What a sodding month! I am normally a fully paid up member of the polite society but last weekend we had a phone call from our neighbour at 8.30am to say our cattle had escaped through the hedge and onto his land. This was bad news indeed. We quickly grabbed all equipment required (dog, stick, Beth our weekend helper and feed for bribe…for cattle, not Beth) and headed down the drive.
We managed to manoeuvre cattle to gateway and hold them there but just as we tentatively drove them onto the village road to trot the 50 ft. back to the farm drive (past the church and a beautiful cottage garden…please God don’t let them go in there!) the church bells started to peel. Until now I have never noticed that the decibel level of church bells would compete with a Motorhead concert! All cattle high tailed it back into (neighbour’s) field. We waited….and waited and waited ‘bong, bong, bong’ until the church bells stopped. After 5 minutes we encouraged the reluctant beasties on the village road then, campanologists revived from their break started again ‘BONG, BONG, bloody BONG’. All cattle high tailed it back to (neighbour’s) field for a second time.
Eventually after what seemed like an eternity we got the cattle out onto road, and took them carefully past the cars belonging to the good souls of the village. One chap with a shiny white car decided he could squeeze past, so we had to frantically wave a load of bloody great beef animals away from his vehicle. Bud the sheep dog & I were ‘bringing up the rear’ and as we went passed ‘Mr Grumpy’ he said “Your cattle better not have damaged my car” to which I replied “OH SHUT UP!” (Fairly restrained considering the situation).
This was not my finest hour and probably did nothing for diplomatic relations. His car was fine; cattle were fine, only minimal damage to our holiday cottage lawn and my nervous disposition. The guests thought this was the funniest thing they’d seen in ages/highlight of holiday. Note to all …please just allow us to get past with cattle and be patient.
What humbled me was just how understanding and helpful others were. Passing walkers assisted (they confusingly had a black Labrador also called Bud who couldn’t understand why I was demanding ‘down and hold’) and several others who were brilliant including neighbours and our livery ladies. Victoria was strolling down the drive when two dozen beef animals came charging towards her like a scene from the Wild West. She sensibly opened the nearest gate, mainly for self-preservation which happened to be the correct one!
Next problem: We had a calf born in the wrong place to the wrong animal at the wrong time. How, why? Both mother and baby doing fine now (Mike & I confused and bewildered which is fairly normal). The ‘daddy’ was only in there for a short while. I unhelpfully pointed out to the teenage children “take note: see how easily this can happen” Quick revision of the ‘facts of life’ farmer style. My helpful advice was greeted with grunts, groans and a rolling of eyes.
The weather has been challenging, no idea what to do with horses/rugs. One poor injured horse that needed to be out (but not get his bandages wet) became dizzy. In one day I would swear we had every weather condition on offer….rain, sun, wind, hail, snow.
So…after all the doom and gloom there is a highlight. My holiday cottage has a ‘customer’s choice’ certificate as we consistently scored over 9.5 on our reviews. I couldn’t be outdone with Mike and his spraying certificate. Go oldies!
Nye’s supposed to be doing a radio interview with a bit of live music some time over the next month. I dare not ask when/where in case I am once again accused of stalking him. Other parents ‘show an interest’ in their offspring’s achievements….me….I stalk apparently!
I don’t have many gaps in the holiday cottage bookings. However, if you see one just a week or so ahead and want to be spontaneous, make me an offer and get a fantastic bargain (see cottage page/booking calendar) This only applies to last minute bookings but I would rather have someone enjoying a break. Surely that is one of the joys of retirement; you are flexible (maybe not so much physically but time wise). A group of six or seven friends could club together and have a great time for a bargain price.