Many of you who follow my Blog have asked me to write some more about life on my little farmlet. Here are two new additions to keep up my egg production quota and I’m pleased to say that the bantams I wrote about last time, have settled in well. I’m sure one of the chicks is a boy because he is slightly larger than his sisters and he has feathered feet. They really amuse me as they follow their mother around the chicken coop, continually keeping up a squeaky noise, not unlike an old Raleigh bicycle with a rusty wheel.
I love coming down here. Now that the weather has warmed up you can literally smell the earth and when you walk the meadows you can sense the sap bursting from the rich sweet stems of grass. I weed the vegetable plot, overseen by Bob Frederick the Scarecrow, with his wisps of white candy floss hair fluttering across his sinister forehead like some rustic Jimmy Saville – “’Ows about it Mr. Algar? Sir Jim here, will fix it for you to have a bumper crop of potatoes this year! Ow’s about that then?”
In the top fold, the sheep and goats have made short work of munching the pasture, so that all that’s left above the top two centimetres are nettles. Saizer, the Ouessant sheep is becoming a bloomin’ nuisance, continually head butting me and raking my leg with her front hoof when she wants feeding a carrot. I did not know whether animals were right or left handed but Saizer definitely likes to lead with her right, and delivers several painful jab combinations that would put Ricky Hatton to shame.
It’s time to move them to the next field but not until the girls have been sheared. This year I have a professional shearer coming to do the job. It costs only 4 Euros a sheep and I reckon that’s a real bargain because it’s one job I do not like doing and the poor things end up looking a bit punkified by the time I have finished. Tan, the biggest ewe weighs in over 90kgs – that’s as big as some tups (rams). And when you try and hold her down and shear her you know you have a fight on your hands. You can tell she is a big girl when she bleats. Whenever I approach the field, I whistle the theme tune from the film The Long Ships. Dad ah dah. Dah ah dah. And that sets them off running and bleating towards the sheepshed. The goats give off a high pitched “Niii, Niiih”, Saizer bleats in an alto fashion and by the time we get down the octaves to Tan we have a deep Russian bass “baah”, not unlike a basso profondo singing an aria from Turandot.
It saddens me to think that I may have to leave them behind some day. As you know, ‘Er indoors wants me to sell up and buy another place in rural Yorkshire. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m as proud a Yorkshireman as the next and the family have lived there since 1066 but somehow, Normandy will be a hard act to follow. There’s the climate for a start. I love to grow my own vegetables and they do better in the warmer clime of France. I have been trying to figure out why the move has sent me into such internal doubt and turmoil. It has taken a long time to arrive at the answer, but I think I have it, now that I have been reflecting on my own behaviour. It’s the fact that I cannot really plan ahead and people like me that like growing things, always have their eye on the future so that they can get a good yield. I have been frantically buying fruit trees – apples, pears, redcurrants, gooseberry, mulberry, you name it, and planting it all out in pots on the patio back in Yorkshire. Unconsciously I must have been thinking about where fate will take me and making sure I have a head start when I get there.
Now that that’s settled I can relax a bit and enjoy my time whilst I am here.