Coming early

IT’S BEEN a stressful time for Texel breeders over the past six weeks or so – not knowing if they’d be able to have sales, if any, and what sort of format they’d be in.

Add to that the stresses and strains on all top breeders on the run up to any big sale and it’s understandable that some have been known to behave somewhat erratically.

Stress hits people in various ways, whether it’s inability to sleep or eat; increased consumption of alcohol, smoking and even eating more, or higher levels of grumpiness, which amongst the farming community is always bad at this time of year!

However, I’ve yet to hear of anyone becoming more efficient or more enthusiastic about doing work off farm as a result of stress though ...

Take top flock master, Jeff Aiken, who is renowned for breeding the best from the Procters flock. Year in, year out, he and his wife Jennifer would have their heads down for most of the year attending to the flock’s Texels and Beltex for the breed sales to ensure all are brought out to a Tee.

This year, however, our Jeff disappeared and managed to appear a week early to assist in the inspection of pedigree Zwartbles sheep, at Worcester Market!

But then maybe it’s always been Jennifer who did the bulk of the work, and not Jeff. He’s not the only person to be premature!

Jim’s giant floo’er

WEE JIM Goldie – son of Jim and Patricia, Newbie Mains, Annan – has had his ups and downs recently, having just had a liver transplant.

He’s doing grand now and has had a few big positives over the past week or two to help him on the road to recovery. First off, he won the Goldie/Patterson ‘soon-to-be’ Annual Trophy for the tallest sunflower grown in various households.

It was great because he scudded his older brothers, Andrew, Robert and Niall (who with his girlfriend, Abby, got the ‘Duffer’s Trophy’), plus the spud-growing specialists, the Pattersons. Even the various potions dreamed up by the competition couldn’t stop wee Jim’s floo-wer growing ... and growing ... and growing. Though, some of the competition allege that super glue was involved.

Then, last weekend, Jim got a further boost with a special message from some of his heroes at Ibrox!