the end of May this year.  What a stupid state of affairs!  I say ban them in May and make the first one in June, just like it used to be.  Then the players could actually play a few games for their counties at the beginning of the season and warm up properly, ready for the international season.

Oh yes, and just as an aside, whilst I remember, who or what was it that was the real winner of the first Test Match this season?  Yes madam, it was the rain, of course.  Mind you, never let it be said that that couldn't happen in the first week of June as well, but I definitely have the feeling that it would be a lot less likely.

So here we are then, dear viewers, almost at the end of what appears to have been a beautifully organised edition of Nick Harvey's Comment.  Surely that can't be true?  The welcome at the beginning, the main subject for the month in the middle and then the goodbyes at the end?  Something must have gone seriously wrong somewhere.

It wasn't much fun, though, was it?  I can hear that lady in the third row muttering about how it's far better with a bit of, good old, Nick Harvey digression thrown in for good measure.

Neat and tidy editions of Comment just don't seem to fit into the great scheme of things, really, do they?  I'll try to get back to the usual, rambling style for next month and not be so horribly organised.

Talking of next month, that would be the first of July, would it not?  I trust you'll all return on that date for more, even if it's only to find out whether July heralds another organised epistle or reverts to a disorganised diatribe.

So, until next month then, it's time to wish you all a very cheery farewell, au revoir and even good day.  Right, I'm off, where's me parsnips?

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