Hello from a very Narniaesque farm at the Back of Beyond!
The sun is making a brave attempt to shine and no doubt I will be tempting fate as the washing has been hung out and the windows opened to air the house.
Not that it needs the extra air; it is freezing in here despite the fire being lit.
"Cauld, cauld barn o' a hoose" according to our farming neighbour who used to live here before I moved in.
He drove down to feed his cattle and 'melt the sna' wi rage'. He had been sworn at for 'blocking the road' because he was in a tractor pulling a load of turnips for feeding his cattle; not just sworn at but shouted at and gesticulated to. He was also brandishing a copy of The Scottish Farmer and was incandescent with fury at the headline that the Absolute Right to Buy (our own tenant farms) was not an option, according to the NUF and Land Agency (as they are calling themselves this week).
Our neighbour was stabbed during the 'Night of the Long Knives' when lairds appeared at doors before midnight, demanding that the farmers sign their tenancies away, some lairds threatened violence. Many tenants lost their farms as a result of the debacle despite a long and complex legal fight.
Our laird never bothered but his did. He only has a few years left to farm here then that is it.
"Every tenant that I know wants the right to buy" he said. He mixes with many farmers as he always attends marts, roups and other social events (unlike us) so he keeps up to date with many.
I felt that the article was disinformation, designed to kick the last vestiges of morale away from the tenant. The NUF were always a useless union, in my opinion, slow, inept and predominately male....reminiscent of a fushionless, expensive bull who never performs.
I won't start on the opinion of the Scottish Tenant Farmer's Association...like a farm collie who has lost it's teeth and bark then become fat and complacent. Great for a lap dog, useless when you need the fighting powers of a rottweiler.
For the record, every single tenant farmer that we know wants the right to buy their own farm. We are sick of the oppressive and useless lairds, tired of bullying land agents and disillusioned by hopeless representatives.
Tenant farming needs to be recognised. It is our culture, way of life yet we are being slowly smothered and killed off by stealth.
We would thrive, given the chance. We would improve our own farms (as we already do due to landowners shirking their responsibilities). We manage to keep our faces clean through sheer hard work and long hours whilst the landowners grow fat from the cream of our travail.
Again, how many professions would have to produce a written letter from their banks demanding that they prove they have £50,000 in the bank to renovate someone else's house?
No wonder the snow is melting rapidly around here. The rage is palpable.
Yesterday, the snow was waist deep in places as I did the evening feed and check of my flock. The land around had vanished as there was a complete whiteout yet the work had to be done, regardless.
I can thole a whiteout but not a whitewash.