Paper Monitor: What no G&T?

Just as Venezuela's embarrassing national shortage of toilet paper appears to be easing, Paper Monitor gets wind on another possible shortage - one that will require more than a bit of British stiff upper lip to deal with.

Paper Monitor has been a bit on edge over the past few weeks amid speculation that the UK could be hit by a banana shortage, after 18,000 workers in Colombia's banana-producing area voted for industrial action. Today, news comes from the Grocer that strike has been averted. Banana sarnies all round, then.

But it's not all good news. The Daily Telegraph brings bad tidings of a possible shortage of juniper berries, which give gin its distinctive flavour.

As the sun (chance would be a fine thing) sinks over the yardarm this evening, ice cubes will be clinked into a tall glass across the Home Counties, a measure - or two - of gin will be added, tonic poured. Every sip will be savoured with the shocking news that a deadly tree fungus is threatening Scottish juniper berries.

"It's a pity," reads one of the Telegraph's comment pieces. "Just as gin had risen to high esteem after two centuries of ill repute."

The paper points out that for 18th Century painter and social critic William Hogarth, gin was the very emblem of depravity, with his engraving Gin Lane "showing among other things a tenement tottering into ruin and a drunken mother letting her infant fall to its death".

Today, however, gin stands for so much more.

"With an image of sundowners in an Empire we never knew, or of warm comfort on winter gallops when infused with jewel-bright sloes, gin is on visiting terms everywhere."

The juniper must be saved at all costs, the paper exhorts.

Paper Monitor will raise a glass to that.

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