I once bred a racehorse, half-owned by my mother, born at my mother-in-law’s farm in Suffolk and named ‘Green Moon’ by my daughter. He won a race or two but never found his form, so we sold him to an Australian for not much. A few days ago, I was woken by a 5a.m. phone call from an ecstatic friend who told me that Green Moon had just won the Melbourne Cup — one of the best races in the world — bagging an immense prize cheque for his new owner. I’m not sure whether I will ever be able to forgive him, or myself.
Late one evening, I find myself star-stuck in the company of Jeremy Clarkson. I’m not excited by cars — I’ve owned the same seven-seater diesel Toyota Previa for six years — but Top Gear is unmissable. Clarkson and I are opposites in many ways. He grabs every available opportunity to rile people like me on green issues. But on this occasion I find him an unlikely fellow traveller. He tells me that of the all the things that infuriate him (and there is no shortage), waste is top of the list. Eradicating waste in his home has become an obsession. This is odd, because eradicating waste is my obsession and my business. It’s also, for me, the key to solving our environmental problems. We might not agree on whether mankind is causing the climate to change, or on the benefits of renewable energy. But we can at least agree that old-fashioned thrift is a good thing.
I use my Twitter account to bore people with stats and quotes, and ask them to sign this petition or that. I can quite see why people find it annoying.