This week, as far as the farm is concerned, has been very quiet. This in part because feeding and checking the animals takes most of Tim’s time. So, for a change, it has not been the weather that has held things back, though the week has shown us the full range of weather this country can boast of as the movement of the jet stream first gave us high pressure and now allows low pressure systems to stream in from the Atlantic, having originating in the Caribbean area. As a result, the pastures are still waterlogged, and the mini lakes remain. We are of course not alone in this situation.
It has not of course been a quiet week for Chris as, apart from Ulula responding gratefully to a Christmas surge, the greater part of his week was taken up by transporting animals.
The time spent on the telephone has been no less. Checking on prices for steers, facing up to the glut in meat in part resulting from ‘dumping’ of beef from Argentina, and eventually accepting, out of need, disappointing prices. More positively, we expect to affect a bull exchange over Christmas. Nagging the Rural Payments Agency whose processes appear to move, if at all, at a snail’s pace and coping with resultant tensions so induced burns up a lot of nervous energy.
Perhaps the least edifying aspect of the farm week has featured the PFLA and an unpleasant split that has opened-up between two camps within the association over aims and objectives. The ins and outs, rights and wrongs are horribly complicated and neither here nor there. But, for us, the web site has carried many interesting and stimulating discussions on matters of real concern and interest to working farmers and the end of the PFLA would be a great loss.
Thinking of unedifying events on a national or world scale assists perspective. Despite my attempts to avoid getting caught up in the lies and hysteria around Brexit, and the awfulness of the politics of the USA, there was no way I could not reflect on the situation in Central Africa where drought is devastating people’s lives. Sad to see the state of the Victoria Falls but far, far worse to see mothers unable to feed their babies, and yet in a sale in Miami, three boards each with a banana taped on to them sold for a total of $500,000.
Well I have struggled for decades to fight off the view that most modern art is a great confidence trick but now… Remember the story of the emperor who found himself walking down the street with no clothes on? Not really his fault, other than to listen to sycophantic courtiers (critics) anxious not to seem to step out of line.
On a lighter note, the door of our wood stove decided to attack my right hand which resulted in a visit to the clinic and much ‘patching’ by Anne. The problem is that taking steroids for over 76 years and age has left me with easily damaged skin. Fortunately, being aware of my frequent needs, Ulula stocks plasters for sensitive skin which, since they do not rely on glue to stick, can be removed without taking more skin with them.
All this idiocy dredged up from my memory, the period when I carried the responsibility of adjudicating on appeals from parents for different school placements to those that had been offered to them, and the variety of justifications that were offered up by parents. The link to my injury was that at that period, middle class parents latched on to the notion of ‘the clumsy child syndrome’ as a reason for their appeal being accepted. My team of psychologists gave this notion a firm ‘thumbs down,’ though I had some sympathy as, all through my life, chairs, desks, doors, you name it, have made a habit of leaping out and attacking me.
On a personal level I am coming to terms with the realisation that I no longer get the same buzz from most fiction genres in terms of my reading interests. Increasingly my reading is now almost entirely focussed on what I suppose could be described as ‘heavy stuff’ and poetry.
Understanding that what I write may be contentious, I share with you my reading of the week which has focussed on linguistics. In so far as I have been able to follow this so-called science, I struggle to have other than fairly negative views as to the value of that ‘science’.
I have also been attempting to understand the significance of ‘justification’ in theological thinking. All that came from discussions resulting from a new book on the Apostle Paul by ex-Bishop Tom Wright. The book seems to have caused serious upset to the evangelical movement in the United States. What I struggle to understand is that so much can be built on words written from 1,900 to 1,500 years ago which have only reached us via various translations and were written by men from a culture we can only speculate upon. It left me with the feeling that the ‘argument’ was of the order of ‘how many angels can stand on a pin head’
For light relief I share a poem that caught my attention by Scott Cairns:
This morning the world’s white face reminds us
that life intends to become serious again.
And the same loud birds that all summer long
annoyed us with their high attitudes and chatter
silently line the gibbet of the fence a little stunned, chastened enough.
I fill the feeders to the top and cart them
to the tree, hurrying back inside
to leave the morning to these ridiculous
birds, who, reminded, find the rough shelters,
bow, and then feed.I should in all frankness admit that the task is frequently done by grandson Boots!