Well, that's what I'm doing today. Back next week, but in the meantime, happy birthday, ma'am, on 21st April.
With Easter coming this weekend there is only one place for the Old Bat and me to be. For more than 25 years it has been our custom to visit my cousin and her husband on their farm a few miles outside Bristol. (I wonder why there is no generally accepted term for the spouse of a cousin? I can't keep referring to "my cousin's husband" so without further ado I shall coin the phrase "cousin-in-law".)
Although I am no farmer, being a thoroughbred townie, I have, over the years, turned my hand to numerous jobs around the farm, albeit frequently acting mainly as gofer to my c-i-l. I have helped to dig holes for fence posts. That, on the face of it, sounds an unnecessary task but these fence posts were not the usual chestnut stakes. They were mini telegraph poles almost a foot in diameter and needed to be buried four feet into the ground. I am talking about the corner posts for an 8' high fence of high tensile steel netting to contain deer. At that time, there was no money to hire a contractor to do the job so it had to be done by hand. I have repaired the ordinary sort of barbed wire fence, having herded the cows that had broken it down back from the garden which contained grass so much more luscious than they had in the field. I have rounded up sheep, ducks and geese, though not all at the same time. Using my minimal carpentry skills I have constructed gates, I built a pig pen and dug a trench across the rock-hard ground of the yard. I helped install a milking machine and taught calves to drink from buckets. I have cut down trees (and tended the resulting bonfires) and I have planted hedges.
My job this year, I am told, is to construct cow-proof protectors for the fruit trees c-i-l wants to plant in groups in the Pond Field.
The weather forecast is good - at the moment - so it should be an enjoyable weekend with fresh air, good food, good wine and good company. Oh, and I'm meeting that long-lost cousin again for lunch on the way to the farm.
See you next week.
Thursday, 17 April 2014
Well, it makes a change from "Gone fishing". This is an easter tradition, as I explained three years ago thus: