Tuesday, 21 June 2011


It has been a week of birthday celebrations.

Our little boy turned four and I am now 51.

Our son is proudly running around with a bright red badge with '4' pinned to his jumper and I sport the invisible '51' badge on my invisible wrap-around 1950's pinny.

We have feasted on the Victoria sponge from hell - the one where I followed Delia to the letter but it turned out to have ideas of it's own and turned into a Victoria biscuit. No amount of cream and raspberry jam could transform this pig's ear into a silk purse.
We ate it anyway.

I love the way our son has thrown himself fully into turning everything into a birthday celebration - pots of yoghurt have been wrapped in paper, the legs of the kitchen table transformed into a Christo like sculpture with the aid of wrapping paper and an entire roll of sellotape, birthday cards and bills hung together on the string of fishing line which is nailed on the living room wall; my only safesure method of office management which is an improvement on The Farmer's previous filing system which looked suspiciously like a burst Tesco bag and a sofa stuffed with receipts 'down the back'.
So red reminders and 'You are four' hang as a novel bunting along with the rosettes won at the ploughing competition and the odd advert for grass seed and the latest wonder drench (for later perusal).
When the window is opened, they flutter like Nepalese prayer flags wafting celebration, desperation and inspiration into the living room.

The Farmer sloped off to town and returned with a (badly needed) haircut and a screaming pink wheelbarrow. He had also bought me some chocolates which he had hidden in the car but alas "The dog ate them".
Now, PieDog looked remarkably healthy and chocolate binge free given that chocolate is poisonous to dogs plus there was a distinct absence of a chewed box or, indeed, any box so remains an Unsolved Mystery.

Amid all the festivities were muttering reminders that there was work to be done.
"Perhaps we should cut the end rigs and turn them into silage"...we meaning me because I love this job.
Except, it is too wet to cut anything (except another slice of birthday biscuit). It has rained and rained, poured, chucked it down, lamped it and then rained a bit more just in case it missed a bit.

The farmyard is back to being an ocean of thick mud, the fields too wet to drive on and The Farmer is beginning to fret.

"We still have a couple of months left of summer and surely we will have three dry days in a row". I try to be optimistic but apart from a short spell of lovely weather back in May, it has rained ever since.

Today, the birthday celebrations continue as it is Midsummer Day and feels like the pinnacle of the year so must be celebrated for the want of something to celebrate. I refuse to think about the days slowly turning shorter between now and Eldest Son's birthday....

I am bracing myself for the most glamorous job on the farm which Must Be Done, namely collecting dangleberries from the sheep before they are shorn.
This deceptively fruitsome description is another name for clipping any lumps of poo from the sheep bottoms so they are nice and fresh for clipping and not attracting the unwelcome attention of any passing blowfly.

Chucking rain or not, I ask you to spare a thought for a lonesome creature wearing a slap of lipstick in a lonely glen, in a sheep pen, with clippers and without Marigolds, bedecked in a dung- brown dufflecoat with the hood up, collecting dangleberries.
I may even go crazy and collect said dangleberries in my new, screaming pink wheelbarrow. Man, I can't wait.

I feel Older at the thought.

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