WHAT a change in the weather! Suddenly, almost with the flick of a switch, we moved from dry to wet conditions. It has been a rather unpleasant week with blustery storms and longer spells of gale force winds, often accompanied by rain. This has resulted in some rainfall every day, which amounted to 24mm, here on Manor Farm, which has done nothing to help Kevin and Melissa with lambing.

The number of ewes giving birth during the week gained pace, but with the weather forecast on two days sounding really bad, some extra space was found in a barn on the site of our now unused dairy for a number of the newly born lambs and their mothers.

A few days after giving birth the ewes and their newborn lambs are usually turned out into fields of grass, but even with biodegradable jackets on it was thought to be unwise to turn them out when the forecast was so unfavourable. Most animals can cope with dry cold, but wet cold weather will encourage the lambs to huddle together in sheltered places, becoming separated from their mothers. It is, however, better for the mothers and their young to be out on grass, so when the opportunity to turn them out has arisen, they have been taken to the fields in stock trailers and are doing well.

With so many lambs being born every day Kevin, Melissa, family, employees and friends have been kept very busy. Even Richard and Ian have been helping with feeding, watering, bedding up and making small pens to use for individual ewes with their newly born lamb(s). This is done to make sure all is well, that the lamb(s) and ewes are well and feeding properly. Individual pens are also useful when fostering lambs from multiple births onto ewes that may have had a still birth or a single lamb.

Fortunately there have not been too many multiple births, but one ewe had quads, all of which survived. It was, however, sad for everyone when another had stillborn quins, but the good news is that this ewe was very eager to adopt two lambs brought in from a field because their mothers had almost abandoned them.

Melissa's creche of 'orphan lambs' are fed reconstituted ewe's milk powder from a bottle three times a day, which is another time-consuming job. Melissa now has 29 lambs in her creche and it is often Natasha and Annabel who help with the bottle feeding. By the end of the week between 650 and 700 ewes had given birth, so now well over half way. All the lambs born are tagged with electronic ear tags, which identifies each lamb, its dam, sire and gender onto a computer programme when scanned.

Recently I attended The Royal Bath & West of England Society's Celebration of International Women's Day. It was held in the new Rural Enterprise Centre where the welcome was given by Annie Maw, HM Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, also President elect of the B &W Society.

This was followed by inspiring presentations given by four successful businesswomen explaining how they had started, continued and grown their businesses. The opening presentation was given by Debbie Howarth, recently employed commercial enterprise manager of the B &W Society, who gave us some interesting statistics. The main show attracts 150,000 visitors each year, and is spread over 240 acres, including woodland and a lake. The Showering Pavilion has been used for a variety of attractions, including an exhibition hall, concert venue, cattle show and entertainment.

The showground has a miniature railway, which is great fun to ride on. Many celebrities, such as Katherine Jenkins and Cliff Richard, have played there. It has hosted boxing matches and Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music. In fact, all weekends for 2019 are booked bar three.

I will finish with Debbie's 'top five take away tips': value yourself, value your team, learn to say no, create your own strategy and listen, all good workplace advice.