Monday, April 16, 2007

Not so mellow yellow

One week off and the difference in my drive to work is remarkable. The trees are wearing their April clothes, the beer can man has acquired a seat as well as a dog, and the landscape is patched with vivid yellow oilseed rape in all its fluorescent indecency.

I am not a fan of oilseed rape. Even its name has repugnant connotations. It smells highly unpleasant; it makes my eyes water – and not simply from looking at it. It’s not even redeemed after it’s been cut; a wheat field gives a lovely golden stubble to canter across on your horse, but rape stubble is sharp, stocky and dangerous looking.

Oilseed rape is insidious: it’s even rife in the central reservation of the A1 near the big white Northumberland sign (which, incidentally, says ‘Welcome to Northumberland’, not, as you may have been led to believe, ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’). It's set to become even more ubiquitous as farmers are encouraged to turn to the yellow stuff to make biofuel. There may be many thousands of acres under oilseed rape, but I can’t say I’ve noticed any reduction in prices at the petrol pumps.


I shudder when I imagine a vision of the future, prescribed by the global warming police: an army of towering wind turbines marching across of an unending vista of not so mellow yellow...

15 comments:

The Grocer said...

It's earlier this year (I think). We are in Northumberland at the forefront of producing rapeseed oil that can be used as a substitute for Olive Oil. It is qyuite high in Omega 3,6 & 9 nand is good for stir frying as it doesn't burn easily. Two varieties available Oleifera and anothet whose name I forget c£6 for 500ml.

The Grocer said...

Oh and the Abandon Hope sign is at the entrance to Newbiggin by the Sea.

Brom said...

I'm torn at this time of the year between the sea of yellow (I love yellow) and (I agree) the bloomin awful pong!

I also love Windfarms.

Now, a yellow windfarm! mmmmm

Sarnia said...

Driving from Devon to Herts last week I couldn't believe how many yellow rapeseed 'fields' I saw. Sign of the times and all that but damn ugly.

Stay at home dad said...

It's a very divisive crop isn't it. I don't mind it but my wife shouts at it as we drive past.

I also don't get the turbine thing. Why are they hated while windmills are so loved?

Sarnia said...

I suppose because windmills are normally singular and aren't so tall. I love windmills but hate wind turbines. It probably is illogical.

mountainear said...

We have a neighbour who has converted his car to run on 'bio-fuel' - buying cooking oil by the litre from Sainsbury and Somerfield having calculated it's cheaper to do it that way. We don't know if he's mad or ahead of the game....

....but are hoping he doesn't try growing his own oilseed rape. It would be sooo incongruous in this landscape.

ziggi said...

I hate it (rapeseed) makes me cough!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

There's a lot of rape in the countryside. I put it down to those ruddy-faced farming types with their pitchforks and milk churns. They are very keen on rape. Rape can sometimes be seen in cities too. Rape isn't nice. It should be abolished but will we ever stop rape? I doubt it. I think rape is here to stay I'm afraid.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Grocer, someone gave my dad some of that stuff. Don't think the parents have tried it yet though.

Brom, I quake at the thought of a yellow windfarm!

Welcome back Sarnia!

SAHD, yoour wife has the right idea ..

Mountainear, I think your neighbour has too ..

Ziggi, you are so right...

Mr YP, bringing down the tone again, and you a teacher and all...

Gill said...

I love windfarms and find them visually beautiful. Don't see much rapeseed round here but almost everyone I talk to seems to get hay fever from it.

Karen said...

Fields of rape are a bit dayglo in the sunshine. I'm not sure if I'm allergic to it - tree pollen does it for me.

Wind farms are great. If there are any enthusiasts out there then you should go on the Carlisle - Whitehaven train that follows the coast. You pass right under the turbines at Flimby (yet another great place name). You can also drive right under them too. I find them fascinating and quite majestic.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is clearly read in the 'meeja' world, as the Guardian have a feature on this in today's paper !!

Anonymous said...

i hate the rape season makes me feel really ill - flu like - a friend used to live in australia tells me its banned there cos of health probs - i reckon its why bees are dying - gentetically modified rape - will kill us all

mutterings and meanderings said...

Anon, first I write about fingernails, and they feature on Women's Hour, then I write about rapeseed and it's in The Guardian. Goodness me, if there are articles about Fred West or cutting the lawn over the weekend, I'll know I have a media stalker. So much easier just to give me a column, don't you think?

Anon #2, it is evil, isn't it? You vision of the future is scarier than mine ...