Updated: Sep 1, 2021
Well, we had a crazy couple of days in the middle of October here at Ty'r Cwm Farm with the BBC filming an episode of 'The Farmers Country Showdown'. The day started as normal - with our daily routine - of feeding and watering the free-range pigs, the peacocks and our two dogs, and checking everything around the farm's OK. Without sounding overly dramatic, when we wake in the mornings - we never quite know what to expect. Over the past eight years, we've had to deal with our fair share of emergencies - usually involving escaped animals, fallen trees or burst river banks. Not what you'd call major events, but always something that requires us to drop everything right away, sort out the problem, and then get on with our everyday life. It's one of the parts of farming that we, unwittingly signed up to when we bought this place.
The two weeks running up to the big day brought heavy rain - everyday. Being on clay is difficult to deal with at the best of times - but after a two week drenching - we'd begun to think filming with the BBC was going to be a washout. Strange though, on the morning when the BBC appeared, so did the sun. Ty'r Cwm Farm is a magical place no matter what the weather throws at it, but it really comes into it's own when the sun shines.
The days filming started with our introduction to a small camera crew of three. One of the team came well-prepared for trekking across the Brecon Beacons National Park. The other two decided to opt for the city look - clean chinos and canvas trainers - not ideal on the farm. Fortunately, we keep spare 'old' wellies about the place for our visitors. Although the sun was out, the residue of the last two weeks rain was still making it's way to the Garw and leaving in its path a fair amount of mud. Funny how Welsh names are often considered appropriate descriptors. Garw is the name given to the mountain river that makes its way across the farm. Garw literally means rough. After a night of heavy rain, it's no surprise how it got that name.
Once booted up, two of the crew ventured off in search of interesting things to film leaving the producer to talk us through the format for the first day. Neither me or Liz knew what to expect. Just before filming commenced, we were instructed to always answer a question with a complete sentence. The producer started off by asking Liz how long we'd been keeping pigs. "About 25 years", she answered. Can you say that again, only this time imagine I'm not here asking you the question. We both looked at one another slightly puzzled. Liz gave it another go, "We've been keeping pigs for about 25 years". "That's better. Do you like keeping pigs?". We both nodded and replied "Yes, we love it". The producer bit his lip and asked us to try saying that again, using a complete sentence? Liz took the lead and looking directly into the camera lens said, "We love keeping pigs". Excellent! Can you try that again, only this time try not to look directly at the camera. On the third attempt, Liz shot me a glance that said - I think I Nailed it!".
It was at that moment that I knew the day was going to be very long.
Watch The Farmers' Country Showdown Series 5:15 Cowbridge on iPlayer