A tumour, 14cm wide, found nestling in a left kidney has thrown up a few consequences over the last month or so.
Running a farm is never short of challenges. The mundane – such as a £2 claim on perfect spec wheat. The enraging – such as neighbours having ball bearings fired at them by catapult-wielding hare coursers.
And last week, the unfathomable – media commentators saying all farming must end this decade and farmers can’t be trusted with the climate/countryside.
I bounce between the day-to-day, pay-the-bills stuff, and long-term challenges of climate breakdown, market weakness and policy reform.
Christmas normally provides time to enjoy the progress made over seasons gone by. New Year, in turn, brings a fresh start, ready to tackle whatever lies ahead.
This festive season, however, has brought mini-dramas and hard thinking in spades.
Farming in the pancake flat fens has seemed a bit of an uphill struggle. Desperation to get the last of the winter wheat in before the looming break saw me dashing round in the never-ending rain trying to work out how best to broadcast seed into sodden seedbeds with our spreader.
I had heard of it done in New Zealand and thought about improvising on the fly. In the end time ran out, common sense kicked in, and I decided to wait for drier weather.
Part of the urgency has been the imminent loss of my longstanding worker to have his kidney out. He was keen to work right up until the operation to keep himself busy. That and the fact he is incredibly loyal, incredibly dedicated and loves the farm as much as anyone.
He has worked on our farm for more than 25 years. His mum worked for my dad before me. His grandma worked with my grandfather, and yes his great granddad worked for - you get the picture.
When it comes down to it that is what it is all about. Yes we must pay our way, keep land productive, abide by regulations. But farming is not just about business, it is a noble enterprise. It is the history that goes with it, it is people and their stories, a community and a legacy.
So I spit tacks when farmers are characterised as self-serving, ignorant, incapable or irrelevant.
But there are always silver linings in the darkest storm. I will need to backfill my guy for his three- to four-month recuperation. As timing would have it, a neighbour had to make his tractor driver redundant the same week of my guy’s operation, so I was able to offer him a job and a Christmas bonus.
Farming looks after its own and we do not shirk our responsibilities to society, or the planet either.