It struck me the other day as Jonny was stacking the last of our second cut silage, that it is now a complete year that we have been looking after the farming side of the operation since my Dad died last year. What a year and what a learning curve!
I think that the most important thing that I have learnt, that despite all the difficulties (and there have been many and they have been significant), we are amazingly privileged to be custodians of our farm Edinvale.
As a family, we are finding the farm an extremely rewarding place and our daughters are growing into much more confident wee girls as a result of the freedom that they have here – although we might need to curb our youngest one’s confidence at some point.
The recent good weather helps, but I also have a certain amount of pride in the way the farm and stock are looking at the moment. Another well-established local farmer actually commented to me the other day that I am obviously not doing too badly at it as the farm was looking really good. My rather glib response was to say that I hadn’t had time to mess it up yet!
However, that is a complete discredit to Jonny, family members, neighbours, suppliers and anyone else with an opinion whose support and advice have been invaluable over the last 12 months. We really are very indebted to them but especially Jonny who I think has probably forgotten what a holiday looks like!
He was very close to Dad and the transition cannot have been easy for him but he has been amazing, although if he ever says again “your dad didn’t do it this way……” there may be words!
The response I gave also completely ignores how fantastic the team at Macbeth’s have been, especially over the last year, but really the last two years or so. The disruption that they have suffered over the last couple of years has been immense, firstly with Mum not being well and subsequently losing her battle with cancer, and then with an increasingly grumpy and absent boss as I tried to get to grips with things at the farm.
Our head butcher, Kevin, has been absolutely brilliant and the team as whole have been awesome.
It should be pointed out that whilst all this has been going on, both Kevin and Gerry have had young families of their own and yet everyone, despite the challenges at home, sleep deprivation and everything else that normal life throws at you, have turned up to work cheery and positive and ready to do their absolute best for Macbeth’s, Edinvale and our customers.
Unfortunately we recently lost Jo to bigger and better things – more playing around with the RAF reserves and also a greater commitment to family life (with a wee trip to Australia thrown into the mix) but we have recently welcomed Karen who comes and “cooks the books” in the shop and the farm and generally keeps us on the straight and narrow.
Her most common question to me is “Have you done …… yet?” I’ll let your draw your own conclusions as to what my usual response is.
So after a year into the new job, I guess that you might call the honeymoon period over.
The question that remains is what next? I hate the word sustainability so I am going to go for the more positive answer of PROGRESS. We are looking to improve our product offering and frankly that starts on the farm. Hopefully, people will be pleased to hear that we are will be bringing more Highland beef through from the farm (hurray!), sheep are likely to have a more persistent presence (boo!) and soon for the first time pigs will be here (hurray hurray hurray!)
We are looking to bring the farm much closer to Macbeth’s and therefore our customer with a more refined quality, increased homegrown product range and generally be a more “interesting” company to buy from.
And finally, apologies
Finally an admission. I know we haven’t always got it right the last wee while. Response times are not what they should be, complaints aren’t always satisfactorily dealt with and generally, customers have not always been as valued as they should be. If you have been on the receiving end of that experience, then the fault is mine and I am sorry. I am trying to improve things and would like to thank you for sticking with us!
So whether customer, employee, supplier, relation or friend, thank you to you all for your support and kindness over the last couple of decades but especially years – I actually cannot fully express how much it is appreciated. Most of all thank you to the wife and bairns.