It’s now back to school after a lovely two-week half term. We even managed to fit in a family trip to Nausicaa in France. Ted is obsessed with life underwater, and we had a fab day, the first day out in a very long time. Unfortunately the clocks have now changed and the evenings are drawing in. We keep saying that the sooner the shortest day of the year comes the quicker the lighter evenings will be here. Christmas is on its way. 

Drilling at home certainly seemed to go without too many hiccoughs this year, and when the rain came it didn’t seem to stop. Fields were cultivated, drilled and rolled on the same day. Thankfully everything is safely in the ground and progressing as it should. A quieter time on the arable side now, with Fergus in Australia, and after a few major visa hiccoughs with more tense moments than I care to imagine, he is now in full-on Australian harvest mode. Long hours and late nights, but they seem to be getting on well, although it would appear that the yield may be down on the previous year.

The eventing season came to an abrupt end, with the last event cancelled due to flooding, so I was looking forward to enjoying a relaxing few weekends but alas there’s no rest for the wicked and it’s a winter of dressage and show jumping for Zara. 

An 18th birthday, an 80th birthday (my Mum) and lots of university open days to contend with this month. Happy 18th Monty, our fun loving, hardworking, 6’4” lad. This year Monty has exceeded all our expectations and has been such an invaluable part of our farm team. Fingers crossed that he gets the grades he deserves in his ‘A’ levels. 

We had a substantial amount of rain throughout the month of October, causing serious flooding issues throughout the country. We seemed to have less rainfall in the South East than in many counties further north. Rivers burst their banks and many bridges collapsed. 

A farmer in Scotland was left trying to water 600-plus cattle after a bridge corroded, taking with it the main water main. The water company could not give any indication for a repair timeframe as it was a substantial job. They also said that they were not obliged to provide water for the cattle and were only obliged to provide water for human consumption. It would seem ironic to have been discussing this after three days of torrential rain. 

The call centre explained that they would provide bottled water to be delivered to the site for anyone to use. I would estimate that for 600 cattle you would need at least 20,000 litres a day. Eventually the gentleman spoke to the relevant contractor, who explained that if they couldn’t reconnect the pipe, they would lay a temporary pipe to enable the cattle to drink. Thankfully someone with common sense prevailed and all ended well. I believe the next port of call would have been DEFRA to explain that it had become a welfare issue. 

We seem to have been plagued by water issues this year, with lost meters and leaks. The water company has had three or four searches for a meter that has involved digging the drive etc, but to date the whereabouts of the meter remain a mystery! Plan B or C is now in place…

Until next time, stay safe