I’ve been spending many, many hours sitting inside at the weekends, looking at the sunshine and fields full of tractors and cows, revising agricultural rent reviews and other such matters.  But there comes a time when my brain can only take so much of compulsory purchase compensation, and then the inevitable happens.

Camera Cows

As quick as a flash I’m downstairs, boots laced and camera in hand.  The cattle have become my photography subjects.

It goes something like this.  The cattle are relaxing, chilling out in the field.  Some are lying down, others are eating.  They know where they are and they’re happy and comfortable.  So I walk into the field.


One by one they look up.  ‘Who is this person in our field? She’s not the one who feeds us…’


I crouch down.  These are young, maiden heifers and I’m 5ft10.  Cattle look strange when you take photos from above! This confuses them even more.  There’s a public footpath so walkers passing through are not uncommon, but someone stopped, crouching in the field? That’s unusual.  And so more begin to appear.


And eventually I end up quite surrounded by these lovely girls.  They stand around and look at me, sniff me, snort at me. But, because I’m still crouching down they don’t come very close.  Still unusual.


I stand up to leave and immediately they march forwards. ‘Oh!’ they say. ‘You’re just a person, really!  Well why didn’t you say?!’

And with that they’re all over me.  Licking, rubbing, scratching.  I back away slowly so as not to get chased, and leave them to it, to find their cousins, the beef cattle, for some more entertainment.



Onto the next phase!

I have, after what feels like forever, finished my exams.  Some went better than others but I won’t know really until the results come out on 16th July so that’s all I am saying on the matter.

Now – onto the next phase!

As some of you may know I am doing a sandwich course.  This means that I do two years of study at university, one year on a work placement in industry and then I return to university for the final year.

As I have just finished second year, this means I am going on to placement!

At the beginning of July I will start my year placement in the Estate Office on the Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire.

Chatsworth Selfie

Me at Chatsworth!

This year will also count as the first year of my Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).  The APC is the training and assessment process which enables candidates to become members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).  It requires a minimum of two years of training in the work place, which must be recorded in a log book, to meet certain competencies which the candidate chooses based on what work they are doing and what their interests are.

After the two years of training, there is then a presentation of a critical analysis, and an interview with a panel of assessors.  The assessors then decide if the candidate is ready to become a member of the RICS.

So in a few weeks time I will be choosing which competencies I want to do for my APC, and getting started working!

Out in the big wide world – a little scary but I can’t wait!

Wishing the time away

In less than 24 hours this year’s exams will be over, so it’s a little ridiculous that I am feeling highly unproductive today.

The problem is that there are so many exciting things happening in the next four weeks that I just can’t wait for them to happen!

I’ve spent a lot of today window shopping on the internet. I’ve been looking for a dress to wear next weekend to a 21st and bikinis to take on holiday! And of course the exchange rate of the euro (even though it doesn’t make all that much sense to me), the weather forecast for Preveza (I hope it improves by the time we get there) and of course beautiful pictures of Greek islands.

I really cannot wait.

A question about the local tax liabilities of a maggot rearing shed has brought me back down to earth with a bit of a bump though, so I will just have to try and push the excitement to the back of my mind for just a few hours longer, and get back to the revision!

I will leave you with a photo of my favourite place on earth.

I take no credit for this picture - it isn't mine I found it on Pinterest

I take no credit for this picture – it isn’t mine I found it on Pinterest

Exam stress: I miss my pony

I wanted to lie under a tree today and stare at the sky forever


“All my life, I have been in love with the sky. Even when everything was falling apart around me, the sky was always there for me.” –  Yoko Ono


I had my fourth exam this afternoon. It was a really tough, gritty exam which squeezed every last ounce of power from my brain. I tried my hardest and that is all I can do.

Yesterday I sat and revised all day, didn’t leave the house.  I thought I had better do something physical, so I did the workout on Miranda Hart’s Maracattack.  It was hilarious and cheered me up no end.

I didn’t really sleep last night. I suppose part of it is stress, and a part of it is having done nothing but sit.  My brain is constantly trying to remember and take in information that when I do finally lie back and close my eyes,  a million thoughts and images rush through my head at lightening speed, trying to get out.  They’ve been there all day but I’ve been too focused on revision to allow them to be heard.

It’s this sort of time when, while I was doing my A-levels, I would say OK, I’ve done enough revision for today.  It’s time to chill. I would go to the yard and spend hours with Oscar, grooming him, chatting to him, feeding him polos.  Then my friend would arrive and we would go for a hack together, talking about everything and nothing.  I’d make Oscar’s bed up for him, give him his tea, fill a big haynet and put him to bed all snuggly in his rug.  And then I had relaxed, I could go home and carry on, and have a good nights sleep.

But this time it’s relentless revision. Mum and dad are coming to see me this weekend, to take away everything that I don’t need for this week.  I have three exams next week and then that’s it.  I can leave these exams, this house which should have been fun, but four opinionated girls living under one roof was always going to be tricky.  I can go back home to my Bramble dog, my family and my Sheryl, before I start the next adventure in July.

