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The comments made on this page are not the political line or official opinions of any body or organisation. I am publishing what I have seen and what has happened to my neighbours, what has been felt and what has been said. It is in the plainest sense a diary -- personal, even possibly inaccurate, but just one person's record of our hopes, fears, frustrations and confusion amid major tragedies and minor triumphs.

Date sent: Sat, 2 Jun 2001 21:29:21 +0100

On 2 Jun 2001, at 18:01, *** wrote: HI there, does anybody have any idea how long it is before an infected premises has their second disinfection?

Newton Rigg were infected in early March and are still in the process of finalising disinfection - and we have lots of staff to do it. MAFF keep changing the rules. At the moment, all areas that had stock in or on have to be cleared of any "organic material". Pressure washing all crevices in stone walls etc, taking off the top 4" of any earthen floors. Previously, all crevices had also to be plastered up after pressure washing. So, it looks like 3 months at the present rate of going, but who knows -- it could be longer.

Date sent: Sat, 16 Jun 2001 17:53:18 +0100

MAFF has now been renamed DEFRA: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Everything from fish farming to foxhunting, rural pollution, F&M, BSE, bids for European funding for development of rural areas - and it includes what was MAFF. It's still a Government department presumably containing the same people plus other departments that have also either changed their names or become extinct. It is now headed by Margaret Beckett instead of Nick Brown. Personally I think its remit has become so huge that it will fossilise shortly and be discovered 10,000 years hence as a cattle-and-sheep eating dinosaur. :--))

Date sent: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 19:53:23 +0100

F&M has been diagnosed at Orton in several farms, and E*P* just behind us has lost all his stock. He has land either side of us, about three quarters of a mile away in each direction. The road to Roundthwaite, that we rode along to go to B*'s farm, is closed; the hamlet has "pulled up the drawbridge" and just isn't letting anyone through other than residents. That might not stop the disease, but they are trying. There is also a "wheel wash"on the road - a strip of carpet fastened down with road studs and tar, that is kept wet with disinfectant, to clean car wheels. (Not sure who is keeping it wet - a commercial firm I think). I don't believe it really makes any difference myself although we have a straw wheelwash at our gate and keep it wet. I think people are the carriers, not the cars -- if there is muck under the wheel arches it won't be touched by the carpet wash and anyway, tyres get too hot for the virus after a few minutes' driving. Wheel washes just warn people to be careful, and maybe slow the traffic a little. Mr T hasn't seen it - because of course I am not going out doing horse things. The driving club secretary emailed to ask if I was going to their Midsummer drive, about 3 weeks ago - I said I hadn't licensed the horsebox for the road, so NO. I'm glad I didn't now. Nobody wants the finger of suspicion pointed for spreading disease. I've heard 2 stories of farmhouse windows being broken and the farmers (we know their names) being "done over" with fists who were suspected of infecting their own stock to claim the compensation. A further twist to the story is that at least one of the farmers is believed to have FAKED the disease anyway!

Date sent: Sat, 23 Jun 2001 14:40:46 +0100

Life is a bit upset here right now for several reasons, the most obvious being foot and mouth which has reared its ugly head around our village in the last 10 days. It started in a group of store cattle at Park (about 3 miles from here north east) just outside Orton on June 14th, and has spread to a farm to the north west of us who also have (HAD) cattle at Park and at home and also sheep to the southwest of us in Bretherdale. Those have all been culled. Various other neighbouring farms have had infected animals since. We've had a strong north east wind which might have carried it over from one field's stock to another. Yesterday the dairy farm in Orton which supplies milk to Orton, Tebay, Roundthwaite and Greenholme had a case of F&M. Luckily the farmer was off the holding when it was diagnosed so he was theoretically "clean". He stayed in a holiday house and was able to buy-in milk from a Penrith supplier to deliver this morning. The Ministry are sending vets round to check what stock are on the other holdings; the one that called here this morning was Spanish or Italian. He just confirmed that I had only non-susceptible livestock, and went on his way. A neighbour has just called to leave a milk crate for the family's delivery of milk - they have rare sheep, some of which are breeds of which there are only 110 in the world, like the Balwen - so they have "pulled up the drawbridge" and no-one other than family goes anywhere near the stock; hence no milk deliveries. They collect from us. Roundthwaite has closed its roads (I haven't been there to check, for obvious reasons, though it's only 2 miles over the fell).

G*'s wagon broke down yesterday. He's away today, I presume to dismantle the crunched remains and estimate what new parts are needed. I "thought" things were going too well for us.......... I had to deliver wool sheets out to 2 farms this morning while G* was packing tools into a friend's van. The farmers are clipping their sheep in the fields, since they can't move the sheep to the home farm; so they need the sheets rather earlier than usual, in which to store the wool. IE they need the sheets to put the wool into Right Now. One of the farms began to telephone for sheets at 6-30 am and then every quarter hour until we got up at 7-30. With the breakdown, G* had not got into bed till 5 am so he wasn't amused. Usually the wool gets left in heaps in the buildings until the cattle need to come in in October. Whether there will be any cattle left in October, you can only guess. The Ministry vets now come to check livestock every other day on the neighbouring farms, and to blood test 5% of sheep. The cynical view is "they keep on coming till you get it" - well, you wouldn't expect them to come to check stock after that. One of the other observations is that "that farm went down with F&M within a fortnight of the Ministry vet calling"... well, if he calls every fortnight, that is bound to be true and not necessarily the CAUSE of the disease. The stories about how F&M has been started or spread are too silly to repeat and involve such illogic as the preceding statements.

Date sent: Sat, 30 Jun 2001 15:23:35 +0100

More of my friends have lost their stock to F&M, specially one about 9 miles away who had beautiful Angus cattle (all black, rounded and chunky, just like Fell ponies). Periodically the milkman forgets to deliver to us because the's using a new route to avoid one hamlet that is still clean... he arrived full of apologies this lunchtime, having forgotten us today for the second time this week. The Midsummer Drive was cancelled because DEFRA considered it a bad risk to bring horseboxes from many different areas, congregate them in one place (Watermillock) and then disperse, possibly transferring disease.

2001: February/March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December | 2002: January