Undesirable Alien

A clump of Himalayan balsam has appeared on the bank of our neighbour's lake. Policeman's helmet, as it is also known, was brought to this country in 1839 as a decorative garden plant but has since become an invasive weed of riverbanks and ditches where it prevents native plants from growing. A study by Dr Franz Essl and Dr Bernd Lenzner of the University of Vienna shows that taking species to new regions often harms biodiversity and human wellbeing by displacing native species or transmitting diseases. Dr Essl said humans were the "main driver" of the spread of alien species.

I met my daughter at her office in Epping at lunchtime and we sat and had a chat on the steps in the shade. A man and a little boy of three approached. The boy immediately tried to kiss Ollie dog and then climbed onto the steps next to me, put one hand on my leg and stroked Ollie with the other. No social distancing I'm afraid. What could I do? The father then told us that the boy doesn't make eye-contact and we realised that he is probably on the autistic spectrum. It was so touching how he interacted with Ollie. I suggested to the father that he get the boy a pet. I haven't been able to stop thinking about him since. (Extras)


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