I suppose it was always on the cards that I would end up being a tree hugger, especially being rather alternative in my youth. However, now the Government is encouraging us to be tree huggers I no longer feel such a rebel.
Nevertheless, I have been excited to get involved with our local tree planting partnership, planting trees in public areas of the village and thinking about trees for livestock shelter on the farm.
I have found a couple of webinars from the NFU very useful and am very engaged with the net zero message. I am also interested to hear how tenant farmers can do more, given that tree planting is extremely long-term.
We like to join in with as many local community activities as we can and another group organises litter picking. I try to go out about once a month with my bin liner and trusty litter grabber.
Our road is obviously just at the exact point from the local fast food establishments where car occupants have finished their soft drink, milkshake or coffee and, being unable to bear the empty container in the vehicle any longer, fling it out on to the grass verge. It is the same with empty fries and burger containers.
I always come back with a bag full and I know that another of the volunteers also picks litter in the same area, such is the volume.
My family refer to my litter picking as ’Wombling’, although readers under a certain age will not be able to remember the litter pickers of Wimbledon Common, known as the Wombles, who have joined forces with the Keep Britain Tidy campaign.
I was asked a few weeks ago to help out the local church and their virtual carol service by doing a reading from the milk hut, which I was very happy to do.
However, you do not realise how noisy a supposedly quiet farm yard is until you try to do a reading of the gospel. Halfway through the host of angels appearing, a calf decided to bawl its head off and, several takes later, I think we had an acceptable result.
More initiatives coming from the local community include a village advent wall, whereby a different aspect of village life is projected on to a wall each day of advent. Our milk hut was featured on December 16 and all these little things add up to put a little bit of much needed sparkle into the month as we hurtle at alarming speed into Christmas.
I did not make it to my local Women’s Institute virtual Christmas party as, for me, social occasions via Zoom just do not cut it.
I was therefore cheered to see, no doubt buoyed up by the start of vaccinations, that the larger shows have declared that, so far, they are going ahead. Hopefully the smaller ones will take heart from this and follow suit.
May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe Christmas and a very happy new year, celebrating in the best way you can this year.