18 AUGUST 1939, Page 18


A COUNTRYMAN who had just journeyed across a section of the East Midlands plain gave me a grim description of the laid crops and the discoloration of the straw. I went a walk that same afternoon to look at neighbouring crops. They were delightful to see. One field of wheat was the perfect colour and, though heavy in ear, quite upright, except in one patch where some holiday-makers had decided to hold their picnic. The only other effective enemy to the crop was the sparrow. These greedy birds rose in clouds numerous as gnats over the river from the edges of the field. They will have reduced the yield by the hundredweight. Such a con- trast as this between the shires of Huntingdon and Hertford is, I think, common to England, indeed to Britain. Where the straws have stood up to wind and rain an excellent harvest is still possible ; and the lai.1 crops will be salved, if not saved, by a period of light and warmth. Almost all vegetable crops on farms or market gardens have as effectively resisted the downpour as the loaded orchards.