The milk of human kindness seems to be in a diminishing supply in a small corner of Italy. Allow me to elaborate.

There’s a villa estate where you can go along and help with the grape and olive harvests. However you’ll need to be pretty well heeled to go and play at being a peasant, because the privilege of several hours of getting your hands dirty and end up with a backache will set you back approximately £220 per person. You can take a family of four to Disneyland Paris for the weekend for that money. Oh yes, choose to go labouring in Italy, you have to get there, so fares, hotel bills, ground transport are going to increase the costs a bit.

Here’s the bewildering thing. The estate is owned by the well known musician and philanthropist (that last came from the internet, so take it with a pinch of salt) Mr Gordon Sumner, and his wife. Now Sting, for it is he, is not short of a bob or two, and since Trudie Styler is also very wealthy in her own right, they’re not exactly on their uppers, are they? Yet they want even more money, to be obtained by ripping off their rich chums. Of course, in those social circles £220 is a trivial sum, and a small price to pay to go slumming for a day.

Consider this too. While the rich kids are pretending to be horny handed sons of toil, a lot of local and itinerant farm workers, who rely on harvest time to get enough money to get them and their families through the lean winter months, won’t be doing the work. Not a very philanthropic idea to deprive real workers of their incomes.

Sting is notorious for banging on about the degradation of natural habitats, and for hobnobbing with various tribes who are under threat. A bit closer to home, Mr Sumner is threatening a way of life too. He’s also a bit hypocritical about the environment. Olive groves are pretty eco-friendly, but plantations are not. A vineyard is about as artificial a landscape you can imagine.

If you’ve got £220 pounds to spend to play at being poor, why not donate to a charity, and go and volunteer in a soup kitchen or food bank?