“Believe in yourself” and “have a dream” is paramount to success according to Roger Federer, the eight time winner of the Wimbledon championship.

It’s sound advice for anyone wanting to go forward – especially when combined with hard work, which was the top tip suggested by the many centurions I met while working in the NHS.

When good news is in short supply, I found listening to an enthusiastic and inspirational speaker an uplifting experience. I attended a talk by Tricia Stuart, one of the original calendar girls telling her real life story. She started out to help a friend and has now raised more than £5 million towards cancer relief.

Tricia was surprised to achieve above and beyond her initial goal. She definitely ticked all three boxes, totally embracing life in the face of adversity. If farmers could adopt this attitude I’m sure it would serve them well. Don’t take that too literally – although alternative calendars could brighten up the office.

“Harmony in food and farming” was the unusual title for a conference attended by Nigel. This was held at Llandovery College, Wales, a beautiful setting in which to enjoy thought provoking presentations and eat good food. He gave me the programme and I see Prince Charles was one of the speakers.

I note there were many academics and musicians present, including several from America. Nigel said it was not so much practical but more spiritual talk, acting as a think tank for promoting ethical and sustainable farming.

I’ve recently read online “A food Brexit: time to get real,” which is an 88 page Brexit briefing document produced by three different university professors. It predicts food shortages, dwindling supplies and erratic post Brexit prices. The statistics quoted are startling. Did you know that the UK imports 31% (by value) of all its food from the European Union? Surprisingly this includes 80% of our fresh vegetables and 40% of our fresh fruit.

The report suggests that the government should aim to enhance food security by creating a new policy committed to a modern low impact, health orientated UK food system. This should be politically open and socially inclusive.

I’m thinking politicians’ behaviour doesn’t always instil confidence. The direction of our country’s food supply and our industry’s future is in their hands. I’m concerned about the practicalities and how much influence will farmers have? Politicians need to get their skates on! Consumers should to be made aware of production costs. Supermarket discounting needs to end. When travelling abroad I’ve noticed that our food is still comparatively cheap.

I worry for urban dwellers if food shortages become reality. I remember receiving a ‘phone call from my distraught daughter when there were riots in London. Shops simply shut up in order to avoid being trashed. My daughter had just completed a 12 hour shift, and usually popped into a store to buy food on her way home. She was unable to do so!

I was incredulous to discover she had no food in stock. She, and many like her have been raised in an instantaneous and plentiful world. I think that those living in the countryside will be better equipped to survive turbulent times.

Country folk tend to store more food. Right now, at home we have a good supply of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries from our garden. The branches of our apple and plum trees are laden down with fruit. I love not having to think about what to make for desert, as my husband pointed out to me early in our marriage that he considered pudding to be 50% of his meal. I can simply pop out and pick a bowl of raspberries, job done! We’re also enjoying a bountiful supply of vegetables from local gardens. You can’t beat that freshly harvested taste of home produced food.

Work wise, the combine is ready to roll, and the sheep have just been shorn. Sheep are so needy, always requiring some kind of attention. In the hot weather we’ve had to treat the odd ewe for mastitis. The lambs have been wormed, had fly repellent applied, run through a footpath and immunised.
I’ve been dismayed that we are still getting some losses. The sock lamb posse are a law unto themselves showing no respect for man or dog. They are uneconomic and a nuisance. If they get in my garden one more time they’ll find themselves in the market.

The cattle are looking good, but the water levels in the dykes are low so we’ve had to put up electric fences. Earlier this year some lapwings raised young on the levels, so we had to avoid grazing that area until the fledglings had flown. It was a lovely sight to see them flitting about.

The farm continues to get a make over in readiness for the August wedding and our kitchen has been a hive of activity preparing a naked cake. I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen to put these two words together.

Initially I thought this must be some kind of “eat cake in bed” scenario but I’m learning fast! Legal beagle daughter has requested that her three sisters and I each make a cake which will form her wedding cake. I’m told that it’s trendy not to ice cakes – a shame because icing can hide a multitude of sins. However they require fillings and the tricky part comes when you stack them on top of each other. It’s a steep learning curve.

Did I choose the right profession? Is there something wrong with a society that values male presenters more than those that save lives or care for the environment and produce food?