The two sides of Christ­mas

Kent Life - - Countryside Life -

For some this a fre­netic pe­riod, for oth­ers it’s time to re­flect on

what has been quite the year

turns into the qui­etest.

Feet up, fam­ily close by and a roar­ing fire on the go. That’s what I call Christ­mas bliss. It’s also a good time to re­flect on the mem­o­rable year just gone.

The ex­treme weather, freez­ing then swel­ter­ing, dom­i­nated 2018. First the ‘Beast from the East’ put spring sow­ing on hold and hit the early har­vest hard for many farm­ers. A few months later the sum­mer heat­wave saw six long weeks with­out rain, scorch­ing arable crops and dev­as­tat­ing yields. It’s been tough on live­stock, de­mand­ing for farm­ers and fi­nan­cially dam­ag­ing.

Away from the farm, Coun­try­file cel­e­brated its 30th an­niver­sary this year; in the fickle and fash­ion­con­scious world of tele­vi­sion any­thing that stays the course for three decades has achieved some­thing re­mark­able.

I’m very proud to have made a con­tri­bu­tion to the show’s suc­cess and I was thrilled to take part in the land­mark pro­grammes we made to cel­e­brate Coun­try­file’s big birth­day; the three spe­cials we filmed on the royal es­tates at Wind­sor, San­dring­ham and Bal­moral. Even now peo­ple are still ask­ing if we made up the story of the Queen’s herd of Jer­sey cows sleep­ing ev­ery night on wa­ter beds. Hand on heart, it’s ab­so­lutely true.

There was more magic at this year’s Coun­try­file Live when we wel­comed more than 100,000 peo­ple and recre­ated Adam’s Farm in the grounds of Blen­heim Palace. I loved see­ing peo­ple’s re­ac­tions as they came face to face with our rare breed live­stock for the first time.

Here’s to a happy 2019. re­spon­si­bly. Fly-tip­ping can also be on an in­dus­trial scale and con­tain dan­ger­ous and haz­ardous items, so re­port any in­ci­dents in progress to the po­lice on 101 or 999 in an emer­gency, or to your lo­cal au­thor­ity. Un­der re­port­ing makes ru­ral crime fig­ures look less of a prob­lem, re­duc­ing the like­li­hood of po­lice re­sources be­ing fo­cused on the is­sue.

Adam Hen­son

ABOVE: Chick­ens on a tra­di­tional free-range poul­try farm

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