The Internet is amazing, but does have drawbacks… How many of you get frustrated by the quantity of invoices and documents being sent to you, via email, for printing off at your own cost?

We find it quite irritating that it is taken for granted we will use our own time, paper and expensive ink cartridges, to do our suppliers work for them. It is particularly frustrating when said documents often stretch into several quite unnecessary pages and more so when the last page through the printer contains only one or two unimportant lines, wasting yet another sheet of paper! Even more, when legal, or similarly important papers, arrive in this manner, leaving one to print out pages of legalistic blurb to save for our records. A few firms have admittedly written, asking if we will accept document sent online, but too many simply assume we will. There is seldom mention of a discount if we are prepared to accept doing their work for them. We do, after all, still have a postal service.

You probably think I am being a miserable old sod and you may well be right! Increasingly one finds similar telephonic gripes. Another shared one, which puts my back up instantly is when I take a phone call and someone says ‘Hi Nick’, when I don’t recognise their voice or, when they introduce themselves, I don’t ‘know them from Adam’… I certainly don’t expect a ‘Sir’ these days, I do though still appreciate the occasional ‘Mr Adames’; and such callers are far more likely to get a civil response, get their call off on a better footing.

My wife has a very good response in some of these cases. Her first name is not the one her friends know her by, so, when she has calls from people who use that first name, she just replies, “Sorry, do I know you?” They are usually made very aware they don’t, and it very often transpires they are one of many ‘cold calling’ scammers trying their luck. By the time she has finished with them they usually don’t call again. But enough of that!

We have now almost concluded our family’s long relationship with cattle and I have to say, although it has been a very difficult period, life has become a little bit less stressful. We are now almost left with just our last crop of heifer calves, born in the third quarter of 2018, with the eldest being fit to bull come February. It now looks likely we will be able to send them off to join the rest of their herd in Ballymena so they could help ensure the whole herd retain their super health status, but travel is not easy to arrange. As this is published they are being pre movement tested for TB, so have to be moved in 30 days.

This would leave Wally to care for a group of pure Friesian steers, which we will house over winter and finish next Spring. All the while hoping the beef prices defy the effects of the current vegan madness sweeping the country. If these folk would just open their minds, and realise all the enormous benefits, and employment, livestock bring to the Countryside they might also give some thought as to how totally unacceptable their behaviour is to so many other people. The trouble seems to be that they either cannot see what damage they do to the economy and jobs. Unfortunately, one imagines, neither matter would probably affect them in the least.

Most thinking people understand the undeniable benefits of fresh dairy produce, milk, butter, cream cheese and yogurt. Yet the other less obvious plusses, apart from their enhancement of the countryside, is just how much these animals contribute to the wellbeing and general upkeep of huge areas of our wetlands and uplands, the suppression of weeds and grasses where no machinery can reach, or even just giving people a therapeutic glimpse of animals grazing quietly on a summers evening.

On another tack still, our battle continues with the all-powerful, multinational firms operating some telecom mast sites. I have reported before how we were told by one company’s agents ‘how hard life was for their client, (Vodafone) and how we would be helping them’ by accepting a cut in our mutually agreed site rental. To then see, weeks later, the company had announced a quarterly operating profit running into several billion pounds. Obviously not that ‘hard’ a life! All this then capped by their revised rent proposal, down from their previously agreed mast rent of around £9500 to under £300 a year. They seem surprised at their many thousand site owners reaction!

The site in question is closely adjoining a very busy A road, where most drivers appear to be using their phones all the time. The annual figure the company are planning to pay us is probably being earned in less than 10-15 minutes by these many call charges. Now, last month, we read Vodafone are planning to float off all 62000 masts in a new company for some £18 Billion on the backs of their hoped for new low rents. Some deal eh? I don’t think a lot of their site owners are going to go quietly. I have met my MP about this and perhaps you should too?

Now that’s all off my chest I can relax. We have just begun our season of Curling at Ernest Fentons excellent rink at Kippings Cross just south of Tunbridge Wells. A group of us have been playing there fortnightly through the winters since the rink opened in November 2004. If you want some competitive exercise and entertainment why don’t you try it?
Very challenging game and helps one forget life’s irritations, for a while!