I know that sounds harsh, and perhaps I should apologise to those of you that work within this multi-billion pound Quango. I would also accept (under duress) that Google has to share some of the blame for my obsessiveness, none the less the lions share of the blame, has to lie with the Environment Agency. You see, the cause of great angst within Biddenden Green Farm, and no little amount of marital strife lies within the website www.environment-agency.gov.uk.

It is within these pages that the graph below can be found (don’t search for it, or you too will become a man possessed)

This graph shows, almost minute by minute the reaction of the River Beult (pronounced Belt) to recent rainfall, measured at Smarden. Now………….whilst this tributary of the mighty River Medway is a fine river in it’s lower reaches around Hunton and Yalding, at Smarden, close to it’s source, it is an embarrassment. Little more than a foot or two of turgid muddy water flowing slowly through the east of the village, under a couple of fine old bridges. Many a time at Easter, the village annual duck race descends into farce as there is barely enough water for the ducks to float, let alone make a spectacle of the race………..and then it rains, and if it rains and rains and rains, the Beult is transformed.

For reasons that people smarter than me will have to explain, the Beult reacts swiftly to rainfall………rising a metre or more in an hour is not uncommon, and moving from 30-40cm of turgid nothingness, to 3.5metres of raging torrent can take less than 1/2 a day.

The recent spate of storms and their accompanying rain has seen me glued to this graph….reporting diligently to Mrs M every centimetre rise or fall in the level of the water, this is despite the fact that Biddenden Green Farm is so far outside the floodplain that there is no chance of us being affected, in fact the worst that could happen to us is that we would be cut off from the pub….

The first mild interest that Mrs M showed in the data I was reporting, swiftly faded to boredom, then mild annoyance and now she is phoning local respite homes in an effort to lock me away for a few days…….she has also written to the Environment Agency begging them to take down the graph, I have tried to quit……….but cold turkey does not work, turn off the PC, and I reach for the Ipad……..my only hope of saving my marriage seems to be a spell of fine dry weather……….

Turning to the farm itself, we, like most of the UK are pretty soggy. The pond to the side of the farmhouse is considerably larger and deeper than I have seen it before, and the old well that sits under our dining room floorboards has water levels a good 8 feet higher than usual.

Despite this (or maybe because of it), the wildlife, especially the bird life is flourishing. Wrens and Robins are already singing their hearts out, and the darkness is filled with the territorial hooting of owls.

Most bizarrely our resident scooty hens are already nest building. We gave up counting at 7 generations last year, if they start hatching in January I a deeply worried for any guests arriving later than September……………..we will be knee deep in these funny little birds by then.

If you have visited us before, and are reading this to catch up with what is happening in Smarden, please user your repeat bookers voucher and take advantage of the prime weeks at a discount. If you have not yet received your voucher, simply mail the concierge ([email protected]) and let us know the date of your previous visit. We will then respond with a discount voucher to use on a repeat booking.

And finally………..Christmas is behind us, and the dog days of January and February lie ahead, country walks, country pubs and and cosy fires keep us happy and sane, however we all hanker for the long May days, when the gardens are green fresh and vibrant, below is just a taster of what Kent can deliver. We hope to welcome you soon.

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