Storm Francis came, and true to its promise, trailed destruction in its wake, writes Hugh Besent.

Trees in full leaf came down on roads in every direction from Machynlleth, as well as plenty on fields and fences.

Even the leaves left on the windward side of trees have been burnt by the salt spray that travelled miles inland. No wonder fences rust over time.

The River Dyfi flooded, something that is now becoming a regular occurrence in August, and we had 10 inches of rain at Penmaen isa for the second month running.

It is very wet on our lower ground which makes late summer jobs difficult.

The mandatory rule that we cannot trim hedges until September 1 is possibly too draconian, as often September is too wet to get to all the hedges. As with a number of environmental rules, one size does not fit all, and surely there should be some flexibility. After all, hedges growing up to tree height do not provide a suitable wildlife corridor for many species. The car driver would also be less likely to have a puncture from older, tougher branches.

Storms come to try us, but as reported recently, we see new names for future storms attracting increased interest every year. The names alternate between male and female. But I do wonder, if we get to H, what on earth will Storm Heulwen bring us – a sunny storm?

At the beginning of the new year for parliament, we are reminded that there are only a few months until we leave the European Union.

We can but hope it is with some reasonable agreement, and that the new advisory group announced by Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for International Trade, will be able to press on the government how important it is to give the food industry a level playing field in all new international agreements.

The food industry has worked hard to supply retailers during the pandemic and continues to do so.

For other suppliers and services it has been something of a mixed picture, some have been slow in getting back to normal, while others have been very competent and have carried on remarkably well.

We depend on so many for their support. Some parts and tools have been delivered without problem, but surprisingly some companies related to the renewable energy sector seem to either be very reluctant, or don’t seem to function at all. Ecotricity, the parent company of our wind turbine, cannot come to service it for months.

This is the beginning of the new farming year for us. The cows and heifers have begun to calve.

As farmers, perhaps we’re used to things not going quite as planned and adapt well to the unforeseen.

The first heifer calved with a bull calf even though she was given sexed semen.

Thankfully, the others are calving to plan, and we’re slowly growing a crop of new young stock for the future, whatever that may bring.