Samantha Weinberg

Green Wife

The first of an occasional column on the perils of trying to be green, run a family and live a pleasurable life.

My chocolate chip cookies have arrived at the farm shop. Caroline apologises as I walk in: ‘I’m afraid they’re Fairtrade.’

‘All the better,’ I reply. ‘Why on earth would that be a problem?’

‘They’re a little dearer. Some people don’t want to pay the extra pennies.’

Eleven packets equals a few extra pounds, but I’m happy to spread a little ethical largesse, particularly since we’re going to sell them for £1 each (including a cup of tea) at the big badger debate. Organic Fairtrade would have been even better.

I wonder whether 99 biscuits is enough, and almost turn back for more. But I can’t quite believe that we’re going to get the numbers that Mark’s hoping for. The book shop has sold 67 tickets, and we’ve probably got around 16 promises from friends. That’s still only just over half the capacity of the Assembly Rooms, and Meurig Raymond, deputy president of the NFU, is coming all the way from west Wales to speak for the cows. It’s raining. Will that help the badgers or the cows; who’s hardier, farmers or the animal rights crowd?

I drive into Devizes. The Assembly Rooms are glorious, with a sweeping staircase and duck-egg blue walls. Very Jane Austen; shame my sprigged muslin is at the dry cleaners. One of our farmer friends has threatened to bring rotten eggs. I worry about the carpet.

Mark is in a state of heightened excitement. Not only is he chairing the debate — his first — but we’re also fighting two local by-elections today. He thinks that Nick, a lecturer at Bath University and recent convert to the Green cause, has a good chance. Geoff, the self-styled ‘extraordinary hatter’ (he stitches toy Tiggers and Poohs on to old hats and sends them to deserving recipients, like Nelson Mandela) could go either way — there are downsides associated with public eccentricity, particularly when it comes to a deeply conservative town council.

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