23 August 2018
Jesse’s Hereford Times Column: What a Summer!

Alas, summer is drawing to a close. Truly, this has been a year of extraordinary weather, from the succession of freezes we endured this winter to the tropic sunshine of the recent summer months.

Virtually the only place in the House of Commons which has air conditioning is the chamber itself.  Perhaps that’s not surprising given the copious quantities of hot air emitted there every day!

But perhaps the heat shapes our politics in other ways.  One of my great heroes, the great 18th century thinker Adam Smith, once wrote that “Of all the corrupters of moral sentiments . . . faction and fanaticism have always been by far the greatest.”

Yet I cannot help wondering if the hot weather, alongside fractious political issues and the echo-chamber distortions of social media, has not played an important role in fraying political tempers this summer—just when cool, calm heads are needed to meet the challenges ahead.

Back here in Herefordshire, the weather was perfect for the Ross carnival and the County Fair over the first weekend—and as summer slowly runs its course, it bids fair to offer perfect weather to be outdoors this Bank Holiday weekend.

Traditional favourites include the legendary Barrels Beer Festival in Hereford. But if you are looking to get out and about, then why not join up with the Herefordshire Ramblers? Their website has a number of recommended walks around the county’s beautiful countryside.

Daily guided walking tours of the city are available at 11.30 am (or 2.30 pm on Sundays), meeting at the entrance to the Cathedral. While you’re there and if you have a head for heights, challenge yourself to climb the 218 steps to the top of the Cathedral tower. You’ll get fantastic views across the city, and a certificate to prove you’ve managed the feat!

If you would prefer a more leisurely weekend, the Ross Rowing Club Regatta is one place to be. Races are scheduled over the full weekend, so why not park yourself on the banks of the River Wye and watch the boats speed by?

More events over in Ross include the Olliefest, a festival set up in memory of the Ross rugby player Ollie Floyd. There’ll be live bands, a funfair and circus stage, plenty of food and a memorial rugby match.

All proceeds go to the children’s mental health charity InTheirShoes.