However, not knowing personally anybody of a similar tender and sensitive disposition as Mr Gillies of East Sussex, I have failed to benefit from any advice and following just two minutes of therapy have gained the strength and temerity to carry on as before. My only worry is that the mythical member of society as highlighted in Mr Gillies’ vitriolic letter in last month’s South East Farmer is well entitled to sue me for defamation of character! Luckily, now that my grandchildren aged between four and nine have all got tablets, I have a stack of unused monopoly money festering in a drawer which I can now use to settle any claims.
My favourite book and one I refer to often is the Concise Oxford Dictionary, but I find it confusing when it informs me that a thousand million and a million million both constitute a billion. Either way, a billion is a lot of numbers and is now a much used measure of quantity in every day parlance. I believe I heard that during the recent transfer window for professional footballers, over one billion pounds exchanged hands for a bunch of prima donnas who fall to the ground in paroxysms of agony if somebody so much as blows a kiss at them. It is interesting to note that a billion minutes ago Jesus was born, a billion hours ago stone age man roamed the earth and a billion days ago man did not exist. Does this not rather put the value of footballers into perspective?
While on the topic of sport, can one just imagine the amount of dedication, application and effort put in by our Olympic and Paralympic athletes who have paraded the Union Jack with such enthusiasm, pride and ultimate success? I don’t doubt that 52% of our electorate are crossing their fingers that those negotiating Brexit perform in similar fashion. Mo Farah – one of our greatest – owned up to the fact that his success was entirely down to consistent hard work which committed him to spending six months of each year away from his family. Compare this with footballers who cannot spend more than six hours away from their hairdressers!
One regular contributor of snippets for including in this monthly magazine is a Dutchman farming near Smarden in Kent, who tracked me down in Ashford Market to show me an article in a publication from his own country of birth. The gist of it was if you are a cereal farmer growing 10 tonnes a hectare of milling wheat, one square metre of crop will produce enough flour to make 40 bread rolls, with a value ranging from £12 to £20 depending on what quality of roll you buy. Either way, there are ten thousand square metres in a hectare, so do the maths and decide if £130 per tonne is enough for all your hard work and dedication. And yes, I do realise that wheat flour only constitutes on average 11% of a mass produced loaf.
On my personal farming front I sold my best 75% of Suffolk x Mule tegs at Ashford in early September to average £115.33. Given that the keep situation in our area is on a knife edge I was very pleased with the result and even management was chuffed. Let’s hope I am able to have equal success with the Romneys and Continental crosses to be sold later on.
My thanks go to another regular reader who gave me one of his own home reared chickens. It weighed 7.5lb, management cooked it to perfection and it was succulent and brimful of taste. You just cannot buy this quality from any supermarket.
Given that I am the bread monitor in our household, having forgotten to take a loaf out of the freezer for management’s breakfast in bed, I am in deep manure. This reminds me of the fact that farmers are always in the s—t, it’s only the depth that varies.
Finally it may not have escaped your notice that in this article I have used quite a few long words. I have done this to genuflect to those on the moral high ground who also have low tolerance and a low sense of humour. Me vitriolic – never!