For martini and gin and tonic drinkers, the news could not be worse.
You have the juniper bush to thank for your delicious drink of choice. A deadly tree fungus in the northern hemisphere however threatens your gin by killing off juniper berries.
Phytophthora austrocedrae has been spotted on juniper bushes in the Lake District and Scotland. The fungus could wipe out the delicate population of native juniper bushes in Britain.
The bluey green bushes used to be found around the country but are now confined to a few chalkland sites around the UK.
Many southern English counties have lost 60-70% of their populations of juniper due to loss of habitat…
Although juniper used in most commercial gins is largely from Eastern Europe nowadays, the British population is key to the survival of the whole species.
If the UK population dies out it could take strains that prove to be resistant to other diseases in future. [And] phytophthora austrocedrae is also a risk to commercial crops abroad…
This is serious, mum!
There is at least some good, indeed excellent, news to balance this out. For we have it on good authority (all right, on the basis of a friend’s post on Facebook) that Chris Martin from Coldplay has this day announced his retirement. Yes, that’s right! Which means no more boring Coldplay songs cluttering up dinner parties. (To ensure perfect success here, make sure to remove your host’s old Coldplay songs from his iPod/CD rack/music storage system of choice before sitting down to your last gin and tonic.)
So while we confront the threat of a life without junipers, we can at least face it with equanimity knowing an even greater threat to civilised life has chosen to remove itself.
UPDATE: Another impeccable source, i.e., a friend who just texted me, confirms unfortunately that the wrong Chris Martin is retiring—it is not Chris Martin the composer of bland dinner party lullabies but Chris Martin the world-famous-in-New-Zealand tail-end batsman—meaning there is no mitigating good news to put against the impending juniper disaster.
Stock up soon!
And meanwhile, keep scratching your friends’ Coldplay CDs. Perhaps we can cleanse the world one disc at a time.