One of the joys of bringing up children is watching them grow from being very small to teenagers whose opinions and views on life are yet to be completely defined. My eldest daughter is trying to decide what career path she might like to follow. There is no rush for her to make any decisions, but I doubt that she will pursue a career in agriculture, which is, in a way, a shame.
How many times have you been in a conversation with someone who proudly tells you they are an economist, a fund manager, a pilot, a company director or something else that sounds quite glamorous? You could turn round to them, puff up your chest and rightly claim that you do all of these jobs, instead you reply meekly that you are a farmer.
But rather than making you feel inadequate, they look at you enviously and tell you how much they would like to be a farmer. Maybe they have a slightly rose-tinted view of what we do, but despite the sometime enormous frustrations and disappointments, it really can be a good career, and especially, it seems, now.
As I write we are in the midst of a heavy downpour; something of a relief after six weeks of unimaginable cold, and lethal pack ice throughout the steading. Thankfully, I managed to avoid the worst week immediately before Christmas as I took my family skiing in France for a few days.
Some mornings the thermometer plunged to -20C, ensuring that none of the vehicles would start and water pipes were frozen solid. All day and every day of that week was spent getting animals fed and watered, and for this and all his hard work over the years, Keith, my brother, and I are extremely grateful to Geoff Portsmouth, our tractorman, who must get a little bit peeved off with us at times.
Farmer Focus Arable: Neil Thomson