The dry, staccato cackle of a magpie on the old barn roof, roused me from my reverie.
I’d woken with a start: it was daylight, & it shouldn’t be. To my horror, I discovered that whilst I’d reset the time of the alarm the previous evening I hadn’t actually switched it on – what an eejit. And already tired, I hadn’t woken as early as usual. So I hastily made Tony a cup of coffee, glugged down my own mug of tea & jog-trotted down to the yard to start work. Tony joined me in grumpy mood, never one for mornings; & in particular, never ever one who relishes early starts.
Having noticed that a couple of the kids still weren’t glugging down milk with the same gusto as their chums yesterday lunchtime – in fact they were quite behind in terms of quantity consumed – I’d brought them into the house, where they share a roomy crate in the lounge with little Bechan, who’d got ‘too big for her boots’ in the bedroom & was causing all sorts of chaos – although her habit at hiding behind the curtains & ambushing us at every opportunity just like a cheeky child, was admittedly endearing. But chewing the books in the bookcase, the contents of the bin & even the wallpaper, wasn’t; plus she kept escaping from her makeshift playpen at the end of the room, & getting stuck underneath the bed. So it was time for a change…
By morning I’d noticed that one of the quarantined kids had definitely got a snotty nose; so with the age they are, rather than take any chances I took him to visit the vet where he elicited all sorts of admiring comments from other people in the waiting room. And apart from a bit of a shriek & a wriggle when he was given a shot of an antibiotic I knew we didn’t have at home, he behaved impeccably.
On the way back to the Ffarm I bought more tiny kid collars from the local pet shop & then returned to find Tony feeding the kids; but still in a bad mood unfortunately. I cooked some lunch, which we ate in near silence: then it was back onto the yard for more work, to take advantage of the pleasant afternoon & (so far) the lack of snow.
During the afternoon we had a visit from an old work colleague & her husband; we’d shared an office at RAF Innsworth a couple of years ago, & it had been Sheila who’d introduced me to Carl (Boo’s husband) when she’d switched jobs & moved upstairs. Since then of course, we’ve all been firm friends; & now Sheila & husband Ray were staying at Maes-Y-Derw, Carl & Boo’s magnificent 5* B&B – what a small world. It was lovely to see them again, & to catch up on all the news.
It seems so strange to think that RAF Innsworth has now closed; when I first arrived it had been such a busy, bustling place & my heart ached to see it gradually turn into a ghost town – another of the factors which led me to decide it was time that I, too, moved on; I’d been party to far too many unit closures by then, & it certainly didn’t appear to be about to get any better. And I know many others who feel the same; & like me, don’t regret the decision.
By evening milking, there was a change in attitude in the parlour: gone (for the most part anyway) were the hesitant, faltering steps of the goats up onto the milkstands, replaced by the other extreme; perhaps almost more dangerous – as the herd of hungry goats had worked out that milking = fooooood, lots of lovely food, & they wanted it, NOW. So from the moment I appeared in the parlour they were barging impatiently at the gate & whilst I’d thought this would be a suitable time to go ‘solo’ (as Tony was back at work the following morning) it turned out not to be; as I required his urgent intervention to stem the tide of hightly excited caprines attempting to flood the parlour, knocking equipment flying & bashing into the milking machine, in danger of disturbing the highly sensitive pulsator pressure settings – not good. At last order was restored; & decorum reigned once more as the goats finally settled back into their new routine. I’m all for an enthusastic workforce – but getting killed in the rush for the office staff to get to their ‘desks’, isn’t exactly part of the plan.
Time to go & count some more bruises…..you could have a high old time using my poor, battered bod to play ‘join the dots’ by now.