The Surreal Life With Southdowns

Farming has taught me a valuable lesson.

During the 12 years of running my own company in London, I was in total control of everything to do with its brief which was commodities research. From time and project management, payroll and HR, copy and print deadlines, financial planning, cash flow and budgets I had a mental map of the whole thing and the final say in each and every outcome.

Then I went farming and was roundly and soundly taught that I a mere speck in the cosmos, vulnerable and subject to the chaos of the world around me.

I swiftly realised that the sooner I accepted that all powers that I thought were vested in me, were null and void, the better for my mental health. And this state of affairs came about through my new career being centred around animals and outside, at the mercy of the weather. To stay sane, I had to learn to go with the flow.


Last week I thought I had my tasks planned out as best I could; at least I had a list of stuff I needed to get done; the when and how to be dictated by forces greater than myself. And then I got a call from Bob who informed me that a situation had arisen whereby a flock of pure-breed Southdown ewes were due for slaughter the next day unless someone intervened.

It took me a nanosecond to decide that good animals are not jettisoned, it is just not done and that I need Southdown wool for my duvet business. I also have the acreage to feed them without due pressure on my grazing. Thirty-three animals arrived the next day and threw all my plans for the week into total disarray.

But with that chaos came the joy of farming. Out of the animal haulier jumped a tiny lamb with whom I instantly fell in love. I called her Bob and she and I are going to spend many years together, just going with the flow.

Jessica Cross