Lambing Nights

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Given we only had ten ewes to lamb this year, lambing has gone on forever. We had an outlier at the beginning and we've got one at the end, so the four hourly checks go on. And on, and on, and on.

Yesterday was Mothering Sunday, and I was very glad that as a result H was cooking - feeling a bit fraught and over-tired, it was nice to be pampered a bit. I sat and read, with my new slippers on,  with my flowers and my brownies, and it was lovely. 

We still aren't back at church - services are taking place but we're in two minds about whether it's really in the spirit of the rules to drive as far as we do, to attend a service we can watch online. As a result, the simple breaking of bread we have shared as a family since lockdown began once again followed dinner.

A small glass of wine, and a torn crust of home made bread.

Then to bed for me at 9.30. I'm not sleeping well, waking up far too regularly, as well as when Neil comes back from the 10 o'clock check, and when he goes out at 2 am, I seem to have a love hate relationship with the hour of  3. I look at the clock and it's 3.05.  I go back to sleep, I'm sure I do, for ages. I look at the clock, it's 3:16. I think about John 3:16, go back to sleep. Some hours later it is 3.28. And on we go.

Up at 5, I stumble downstairs and make coffee - one each for H and me in travel mugs, and a small cup to take back up to get dressed. The bread lives in bread bags I made years ago. One's red gingham, the other a flowery number, made from an old pillow case. The bread today is Three Malts and Sunflower, I bought the flower from Shipton Mill with the last big order. It's dark, seedy, and malty. It smells delicious in the toaster, where I leave it as I head up to get dressed.

A small pile of clothes waits on my chair in the office - there are clothes all over the house, as people try to get dressed and undressed at stupid hours of the day and night without waking anyone else up - and I layer tights, jeans, t shirts and sweaters. H is buttering the toast and slathering home made marmalade on it. I made twelve jars, half of them in nice, bought in jars as potential gifts. Some hope. I made it in January and we're half way through it now.

We're in the truck by 5.30, and off up to the top of the world to visit the ewes, housed in Charlie's barn, where they came to escape from our flooded pasture a couple of months ago.

The remaining ewe, in the pen with old Frankie, the grandma of them all, looks at us and blinks. Nothing doing.

It's getting dramatically lighter each morning at this hour, and a quick glance round tells us we've still got all the lambs we should have, and everyone's happy. We sit in the pale morning light, drinking our coffee, and watch two young stags amble placidly across the track, barely 50 metres from us. They gaze back at us, and saunter off. These days we're a bit late to catch the barn owl returning to her box.

Both of us have work to do. We drive back up the track. I hop out to re-lock the gate. A grey partridge creaks in the grass beside it. The lights of the industrial estate on the edge of town, down in the valley, lose their brilliance as the sky turns pink. 



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