It was 28 years ago today, on 18th August 1981 that I became a vegetarian. I'd been toying with the idea for a while, and was starting to think I wanted to do it. I was at home on the day in question eating one of those little frozen pizzas with ham, cheese and mushroom for lunch, when the phone rang. It was a friend, calling to tell me that a trip to the local swimming pool by two of our closest friends, Mark and Joe, had ended in tragedy. Joe had drowned, aged 16. We never found out how or why it had happened, but the shock of the news brought home to me the fact that meat on your plate is the dead flesh of what used to be a living thing. It's not why I became a vegetarian, but it's how it happened.