I was walking round checking heifers the other morning and my route takes me across a field where there were potatoes. As I walked along the headland I did a double take. I could have sworn there was ice in the tread marks left by the tractors.
It was only as I looked closely that I realised that it was dew on cobwebs.
But since then autumn has tilted more towards winter, I suspect the next time I see the phenomenon it will be ice, or at least rag. On the other hand, stock still outside are looking well. Today the dry cows looked relaxed and happy in the chilly early morning sun.
Mind you, that’s more that can be said for a lot of people. After six months people are starting to get a bit stowed of it all.
I was reading the paper the other day and a lass who works in a lot of ‘interesting’ places was writing about this. Apparently if you’re trapped in a stressful situation for six months you ‘hit a wall.’ You’ve had enough and need a break.
It appears that the army discovered long ago that troops who served six month tours in a war zone were more likely to re-enlist than troops who served twelve or eighteen month tours. Even if the lads who’d done the six month tours had actually done more tours and put in more time in combat than the others.
Her advice was to ‘get away.’ But she admitted that it isn’t always possible. Indeed travelling anywhere at the moment can be more stressful than staying at home. When she couldn’t travel, what she did was to ‘escape into a good book.’ In her case, she loved Lord of the Rings’ and would just have a long weekend off at wherever she was living at the time. There, she would just shut out the world, sit and read. It felt like having a few days holiday and she emerged from it feeling better.
Funnily enough I can empathise with this. For me, the Foot and Mouth outbreak was far more stressful than the current medical unpleasantness. The fact that my lady wife and I have almost certainly had coronavirus before it was fashionable means this particular madness is a lot less stressful.
But during FMD I got to a point where I couldn’t even settle to read. So I sat down and read my way through the Asterix books.
After them, I was up to methodically working my way through the Terry Pratchett Discworld series. These carried me through.
So really, that’s my advice to people. If you can take a break, do. I drove across the country last weekend to see my daughter who we’ve not been able to see. She’s been stuck on her own in a flat. It did us both good to meet up. But thanks to the regulations, what is possible one weekend might not be possible the next. But you can always get a good book. Even if you don’t feel up to venturing into a bookshop, there’s plenty on line. But actually now might be the time to re-read the books you love. My late mother was very fond of the Miss Read books, and would re-read them. I’ve always felt that a good book ought to be a holiday you can take without the hassle of travelling.
But if you fancy something new, I could recommend some of my own stuff. After all, Port Naain is a city where you can still walk the streets without worrying about social distancing or wearing a mask.
Hired to do a comparatively simple piece of mapping work Benor should perhaps have been suspicious when the pay seemed generous.
Will he ever get to the bottom of what is going on?
How rough is the rough justice of rural Partann?
How to clean out a privy with a crossbow. Welcome to the pastoral idyll.
As a reviewer commented, “Benor the cartographer is offered a job away from home with unusually generous pay. It all has to be done on the quiet, too. Something’s up. Benor has a murder to solve. I thought he had, but there’s more to come. This story is a murder mystery and a comedy of manners, set in a world of fantasy. If you like a genre mashup, this is brilliant. The characters and their relationships and banter would make it worth reading even if it didn’t have a plot – but it does. Another winner for me.”