"Bora da, rwyn gobethio bod mae
I gyd mewn iechyd da"

Sunday, September 9, 2007


I could never have achieved anything without my wife's constant support. As it said in our marriage vows in on 4 June 1955, 'In sickness and in health'. And thank GOD Margaret has always enjoyed relatively good health, albeit with rheumatic knees now.

In the past, I had a bad bout of Brucellosis (Brucella melitensis or 'Malta fever'), a dreadful condition which I contracted when I was working as a tractor driver at Saighton in Cheshire. My employer had it and I saw how he suffered. You catch it from infected cows.

When Margaret and I were establishing our Guernsey herd I took every precaution to ensure that our herd remained Brucella-free, getting rid of any cows which had aborted straight away and immunising all our calves with S19 vaccine (which protects them from getting the Brucella bug). When the anti-Brucella law came into force in the 50s ours was the first herd in North Wales to become Brucella-free.

Then, when that dreadful Foot and Mouth disease broke out in the 60s, thousands of cows, sheep and pigs (any animal with cloven feet) had to be shot and burnt. Obviously, I was worried sick. Every night, when I was milking our beautiful herd of about 65 Guernsey cows, my daughter or someone in our household would come out to our shippon to tell me how many F&M outbreaks had happened that day.

The strain on me was tremendous and the Brucella - which had been lying dormant in my body - flared up again. Margaret said that some nights the bedclothes would be very wet with my perspiration and I would shiver with cold.

My Doctor had to notify the Health Authority as to how I had got the Brucella bug, particularly as our herd had been declared Brucella-free. The Health Authority checked back in their records and confirmed that I had had the bug in my body for 20 years, but that it had lain dormant until this dreadful strain on my body caused it to flare up.

Nowadays, with all UK herds now Brucella-free, the public (and I) are quite safe. But that condition was the most dreadful of all.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Foot and mouth

There is much in the news about that horrific Foot and Mouth Disease that has struck the UK again.

I remember with dread when FMD struck us in the 1960s.

I was milking our lovely pure bred Guernsey herd of 70 cows plus their followers (calf heifers, heifers and calves). All of our cows were home-reared by myself, something that I and my family loved doing very much. FMD was coming rather too close to our farm. Every night when I was milking, one of my two daughters or my wife would come to tell me after the evening news that the outbreaks were down to 40. I would breathe a sigh of relief, only to be told the following night that there were up to 70 new outbreaks. The tension was horrific. I swore that if our herd got FMD the first to be shot had to be me. And I meant it!

The stress was so dreadful. The 'brucella bug', which I had contracted whilst working on a large Cheshire farm many years earlier and which had been lying dormant, flared up again.

Thank God, our Guernsey herd did not get FMD disease. But I was very ill for quite a long time.
"Nos da rwyn gobeithio bod newch
chi gyd gall nosweth difyr"