Friday, 18 December 2015


  The end of the world for one man can be a new beginning for another. For the men who met in that barn, the end was here.
  It was January, just above freezing, but the siberian winds swept over the land like mongol hordes biting flesh with icy fangs. The rain fell like daggers; it rapped off the tin roof of the stone shed.
  They were south-west of Wooler, close to the Scottish Border. The Cheviot Hills loomed in the darkness. The howing weather battered the already beaten structure, but there was an orange glow radiating from the lights within, offering the warmth of the inn to a traveler.
  The heat from the assembled men appeared like smoke, rising from rain drenched coats inside the confines of the shelter. There must have been a hundred ruddy farmers rammed into the barn. They gathered not through choice - it was fear of change that brought these normally solitary beasts together.
  The smell of silage wafted through the space, while a muted hubbub filled the airwaves. The rotund, red-faced orator who now hushed the crowed was a man named Rowell. He farmed near enough four hundred acres outside Hexham. Fit as a fiddle though well into his seventies, the man was flanked by his three sons. As he smashed his fist into his open hand, he bellowed and blustered about the choice these men had to take. Give up their land and livelihood to the local collectives or, with support from Scotland, fight the land reforms. 

For most, the decision was already sown in the land.

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