The smell of foot-trimming in the morning


Whatever humanity is up to, the seasons continue to roll forward. The contractor arrived to put on the nitrogen. He made far less mark than I thought he would, the last few days have dried out our higher land nicely. Sal supervised him from a safe distance. Mind you that is as close as I got to him because the foot-trimmer was coming to give a few dairy cows a quick pedicure. So the rest of the morning was spent help putting the ladies down the race. It’s probably a similar process to convincing some patients that they really need to get into the MRI scanner, but doubtless with less shouting. Other than that it’s been fine and things are starting to look up a bit.

Mind you I had to nip into town yesterday and as I was there I’d go into Tesco. All I had been told to get was a tub of mixed herbs. Easily done, I walked breezily through the chaos and empty shelves. (All the pasta shelf had on was a notice which could be briefly paraphrased as, ‘Come on, just grow up.’)
Anyway after paying I would nip into the gents if only to wash my hands. As I was about to go in there was this wild electronic beeping and of course I spun round to see what I’d set off. Behind me there was a lass who works at Tesco who apologised and explained it was her fault. She was putting a new soap dispenser in the Ladies’ and they now have to have the electronic sales tags on them to deter people from stealing them!
I said something appropriate and she explained that they’d had the police in twice that day. Once when people were fighting over the biscuits, and a second time when somebody wanted to buy far more baked beans than he was allowed and he threatened the cashier with assault.

I suggested they just nail offenders upside-down at the front of the store as a warning to others. She thought it was an excellent idea and promised to raise it with the manager who she felt would look favourably upon it.

One thing that has struck me, this emergency is at times the exact opposite of FMD. Back then we were utterly screwed and struggling to cope, whilst the urban population merely had a few restrictions on things like footpath use that most of them never noticed. This time, we’re self-isolated because that’s what agriculture is like anyway, and in some urban settings civilisation is collapsing even as I write. The barbarians aren’t at the gates, they’re in Tesco pillaging the shelves for toilet paper.

Ah well, keep well.


There again, what do I know? Speak to the expert (now in paperback and ebook)

As a reviewer commented, “A collection of stories about, among other things, sheep and English farming, that made me sit and laugh. Jim Webster has a steady hand at the plow, an observing eye, and a gentle take on the hard life of a farmer. Even though he feared a twitter-storm, The High Intellectual Standards of the White Faced Breed is extremely visual and very funny. You can SEE the sheep – and the thoughts racketing around in their brains. Well worth reading. And amuse yourself by following his recommendation about the Unrest Cure story. Again reminds me of James Herriott – but from the farmer’s side. And do read his wry commentary on the intersection between customers, farmers, and government.”

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25 thoughts on “The smell of foot-trimming in the morning

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt March 19, 2020 at 5:06 pm Reply

    I have enough TP. We’re usually stocked up, and don’t like to let things get too low.

    My youngest daughter had the flu, and stayed home with it, at exactly the wrong time: right before she was planning to go restock. By the time she got over the flu, she was really low – and had the devil of a time getting a few basics, and had to go to four stores to get enough flour for some baking, and relied on a tip from a nice lady running a gas station (petrol station?) that they were expecting a shipment of TP the next evening. So the next morning, being up at 6 for some ungodly reason, she went and bought some.

    I was proud of her. She told me there had been more flour than she needed – so she didn’t take all of it. And when she got to the gas station, she bought one package of 4 rolls.

    Then she went home, and plans to stay in as long as possible. I hope she doesn’t suffer from having been reasonable. Of course, she is young, single, and has no small children to worry about, but some of the stories you hear are of people who have already been driven mad (or started there), and don’t even realize how many more months of this they’ll have to get through.

    • jwebster2 March 19, 2020 at 6:05 pm Reply

      It is a sad indictment on our ‘civilisation’ isn’t it.
      A lot of people are telling me they’re reorganising things for May or June and I just ask which year 😦

  2. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt March 19, 2020 at 6:22 pm Reply

    I’d just get the thing, and get over it – IF I weren’t worried about surviving.

    Both of us have too many potential problems to risk it on purpose.

    • jwebster2 March 19, 2020 at 6:36 pm Reply

      That is my wife’s attitude but she hasn’t got your medical problems. Still, she’s not going to actively go out and get it but in theory we should both have had it now

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt March 19, 2020 at 6:49 pm

        I hope that’s true for both of you – and that you are now among the immune.

        It would be good if you could have a test to prove that – there is a way to test, I believe, that involves making sure you have antibodies – but our governments are not acquiring nor using these tests. Very shortsighted of them.

