Best newspaper comment in a long time is by someone called Andy Loates on the shock-horror revelation that there are bacteria in dirt. (Thanks are due to the Jannie – via email)
Typical comments here; blame the government for not explaining that dirt is dirty, and if you get your hands dirty you need to wash them. Exactly where do people think Legionnaire species are usually found? Do you think they only evolved AFTER hospital air ducts were built? Of COURSE compost is dirty and full of bacteria, some of which can be harmful to H.Sapiens. That is the whole point of compost isn’t it? A warm moist medium for bacteria to flourish, breaking down garden rubbish into nutrients good for plants. Surprise that if you ingest it, it may cause health issues? Duh! BTW most infections from scratches incurred during gardening are down to bacteria living on the skin, not in the soil or a ‘rusty nail’.
He’s right, there are comments like this one –
And our Health Authorities remain silent about the risk, This speaks Volumes about the UK Government, and the Scottish Government “couldn’t care less” attitude to the public who voted for them, And That is More than Disgraceful!!
If the health authorities have to tell you to wash your hands when there is dirt on them then you are too stupid to live. Do the drones really need hazard warning signs on every bit of dirt now? I rather think they do. Legionella is in dirt and it can be dangerous. It’s not alone.
Listeria is commonly found on grass. That’s where it lives, and why air exposure is so damn dangerous when making and storing silage. When the silage is oxygen-free and acidic (it’s fermented grass, basically, and full of lactic acid) then it’s safe. If it’s exposed to air then mould will grow on the exposed surface. Mould will break down the acid, raise the pH and then bam – Listeria gets going. It was on the grass the whole time. Still want to let your kids camp in that field? There’s no danger unless the kids like to eat a lot of grass and aren’t goats, but it’s easy to convince the drones that there is.
The beasties responsible for anthrax and gas gangrene are also happy to live in soil. Not in anywhere near enough numbers to cause anyone any problems, normally, but that’s where they live. Potatoes, carrots, parsnips etc grow underground. In soil. The health authorities have never mentioned this either and there are no warnings on supermarket shelves. This is a fun game, isn’t it?
Cowpats are toys. Dried ones are frisbees, fresh ones are for putting bangers in and spattering passers-by. Well, that was true when I was a child but I don’t think kids are allowed to buy boxes of bangers and matches any more. I’m glad I grew up when the world was less scared of everything. I was able to buy my own camping knife when I was 14 and nobody batted an eyelid. I used to have a swordstick, bought when I was about 18. Nobody asked for proof of age. The only time any authorities were involved was if someone used one of these things to commit a crime. Otherwise, nobody cared.
Anyone remember sodium chlorate? An effective weedkiller that was also the prime ingredient of very effective bombs. When I was 16 I could, and did, buy it in the local hardware shop in one-pound lots, weighed into a brown paper bag. No warnings, no names or addresses, no age checks, nothing. ‘Here you go, sonny.’
One of the other ingredients came from the local chemist. Again, no questions asked. It’s probably best not to go into detail because these days, the authorities take a dim view of adults discussing adult things.
We did make bombs with it. They worked too. We set them off at the end of a mate’s very long garden, using string soaked in saturated weedkiller and left to dry as fuses. Oh it was all very scientific, we cut a length and timed it so we knew how far away we’d get before the bang. We set off a little one in his bedroom one day because it was raining. That was not our best idea, the smoke from even a tiny one was like tear gas.
Then there were the Airfix and other kits stuffed with match heads and set off from a distance with an air rifle. We weren’t buying boxes of matches, we were buying packs of boxes of matches for that one. Not one shop ever questioned why we wanted so many matches, so often.
We could also walk down the street with air rifles and nobody cared. Nobody. In fact, the only time I recall anyone looking worried was when I was out with my old Zenit camera with a 500mm lens and a pistol-grip shoulder-brace attached. Admittedly it did look like a bazooka. I once fitted it with two lens doublers but that needed two tripods to hold it all steady.
I wish I’d kept that camera. No auto functions and it weighed a ton but damn, it took sharp photos.
My childhood was normal but nowadays it would be seen as horrifying. Children aren’t even allowed to climb trees or torment ant nests with ‘plastic napalm’ (yeah, best keep that one under wraps too) or set up the last jam in the jar for the wasps and wait with a .22 airgun at the other end of the garden or indeed do anything a normal child would do. They can’t even play in the dirt!
The rot set in a long time ago. At university I shared with some Big City types who had no idea how to set a snare or what do do with a whole rabbit. I had rabbit skins stretched on boards, being scraped and rubbed with saltpetre, and had to make up a fast lie when one bloke’s girlfriend asked what it was (the instruction to lie was in the look he gave me).
I made several rabbit faces, skinning and preserving those took some effort but it was worth it.
Still, one of the Londoners was Chinese (with an Esher accent, his parents were immigrants and I met his mother, fantastic cook) so I wasn’t alone in Droneland. He was as sane and normal as me, we made pig’s head brawn and stuck pig’s eyes and squid tentacles to doors, we left the remains of a cow’s skull over an ants’ nest so they’d clean it for us, we tried shark steaks and frogs’ legs and cow brains and tripe and sweetbreads and he once brought duck’s feet home. We also did our best to keep the brewing industry in full employment but they weren’t making enough. So we made nettle beer and tea brandy and.. well, I’m rambling.
The point is, none of the above was illegal or even frowned upon when I was a youth. None of it would have gained more than rolled eyes and a ‘tut’ from any adult. We harmed nobody (with the possible exception of a few cow-pat passers-by and they were only mildly disgusted) so nobody minded. Nobody ever called the police.
Now? If a little kid goes outside in a cowboy suit with a plastic Colt, some utter cretin is going to call the police and the police will take the report seriously. No wonder kids grow up twisted and strange these days. They are supposed to get all that weird stuff out of their system early on but they aren’t allowed to. So it carries over into adulthood – for those that even achieve it.
Those who don’t know that dirt is dirty are the ones who have failed to grow up.
They never will.