Catch up post

Hello again everyone. This is my first post in over a month but it’s good to be back. I escaped the country for some winter sun in January (more on this later) and in the usual way when you go away there are a million and one things to catch up with when you return. Still, I am slowly climbing out of it all and getting back on track once again. I hope that you have all had a good month and (assuming you are in the UK) are looking forward to spring which is getting closer day by day (taking a glass half full approach).

I have set myself some clear goals for this year and am trying my hardest to work towards them. 2018 and 2019 were difficult years and I struggled at times with my mental health – I was very open about this when recording with the BBC Countryfile team last week (episode out on 16th February). 2020 will bring with it further challenges but I am now in a better place to deal with these.

When you fill your life with multiple tasks time can sometimes run away with you and this is always a danger but I am reminding myself constantly of the importance of spending time with the people you love and the things you really enjoy doing – for time is fleeting. I am working on various pieces of writing at the moment, planning multiple podcast episodes for the year ahead and of course balancing time for my family’s farm and my new ventures. I have been tempted to begin a brand new podcast, but have to keep reminding myself that there are only 24 hours in each day and my time is better spent trying to sort out my current projects than starting new ones at the moment.

When it comes to the countryside, farming, conservation and climate this year, in a UK context we continue to sit in a pit of uncertainty, even if the question of Brexit has at least now been settled and provides the certainty that it has happened and we can move forwards. ‘The rest is detail’, Nigel Farage recently said, but that detail is vital and without detail it is near impossible to plan. This is where we sit currently. The Climate Change conference (COP26) which is set to take place in Glasgow later this year has already been riddled in the news with bickering over who will lead it. We have seen declarations that new diesel and petrol cars (as well as hybrid vehicles) will be banned sooner than originally stated, and, at least in a UK context, climate change action appears to be being taken more seriously. However, when I think of my own personal action and what I am able to do I get frustrated sometimes. I know that I do not live a life that is as climate friendly as it could be, and I often blame this on limited personal spending potential and not being able to invest, but perhaps what is needed is a wholescale lifestyle change anyway. Are we kidding ourselves that we can continue to have the same, or similar, lifestyles in tackling climate change?

When it comes to community challenges, or which climate change is the greatest, I hope that we can begin to come together more, accept our differences, and support each other in each other’s causes. I was reminded of this during my trip to Thailand last month (again not brilliant for my personal carbon footprint). I can only count on my own experience but it was a joy to meet so many friendly and helpful people in ‘the land of the smile’. I certainly took a lot away from that time. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Give people the time of day and respect to do what they feel is right. Don’t overly emphasise the requirement for ‘things’. Respect needs to come first before we can tackle things together. In a conservation context this could be said for wildlife and the environment as well as people.

I meant to blog before now about the last couple of weeks as they have been packed with interesting experiences, although I desperately need to crack on in the office and on the farm now driving things forward! BBC Countryfile visited the farm last week doing some filming about FarmRunner and sea buckthorn – the episode will be out on 16th February if you are interested. Last week I took on the @FarmersOfTheUK twitter account (huge thanks to Simon Haley for giving me the opportunity) which I highly recommend if you are on twitter and don’t already follow it – each week somebody connected with farming takes it on and it’s a great insight into UK agriculture. Additionally last week I went along to the Cultivate Conference, co-organised by Simon and Andy Venables – concentrating on celebrating and upskilling rural businesspeople – some truly inspiring speakers (I know that word is overused but in this case it was completely correct). Yesterday I visited DairyTech and met the wonderful Dr Jude Capper, co-founder of #Februdairy, among other things. Then there has been some fieldwork in the sea buckthorn field and balancing time across British Sea Buckthorn Company, Thrive Outdoor and the farm. Plenty going on.

If you’ve reached the end of this, thank you for reading. This post feels more like a diary entry than a usual blog post, but as it’s with you dear readers, it still feels appropriate.

Hope you are having a good week.

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