As an undecided voter ‘inclined towards Remaining’ before the 2016 Referendum, who then, as the behaviour of the unelected, unelectable and unsackable establishment in Brussels showed their true colours, turned into a very determined ‘Leaver’ as decision day arrived, I have to admit to huge satisfaction that the country was of the same mind in last December’s election and that we now have a PM who is supported by a solid majority enabling him to bring to an end the uncertainty and infighting the UK has endured over recent times. That surely is democracy starting to act democratically again?

Additionally the strong support Boris received from the north of England gives more reason to funnel taxpayers money into making life better across the whole country, areas which in the past have been seen as only deserving money when the socialists formed the government. Now, apart from London, with its Oligarchs’, foreign money and Corbyista’s, whole areas of the country are predominantly government supporters, which must bring great hope for everyone’s prosperity. Perhaps we can now get on with our lives without the constant aggravation stirred by angry journalists across the full media spectrum, giving us a happier and less confrontational life.

So with that little episode behind us we can concentrate on the year ahead. On our old dairy farm things are moving on apace. The grassland planned for the first vines has been dessicated, the vineyard have purchased the vine rootstocks and specialised fertiliser in readiness for planting in April and the whole farm will soon take on a very different aspect from that of its last fifty five years. There is a buzz of excitement which we fully share, and while my family business will only be the landowner we are content to have been the facilitators, the ones who saw the opportunity, and with a proactive agent, brought it into being. Now it’s up to the tenant to grasp that opportunity and realise it. Five years from now is the projected date when the first grapes will be turned into the first Sparkling wine and we hope to share a toast with the new vintage.

I am interested, following our welcome split from the EU, whether the restrictions on calling the produce ‘Champagne’ will soften? A number of the vines being planted in Southern England are being grown with French finance and skills (but not here) and one wonders if they too would rather call it what it is? If they could do so presumably similar growers would be able to follow suit? Not that anyone seems too concerned what it’s called because people now recognise English wines for what they are. Perhaps regular drinkers of wine, of which I am not one, would likely feel happier drinking ‘Champers’ to a ‘sparkling wine’? I read somewhere quite recently that the average Briton drinks some 102 bottles of wine a year, which I do find a rather frightening statistic but I don’t suppose it frightens the vineyard owners, wherever they are producing their wines?

What does concern me a little is whether there are sufficient plans to maintain the old farm to the state the dairy herd did, by grazing, because if it isn’t carefully maintained it could soon become a bit of a wilderness around the perimeters of the vines themselves. The only way without animals will be to cut the grass with mowers and strimmers. This would be quite time consuming. Having said this, one imagines, as progressive growers they will soon be looking to open up their whole operation to the public; increasing both interest and revenue, so that alone should encourage excellent and regular maintenance of the whole estate. I do hope so.

Meanwhile I have quite a lot to busy myself with and will soon be heading north again. Taking something of a risk just before the General Election, but fairly confident the British voters would find little attractive about Mr Corbyn, I took a bit of a risk and purchased an old stock farm next door to our forest up in Argyll. A more accessible farm, almost all of it workable, except some boggy land where mountain streams converge with peaty areas, the plan will be to plant mainly Sitka Spruce but also the obligatory (Scottish government) ‘hardwoods mix’. Willow, silver birch, alder, etc which are really rather a waste of space and effort. Food for bugs and grubs!

I hear you ask, “Why has he done this?” Well I sometimes ask myself that too… Perhaps, to satisfy the likes of that dear little Greta and her pals? Planting trees to save the World? Not really. I did it ten years ago to satisfy a desire I had for a forest in Scotland. That has been very rewarding as it develops so when this opportunity arose last Autumn, being adjacent to our main forest, it seemed too good to miss. Despite the small fact, that when the trees come fit to harvest I will be a mere boy of around 120 years old. Although looking from a financial aspect, with a few quid burning a hole in my pocket, it made quite a lot of sense. On an actuarial basis, with every year the trees grow the market value will usually accrue accordingly, coupled with no tax to pay on them until they are cut down… so unless I am a genetic freak that alone should make me safe from worry, even on that score. Nor do I anticipate we will get Australian type bush fires; those Scottish hillsides get barely a day in the year without a good soaking.

So we will go up and have a look.