ISN’T nature wonderful? Well, yes. And, arguably, no. You think it is when you’re staring at a misty mountain view or pottering about in the garden.

You’re not so enamoured when you’re trapped in a car by a blizzard, pelted with hail stones the size of golfballs, overwhelmed by gigantic waves, eaten by a tiger, or bitten by a tick that affects your nervous system and ruins your life.

The truth about nature is that, all too often, it’s cruel and it smells. Take the Amorphophallus titanum at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, which was due to bloom this week. The Edinburgh Evening News accused it of “smelling strongly of cheese, rotting fish, sweaty socks and faeces”.

This is disgraceful, and made worse when you learn that its Latin name translates as “giant misshapen penis”, a title thought inappropriate for sensitive viewers of Sir David Attenborough’s Private Life of Plants series, for which it was renamed “titan arum”.

If nature were just made up of plants we might be able to thole it, but there are also animals which are, by and large, a right nuisance. And it’s amazing how much they make the papers. There are almost as many animal news stories as human tales these days.

Just a brief scan at one or two news outlets gives us a polar bear blundering about a town, hyenas – horrible, vicious, ugly beasts – in the Arctic, performing beluga whales given their freedom, and “Rusty the baby owl learns to fly”.

Fascinating, as Mr Spock out of Star Trek might have said. Indeed, I sometimes think that part of the reason we like sci-fi series like Star Trek is for the sterile, nature-free environments of the space ships. They look so clean and free of the traps, mess and stinks at which nature excels.

Worse even than animals are insects, which are completely irresponsible and lack any moral compass. Only this week, passengers on a bus in Edinburgh were terrified when a shoal of bees came flying in and buzzed aboot the place in a disturbing manner. One passenger reported: “It was like something out of a horror film. It was horrible.”

At the time of going to press, no arrests have been made. However, the bees can stop congratulating themselves because nature works on a chain of horror, and it was reported this week that Britain – the controversial country where you live – is about to be invaded by “killer” Asian hornets that eat up to 50 bees a day. They don’t even cook them first.

And to cap off a cookie week for nature, scientists surveying a protected marine area west of Shetland found a worm that had eyes in its bottom. Presumably this is so it can see when it sits down. But, really, eyes don’t belong on your buttocks. Again, this is just another instance of nature’s cheek.

Despite all this, I do confess that I like to get out and about in wild places, with the wind in my hair – and, more often than not – sheep and rabbit dung under my feet. I suppose it’s what we were made for and a reminder that, underneath, we are still animals, if not as bad as they are.

But I remain convinced that nature could be managed better, made less smelly and bitey, with various threats neutralised and only the nice, kind animals allowed to prosper. Plants that look like private parts should not be displayed in public places, and worms with eyes in their bums should be offered plastic surgery to relieve them of their buttockular shame.

BACK in the Seventies we didn’t know we had it so good. Fair enough, it was a bad time for fashion, but in other respects it was a more civilised period than today.

At work, you got a 15-20 minute tea-break in the morning, an hour for lunch, and another 15 minutes in the afternoon. If you worked indoors, a lady came round dispensing tea and biscuits from a trolley.

It was bliss to be alive. Today, most people say: “It’s terrible to be alive.” Back then, we thought everything was going the workers’ way. But, ever since Thatcher, society has suffered from militant managerialism.

Today’s lunch break, according to new research by the University of Quorn, averages 16 minutes and, even where more is available, the conscientious, terrified wretches don’t take it for fear they’ll be fired or be on the receiving end of a memo couched in powerful language.

I’ve never understood where the whole 40-hour week malarkey came from. Study after study shows we’d all be saner and happier on one day a week, which would also have the arguably important side-effect of saving the planet.

Back in the Seventies, we didn’t give a hoot about the planet. Happy days.

HERE’S a question for ye: what is the Establishment now? Where is it? Who is it?

After a whole slew of wealthy toffs at the heart of society – from Prince Harry through Nigel Farridge (as it should be pronounced in the British manner) to Rory Stewart – declared themselves enemies of the Establishment, we’ve all been left confused.

I think it started back in the Nineties and Noughties when young toffs started declaring themselves radical environmentalists. Prior to this, toffs seem not to have rebelled in youth, propping up the same system as their fathers before them, in a manner most unnatural.

But, today, arguably, in an odd way they are still supporting the Establishment, if you see that now as something cultural, led perhaps by the BBC and the media: liberal, politically correct, proscriptive, dictatorial, pro-cycling, and even anti-Tory, which is odd, since it’s the Tories who are in power, and who still sit in the Establishment as we once understood it.

When in the past we pictured the Establishment as wealthy, old duffers sleeping on leathery armchairs in gentlemen’s clubs, at least we knew where we stood. Today’s toffs are taking their ties off during debates. It’s deeply discombobulating