Tom Hodgkinson: What sort of swine would steal my food?

Share
Related Topics

How long will this extreme weather last? It's becoming exhausting. Snow is followed by rain, then wind. Travel is dangerous. Cars are stranded.

The upside of the bad weather for us, however, was a lovely period of doing nothing. We were completely snowed in for a week. Five-foot snow drifts blocked the roads and even plucky 4x4s were abandoned. This all meant we were unable to get in the car and drive anywhere. No school. So we stayed in and the days went past in a blur of old movies, naps, emailing, snowball fights, brisk walks, carrying wood, lighting fires, cooking, and not spending money. We must have saved a fortune. Not so bad, really. My 12-year-old son, though, was determined to escape our retreat. He showed a sudden and unprecedented enthusiasm for walking, trudging three miles to the next village to see his mates.

Yet, there was one other sour note in our week of sweet idleness: we became victims of rural crime. In the normal run of things, we receive weekly boxloads of milk, fruit and vegetables from Riverford, the excellent home-delivery grocery service (organic, naturellement). During the snow, the Riverford driver was unable to reach us, so dropped off our boxes at the shelter by the bus stop on the main road, a two-mile walk away.

Victoria and I put on our backpacks and waterproof trousers, set the children down in front of Miranda, and set off to retrieve our organic foodstuffs. It was a beautiful walk. The snow covered the fields and trees. A few hardy sheep nibbled at the grass and all was quiet, bar the occasional group of youths driving by on quad bikes. We started to enjoy a sense of hardy resourcefulness and self-reliance. Man's invention, automobiles, lay disabled in the snow drifts, while we strode purposefully by.

We arrived at the bus stop. The first thing we saw was a lone organic satsuma in the middle of the road. Odd. We crossed the road and entered the shelter. There was only one box there, containing a few pints of milk and a piece of organic cheddar. The fruit and vegetables were nowhere to be seen. Clearly a lactose-intolerant vegetable thief had seen the food boxes and swiped them.

At first we gave thanks that at least the milk and cheese were left behind by the thief – Victoria and I agree that morning tea without milk is hell itself. But as we trudged back home, I allowed darker thoughts to cloud my brain: what sort of unfeeling swine would steal food from a family stranded in the snow? It really beggared belief and I started to compose a letter in my head to the Daily Mail, complaining of the moral degeneracy of our times. Maybe the vegetable thief was now laughing at us for being middle-class and buying organic vegetables? Had he taken the food back to his mum's? Maybe the whole family was collapsing with hilarity as they considered our pain and ate our slightly dirty parsnips.

Maybe it was the youths on quad bikes. Were they going round stealing from abandoned cars? It struck us that the snow provided a great cover for rural crime. No one is around, so nicking stuff is easy. The sinister youths drove past us again as we walked homewards. We glared at them and tried to examine their quad bikes for signs of organic food boxes, but saw none. Then I suddenly remembered with horror that I had left my car unlocked near our village, with beers and my ukulele in the boot. Perhaps the youths had stolen this, too? We inspected the car on the way home. The beer and uke were safe. The youths were removed from our list of suspects.

If you put aside the incident of rural crime, though, we enjoyed our hibernation. In fact, I wish it could have gone on for longer. Tomorrow, alas, I have been summoned to London for a meeting concerning our forthcoming grammar guide. In the tradition of the 19th-century radical William Cobbett, Idler Books last year published a guide to English grammar. To our delight, the book has been picked up by a major publisher, which plans to bring the guide to a much wider reading public. At tomorrow's meeting we are to discuss our plans for publicising this work, so I must tear myself away from my cosy Epicurean retreat and enter the busy world once more.

Tom Hodgkinson is editor of 'The Idler'

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, with her boyfriend, fellow vlogger Alfie Deyes  

If children are obese then blame food manufacturers, not Zoella

Jane Merrick
Amos Yee arrives with his father at the State courts in Singapore on March 31  

Singapore's arrest of a 16-year-old YouTuber is all you need to know about Lee Kuan Yew's legacy

Noah Sin
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat