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Farmer John’s July 2012 Blog

Farmer John’s July 2012 Blog

1 Jul 2012

We arrived in North Devon in driving rain, with temperatures more appropriate for November. The two cottages we had rented for the week were suitably…

isolated for our growing family and accompanying dogs. From the window we could view Woolacombe Bay, Baggy Point and Lundy Island, weather permitting. Surrounding our temporary home were well shepherded flocks of Swaledale sheep, finished Suffolk cross lambs at foot looking well fleshed and fit. The crops of beans, winter barley, oats and herbage seed were manicured perfectly. Farming at its best, though not much space for wildlife to prosper or feel free to escape from narrow boundaries.

And so it rained, and if it wasn’t raining a thick mist descended. The South West News featured empty beaches, forsaken shops and piles of deckchairs padlocked together in the absence of customers. Forlorn traders talked of business being down by 25%. The local Post Office summed it up as the 6th bad season in a row as I bought yet another batch of postcards to fill my need for communication with the real world.

Then, on day six at 4pm, the sun came out, the sea glistened, the sand became golden and Devon’s patchwork of green looked at its best with foxgloves, campions and honeysuckle lining the narrow roads. On a grassy bank overlooking the sea, butterflies replaced the big black slugs from just hours before, and swallows and sand martins suddenly became obvious. Was there a chance of some tangible tanning evidence for my daughters that we had been on holiday? Alas the forecast is rain again tomorrow but we have glimpsed what is really here, had a very good rest, and not got too upset watching Wimbledon basking in sunshine.

I was very surprised but honoured and thrilled by the award in the Queen’s Birthday List. It has only been achieved as a result of the support, encouragement and correction of those Lindsay and I work with and live amongst. So, thanks to all of you.

John Bishop