In these difficult times I bring good news from the world of cheese. 

I have here a pack of cheddar from one of our best known cheese companies. As a fan of cellar-aged cheese (as opposed to sandwich-aged) I was drawn to the 32 MONTHS on the label. It was only when I got home that I noticed the extra words.

Matured up to 32 MONTHS.

Boggles the mind, right, and there was me thinking cheese only boggles the tummy. If I may paraphrase, the cheese company’s proud boast means the following:

1. We absolutely guarantee that this cheese has not been matured for one day more than 32 months.
2. We absolutely do not guarantee that this cheese has been matured for 32 months, or 32 weeks, or 32 minutes. Or even 32 seconds if you work on our production line and are feeling peckish.
‍‍3. If you’re a philosopher, you may find that theoretically, even after handing over $7.99, this cheese doesn’t exist.

Even more mind-bogglingly, none of these cheese perpetrators are being penalised. (Unlike Denmark, where feta makers are being rounded up even as we speak.) Monty Python was right. In Australia and New Zealand, blessed indeed are the cheese-makers. The surviving Pythons are even writing their labels.

I think you can see where I’m going here, dear toilers of the grape, lashed as you regularly are by cruel nature and her sadistic delight in vintage variation.

If (perish the thought) the 2023 vintage turns out to be a climate crisis dud and all your customers know it, you may care to include the following on your bottles of tragically overblown and boiled plonk.VINTAGE: earlier than 2024.

Better than pouring it down the sink, right? At worst you’ll have customers doing that task for you.

You may also have recently noticed in the media the latest medical-research assault on your livelihoods. Turns out, according to a new study, people under 40 shouldn’t be consuming any alcohol at all. You’ll probably have to put that on your labels soon, but at least you can phrase it this way:

Not to be consumed by people less than halfway through their allotted span, adjusted for inflation and bearing in mind that with today’s stress levels, 40 is the new 60.

I must beg you, though, please keep all this to yourselves. Nobody else seems to have noticed the cheese boggle yet, but perish the thought of it falling into the wrong hands. Imagine, for example, if the Roads and Traffic Authority got hold of it.

Speed limit 60kph or less.

Not to mention the Electoral Commission, the Tax Office, and teenagers stating what time they’ll be home. 

Just thinking about all that, I need a drink. Thank God I’m over 40.