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Last night it rained – heavily.
This morning it rained – heavily.
Suddenly the sun came out; there was a breeze, blue, blue sky and cotton-wool clouds. It looked as if it had never rained at all…

I’d been asked to do a piece to camera for television news on my reaction to FMD being back in the country. There’s a difference doing this on a now perfect August day when the only known cases of FMD are hundreds of miles away, and a cold, raw, dark, rainy February one with the sweet, sticky, nauseous smell of rotting carcasses hanging in the air.

The contrast wasn’t lost on the interviewer or me.

We hung over the gate looking at my uncut fields, admiring the timeless pastoral scene around us, while the camera man concentrated on filming a freshly emerged peacock butterfly feeding on a thistle. It looked so peaceful, so perfect, so everything the English countryside is about. The urgency of harvest seemed more pressing than anything else at that moment. Yet it’s not. There’s a cancer we’re not quite acknowledging, and when we do we fervently hope it’s contained, shut up.

Once we’d finished filming I needed to clear my head so took the dogs off to walk the land (feeling for firmness just one more time) and check the stock. I found a grove full of chanterelles. Everything seems mixed up, surreal – autumn fungi already, uncut hay, content cattle, peaceful sheep, summer sun and an ominously dark cloud.

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