      • jwebster2 March 19, 2020 at 8:43 pm

        well there is no antibody test yet, they’re working on it, but given they’ve only known about the virus for three or four months there’s a limit to what we can hope for

  3. Doug Jacquier March 20, 2020 at 12:30 am Reply

    Jim, as you know, currently I am eschewing any blog posts in any way related to the C word but I’ll make an exception for pics of the supermarket crucifixions 😉 On to more serious matters, please tell me the hoof doctor is not using napalm.

    • jwebster2 March 20, 2020 at 6:21 am Reply

      Hi Doug, I can see your point with the whole C word issue. I did think about it, and I think we need to offer people everything. They will need blogs who provide a place to relax and just forget their worries for a while. They’ll need blogs where you get to laugh at the funny side and come away built up (which I’m trying to do with some of the Tallis Steelyard blog posts) and you’ll need blogs people can read which try to give them the truth, point them to useful information, and also, in retrospect, chronicle the time.
      Any blogger who does any of these is, in my eyes, doing a good job.
      With regard to hoof trimming, napalm was not involved 🙂

      • Doug Jacquier March 20, 2020 at 11:40 am

        I agree, Jim, so I’ll leave that sensible space to you and others of your ilk 😉

  4. Widdershins March 20, 2020 at 2:32 am Reply

    Barbarians in the toilet roll isle – love it 🙂 … and yes you can never go wrong with a good visual deterrent to thugs, scared/panicked or not.

    • jwebster2 March 20, 2020 at 6:16 am Reply

      As one churchwarden commented, ‘it worked with the Danes, they didn’t come back’ 🙂

      • Widdershins March 20, 2020 at 8:55 pm

        Heh, heh, heh, true. 😀

  5. M T McGuire March 20, 2020 at 8:17 am Reply

    The bell ends are truly among us. Sigh. I’m with you. I wish I could just get it and have done. But, at the same time, I was sick as a dog with the flu and a residual chest infection for six weeks last year. I ran the highest temperature I’ve ever had in my life and the idea of having to do that again this year holds limited appeal. I usually have flu every three or four years. I’m not looking forward to having this, a couple of friends have and confirmed that it’s grim.

    • jwebster2 March 20, 2020 at 8:58 am Reply

      After some discussion I’m not sure I ever have had flu
      Over thirty years ago my father had something and ended up with pneumonia which meant that whilst I had something pretty unpleasant I was still milking twice a day etc
      So it probably wasn’t flu
      What I had in February gave me a high temperature, fever etc and the expected symptoms but I slept and worked through it

      • M T McGuire March 20, 2020 at 9:25 am

        From what I gather flu dislikes UV. Strangely, the UV levels are very high on dark winter days (which is why my reactive specs were often darker in winter than summer). After parenthood, I discovered through the medium of necessity that, unless my temperature gets over 102 I can be up and about with flu. Last year’s was the first, post McMini, that laid me low. What interested me was that when in walking wounded mode I found I felt far better, far faster if I could manage to stay outside. So now I have my own or theory that subjecting my flu, outside, to UV got rid of it. So you may well have had it but mitigated the effects because you’re outside so much. 🙂

      • M T McGuire March 20, 2020 at 9:33 am

        Naturally, it’s probably bollocks but the idea appeals. I’m still straight out into the garden … Although if I have a headache I tend to wander round trying randy things back with twine rather than do anything meaningful. 🤣🤣

      • M T McGuire March 20, 2020 at 9:34 am

        Randy! 😲😲😲🤣🤣🤣🤣 Random, random!!!! You fucking bastard auto correct!

      • jwebster2 March 20, 2020 at 10:49 am


      • jwebster2 March 20, 2020 at 10:50 am

        Certainly if I have a cold I make a point of spending as much time outside as possible 🙂

      • M T McGuire March 20, 2020 at 8:33 pm

        Me too, once I discovered the effect.

      • jwebster2 March 20, 2020 at 8:48 pm

        It is a bit counter-intuitive but works. I learned the hard way because I still had to go out to milk however I felt

      • M T McGuire March 20, 2020 at 9:00 pm

        Alas I only discovered it after becoming a mum. 🤣🤣 Never mind. Can’t win em all.

      • jwebster2 March 21, 2020 at 6:42 am

        That might just be a side effect of exposure to small boys 😉

      • M T McGuire March 23, 2020 at 8:01 am

        🤣🤣🤣 there are many of those. Some more pleasant than others.

      • jwebster2 March 23, 2020 at 8:03 am


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