To appreciate a concern that every farming woman in the land has, I wonder if you could, for a brief moment, try to understand why so many women live in fear of the sound of low flying helicopters and the distant sound of sirens getting closer, knowing that your man, son/daughter, father or sibling is alone, out in the field, with only a mobile for assistance.
I happened to find myself at Eccleshall Show standing next to a lady whom my husband has known for a very long time. In fact we giggled when she reminded me that she used to bath him when he was a baby.
We began speaking of a recent farming tragedy and, while doing so, I began to remember how something very similar had happened in her life too.
As she was speaking, I was desperately searching my mind for the facts of an occasion I had all but forgotten, but the knowledge that this lady had no husband made me think harder.
Then came the point in the conversation where it would have been rude of me not to mention that I was aware she too had gone through a similar experience.
As she spoke the words, I knew she had searched her mind for answers many, many times.
The lines on her face were there after years of torment and disbelief at what had happened in that incident involving her husband and her son.
The bull had trapped her husband in the corner of the pen and then turned, taking out his insides.
Then, running to the rescue, his son saw the extent of the horror and, unable to help, died there at the scene from a massive heart attack.
How could I have ever forgotten any of these facts? The lady standing next to me had had to relive them over and over again.
My point is that it is all too easy to forget, to momentarily sympathise, and then life takes over.
We continue with our busy, busy lives. Rushing here, dashing there, until we find ourselves, stuck behind a long string of traffic tapping our fingers on the steering wheel, thinking of where we should be, but where we’re not.
And, no surprises, there’s a tractor way on up ahead…with a Mercedes saloon just ten inches behind jostling for position, waiting for the great escape.
The sight of a heavy hydraulic vehicle coming in our direction provides some hope.
The tractor has to pull over for this, it does with ease, but then we see a sight that is totally absurd, but one that happens almost every day.
The tractor begins to pull out, to continue on his jolly way, with everyone still trapped trundling behind him. Once the Mercedes breaks free, the whole scenario can begin again, with the next car in line and another that has just joined the line behind us.
The only uncertainty is whether they may be the one who today will meet his maker.
Please spare a thought for the women folk waiting for you to come home.
Gail Thorneycroft Holmes, Staffordshire Women’s Food & Farming Union