I was nearly moved to tears on reading the letter complaining of my November article and in particular the piece on young unmarried mothers. This was quite a ballsy riposte to my “hideously badly communicated” writing. Such a pity that the complainant hadn’t got the balls to put their name to the letter. I would remind this person that at certain stages in one’s life your tongue can become sharper than your brain, and the correspondent has obviously reached that age.

The weather was really quite extraordinary during December and neither management nor I have found it necessary to dip into our winter fuel allowance of £100 each. Odd isn’t it that, in a household that actually needs the money, two occupants received £200: yet when one partner dies £100 is deemed sufficient. The scheme was brought in by the Labour party and quite frankly is a nonsense and it is a mystery to me why anybody who is still paying tax still receives the benefit. Following on from the above, global warming is obviously high on the agenda at the moment and having just exchanged management’s four wheel drive vehicle (road tax £265) for a saloon with technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (road tax £20) why is this facility not rolled out in the whole automotive industry? We can then cut down a few more trees and graze a few more cows.

Despite the fact that the population of the world is increasing at an alarming rate, it seems illogical to me that food, certainly in the developed world, is not really valued. The amount of waste generated on a daily basis is criminal. Is it now time that under strict control the ability to feed swill to pigs be reintroduced – it made better pork anyway – and chicken manure – which is spread back on the land, much to the neighbours’ disgust and discomfort – could be used to feed ruminants. Waste is the biggest product of our time and the ability to get rid of it is fast diminishing. Farming is in a parlous state right now, particularly in this country where we, above all, are paying for the strength of the pound. This brings to mind a verse from a long poem sent by a farming friend and its poignancy is not lost on me:

When the farmhouse sells at auction,

Should the vendor really mind,

When it’s bought by the very people,

Who have robbed his pension blind?

The RSPCA continues to get a fair bit of stick and quite rightly so. How pathetic that they deemed it appropriate to perform dentistry on a water vole, yet on a whim seem happy to slaughter misplaced pets. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are also losing the plot, mainly because it’s full of lefties and out of work actors. It believes that wearing wool is akin to buying clothes made from animal fur. If ignorance is bliss they should be a happier bunch than they appear to be. Why is it that many in the entertainment industry are patently and overtly left wing and go out of their way to express their views at the drop of a hat? Eddie Izzard for example, who I admire as an entertainer, has expressed the view that “The Tories are for people with yachts.” Is it really true that he was bidding like mad for one of Mrs T’s handbags? By the way, he knows full well that you cannot wear high heels on a yacht.

Can anyone tell me why our government is prepared to sell off our steel industry – one of the jewels in the crown from which much of our past wealth was created. When half of India and half of China will be running round in exotic cars in the very near future, how many of the rest of their population will be prepared to work for peanuts? This is short termism at its worst.

There was little or no Christmas trade for beef, which was disappointing. Yet when one considers the cost of it against lamb, pork or chicken, and given that the supermarkets have an innate ability to sell it before it has matured on the hook – hardly surprising.

At least with lamb and pork it will have some taste and texture. The moral to this is if you want a decent bit of beef, support your local butcher. On my personal farming front I sold a pen of Texel lambs, costing £59 the first week of September and in 14 weeks they gained on grass £14 – acceptable but not earth shattering. However, there are just signs that the lamb prices is on the move and given the price the trade seems to be prepared to pay for store lambs, values will need to increase.

While writing this in the kitchen, management is flying around preparing for Christmas dinner and on that note, we would like to wish all the readers of this magazine, the publishers and their staff a very happy and hopefully more prosperous new year.