Making bread is a joy. It brings pleasure in its making, its baking and its eating. Nothing compares to the smell of freshly baked bread – apart from maybe freshly ground coffee and cut grass. Breadmaking is also the endpoint in the growing process, which from sowing to harvest takes 10-or-so months of a farmer’s time and care. It is also the culmination of a plant breeder’s 10-year quest for a variety that is suitable for the structure and integrity needed in a loaf.
The number of people attending COP26 is staggering. Over 25,000 world leaders, 100,000 demonstrators and 10,000 police officers are in the city gathered to address the climate ‘code red for humanity’. I was privileged to speak at a COP26 fringe, on achieving a ‘just’ transition towards net-zero for rural Scotland. At the heart of a fair transition are Scotland’s people, its businesses and its communities, and not leaving those who can’t, or won’t make the changes needed, behind.
I have just visited Arran for the first time, and it won’t be the last. Aside from the stunning scenery, nature and wildlife, it is the first holiday where I have come home and really felt “human”. From the moment we stepped off the Ferry, our short-holiday felt like it was just for us. The Douglas Hotel was warm and friendly, with well-furnished rooms and fantastic views across the harbour. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was inviting. But it was the staff who really made the stay exceptional. They were personal but professional, attentive but not intrusive and treated us as individuals.