Monday 26 April 2010
Since I last wrote I’ve been rushing around with commitments: good ones, it has to be said but still commitments.
On Wednesday I took Dad out to lunch at The Maypole in Thurloxton again. We’re becoming regulars and are greeted like such by the staff. It’s nice to go somewhere where they recognise you and the food is great. Dad and I have an ongoing battle about who’s going to pay for lunch but I’m trying to steer us in the direction of taking turns, otherwise he insists on picking up the bill every single time.
On Thursday I visited Julie in Minehead for lunch, a wander-around the town and then a cup of tea at her house. The sun was out and we had a thoroughly pleasant lunch in one of her favourite restaurants. I came away with a present:
a luggage tag she’s designed with a view to making your suitcase immediately visible on a luggage carousel at the airport. She has other designs and if you’re interested you can buy your very-own from her site. This is her photo, by the way, which I ‘borrowed’ from her website since it’s the design I chose.
On Friday I went with several friends to a craft fair at Shepton Mallet. It’s the first one I’ve been to since mum became ill; we always went together and I didn’t feel like going to one without her when she was so poorly. It was still difficult although my friend Vivien is good company.
Saturday saw us awake at 5.00 am. There was an Open Day at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton, Steph’s university of choice in September, which started at 10.00 am so we left the house at 6.00 am and picked up Terri en route. With about twenty minutes to spare we were parked in Luton and finding our way to the entrance of the university. I’ve a horrible feeling I picked up a speeding ticket on the way – not because we were rushing but simply because we were in unknown territory and I missed the signs! Time will tell. The day was interesting and informative with tours around the campus, various associated buildings and accommodation, and she thinks she definitely wants to go there. I’ve a suspicion that I may take her leaving home even harder than I did Alex’s, but she is the ‘baby’ of the family. It’s still a shock to see her so grown-up and I’m getting dire premonitions of ‘empty-nest syndrome’ already.
Speaking of which, Alex is coming home for a few days tomorrow. Her dissertation is bound and will be handed in some time today, she’s out to celebrate this evening with friends then I’m driving to Cheltenham to collect her. We’ll be bringing home a lot of her unnecessary stuff too so she doesn’t have to worry about it on the train.
Yesterday we gardened. Yes! Both Gordon and I. This is unusual, but while he mowed the lawn and strimmed the edges, I weeded the flower-beds and clipped shrubs. We had lunch and a glass of wine in the gazebo when it started raining with the initial thought of staying there until it stopped but it didn’t so we eventually gave up and went indoors. After milking the sun had come out again so we carried on until 7.30 pm. Again, a flash into life at home with no ‘children’.
The farm has been busy this week as we’re now fully into our calving season. We’re getting about two or three calves a day and are starting to run out of places to put them again. At the moment the most in one pen is six with three cows even though there’s only one set of twins. If their mother isn’t interested in looking after them we put the cow back in the herd and hope one of the ‘maternal’ cows will take over feeding it. This is working quite well so far. Oddly enough, even though the mothers kick the calves away and refuse to let them drink, they still bawl for a couple of days when they’re let out with the herd.
We had the fire brigade out twice last week and they phoned us again this morning. The first time was when someone in a passing car on the motorway reported an animal in the canal. By the time TWO fire-engines turned up Gordon had already found a calf that had fallen off the end of the ramp down to the water and was paddling about sadly looking for the way back. The mother was peering into the water intently so Gordon simply looked in the same place and found the calf. The second time was on Friday and unfortunately I missed this one. THREE fire-engines turned up because someone on the motorway had reported ‘a herd of cows walking into the canal and trying to drown themselves’. It was a hot day: they were going for a drink and a paddle to cool off their legs, but apparently the person in the car was concerned they were trying to commit suicide! This morning, someone in the office used their initiative and phoned Gordon before sending out a fleet of engines, which is just as well as the passing motorist this time had reported a cow and calf stranded on an island in the middle of the canal. There isn’t an island in the middle of the canal, but there is a large ditch on the opposite side of the canal bank and we can only think that it looked like an island from the motorway.
I know it’s quite an expensive business to send out an engine, so I hate to think what the cost of all these unnecessary call-outs has been to the Fire Brigade this week. Giving Gordon a ring and asking him to check it out first has got to be far cheaper!