"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.

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