I was up extra-early to do the chores,
as I knew a busy day lay ahead (it is December, after all!). After having completed the initial morning’s jobs I did a couple of hours’ work on emails, letters & the Blog; after which it was time to roll up my sleeves & sort out our cured goatskins for despatch to Nikki Port’s organic tannery in Herefordshire. Under quiescent skies, I armed myself with substantial quantities of dry salt & a stout pair of surgical gloves (having learned my lesson the hard way, whilst carrying out the initial deep salting – ouch!!), first removing the heavy, wet salt which had accumulated on the skins & then replacing it with a thinner covering of fresh, dry salt. The skins then had to be carefully, individually rolled up & first placed in a dry paper feed sack, for transportation. However, once I’d put all six skins in the sack & then tried to lift it to take it up to the house for wrapping in plastic & brown paper before posting it, I found that I could hardly lift the sack, it was so heavy. I hastily consulted Tony who agreed that it would probably be easier if we hand-couriered the skins to Hereford, once he’d returned from his shorthaul duties, on Monday.
Thus ‘pipped at the post’ (literally!) I drove to Newcastle Emlyn to do a spot of Christmas shopping: I had an unusual present in mind for Mum & Dad, & needed to assemble the various things I’d require to make it special. Suffice to say Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall gave me the idea; that bloke is an inspiration! Alas though, as Mum & Dad read this Blog I cannot tell you what it is, until Christmas Day…..but especially for smallholders, gardeners & cooks it makes a great & unique gift. And whilst it takes a bit of putting together, I’m confident the effort will prove well worth it!
On leaving the Ffarm earlier, the weather had continued with its ferocious, unforgiving temperamentality; I’d got soaked at the postbox, & the door of the car had almost been ripped from my hand by the buffeting wind. On arriving in Emlyn however, it was eerily quiet & still, neon reflecting its acid fluorescence on the dusk-shadowed wet pavement & the wind sighing sadly through the coloured strands of swaying Christmas lights which patterned the near-deserted town centre. The shopkeepers were cheerful enough, looking forward no doubt to their suppers & an evening tucked away against the elements; my mood was a little more grim as I worried about yet another inclement onslaught & how it would affect the Ffarm.
On returning to the top of the drive I looked out across the mountains; whilst the sky above my head was clear with a prickling of distant stars, the branches of the bare beech tree twisted & silent, I noted the hills were obscured by a pall of misty rain which with the wind coming from the west, I knew would soon be shrouding our valley in veils of showers again.
I hurried down the hill, & immediately pulled on my working clothes to bustle out onto the yard & put the animals to bed for the night, also making sure once again that everything was as secure as it could be before the next wave of gales came storming in as scheduled. Just as another torrent of rain soaked the farm, I hastened back indoors to cook a modest supper, lovingly turn the latest batch of my favourite Calon Y Ddraig cheeses & settle down to catch the repeat of Bryn Terfel’s latest concert at Caernarfon Castle – bendigedig! (brilliant, blessed, fantastic!) as we say, round here.
tackled chores & checked everything secured for storms but too late to go out when finished so caught repeat of Bryn Terfel at Caernarfon Castle – bendigedig!