Some of you probably already know but grew up on a dairy farm, we moved away when I was 16. We kept a large herd of Holstein dairy cows and as a hobby I kept chickens. Primarily Welsummer bantams, but I also had some Buff coloured Silkie bantams as well as Appenzellers. We also had some pet lambs throughout the year that we raised. I loved living on the farm, loved seeing circle of life with the animals and seeing what the different seasons brought. Although we grew up in the middle of the countryside and I didn't have any friends my age live nearby it was never dull on the farm, there was always something to do. I'd love to be in a position to have a small piece of land that I could keep chickens and sheep on. To feed my farming love every year I take time off to attend the Royal Highland Show that is hosted in Ingliston every June. The Highland Show is a great showcase of livestock in Scotland, and the UK. There is also a fantastic selection of produce that is made in Scotland or the UK. You definitely don't need to be a farmer to enjoy it! :) This year the show was scheduled for the 21st to 24th June and the weather was completely on the show's side! Also a bit windy it stayed dry and the sun was out the whole four days.
I took the time out at the Highland Show to "disconnect" from the world. We live in a world where we are constantly connected and at the mercy of our phones/social media, which can get a bit stressful and tiring at times. So dedicating even just an hour a day to disconnect can be really beneficial. I often get caught up checking Social Media, emails, being online for people "just in case" and can often forget to live in the moment and enjoy what's happening around me. At my work, we are actively encouraged to take time out to recharge the batteries, spend time with the family, etc and to prioritise that when appropriate. It's one of the many benefits of working at Microsoft! It's refreshing to see an employer do that.
Highlights of the Highland Show
As I mentioned earlier the show is a great place to see the farming industry up close and see some of the produce that we make in the country. We've become to detached from how and where our food comes from, the show really helps to bring the consumers and makers back together. A couple of the highlights for me were:
- The dedicated section within the Food Hall for Orcadian produce. Last year I got to work with a client in Orkney and fell in love with the main island when I visited. So it was a real treat to sample locally made crackers, cheese, gin and rum.
- I also love seeing the Heavy Horse displays. These involve Clydesdale, Shire, Canadian Belgian and Percheron horses appearing in single, pair, unicorn, team of four or sixes formation. The work and effort that goes into training these horses into being able to drive and work in some of these formations is massive, as is the work that does into preparing their harnesses. You will struggle to see the same kind of showing of heavy horses anywhere else in the UK so it's a real treat, even after seeing them for years. It's a sight I'll never tire of seeing or hearing!
- Spending time with the family! I got a chance to spend the whole day with the people that are important to me, without having to rush away anywhere and I made a conscious effort to stay away from my phone. So I have a limited amount of photos from the time as I even tried to keep from using it as a camera. It was nice to make memories. :)
My advice would be to try and build in time in your schedule to disconnect from the virtual world at least once a week. Whether that be spending a lunch time outside taking a walk (something I try to do at least 3 times a week and it really does make a difference), spending time with a family, leaving your mobile phone at home for a few hours while you go out or just making time to read a book on your to do it really does make a difference. I always feel recharged after spending even a short time disconnected. Go out there and make some memories, and be sure to check out the Royal Highland Show if you are in Scotland or the Royal Welsh if you are in Wales, or the Royal Cornwall show in England, you'll be pleasantly surprised!