THE changeable, often chilly, weather continues to be a feature. Blustery wind, mainly coming from a northerly direction, does, however, envelop us in an eerie silence, with the roar of the motorway being carried south.

I recently helped at a British Horse Society pleasure ride, held on the Fonthill Estate, near Chicklade. The fine weather on that day attracted 108 riders, who all enjoyed the wonderful scenery on the 12-mile route. We raised the fantastic sum of £2,400, to be split between Wiltshire Air Ambulance and a research fund to find a cure for Grass Sickness.

Grass Sickness in horses and ponies causes paralysis of the gut and there is evidence that the bacterium Clostridium botulinum may be involved.

Equines affected will show a variety of gut-related symptoms, leading to severe weight loss and eventually death. Thank you to the Fonthill Estate for allowing us access to such beautiful countryside and the trail riders for their help.

Here on Manor Farm Ian has sprayed the maize fields with a herbicide, as the weeds were beginning to grow, and maize seedlings do not like competition. The oilseed rape has almost finished flowering, with the seed pods now evident as they begin to fill with tiny seeds from which the oil will be extracted when ripe.

In Devon Steve has been helping a neighbour with silage-making.

On Stowell Farm more grass was ensiled at the start of the week, then Kevin had to clear some grass at Bowood in preparation for an event. This grass was cut, made into large bales, then wrapped in plastic to be stored as silage.

At the beginning of the week, the shearing of 800 Stowell Farm sheep was completed, which included the ewes that lambed in January, the yearling ewe lambs and ram lambs.

Later in the week some of the ewes and lambs were moved to fresh pasture. Then all the ewe lambs, also ram lambs born as a result of artificial insemination that had reached eight weeks of age were weighed. Some of the lambs were ready for their second vaccination to give them pasteurella and clostridial protection.

On Manor Farm, a pump that transfers slurry from a holding tank to our large slurry store has broken down, so we are awaiting the arrival of a new pump.

We have just purchased a second-hand set of hydraulic folding cambridge rollers, to replace our old set, which had to be narrowed by hand. A cambridge roller is made up of many small segments on one axle, so each segment can rotate independently. These rollers can be linked into sets of two or three.

The advantage of a cambridge roller is that it will go round corners in a cultivated field without producing heaps of soil on one or both ends, as it will not skid.

Most of my week was taken up at The Royal Bath and West Show. As steward of the Village Green I had to attend several pre-show meetings, followed by all-day attendance on show days.

It was a real family affair with Richard, Jenny and Barbara (our friend from Whitelands Farm) assisting, also Melissa and our grandchildren in the main ring each day racing in the Shetland Gold Cup. It has been a great show, with record attendance.

The blustery downpour on Friday morning almost swamped our stage, set up with speakers and microphones, but thanks to the efficiency and dedication of show employees (in the pouring rain) the sides were soon put onto the marquee and the huge amount of water which had collected on the roof tipped onto the ground.

An hour after the storm had departed things were back to normal, the entertainment could begin and everyone emerged from cover to enjoy the rest of the day.