I read today that there is an international agreement, which prevents scientists from replying to an extra-terrestrial signal, unless they agree that to respond is a good idea. This is apparently the work of an organisation called SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence). Science fiction has flooded us with stories of extra-terrestrial invasions by usually sinister aliens. So such precautions are understandable. On the other hand, curiosity combined with a profound longing not to be alone in the universe, would be hard to overcome in the event of a signal being detected. But, where would the possibility of intelligent connections lead? World politics are bad enough. Imagine, as science fiction already has, the reality of inter-terrestrial politics. The only benefit of some sort of threat might be that the raggle-taggle human race might be persuaded to forget its squabbles and disagreements, and unite in defence of the Earth or what's left of it that is worth saving. For myself, I have always been on the look out for a signal and always will be.
The bay tree which we cut down in May is fighting back. The tree surgeons promised to poison the stump but forgot, and I was reluctant to remind them. But on returning from holiday we find the shoots at the side of the stump are threatening to become a bush and, before long, a light-excluding tree, so I set to work with the secateurs. There is no shortage of bay leaves. The aroma is heady and makes me think of casseroles.