My round trip to north Yorkshire on Sunday was improved by seeing tractors busy alongside the motorways - spraying, top dressing and drilling. A welcome sight as farmers at last commence belated spring field work.
The lawns no longer look quite so ragged, although it will take a few more cuts before they are back in shape. Several weddings have been postponed until next year, and the church fete until September, so we are likely to have a quiet summer.
The sunshine, dry conditions and little lambs gambling across the countryside, make us feel far more positive. That is until you turn on the news, open the newspapers, catch up on social media and hear the Prime Minister and his key minister’s latest dire warnings.
The British are generally fairly good in a crises, which usually brings out the best in people. Sadly it seems it also brings out the worst. Reports of selfish and aggressive behaviour in the supermarkets, with shoppers fighting over loo rolls and anything else they can get their hands on, is disappointing.
People are also ignoring Boris’s pleas to behave responsibly by social distancing, practising bio-security, considering others and self-isolating if and when necessary.
There have been appalling scenes of teenagers in school uniforms, drinking alcohol and behaving aggressively and being abusive towards adults and younger children. Not in some deprived inner city, but in Hurstpierpoint outside the Co-op last week.
Reports of youths coughing and spitting at emergency workers as they try to do their jobs in West Yorkshire, are shocking. This behaviour is potentially life threatening and should be treated seriously, by rounding them up, tagging and putting them under curfew.
These youths are letting down their peers such as the Young Farmers who have been helping their communities by delivering supplies and working in the gardens of the isolated and elderly.
It is a minority who let everyone else down while the majority are responsible and caring, and demonstrate true British resilience, inventiveness and kindness. This is what we expect, the opposite is alien to our culture and nature.
In our part of the country farms rely significantly on income from diversification. This includes dealing directly with the public with farm shops, restaurants, and wedding and events businesses. And redundant farm buildings have been converted into business units and workshops.
As we fall deeper into the current crises, the public are rightly keeping away from these small businesses as many are associated with the leisure industry such as tea rooms, gyms, dance studios and holiday companies. They now face zero income for the foreseeable future.
It is encouraging to see farm shops being well supported. Most supply staple products including meat, bread, milk and fresh fruit and vegetables. It is vital that these businesses are backed so that they can survive and indeed take the pressure off the supermarkets, where I am told the chance of getting an elbow in your ribs or at the very least be verbally abused by fellow shoppers as they drive their trolley into the back of your legs, is highly likely!
Visiting your local farm shop is a more pleasant experience. You will meet kindred spirits, the owners will ensure you are able to shop safely as they ensure you ‘social distance’, by allowing only a limited number of shoppers in at any time.
I urge those walking around our farms to bear in mind that the last person to open the lynch gate before you, could well carry Corvid 19 germs on their hands. I recommend you all wear gloves!