The perfect poppy


FEEDBACK of any kind is always welcome not least from my mother who after reading last weeks article about volcanoes emailed to say that one of the reasons for the French Revolution was the resulting famine from the aftermath of all the volcanic dust in the atmosphere.



Needing little excuse to halt work in order to research the subject I discovered that the Laki Volcano in Iceland erupted for eight months between 1783-4 and caused such harm to the weather that there was starvation across most of Europe, North Africa and North America for years. The revolution in France started in 1789 partly due to the resulting food shortages and Marie Antoinette is famously misquoted as saying: “Let them eat cake.”

Its often perceived as a social status question when asking someone what daily newspaper they read and as my favourite is The Guardian I have received stick from many quarters over the years and I have the label of being a woolly vegetarian welly wearing liberal hippy… Fair enough.

Anyone giving their invaluable opinion on my choice of newspaper has most likely never even read the aforesaid newspaper as they probably prefer to read The S.un or the Daily Wail. Being a LFC supporter The is certainly not on my Christmas card list after that newspapers scandalous coverage blaming the deaths of 96 people at the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989 on the fans themselves. The is not sold in Liverpool now nor will it ever be. YNWA.

Anyway I digress, and it was to The Guardian online newspaper that I directed my research and found this excellent link.

During the summer local councils always water the plants in public spaces in the heat of the day! Common sense suggests watering in the evening when it’s cooler so there is less water evaporation and no potential sun burn on the plants.

Living in the driest part of Europe it makes sense for everyone to be careful of the water they use and councils should be no different. Maybe it’s because workers don’t want to work evenings but then the bins are emptied at night in the summer so maybe a reader can shed light on this.

Moorish invaders around the 13th Century started the practice that continues to this day of farmers regularly flooding their fields via the acequias (water channels). It is slowly being stamped out as it uses three to four times more water than is necessary. Agriculture accounts for 68% of all water use in Spain so the potential for huge water savings are immense. Fenecore is the national association for water irrigation users and they have a huge almost unseen project being undertaken in Spain to use drip feeding irrigation pipes instead of the old acequias system. New pipes are being laid alongside communication cables so that irrigation can be automatically controlled by a computer system with the code name Coronet.

Two hundred thousand farmers across Spain are already part of the new system and the aim is for half a million farmers to participate which it’s estimated will save 20% of all water used nationally. Around Huercal Overa and Vera readers may have wondered what those large grey metal boxes with solar panels on top are doing in the middle of fields. That will be the Coronet system regulating the irrigation by radio all the way from Madrid in the largest national irrigation project in the world.

This spring’s inclement weather has made the mission to find the perfect poppy field very hit and miss as the sun has often been hidden from view. Well ok it’s been raining a lot. I had almost given up for this year so a few editions ago I published a favourite photo from last year. Eventually Lady Luck smiled on me and arranged for the sun to shine down brilliantly from an azure sky on the most perfect poppy field seen to date. As I approached the field I saw instead of being the usual poppies in a wheat field it was a 20Ha field devoted to just the splendid poppy. The seeds are then harvested for culinary use especially in baking. Poppy heaven!  

By Stephen Amore



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