The two sides of Christmas
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.
ABOVE: Chickens on a traditional free-range poultry farm