Despite being the last one to lay my weary head on the pillow at yesterday’s close,
I was (as ever, in our household) the first out of bed before the subdued light of dawn had even begun to blush the sky. Silli woke me, scratching impatiently at the bedroom door with little mews of protest that she was hungry & to remind me her morning meal hadn’t yet been served. As is customary she leapt onto my shoulders as I brushed my teeth in the bathroom, draping her furry frame which trembled with purrs like a living luxurious wrap about my shoulders, as I carried her downstairs in time-honoured fashion for the ritual ‘breakfast parade’, gently depositing her on the back of the squashy old sofa & pullin open sachets of little meaty chunks for her & the ever-excited Nevada, who ran up & down the kitchen & rubbed her head against my clumsy fingers as I attempted to dollop the food in their bowls.
Quietly, I filled the copper kettle & placed it on the hob before attending to the gargantuan mound of washing up in the kitchen bowl & strewn across seemingly every available work surface, the last vestiges of yesterday’s delicious repast caked stubbornly on bowls & plates. A couple of much-needed restorative mugs of tea later, & Michelle came downstairs for a cuppa & a chat before first Aaafkhe & then Sandi, emerged; still groggy with sleep but anxious to make the most of the morning’s fine weather to take their cameras & artists’ materials out to capture some of the beauty of the Ffarm.
Feelng a little uncomfortable, I sensed disapproval from Sandi that I hadn’t yet grasped an opportunity to take the eternally effervescent Nanuk out for her morning walk; thus once the girls had set off & I’d roused Tony so that he & Michelle could commence their milk recording duties, & I’d filtered some milk, prepared the pork for the oven & put some tasty little new potatoes to cook in a pot of water on the stove, I took the dog out for a private training session before allowing her off the lead to run on Parc Gwair, the extremely steep field which runs down to the river & abutts the ancient Long Barn. Nanuk’s excitement from the previous day’s ‘playtime’ had spilled over into our morning’s activity; & much to my frustration she initially proved virtually uncontrollable, refusing to take any notice of me & being difficult to persuade to walk to heel. I patiently used the training techniques Jean had taught me & was a little happier by the time I let Nanuk loose for her run. She was quickly exhausted by the steepness of the field & the speed of her play; by the time I put her back in her kennel on the yard, she could hardly stand having exhausted herself so much. Nevertheless, when Sandi & Aaafkhe returned five minutes’ later, all Nanuk’s energy was restored & the irrepressible hound leapt, twisted & shrieked in customary excitement at the sight of strangers on the Ffarm, her barks reverberating loudly across the valley. I do hope, from that example, Sandi appreciates Nanuk truly does get ample exercise & regular, thorough training; however we understand our dog cannot be ‘transformed’ overnight & her education is going to be a long, slow, process for which reason we have appointed Jean’s expert services to guide us all successfully through. Both Tony & I have owned & trained dogs in the past; & I think this weekend has taught me that until Nanuk has had a fair bit more education we are going to have to pass up kind offers from well-meaning folks to take her for walks or undertake impromptu training sessions, as ultimately all it unfortunately appears to have done, is serve to perplex an already ‘high maintenance’ dog. Hopefully by the time Sandi next visits Nanuk will be better equipped to deal with the sometimes confusing commands of a stranger & will prove more tractable for her.
We all piled in for a splendid Sunday lunch of honey-roast pork sloshed with a rich merlot gravy & served with buttered new potatoes, crisp savoy cabbage & home-grown beans before sampling a dessert of Hay Tea & Spiced Honey varieties of ice cream (sadly nobody had room for a slice of apple pie). Thankfully everyone was most appreciative & enthusiastic, especially enjoying the light texture & cinnamon subtlety of the Spiced Honey variety, whilst commenting on the refreshing, creamy simplicity of the Hay Tea’s four simple ingredients. Indeed Aaafke said she normally prefers sorbets – but would buy this, which is praise indeed & I’m grateful for the compliment. Unfortunately after the meal the girls had to head back to their Cotswold homes; such a short visit, it really is a pity they could not stay for longer but it was lovely to see them & enjoy their excellent, affable company again, regardless.
As Tony was still not feeling at all well we opted to indulge in an easy afternoon, taking newspapers up to our ‘holiday home’, the caravan above the orchard humorously nicknamed ‘Ty Bach’ (literally, ‘Little House’ but more generally accepted as the Welsh colloquialism for the loo!) relaxing with a long, lazy G&T in the watery apology for afternoon sunshine. We carried out the evening chores at a steady pace & closed the door on the Ffarm at the end of another pleasant but guiltily lazy, day – a rare occurrence, admittedly but one we felt we needed as we’re painfully aware we’ve a hard week, ahead.