That’s an exciting adventure.

And I cannot wait.



An old photo – me and my boy, Oscar.


And we’re off..!

I’ve been very busy since I last posted – a combination of lots going on and lots coming up!

For my birthday I took a few days off from revising for the bank holiday weekend at the start of May and went down to the boat with my parents and Stephen.  Steve had never been sailing before so we had a great time showing him the ropes – literally – and sailed over to East Cowes for the Saturday night, and spent Sunday night in Haslar before heading home and back to Harper on the Monday.

Since then it’s been all go with revision.  Lectures were mostly revision and exam preparation and finally stopped on 9th May for Reading Week, and now the exam period.  I went home for Reading Week, so I could see the family and break up the days of solid revision a bit by walking the dog! I did enjoy being home in the sunshine and being able to sit and revise in the garden, as we haven’t got a garden at the house in Newport.  

Last Friday was the official opening of the Weston Building at Harper Adams, and I was invited along to see it be opened by presenter and farmer Adam Henson.  I have written a blog about this for the Harper website so I won’t say much about that here, but I will post the link to that blog when it is published. 

I had a really nice weekend in Cheshire playing with baby calves and the like, and now it really has got serious with exams!


My first exam was today, Woodland Management.  We had a choice of seven questions and we had to answer three.  The questions covered subjects such as thinning, pests and disease, woodland establishment and uses for wood products such as the construction industry or wood-fuel.  

I think the exam went quite well as the range of questions meant that I could chose the ones I was most comfortable with, and the questions were as I expected which is where doing lots of past papers has come in useful. 

The next exam is Planning Law and Practice on Friday, so keep your fingers crossed for me on that one!

Good luck to everyone else who has exams at the moment!




Today I had my last exam and have now finished the first year of Rural Enterprise and Land Management at Harper Adams! Time has absolutely flown by, especially the last term and I can’t believe that it’s a year since I was on the Freshers 12/13 Facebook group finding out who I would be living with for the year and who is on my course. Two of my closest friends are the ones that I was in contact with via twitter before we even got to Harper which is nice.

Moving to Harper was the scariest thing I have ever done but I must say it’s the best decision I’ve made in my life. I’ve made so many great friends and had so many experiences I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to fit in to 9 months. I think in the time I’ve spent at Harper so far I’ve learnt the equivalent of the entire A-level courses that I did, especially regarding the agricultural modules because although agriculture is something I obviously have a great interest in I really didn’t know much about it before I came to Harper. The modules are also totally new subjects – valuation for example definitely isn’t something you can learn at sixth form! Construction isn’t very new to me as my dad is a building surveyor, but I did rather enjoy the assignment to design an Olympic museum, and then to survey the cricket pavilion for conversion.

Watching the Facebook page for next years Freshers, seeing them getting excited about Harper and worrying about their A-level exams, I’m so glad that there’s a new set of students who REALLY want to be at Harper, and that’s what uni’s all about; a sense of belonging.



I’ve been back at Harper 24 hours but already I’m feeling claustrophobic. I’ve had lectures, and I’ve been shopping but I feel like I’ve spent the day sitting here on my bed, where I’m sat now, staring at my laptop and trying to force out my research methods report.

There’s always noise – even now someone is playing music and all day people have been lounging in the sun outside being happy, and campus really comes to life in the sunshine. It’s a wonderful atmosphere.

I have one more assignment to complete for first year and five exams, and in five weeks today the year will be over. Just five more weeks of this room, too.

I’m going to miss it if I’m honest. People walking past my window, there always being someone there when you want a chat or a laugh, always something going on. The banter that goes on between the flat mates, even if we step on eachother’s toes a bit when we’re stressed, we all get on well when it comes to it. And it’s so handy for lectures. Outside my window is a tree, a little fir that’s kept its leaves and sheltered blackbirds beneath it all through the winter. The blackbirds come every morning, turning over the leaves and grass in the search for worms, one beady eye on me as I watch them through the window.

I know, subconsciously, that I’m starting to stress about the exams now. I’ve sat enough exams to spot it. This assignment isn’t the hardest but it’s taking time and is due on Monday. I’ve set myself a target to finish it by Wednesday, get it out of the way and crack on with whatever’s next. I know I should have done more revision by now, with my first exam in just over three weeks, so hopefully if I finish the IRM assignment I can do something I feel is productive over the rest of the week and weekend. Then my revision plan will come into full force.

And a weird way, I’m looking forward to the exam period. It will be a massive relief when it’s over but I work best under pressure, running full pelt towards the exams. That way I can feel I’ve done everything I could possibly do, no time wasted, no regrets. If I haven’t got a spare minute to think, I haven’t got a spare minute to worry.

[Edited 23rd May to make it less depressing, because really it doesn’t need to be at all]

And I’m still loving every minute.

Maddi x