I have shared in the past my attempts to deal with bat incursions into the house. I admit my fondness for bats sharply diminished many years ago when before we were allowed to restore a collapsing stable, I had to fork out a surprising amount for bat surveys and so on – all because an ancient desiccated skeleton was found in the loft. This week they have become a serious pest. It took till midnight on Thursday to persuade one to exit by the front door after 15 minutes of it flying round the room in circles making me very dizzy. There is a place for everything, and bats like dogs should respect that rule! For those who think I am being harsh they should know the farm has a very large bat population of various sizes.
Despite the heavy, but welcome, rain in the middle of the week, a lot was achieved. For a start the barn was cleared, and the litter transferred to two sites. Fully ready compost was spread onto one of our bigger fields, and then the field was grass harrowed. With the topper waiting for welding, field action was restricted to pulling ragwort. A task that seems, despite best efforts, to be an endless feature of life here. At least all the hemlock and ragwort pulled so far has now been incinerated!
The week has also seen many stock movements. Both herds are on new fields. The young stock had in fact to be moved twice because the first field they moved to was over fly infested. The field they are in now has two new fly traps in place. For the young stock eyes continue to require careful attention.
The sheep have also been moved but, in the process, the ewes were clikzined and all were put though a foot bath as there was evidence of ‘scald.’ The last lamb to be born and whose mother has very little milk has up to now, been bottle fed. Thankfully she has found a ewe willing to share her milk!
In their last week with us, Aélis and Florian apart from being involved in moving stock and enjoying the delights of pyromania, have ensured that not only are the vegetable garden and poly tunnel in good order (enjoy the before and after shots below), and succession sowing maintained, but have also with necessary ruthlessness tidied and cleared junk out of the potting shed.
They both were with us for six weeks and left as part of the family. We feel ourselves really very fortunate. They coped with all that was put in front of them, and excelled in it all, contributing significantly to both farm and family life for their stay. I enjoyed the opportunity for afternoons of English, and we all, but the grandchildren in particular, are going to miss them both enormously.
We were delighted to see Jack back and looking at least semi-refreshed from his time away. Neither he nor we are sure how much longer he will be with us, but being entirely selfish, with Tim away for two weeks starting this weekend, hopefully at least the two weeks.
Though I am not managing to give as much time as I would like to tuning into the Proms, I was able to watch and listen to the performance of the National Youth Orchestra. They were magnificent and enormous credit should be given to their conductor Mark Wigglesworth who, together with Nicola Benedetti, spent a week with the young people preparing them for their performance. The orchestra had at least 164 members. To weld a group that size into a performance no professional orchestra would be embarrassed by, was an outstanding achievement. In truth there are a plethora of British conductors available, but most seem to be more highly regarded and desired by continental bands, while positions in this country so often go to overseas personnel. Amateur and semi-professional music making should be cherished by all rather, than is so often the case, ignored.
These are troubling times and on so many fronts – political, social, economic and after this week, even here, physical. How then to cope? Can we wonder at the string of absurd programmes such as Celebrity this and that, and Love Island being so popular? They surely simply represent an alternative form of escapism to not listening to or reading the news. To be constructive requires some feeling of one’s efforts having an effect and that today is hard to find. The title of a popular song roughly translated as ‘what will be, will be’ reflects a sense of fatalism which seems increasingly sensible yet so alien to our culture.
This year rather than ruthlessly eliminate the self-sown poppies, not only did we allow them to thrive but perhaps even more importantly did not pull them up when their flowers were over. Our reward has been spectacular as the view from our sitting room window has been of dozens of little birds feeding from the seed heads. Useful to bear in mind the life span of a wren is around twelve months and of a blue tit perhaps twice that. A great help in holding onto that sense of perspective that coping with our troubled times require.
Synchronicity is one of the few Jungian ideas I recall. I wrote last week about historical perspective. A programme last week which involved a well-known figure visiting Zimbabwe to see whether the country was now open to tourism, apparently included a conversation with a black Zimbabwean woman who blamed all the ills of her world on Cecil Rhodes. No doubt not her fault, but an example of both lack of perspective and more frighteningly the power of an individual or system to brainwash. As we see today, tell a lie often and loudly enough and far too many will end up believing it.
In the last century a favoured interviewing tactic took the line of… ”when did you last beat your wife”. Today we have a new standard response to challenge… ”project fear!”
I wonder whether the name J B Priestly is still recognised. His output as playwright, novelist and communicator was vast and, in his time, few would not have heard him on the radio or seen one of his plays. I mention him because I have just reread one of his novels which every so often calls me to read it again. Called ‘Salt is leaving” I suspect it is regarded as one of his minor works, but it is a novel or, if you prefer, a cosy detective story, that appeals to me and I suspect reveals something about myself. After reading it again, I wondered whether or not he wrote any poetry and found the one I share below which arose out of a dream he had had.
J B Priestly – A dream of life.
A Dreamer once described the pain
the pain of life with little gain
as earth and sun contrive to give
the essence that is ours to live.
The dreamers dead, but dreams live on
long after dreaming souls are gone, I
and words of wisdom cannot die,
unlike the selves of you or I.
And what a dream he had to share –
That Life! Is living everywhere.
Life is the thread and Life the goal.
Our Life is throbbing in the whole.
In these poor mortal shells we live
a life that only God can give.
For God is only passing through
the earthly casket that is you.
And only when we view the flow
of souls that come and souls that go,
can we begin to understand
How diamonds can be made from sand
As many eons make a day
the love we give and take away,
will make the path on which we see
our journey of necessity