Monday 05 June, 2023

Good Evans: Roger Evans - Local legend has it that I was knocked out

This month, Roger Evans discusses the downsides of rewilding, reminisces about a farm he once milked at, and details what medical professionals have made of him over the years.

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Good Evans: Roger Evans - Local legend has it that I was knocked out

This month, Roger Evans discusses the downsides of rewilding, reminisces about a farm he once milked at, and details what medical professionals have made of him over the years.

A friend of mine and a friend of hers decided to go for a ride on their horses. They decided to ride to a pub they knew, which would take them about 1.5 to 2 hours across country.

So far so good. But their journey took them along a canal. There were two swans nesting nearby and they were not best pleased to see them.

They had left the nest about 50 yards behind when the male swan must have had second thoughts. No doubt egged on by his wife he decided that this was a missed opportunity, that it called for more than some hissing noises and a ruffling of feathers.


So he flew down the canal and attacked the horses. My friends horse bucked and reared uncontrollably, but she managed to get off before she was thrown off.

Her friend was not so lucky, (if luck ever comes into it), and she and her horse ended up in the canal.

Canals are not easy to get out of, and while the lady was able to scramble out her horse cant.

Eventually the lady got back into the water and led her horse back to where the banks were less steep.

Of course, this swan wanted shooting but I dont think you are allowed to do that. Every bird and animal that is rewilded or exists already, has a downside and should that downside turn up and the bird or animal is protected you cant do anything about it.

Advocates of rewilding havent thought this through, not because they cant but because they dont want to.

For example, as farmers we see every day what havoc Red Kites inflict on small birds and mammals and just dont get me stated on badgers.

That swan could have just as easily have attacked someone frail, elderly or a child. The consequences are unthinkable.

Those swans have eggs to hatch and then cygnets to protect, the male could be aggressive for months yet.

An article in a recent Dairy Farmer was a trip down memory lane for me. It concerned Ceredigion dairy farmer Chris Mossman. I used to know Chris quite well but what triggered it for me was in the background to one of the photos was a farm I know very well.

Let me explain; after I left college I worked for some time for a relief milking agency. I was only 20, and I went to this farm two days before Christmas because the owner had died suddenly.

I was on my own in the house and outside. There was a huge new cowshed there and about 70 cows. It used to take as long to tie them up as it did to milk them.


Because of a design fault, the cows had to go outside every night. There was only one gate on the farm, at the entrance, so every morning you never knew where the cows would be.

The executors knew nothing of farming and were very suspicious of my honesty and only allowed me two bags of cake every day.

I think that they were more surprised that I was honest and how I cooperated and organised the subsequent sale, but they never thanked me.

There was a crawler tractor on the farm which I drove at every opportunity. I thought it was cool. It was an unusually bad winter, so I used to take the milk down to the village every day with the crawler.

And I used to take the crawler down to the village several times a week to pull the bus out of the snow. That was the only time in my life when I was seen as some sort of hero.

There were only about 30 of us in the village in the winter, second homes were an issue even then and I used to go to the pub every night for a warm and some company.

There were two pubs in the village and it was an unwritten law that in the interests of fairness, drinkers would go to both. So you would all go to the one first and at 9pm we would all walk, including the landlord, to the other.

It was popular to play that skittles game with a ball on a string, I got quite good at it and if you won, your opponent had to buy you a pint which meant that I had much to drink and a cheap night on many an occasion.

I was there for about four to six months. I often wonder what they did with that big cowshed, bet they kept sheep in it. It was when people were putting in their first milking parlours, so it was obsolete as soon as it was built.

I had to go to see a consultant recently.


My mobility is not that good. I reckon its because I played rugby until I 50, pulled tug of war during the summer, spent most of my life paddling about in wellies on cold, wet concrete.

These days most of my joints are crying out at the treatment they have received in the past, but you cant do anything about that now.

The consultant sent me a copy of the letter he sent to me GP in which he described me as a pleasant gentleman. This caused much raising of eyebrows in my family, but there it is in black and white, and whats

more, it is the opinion of a professional.


But its only half of the story.

Several years ago, it was the weekend before Christmas, and I took most of the men who worked for me for a lunchtime drink.

Lunchtime in this case stretched to about 4pm. As we left the pub we thought it would be a good idea to have one more at a local rugby club. This club rented a room at the same pub, it was on the upper floor and was accessed by a steep staircase. Id had much too much to drink and so when we left I fell down the stairs, right to the bottom.

Local legend has it that I was knocked out but I always maintain that I just curled up and went to sleep.

Anyway someone phoned for an ambulance and we blued lighted it to the local A&E where we were greeted by a very attractive lady doctor.

She might have been very attractive but she wasnt big on sympathy and she didnt like my sarcastic sense of humour.

Anyway she gave me a bit of an examination and said I could go. As a parting shot she gave me a piece of paper, which said: this man is a drunk, he fell down some stairs and knocked himself out.

So there we have it; Ive been described as a drunk and a pleasant gentleman by medical professionals.

Where does the truth lie? Probably somewhere in the middle, just like life itself.

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