Originally from Essex, Rosemary Green has been a member of All Saints’ congregation for many years and is a pastoral assistant. She and her husband Jim are farmers up in the hills near Newton Stewart.
Jim is still feeling worse than he had expected and getting rather tired of being so droopy and weak. We have just had to put off a family of friends who have been wanting to come and stay all summer (summer?!) as Jim still has one bathroom full of catheter stuff. I keep going to the chemist and collecting great bags of it. He is rather sensitive about having to share his bathroom, especially with little boys.
I have attached two pictures to sum up this week -a hot drink by the fire and my tunnel surrounded by flood water. At least I haven’t had to spend much time watering. I still cannot get Jim to make inroads into the vegetables which are producing at a terrific rate. I had to buy more freezer boxes this morning. I have also reached the age where I am reluctantly looking at stepstools in order to see into the top shelf of the freezer.
I had a feeling this morning that I was going to fall over, so I was really careful all the way round Newton Stewart, watching where I put each footfall. Then, as we went to collect the post, I stopped to point out to Jim the branch where I had seen a sparrowhawk perching on my way home from shopping, and suddenly fell into the deep ditch full of brambles and very wet water. So I am feeling scratched and silly. But the feeling was right, though I still cannot work out how I fell at all and especially how I finished up facing the opposite way.
Felix has been in bad odour this week. One day he was sitting beside me on Jim’s stool at breakfast when he suddenly threw up all over the place. Two days later he asked frantically to go out and I escorted him right outside, but in no time at all he was back, throwing himself at the door knob and yelling and rattling. I let him in again and he promptly made a mess on the mat. I shouted at him and threw him out again, but he wasn’t very contrite, or for long. He very soon thought we wanted nothing more than a purring cat on our laps.The day after that Jim came in saying “YOUR bloody cat has made a mess in the byre”. I went out to clean up, but couldn’t find any mess so I thought Jim must be feeling annoyed because he had already cleaned it up. I did pick up some bits of bark that had dropped on the floor when Jim brought in and stacked some logs he had sawn up. Later Jim came in and thanked me for cleaning up. So it seems that Felix had been blamed for something he hadn’t done – that time – and Jim had mistaken bark for poo in the dim light.
We are seeing a lot of young herons, or the same few lots of times. They stand around in the garden, on the sides of roads or in fields looking gormless and often fly past the windows at waist height as if they haven’t got their wings under control yet. Herons don’t seem to take much care of their young after they have fledged; then they are on their own. One year we had one that hung about the farm for weeks and Jim used to throw fish to it when we went to feed the otters. The heron was very good at catching fish thrown to it, but not good enough at catching fish in the river as it died eventually.
We have a young male sparrowhawk in the garden at the moment. It sits on the back rail of the garden seat and makes dashes at sparrows in the ivy or birds at the bird table. Jim was resting on the seat when it came and sat beside him- until it realised what it had done. Last night it tried to take a chaffinch at the bird feeder on the kitchen window and hit the window with a big thump, but flew away apparently unharmed. At least it has learned where to find plenty of food.
I’ve just had to rush out and shove Felix outside as he was about to be sick. He looks so woebegone afterwards, but it’s his own fault for eating so many voles. I am a bit fed up with voles as they are climbing my tomato plants and eating little bits out of green tomatoes. Jim has just brought me a cup of tea and remarked that he hadn’t gone to chuck Felix out as he thought it would be too late by the time he got there (and if he had got there too late he would have felt obliged to clean it up). You may wonder why we love Felix. We do sometimes.
We went to Kirkcudbright to see the Galloway Paintings exhibition this week. Some were much better than they appeared in the catalogue, but they were all expensive and we weren’t overwhelmed with the urge to buy any of them. I have, in great secrecy, drawn a picture of the hare and the tortoise for Jim for our wedding anniversary. I hope he will like it. I bought a frame for it today so have to assemble and wrap it now ready for Monday. Jim has been unable to think of any thing he would like to eat or do on the day so we won’t be doing much.