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.
Momentous things seem to happen on 23rd June. Jim rang me this morning to say he would be heading to the theatre at eleven o’clock. I have my instructions sent from the hospital. At three I can ring one number and they will tell me whether he is back from theatre and which ward he has gone to. Between four and five I can ring the ward and find out how he is and whether he will be coming home tomorrow. I do hope they don’t say ring tomorrow before you set off. Jim wasn’t feeling well yesterday and went back to bed in the morning, worried that he wouldn’t be treated if he turned up unfit. He ‘phoned this morning a couple of times and said he felt a bit better. It was unfortunate that his best friend rang from hospital in Manchester on Wednesday to say he had been rushed in as an emergency on Monday with all sorts of alarming symptoms and he was afraid he was rejecting his kidney transplant.
One successful lot of frog spawn was laid in an old bath in the Upper Holm which provides drinking water for the sheep. Jim has been topping it up from the river when the level goes down and has hung an old hessian sack over the side for the tiny froglets to climb up to get out into the world. They are just starting to come out. You can see how tiny the froglets are by the size of the sacking mesh beside these two. I have also attached a picture of Whinny with his new best friend Joshua Llama. Whinny appears to be telling Josh something. Now we have moved the sheep, who used to share their field, they are thrown back on their own resources and are rarely far apart.
We got all the shearing done quite quickly last weekend and Monday. