We threw away some hemp seeds the other day. But only because we discovered them in a jar at the back of the cupboard, where they had languished for long enough for us to believe that they were no longer efficacious.
In retrospect, I wondered whether we might have been a bit hasty. After all, the seeds might have been dormant but otherwise healthy. Perhaps we could have sprouted them. Of course, if they had proved to be good enough to sprout, they might have been good enough to grow, and that would have opened up a whole range of possibilities.
I remember the long hot summer of 1976. There were some good things and some bad things. One of the bad things was that our indigenous trees, like the sturdy oaks, were finding it difficult to cope with rapidly descending water tables, and it was sad to see them visibly wilting like garden flowers. Some simply died. On the other hand, other plants thrived.
Up on the Bromyard Downs, by accident or intent, a handful of hemp seeds had been strewn over the ground in the corner of a field normally grazed by dairy cows. Conditions were obviously just right, and soon the seeds germinated. As the summer progressed, so the hemp, Cannabis Sativa, to give it its more formal name, came on apace, filling that corner of the field like some alien nettle patch. At this point, the tale may take on an apocryphal note, because no one really knows the truth of it. But legend has it that he who sowed it came one day to harvest it, for purposes undisclosed, although a limited number of guesses would probably be all that was needed to hit the right answer.
Imagine his disappointment when he discovered that, undeterred by the height of these spectacular nettles, the local dairy herd had munched their way through the whole patch.
Thus one of the most unexpected consequences of that long tropical summer was that sales of milk in Bromyard went through the roof.