Let’s get the history over first – last year’s new record rainfall was 50.25 inches, which is 1.25 inches higher than the previous record set in 2002.

I hope we can return to my 30-plus year average of 38 inches – judging by the first month of this new year, it is starting out well, with 4.5 inches, being about the average, made up of rain, sleet and snow. There's been some frost and even a few days that made one feel that spring was just around the corner.

Also into the history books goes the US’s most unpredictable president, Donald Trump. I see a report predicting that he will be filing for bankruptcy in the not too distant future, which makes one wonder what will happen to Turnberry Hotel and his golf complex in Aberdeenshire.

At least the world can relax in the knowledge that the US is now in Joe Biden's experienced hands, with an equally experienced team behind him.

Thanks to Scotbeef's Murray Hardie, I was able to watch an auction of store cattle in America last week, where they sold 16,000 in one day, starting at 6.30am and finishing at 8pm. I did not see the whole proceedings, but it was very impressive.

The largest lot was one 'pen' of 107 Angus, with the best I saw being 69 Stabilisers in one lot. Prices were not dissimilar to our values.

It will be 20 years this month since we saw foot-and-mouth rear its ugly head, starting in pigs at Heddon-on-the-Wall and our world, for marketing beef in particular, was changed forever in this country.

For 30 years, my better half had the job of selling our prime stock by mentoring them at the rostrum (I reckoned ladies could secure more money) when we sold them fat through Hamilton, then Strathaven, until that fateful day when all markets were closed down.

The next day, Robert Smellie was in our yard with two butchers to select cattle and sadly, ever since that day, we have never sent our prime cattle to auction and I don’t think we have missed a week of sending cattle to an abattoir. Our original butcher is still a customer.

Sadly, today, there is only a small percentage of prime cattle going through the auction ring in Scotland and I do not see that changing. That's due to contracts being drawn up, with supermarkets and a handful of processors/packers gaining control of the beef sector.

The finishing sector is also now in fewer hands with around 20 of the largest now supplying the bulk of the prime cattle – driven in that direction by reduced margins.

My next area of concern is that the supermarkets, in conjunction with processors, take even more control to the extent that the farmer no longer makes any decisions as to how his business functions, but is totally controlled by the supermarket/processor, being paid a fee for doing what he or she is told.

Some would say we are at that stage already with all the new red tape that is about to be introduced, now that we are out of the EU and being a Third World country!

As such, I would say that the UK needs dramatic changes. For example, abolishing the House of Lords and cutting the number of MPs by half.

There are far too many people costing this country vast sums of money and doing little for it. The time has come for change. The world is controlled by China, US and the EU, plus the debt that this country owes is horrendous.

It is high time there was a serious cost cutting exercise at Government level. The gravy train needs to stop and real work done to make improvements.

Is it time that Scotland, as an exporting country, needs to have a hard look at what it does and how?

Take our own industry for a start. We export from tiny wee Scotland, lamb, beef, dairy products, cereals, potatoes, whisky, and fish, with 5m people here and nearer 60m, south of the Border, has the time come when we should be concentrating on feeding that population in the south instead of all those trucks at Dover causing enormous pollution by going to and from the EU and other parts of the world, at enormous cost.

The Boris said that the 6000 trucks recently pictured at a standstill at Dover was only 10% of the total traffic that crosses daily. Take Scotch beef for example – is there any justification on spending any money on promoting Scotch beef outside the UK when there is such a large home market?

January has certainly brought some changes too, with livestock feed costs taking a substantial rise which means that any positive margins, will likely be wiped out.

And, dare I mention pigs, which are now being hit on many fronts. Cull sows are literally worth zero with the Brechin slaughter house closed because of Covid. Where does 6000 pigs per week go in a market that is already dependent on exports outside Scotland which has dulled, to put it mildly.

Most are aware that the pig sector has enjoyed some better times lately, but how fortunes can change quickly!

Meanwhile, beef and sheep values are so far remaining at satisfactory levels. The concern from some beef finishers is the substantial rise in store cattle values since the New Year, with lighter weights up in excess of a £100 per head.

I just hope the confidence in both the sheep and beef sectors is rewarded on down the road. It is all very well to say farmers get job satisfaction from seeing a good group of cattle, or grand field of grain, but no business can survive without financial reward for producing its bread and butter.

We are still not into good news about future farming events, with some shows already cancelled and no YFC meetings, much to the frustration of some of our grandchildren. It is going to be more than a year out of their lives, which, in your teenage years, is a long time!

Hopefully, by mid-summer, Young Farmers will return to some form of normality. It is a good job those modern phones help them to communicate with fellow members.

The same can be said about my generation and I am sure everyone in between, who find it a Godsend for chats all over the world. No matter what is happening in our industry, it is widespread in seconds.

I even saw a friend of mine purchasing cattle in Ireland, while doing the same thing here at an auction ring in Scotland.

This last year, even I have learnt how to work a laptop and can see my peers purchasing cattle at Dingwall and Thainstone. I can compare costs at different markets and discuss with my pals the weights and buyers, and how they can leave a margin complicated by the upper kill weight at 400kg, when some abattoirs clobber them in no uncertain terms for overweight cattle!

So there are really few secrets in this modern world of technology.

Since November, I have been banned from attending any markets by three young ladies half my age (not counting Jesme!) –but since I received the Covid-19 vaccination on January 23, not long after you read these comments, they will maybe allow me to visit a few where I am welcome, whether I am buying for others or not.

Hopefully, after all our age group get the vaccination our social life can resume its former enjoyment because I can tell you our farming social circle loves to party, especially among those who are long past their sell-buy date!

We also enjoy the company of the next generation and only the other day I had a chat out of doors with two young neighbours, whose late parents were good friends of ours. I reminded them that life was just a blink – in the grand scheme of things.