In BBC2's Tudor Monastery Farm, Ruth Goodman gives every impression of preferring to live in a back-breaking past than the convenience-culture present, with nothing seeming to faze her, least of all bathing a sheep in a duck pond. "I'll be honest… I thought that was great fun," she said breathlessly but somewhat redundantly.
The sheer glee with which she approaches even the most mundane task – this week she also scrubbed down the creamery and made ewe's-milk cheese – is a wonder to behold. I guess the only thing that could possibly break her indomitable work ethic would be being tied to a computer screen. There might even be a spin-off show in that – "Ruth's Desk Job Nightmare".
It seems that monasteries – the monopolistic outlet for Tudor wool – were the supermarkets of their day. If the wool didn't pass the monks' quality control then the tenant farmer would be left without a penny.
One of the sadder statistics mouthed by Nigel Slater on Nigel and Adam's Farm Kitchen was that supermarkets reject 30 per cent of British-grown carrots for not being straight enough, and if Slater really wants to become more like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (which I doubt), he needs to find an issue, starting perhaps with this wasteful example of vegetable eugenics.