The Summer Fair was a triumph; many hands were needed to make it happen, and run smoothly through the day, and although the clouds threatened at times, they didn’t actually deliver any rain on us, and eventually the sun shone! The numbers who came were very high, and the registered level of satisfaction gratifying. Leslie’s sheep were a great attraction; The number she has now is substantial and her display more than made up for the fact that the main flock was not accessible to the tractor rides.
Aside from the ‘normal’ attractions such as tractor rides, rides behind two Shire horses, a very good band, the inevitable bouncy castle, traditional games such as a coconut shy, willow weaving and stands for the BDAA, the BDLT and the SCBS, stands selling local food, aromatherapy, ice creams, hot food and hot drink, for the first time Sebastian was free to talk to people and act as the guide on the tractor ride and so give the talk on the farm and answer questions about our approach to farming.
This was because we had Ian, a professional ‘master of ceremonies’ and when the band was resting he acted as the MC. It was Ian, our MC’s birthday and at the appropriate time he was presented with a birthday cake made by Anne. Sebastian then led all present in singing Happy Birthday!
New attractions included canons firing tennis balls and a stand of swing boats. Of the perhaps 1000 visitors at least two thirds were under twelve and the sound of happy children was a delight to hear. Fortunately, the ground was still hard and the field on which the nearly 400 cars were parked was undamaged.
Sebastian and Chris appreciated a good visit from our new local MP Sarah MaClean. In these years before, we have had great support from Sarah’s predecessor Karen Lumley who was very interested and supportive of the establishment of the Stockwood Community Benefit Society. Sadly, illness took Karen out of politics and we do all send her our very best wishes.
In some ways, aside from Saturday, it was a rather quiet, if wet, week, not least because Chris was, in theory, on holiday. Nonetheless the grass continued to grow which meant that we were able to move the sheep flock and Rams onto new grass and also move the young cattle.
An offer from an organic farming neighbour that he has 20 acres of grass that we could buy was very good news in that it means we do not have to hold back a field for a second cut. Less good news is that the field sown in May looks to have been badly affected by the drought and may need resowing – what a climate we have!
We said goodbye, sadly, on Tuesday to Oceane and Anne-Celine and then equally sadly to Cherine and Soukaïna on Saturday. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them all, and are truly grateful for their time and hard work whilst they were with us.
On Thursday evening, we were happy to welcome Francesco and Marko from Italy. This will be their first experience of life on a stock farm and having gained blisters on their first day, the fact that their second full day was restricted to involvement in the Summer Fair may have been a positive rebalancing!
The position as regards the calf with a broken leg is still looking good. The vet came in again on Friday following a visit on Monday which suggested matters were not going well. She was much more positive after this second visit. It was also of course a last task for Cherine and Soukaïna and an early introduction to cattle for Marko and Francesco!
It is quite impossible, as matters appear to ever worsen in the Korean peninsula, not to remember the days of the Cuban crisis – which, living through it, really did feel that the end of the world was nigh. I do not want to believe that the current situation is quite as bad, but I rather suspect that the key players then were of a different calibre to those of today. However, China was not a factor in the 1960’s…
This week’s ‘composer of the week’ on Radio 3 has been Edvard Grieg who like Sibelius is regarded as a key figure in the nationalist fervour that gripped both countries, Norway and Finland, in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Grieg of course had an even more important role than Sibelius as the Norwegians, who gained their independence in 1904, also created a new language for themselves – related to their past language but defiantly new. Sadly, usually remembered only for three pieces: the piano concerto, the Incidental music for Peer Gynt and the Holberg, Grieg wrote much more besides, including piano music, a moving Funeral March and an even more moving set of 4 songs in the new Norwegian language in the last years of his life.
Lastly, a first; we are used to seeing birds, frogs, toads, butterflies, bees, moths, the occasional fox, rabbit and hedgehog in our garden but today I saw a dragonfly!