So far, so good. Lambing is 75% complete!

Well there is no doubt about it, lambing in a rain-free period has its advantages, though the lack of rain does little for pasture growth. Fortunately, the rain we had overnight last Sunday was a real blessing, and we do now have grass to move the ewes and their lambs onto.

Lambing is in fact at least seventy five percent completed and, so far, so good. With three weeks, gone, weariness is setting in, though it has made a real difference to Chris to have the late-night shift covered with the arrival of Katja and Antje, meaning he may get 5 hours sleep instead of the 2 to 3 hours of the last weeks! A further bonus to having Katja and Antje with us is that the other night Jedna the dog chased off a fox. Flash has many virtues but has nothing of the terrier in her!

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Sadly today, for the first time this lambing, we had to call the vet in. There are some conditions which require support from outside and, even if the vet cannot save the ewe we are duty bound to do what we can to relieve the problem. The Veterinary Sheep Handbook is some three inches thick, contains some quite distressing photographs and usually just confuses. In this instance, the problem was in fact clear, and only a vet can solve it!

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Although most time and energy has been taken up by lambing, stock has had to be moved around, and on Wednesday a trailer load of last year’s lambs went to market and fetched a good price. Having cover also meant Chris could complete VAT returns before the due date and that is good news for our finances.

Today the rather strong and cool wind has left us and it could almost be summer – indeed a walker on the bridle path was, perhaps rashly, wearing shorts. Rather sadly the winds earlier in the week took much of the apple blossom down. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the blossom fell like snowflakes.

Before our volunteers arrived, we had maintenance work to do on the mobile home and Chris displayed great plumbing skills. The home is still very sprightly, but is now some 17 years old and probably this winter needs some concentrated TLC – particularly as regards the plumbing.

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April was a month of successful developments on the business park where we shall be welcoming new tenants over the next week or so. Snagging for the heating system is all but completed so here’s hoping that is that!

Despite some late night visits to the barn, I have been lucky enough to enjoy the mornings to myself of late, and have been able to do some reading and reflection and in fact catch the odd interesting programme on television. I certainly enjoyed a programme recorded before Christmas I think it was on the making of the Marriage of Figaro presented by Danielle de Niese.

From my reading, I have had to adjust my thinking on two historical characters. Pushing on from ‘Clash of the Spheres’ to an effort to remind myself of what I knew about James VI of Scotland and the 1st of England, I discovered that he is no longer seen as a disaster. Indeed, current thinking appears to rate him highly, accepts his financial mismanagement, sees him as, if anything bisexual and all in all a skilled political operator. I was left thinking his greatest mistake was to pass onto a son his belief in the Divine Rights of Kingship, but to one who had not the intelligence or subtly to manage actual reality.

Following on from that I now realise that in a many ways the Cromwellian period had much in kin to the thirty years’ war in Europe that followed Luther’s attack on indulgences. I am left feeling that without Cromwell’s firm, if brutal, hand England could have dissolved into anarchy. Tony Benn was forever tracing socialist thinking back to this period. It seems to me that in fact, all radical movements can trace their root to then.

It may seem strange I have made no comment on the local elections or even Brexit for that matter. Here in rural Worcestershire the local elections changed nothing and cheap cracks about Herr Junker or comment on Yanis Varoukfacis attack, though a europhile, on the “basic undemocratic nature of the Union” will achieve little but a rise in blood pressure in the writer!

Next week should see the conclusion of lambing, hopefully some rain, the sale of more lambs and, towards the end of the week Antje’s too-soon departure.

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