It’s been raining.
When I say raining I really mean it’s been chucking it down. Even for Cumbria, it’s been wet. I was looking sheep this morning. I set off, in full waterproofs and the first job was to collect the Sal to take her with me. Normally she’s standing outside her kennel full of enthusiasm; indeed she can leap four feet into the air from a standing start in her delight that we’re going to be doing something.
Her Kennel by the way is an old cattle trailer. She has a big plastic drum inside that which is really snug and she does sometimes sleep in. But normally she’ll sleep under the trailer. And this morning she watched me approach the trailer and crawled out from under it at the last possible moment to join me in our walk through the rain.
And the rain continued to fall. It was so bad I was reminded of that bit from Winnie the Pooh where the rain is so bad the pages of the book start to run!
First down onto the Mosses to check some old ewes with a tup down there, it’s wet. All the hollows are full of water, and when Sal had wandered off and I called her back to me she took a long and complex path to avoid having to wade to get to me. But the ewes seem to be happy moving about on the drier bits and it’s not as if there’s a risk of genuine flooding.
Then off to see the others. Walking through one field the path I was walking along was under six inches of water and the water was moving. We’ve had so much rain that not only is the ground saturated, but it’s starting to flow across the surface to run off.
The other ewes weren’t too pleased to see me either. I think the endless rain has made them irritable. They moved together into a huddle and glared at me. Every so often one of them would shake herself, pretty much like a dog does. Because of the lanolin in their fleece the water doesn’t really soak in to the wool so when a wet sheep shakes herself, you can see the cloud of water thrown off.
And then in for coffee; discard wet clothes and put stuff to dry. It has to be said that there are times when I tell myself that it would be good to get a few cattle again. Build up a small suckler herd, buy some half-bred Hereford heifer calves and rear them, bull them with Angus. Quality meat, easy calving, sell it direct to consumers in freezer packs. It would be more of a hobby than a business to be honest. But it’s on days like this, when I think of the work with housed cattle, and the problems of getting slurry out when the ground is waterlogged; I just sigh as I sip my coffee in front of the fire.
Really it’s the day for a good fire and a good book. The fire you’ll have to do for yourself, but strangely enough I can manage the good book.
Just published, 99p on Kindle (or other e-readers)
‘A Much Arranged Marriage.’
Another short detective story from the Port Naain Intelligencer.
Go on, treat yourself, have you looked outside the window?