was how Doctor Johnson characterised the nocturnal atmosphere in Macbeth. He could equally well have been describing the way this farmer feels today. We lost money this year (i.e. from the crop grown in 2000 but sold in 2001) for only the second time in my farming lifetime,† and the outlook for next year looks even worse. Regular readers of these Annual Reports will attest to the fact that I am not congenitally pessimistic. Unlike many (most, actually) of my profession, I am happy to admit to the good times. Which is why I should be believed when I say things today are very difficult indeed.