Thinking …

There was some random talk (or I was not really listening) about this often touted statistic that you “are never more than six feet away from a rat” in the developed world. Doesn’t bear thinking about in one sense.

And where, exactly did this come from? And, of course, is it true?

Interested? Take a look at

Up at the allotment, of course there are compost heaps which, inevitably attract rats. And the sheds provide shelter and routes for these intelligent rodents to move about and build nests. The shop makes rat poison available (free of charge) and there are a number of cats (and a fox) that prowl the site: day and night.

I have no real phobia or fear of rats: I believe that if we exterminate one, another will soon appear to take its place. If we exercise reasonable precautions and hygiene we should be able to co-exist, surely?

But it set me thinking about a couple of things.

Firstly, does the distance change over time? Was there, for example, ever a time when the proverbial distance between human and rat was less?

And … I am at times cursed (blessed?) with a divergent mind … what is the current distance between me and someone in education. To clarify that: children at school count: university and college students, teachers and classroom assistants (in all their glorious variety and job tiles) of course, but also people doing vocational courses and those, like me doing evening courses (German in my case).

Image result for education

And, the same question: has this changed over time? I am sure that here are more people who meet my definition of “in education” now than there were, even twenty years ago.

Then, at the same time I am wondering what the statistics would be for people involved in “food production”. Not “food processing”; just the basic working to grow or raise things to eat. Either growing for your own consumption or for trade. That would need to include livestock as well of course.

Image result for food production Image result for medieval farming

Back in pre Industrial Revolution times I suppose everyone was involved, indeed it was necessary to produce food for your own family. Later with enclosures and the drift of the population to towns the allotment movement took off.

Then in two World Wars it was essential to turn land to food production.

Image result for dig for victory

And after that it was traditional that houses had gardens big enough to grow food. However the processed/convenience food boom came along and it is unusual now that new-build houses have significant land attached to them. And what there is, is effectively entertainment/ leisure space: patio, barbecue, lawn, trampoline: easily maintainable and, if possible labour free. OK there may be fruit trees such as apple or pear; possibly cherry. But often the crop is not harvested.

Now, looking at even our own road those of us that actually have even fruit trees can be counted on half the fingers of one hand. I correct myself somewhat because I believe we all have a bash at grow bags with tomatoes. So, at a stretch that is food production. Isn’t it?

But, given even that I wonder what the distance would be ….

Between me and someone involved in food production.


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