Delivering Brexit might be the thing that is exercising the brightest brains in many industry at moment, but for The Scottish Farmer, merely delivering your newspaper has not come without its problems these past few weeks.

Once again I find myself apologising for the inadequacies of the Royal Mail service which has consistently failed to deliver for us. We pay for first class delivery and we get a third rate service.

I would like to reiterate that we have never once failed to meet the delivery deadline for our mail's pick-up during this pandemic.

Quite frankly, if agriculture or any other business treated its customers with the disdain that we and our customers are being treated with by Royal Mail, then we would not be in business long. Again, as highlighted to me many times this week from disgruntled customers, why can Amazon do a guaranteed 24-hour delivery, when a business that has had many decades of experience, like Royal Mail, not be able to do the same?

While it has been good to talk to our customers and readers, and reassuring to find that they really miss their weekly dose of The Scottish Farmer for the weekend, these are not the kind of conversations that we want to have.

Again, can I reiterate to you, our loyal readers, to bear with us. We cannot comprehend that just because it's Christmas, that these unacceptable delays can be deemed to be OK because of 'unprecedented demand' by the mail service which we all rely on so much.

Christmas has been happening for about a quarter of the Royal Mail's lifetime – it can trace its origins back to Royal assent in 1516 – so that is not an excuse. Time for the Royal prefix to be dropped, in favour of Loyal!

... But auction trade does!

BUT THERE is some good cheer to be had. The commercial and pedigree sheep trade has exceeded all expectations this back end and so much so that commercial flocks of sheep might even pay this year!

It is nice to see at least this sector firing on all cylinders and creating record prices. The most pleasing thing behind it all – forgetting those records – is that here has been a fantastic return for those producing the quality 'bread and butter' product that puts food on the supermarket and High Street butchers' shelves.

Much of that success should be put down to the hard work and endeavour of the auctioneering trade in the UK. Many businesses have risen to the challenge of the Covid-19 restrictions with aplomb and deserve a lot of gratitude for what they have managed to deliver in difficult circumstances.

Now ... if only they could be called upon to organise the Royal Mail's services!