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...