I HAD seen the Homoeopathy at Welly Level course advertised and tried to fit it in with work for a couple of years. This spring I enrolled, and found it inspiring and rewarding.

The course, run at the Duchy Home Farm at Tetbury, is designed to run on three days, with weeks in between to practise new skills. The first day began with an introduction by all participants, and it was great to hear all the stories behind why we were all on the course. An outline of the principles of homoeopathy followed and six remedies were studied. These were chosen because they are very often indicated in the daily routines of farm life, as I soon found out.

Various books were on display as were sources and examples of homoeopathic remedies. We were all sent away with detailed notes from the day.

The second and third days built on our newfound knowledge and we had case studies to identify the remedies we would select and an excellent simple repertory for animals was included in our notes. We looked at remedy pictures for acute and chronic illnesses, but always with the innate wisdom that advice was close at hand.

At the end of the course I went away with the feeling I understood the principles and was on the first step to the alternative world, but I would not be reprimanded for using allopathic medicine when and where necessary.HAWL is a great course and the only thing you need is eyesight that takes in the totality of life.

My farm is organic and in 2002, after 80 years of producing milk, we had to sell our beloved dairy cows, due to low returns and reinvent ourselves as beef farmers. The learning curve was quick to take effect as I was use to placid polite Guernseys, not boisterous yobby Limousins and Belgian Blues.

The farm is a closed herd and so we have slowly built up a suckler herd, using AI and so I have been able to breed many varieties of beef stock. On the farm at present are Aberdeen Angus, Beef Shorthorn, Belgian Blue, Belted Galloway, Blonde D'Aquitaine, Charolais, Limousin, Simmental, Sussex and a few old Guernseys. I have been selling my cattle as stores but this spring I sold my first finished cattle. They went to Marks and Spencers for their organic beef range.

These cattle were very large and heavy to me and not having the ideal loading area, I was concerned about the collection and possible affray. However, homoeopathy came to my rescue. I remembered the remedy which was good for fear and so put a few drops of the remedy into the water trough the day before the cattle were to leave. I went to check the cattle a little later in the day and they were all laying down asleep, and I mean asleep with their heads resting on the ground. I could not believe it, I thought I had overdosed them, but ultimately I thought yes this works!

The day arrived for the beef cattle to go and again I put a few drops of the remedy into the water trough and also gave each animal a spray on their muzzle of AAA Blue, a combined remedy from Crossgates homoeopathy suppliers. This was for transportation fear and as a calming agent. I also administered some to myself as I was still apprehensive. The lorry arrived and these half tonne bovines walked up the ramp to the lorry as if it were a daily occupation, I was in awe, and all I can say is it worked for me too.

I have also used homoeopathy with a film star cow that appeared on the BBC in the autumn. I expect that, although it took three days to film, if you blinked you will have missed Lilly's claim to fame. My old Guernsey plays the part of Bessie in "Cranford". Set in a small town in Cheshire in the 1850s, disaster strikes when she escapes from her field and falls in a lime pit. The lime burns her hair away and consequently it is recommended she is put down unless her owner makes her some clothes, which of course she does. A beautiful outfit of cow couture was assembled by the wardrobe department, with very few orifices showing, which of course could spell disaster for most directors, but not a cow on homoeopathy!

The lime pit scene was Lilly's chance to show star quality, and she did not let me down. The scene was filmed in a working chalk quarry, on a bit of a precipice. The pit was constantly refilled with water, which was above welly depth as my soggy socks proved. She, however, was not perturbed by the hock deep water or the camera, lighting, sound and general hub of a film crew. The actresses were all very concerned for her welfare, but I told them as long as she was chewing the cud, she was relaxed. The scene called for the cow to look distressed and the director asked for Lilly to look at least a little worried. This did prove to be hard to act out, but hopefully a few close ups and shots of her feet sufficed.

All I can say is that she took it all in her stride and is waiting for an Oscar nomination and a walk down a red carpet.

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