My sincere apologies for not having written for such a long time.
The long drawn out winter compounded with the long drawn out battle with the estate left me feeling wearied and wondering if there was any point in trying to continue against their stubborn attitude and point blank refusal to undertake their legal obligation to provide us with a wind and watertight house.
Well, the sun finally came out, the duffle coat came off, the lambs made their entrance into the world. The sheep were turned out to grass which only started to grow a couple of weeks ago.
The fields were ploughed and sown with oats and barley, the others with grass and once all the Spring work had been done, my fighting spirit returned with a fury.
I had time to catch up with the news today whilst sitting with crossed fingers that my car would pass its MOT retest. The bits which were held on with bailer twine were frowned upon and fixed properly and the myriad of annoying but ignored bits all got sorted out. It was like waiting for Higher results and I felt just as thrilled when I was handed the certificate which announced my car legal.
So, while we were out farming and working, it appears that the tenant farmers of Scotland had been hoodwinked and betrayed en masse.
A rather expensive and dubious group of non farmers, led by an ex Moderator of the Church of Scotland (big wealthy landowners who cannot stretch the Widow's mite to Scots yet managed to build a luxury hotel in Beirut)....after collecting information on Land Reform from many sources, they, in their wisdom decided that they would not bother with tenant farmers but pass that on to the lairds themselves.
The same lairds who have done such a marvellous job in maintaining tenant/laird relationships, the lairds who like to own the land but prefer if others do the dirty work and lairds like ours who could not organise getting blootered in a bochan if they were transported in a whisky tanker.
What should our family do when we have a problem ie no roof, no water no electricity in the farmhouse belonging to the laird and his 'agent' absolutely refuses to communicate with us to the extent that he informed new neighbours to "Ignore the Otter Family as if they did not exist".
Our testament to existing on this farm lies outwith the farmyard. Our long hours of work show in the crops growing and healthy stock.
This arrogant and blinkered attitude has become the norm to these people and there are tenant farmers all over Scotland who genuinely suffer, usually in silence through fear, at the hands and deeds of rogue landowners.
Not all landowners are bad, far from it, yet the examples of good tenant relationships, good housing, potable water on private supplies, good land management are few and far between.
Not every landowner wants the land spoiled by wind farms and the subsidy which is trotted out as ' for the benefit of the community'. What benefit and what community? Let's not beat about the bush here, the money is for them, not the ordinary person.
If these landowners are so desperate for money, why won't they sell the farms to the tenants who have worked the land, sometimes for generations?
The entire land reform issue appears not to be about the people, it is about money, power and greed - and these are not qualities I have ever encountered in a tenant farmer.
The truth is, they want our land, not for farming, hell no - just import food. Cover the countryside with massive wind farms, let the farmhouses decay and build houses that the working Scot cannot afford, isolate communities and turn Scotland into a playground for the wealthy non tax payer.
If the Scottish government and the LRRG think for one minute that the tenant farmers will roll on their bellies and submit to those who have made their lives hell for generations....they have made a very grave mistake. 'Sex up' a Clearance all you want but we have learned from experience...
I propose that a proper Land Reform group is formed. No landowners, no groups with a hidden agenda. I would love to see Andy Wightman consulted, hear Lesley Riddoch's Scandinavian ideas, speak with tenant farmers like ourselves who work and understand land management and who want to buy our own farms so we can invest in the future.
The government thought they could pull the wool over our eyes.
They forgot who produces the wool.
They forgot who turns the wool into tweed.
They only saw the tweed jackets. Those expensive jackets seasoned by 'fual'.
We need to be independent of these jackals in jackets, stinking of 'fual' and feudalism.
We need to be independent.