I have always enjoyed reading farm and rural memoirs. My copies of James Herriot’s books are dog-eared and have been reread many times since I was a teenager. The success of recently published farm memoirs proved that the rural memoir is as popular as ever, perhaps even enjoying a renaissance as various sectors of society (indeed, 47% of people in Britain) show an interest in leaving their city lives and dream of living on a smallholding or perhaps [...]
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 [...]
Without wanting to sound too morose and, dare I say it, a ‘stereotypically grumpy farmer’, it has been a tough year for farmers this year. Between the late, very wet, very cold spring which meant winter extended into May, and then a drought during the summer, it’s been a year that involved a lot of extra work as we were still doing winter work for weeks during the heatwave. Without even thinking about the bank balance, a lot of farmers [...]
There had been a lot of commentary about the Presidential hopeful, Joan Freeman, announcing that a visit to Knock cured her of eczema when she was 16. Most people, judging by the plethora of comments, seem to think she is barking mad and yes, I’d be sceptical too yet I wondered as I tried something similar myself once.
People still go on religious pilgrimages and people still try herbal, religious or pagan cures in an attempt to cure them of [...]
From the Frying Pan into the Fire
April 2018 was a tough month. Every week, we hoped that the rain would stop and each week, the weather forecasters dashed our hopes as fields remained waterlogged, grass grew slowly and livestock stayed indoors eating the last of the winter fodder. Many farmers, mostly those on drier land and accustomed to having their livestock out in February and March, ran out of fodder and had to purchase more.
The cows were indoors for months [...]