Friday, November 27, 2009

An Evening with Montgomeryshire farmers.

Back to my keyboard after two days in Cardiff. Been to the Annual Meeting of the Montgomeryshire NFU tonight at Maesmawr Hall, the scene of Edward and Karen's wedding three years ago. Guest speaker was the National Assembly's Director of Rural Affairs, Rory O'Sullivan. He was standing in for the Minister, and she'd have been proud of him. As delphic as ever when necessary.

After an excellent meeting, Richard was asked to give a vote of thanks. I should have sussed it when he walked to the front and stood by my side to deliver his speech. He told us that he'd telephoned a farming friend from Devon this morning, and asked how things were going, only to be told that an awful tragedy had befallen his friend's cowman since they had last spoken. A few weeks ago the cowman had slipped while using his chainsaw, and sawn off his arm. Then, a few days later his vacuum slurry wagon had malfunctioned and his by now one-armed cowman stuck his head up the suction inlet to find the fault - only for it to spring into action and suck his eye out and his ear off. When his cowman finally managed to extract his head, now minus an eye an an ear, he was knocked over by a tractor which happened to be passing - mainly because he failed to hear or see it. Since he had no arm to save himself, he slipped into the slurry pit, and disappeared under the s***. By the time the fire service had pulled him out, and the ambulance arrived, the paramedic declared him to be brain dead. Richard's friend was bemoaning his bad luck, because his previously excellent cowman (and they are hard to find) had accepted that he would never again be able to do anything remotely useful - so was now standing for election as an MP. It went down particularly well because Richard can deliver lines with a fine Devonian accent.

Dai Davies, who has done such a sterling job as President of NFU Cymru for the last four years was in Montgomeryshire for his final visit while in office, and his successor, Ed Bailey was there as well. First time I've heard Ed speak, and for an unfailingly polite man, gave Rory a bit of stick - good natured but sharp enough to encourage the entire audience that we've found another good man. Great night for me, catching up on developments in Welsh agri-politics. Luckily, I can still understand what Rory is saying, even when he drops into delphic mode - the intention being to bamboozle us because he's been asked something that the Minister would prefer him not to answer.

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