As 2020 draws to a close it is fairly natural to reflect on what the last year has dealt us; but that could get a bit complex.
In among many an excuse to be gloomy there are, however, plenty of reasons to get into the spirit and enjoy some festive cheer. If nothing else the fact that 2021 should be an improvement is a good start.
We, in agriculture, have led comparatively normal lives during national lockdowns. I for one feel lucky to be able to keep my head down and keep working with my family, benefiting from the childhood freedoms that would be the envy of many urban dwellers.
We have had the best year-round trading conditions for sheep that we have had for a long time, and that is despite the pandemic killing the restaurant and catering industry which is usually so important for lamb consumption.
By responding to demand at home and abroad, production of British lamb has rarely been in a more positive position thus spelling out perfectly why sheep farming all over the UK is the foundation of a healthy rural economy.
Just as technology in the shape of vaccines will lift us out of this pandemic, it is technology that has jumped in to fill the gap left by the demise of our social lives.
Only in the past week did we managed to have a Christmas quiz night and drinks with a group of friends, albeit over a Zoom call. We were in bed by 11pm and had a clear head in the morning. Maybe it is the future. Or perhaps not.
Although I am sure it will transform the way we talk, it is clear people are looking forward to getting back to normal and that in itself is worth being happy about.
Another lockdown looks inevitable and Brexit looks tricky, not to mention eternally dull, but if we are honest it would be unforgivable for the Government to make a mess of the latter now, especially after a year of supporting businesses through the pandemic.
You could be forgiven for thinking things are quite bleak but if you dig a little deeper there is plenty to look forward to. And I will drink to that.
Finally, after a year of so much uncertainty, I would like to thank all involved at the National Sheep Association for continuing to promote and give a voice to all sheep farmers at a time when the natural instinct has been to retreat and keep quiet. As farmers we are not the best at banging our own drum, so every little bit helps.
Be happy, have a drink, and Merry Christmas.