“I am Malachi. Other dog came. I bark, “My house! My house! I tell Ben, “The cat, the rat and Lovel our dog, Rule all England under a hog!” Toby understands. Nobody else does.”
Is a curious extract from The Earth Emperor’s Eye novel – under Q34. It was a puzzle at first, but it might relate to the giant hogweed explosion across the UK and parts of Europe.
Giant hogweed is native to Central Asia and was introduced to Britain as an ornamental plant in the 19th century. The plant grows up to 16ft tall, is invasive and spreading rapidly. It can be mostly found along riverbanks and footpaths. The sap from the plant causes serious skin inflamation, long-lasting scars and blistering and, if it comes into contact with the eyes, blindness. There have been many recent examples in the media of young people and children suffering severe burns after touching or brushing up against the plant. A campaign has begun to raise awareness of the dangers.
In the early 1970s, the progressive rock band Genesis recorded ‘Return of the Giant Hogweed’. It heavily exaggerates the actual events that followed the plant’s introduction into Britain, and attributes it with intention and evil will towards mankind. All rather ominous, particularly as the woman in the cover below resembles Lucy Ebbs, Mother Nature personified in my tale.