Holidaying in the UK

Lyme Hall

As a farming family, it’s not easy to get away for family holidays. There are cows to be milked, grass to be managed, younger stock to be herded and looked after, bulls to be fattened, dogs to be exercised and cuddled. We normally go away in January when the cows are dry (they don’t give milk for 6-8 weeks before calving), and as all the stock is indoors, they just have to be fed and checked which takes the contractor [...]

The Mystery of the Bloat-Inducing Milk Powder

Rua Beag
I got such a large response to this post that I’ve written an update (it’s evidently a huge problem) so please scroll to the bottom of the post if you wish to read it. This post was written to reassure any farmer experiencing calves with bloat, that you are not the only one (despite what the sales rep might be telling you) and although obviously hygiene is paramount and should be the first thing to be checked, the fault may [...]

Self-Publishing or Traditional Publishing – Which is Best?

Rural reading

To self-publish or to seek an agent and a publisher? Which is the best route? It’s a question that many writers, myself included, often ask and I’m going to attempt to answer it.

I self-published my first three books. I hadn’t planned to write a trilogy but that’s how it worked out. They focused on farming, using tongue-in-cheek humour to reflect on farming life past and present. All are non-fiction. I didn’t try to find a publisher. I decided to self-publish [...]

Irish Boarding School Life compared to Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers

My much loved copies of Malory Towers

This time last year, my editor and formatter Sally Vince was putting the finishing touches to the book I had just finished, a social history of the Collegiate School Celbridge. The all-girls school had merged with the boys’ school Kilkenny  College in 1973 (where I went to secondary school in the 1980s as it happened) and past pupil, teacher and headmistress Miss Freda Yates, now in her 90s, had been looking for someone to write a book about [...]

The Joy of Ambling – for Humans and Cows

Cows ambling along an Irish country lane

Do people amble and relax and meander as much as they used to? Do we meander and daydream and stare into space as much as we should? Mobile phones are great but they mean we are never bored, not bored enough to daydream. I know that if there’s a ten-minute wait when I’m collecting my teenagers that I spend the few minutes checking twitter or sending an email or making a phone call or reading an article. If I’m waiting for them [...]