….the end of another day. The dark, bulky magnificence of the Frenni Fawr Mountain is silhouetted against the fragile gold of the late evening sky, the shadows around the old stone barn deepening softly as the sun slips behind the hills. The animals are in bed: sheep & horses grazing quietly in the fields; goats chewing the cud in their pens; ponies munching hay in the stables; hens & cockerel comfortable on their perch; ducks & geese, heads tucked under wings, sleeping in the soft straw; pigs snoozing in their sty; cats curled up on the squashy old sofa……
…..and the dog. Nice & safe in her luxurious bed; yet whining pitifully, then barking piercingly, then escalating to a loud, long & mournful howling – regardless of the newly comfortable circumstances we have provided for her: an abundance of toys, a bowl of fresh water, a dish of tempting food, a juicy bone, human company….but sadly nothing, it seems, will comfort her at the moment. Her whole little doggy world has been turned upside down & understandably the poor girl’s finding it very, very hard indeed.
Today hasn’t been easy. Tony was up at 05:45 to get ready to set off for his trip to Yerevan this afternoon; despite not having to report in for work until 12.30pm, he opted to leave early as there are currently miles of debilitatingly slow roadworks on the M4, to negotiate; & of course it’s the start of the Bank Holiday (not that we really take note of the passing of the days: in farming terms the routine of each day is pretty much the same; although the weather dictates the work to a significant extent).
Anyway; as ever, Tony’s departure was his usual characteristic rush of unthinking behaviour as he concentrated entirely on his needs (forgiven – based on the fact that he not only had an extremely long & tiring day ahead but that his funds currently pay the mortgage!). I bid him farewell & after a hasty breakfast of toast & Marmite, took Nanuk for her first walk of the day. Whilst we didn’t do too badly this morning as she walked carefully to heel for the majority of our excursion, the afternoon’s training session was a frustrating disappointment. Apart from not listening & requiring some very patient handling on my part, when I let her off the lead in Parc Ysgyfarnog (Welsh for the ‘Harefield’ – well; every pilot should have one!) she immediately started her irritatingly enthusiastic deep & rapid digging. Having reprimanded her appropriately & removing her from the offending spot, she then flew around the field a couple of times at high speed before disappearing abruptly into the southerly hedgerow of the adjacent Lower Leat Field. I caught her again in the act of merrily digging yet another very deep hole adjacent to a support post in the fence; & whilst I told her off yet again, I strongly suspect my scolding will prove absolutely fruitless. I really wish I knew how to cure her of this rapidly-escalating problem; because she simply cannot stay if it carries on – the damage she is already doing to the fencing & the farmyard is just too much & could cause our livestock to escape & get hurt; or, if she digs her way out onto the lane before I can get to her she might even cause a serious accident herself….not an encouraging prospect. To top it all, the poor animal has a bad bout of tummy upset despite religiously feeding her what we have been assured is her ‘normal’ diet. I do feel so very sorry for poor, lovely Nanuk – but the digging, & the howling (especially the latter; because as Tony is a pilot he really needs undisturbed sleep for the safety of his passengers if nothing else), really must stop, ASAP…..