Apologies for being absent – my lurgy morphed wildly and weirdly. It became a huge swollen head, or that’s what it felt like, with severe shocks waves running from hip to ankle.

“Aha” said Olly “that’s because you’ve given up tea”.

Often around about now I decide to give myself a good clear out to blow away the cobwebs and excesses of cream, chocolate, puddings, mince pies and other rib-sticking grub. Tea, my caffeine fix, so Olly says, is also given up as part of the cleansing ritual. The process is supposed to make me enlivened, bright, bubbling and energised for calving and lambing which looms closer on the horizon.

“You see, told you, tea’s just as bad, if not worse for you than coffee.” (I don’t drink coffee). “You’ve just proved the point. Look at you.”

No sympathy there.

An extraordinarily busy week full of difficult meetings, paperwork and farm demands, I really desperately needed to be alert and on the ball. I went with the tea explanation at first but the symptoms worsened to the point I felt unsafe driving and couldn’t look at a computer screen without feeling nauseous.

“Olly I think I’m ill.” “Huh!” was the reply.

Anyhow it now seems to be slipping away and the fog has cleared. So back on track.

One of my heifers has a lame foot, known as foul-in-foot. This manifested itself yesterday: Harriet didn’t even want to get up for breakfast. There are several causes for this condition though I was surprised she developed it as the cattle’s feet were trimmed only a month ago. Harriet does, however, suffer from slight corkscrew claws (an unwanted genetic trait in the Devon breed) so will be more prone to foot problems. Also, an initial peak in lameness can occur in young first calving heifers like her. My theory is that the increased stress levels of weaning her calf (heifers always feel the weaning of their first calf more keenly) manifested itself at her weak point – her feet. I am treating her and she is responding well to the medicines and tlc.

all photos on this post are by Ben, my son