It has nothing to do with Messrs Cameron, Corbyn, Farage or the other fellow whose name I have completely forgotten. Indeed, it is international rather than domestic. I think it is probably something to do with Mr Putin. After all, the salt mines are in Siberia, aren't they?
You see, it does have a salty connection. It is a conspiracy to bring down the West by preventing us from washing up, thereby forcing us to use dirty dishes and develop sundry foul and noxious ailments. A form of bacteriological warfare.
Many years ago, the Old Bat and I were introduced to the delights of dish-washing machines when visiting a cousin in the wilds of Scotland. After we returned to civilisation, we set about extending our kitchen to give us room to install one of these beasts. Well, we planned to extend the kitchen anyway and it just so happened that by doing so we could fit in a dishwasher. Dishwashers, as you are possibly aware, have to be fed with salt, supposedly (if you believe the adverts) to make glassware sparkle. A couple of weeks ago I tipped the last of the salt into the machine so, on my next visit to the nearest supermarket, I went to buy a fresh supply, only to find an empty space on the shelf. A few days later, at a different supermarket, I had the same experience.
Has the supply of salt from the Siberian mines been cut off?
Of course there are things that, for one reason or another, have to be washed by hand - using a washing-up brush. I decided weeks - or maybe even months - ago that our washing-up brush was way past it's best before date. I fully intended to buy a new one, but somehow it never made its way onto the shopping list until I wanted to buy dishwasher salt. And if a thing is not on the shopping list, there is no chance that I will remember it when I arrive at the store.
I trawled Asda and Sainsburys, looking for washing up brushes, in vain. I went round again, double checking. None. In France, I tried at Auchan without success, then Super U. Still nothing. Are we now not supposed to do washing up?
I did eventually find one - just one - hiding at the back of a shelf in Leclercs and we drove back from France last week triumphantly waving our new washing up brush from the car window.