I'm not a great fan of professional football. We won’t go into that, but the fact that we are now within the European championship takes me back to the summer of 1988, says Farmer columnist Adam Day, MD of The Farmer Network.

I was a trainee auctioneer, recently young, free and single, living in a new town, and absolutely “brassic lint”.

I had £15 per week disposable income and saved it up for a Saturday night although I hardly knew anyone in Penrith, other than my new workmates.

One of them, junior auctioneer David Jackson suggested I join his small clipping team as a catcher. I could earn 10p per sheep, catching them, turning them over and dragging them into the clippers. There were no fancy trailers with this crew.

Early one red hot Saturday morning in June, we set off for Wreay near Carlisle for a days’ graft.

The sheep pens were set in an open field and full of the biggest half- bred ewes you have ever seen in your life. The first 10 or so ewes went smoothly, but after that the job become harder and harder.

The sweat was flying, mixed with the grease of the sheep fleece, flies buzzing and the incessant whirr of the hand pieces. It was to be the hardest days’ work I have ever done for thirty quid.

We finished the job and I sat propped up against the pickup absolutely spent, the bottle of pop I brought with me long dry. “Right, come on” said Jacko wiping away the sweat from his brow, “we’re off to the next farm”! My heart sank.

By the time I got home late- afternoon, I could barely walk up the stairs to my flat. I lay down not caring if my filthy jeans were staining the sofa. Not caring that England were getting stuffed by Holland. I didn’t even get out on the town that night, my £30 remaining safe in pocket.

Nothing much has changed since then. The gear and the trailer setup’s may have been improved, but the skill sets required, and the physical fitness of these crews are outstanding. This is a hard way to make a living in anybody’s book.

We know the wool is worth next to nothing, and that whole process these days is totally based around the health and welfare of the animal.

This is just another example of the processes that form part of the farming industry, producing food and managing the countryside.

In the industry we take it as part and parcel of normal farming life. To the general public it may be little understood or appreciated, but we have to keep getting the message across. It is a simple one. “If you want quality food and you want healthy landscapes, then you need farmers to keep doing what they do”.

“England are wilting in the heat” said the commentator as Marco Van Basten blasted in his third goal. “They seem to be out on their feet”. At that very moment on June 15 1988, so was I.

n “I have spent 30 years working as a Land Agent and Auctioneer throughout Cumbria and beyond. I still enjoy auctioneering on a freelance basis, mostly at Penrith Mart, where I first started my career many years ago.

I Joined the Farmer Network in 2015 initially working three days per week but now working four days per week. I am involved in all facets of the Network working closely with the Board of Directors and the Management Council’s to ensure that the Network is delivering what members want and need. A priority in my role has been to raise awareness of the Farmer Network and increase membership. In doing so we have been able improve income streams and project funding.The Farmer Network is a sustainable business model and well placed to continue providing a range of services and support for farmers, their families and their businesses.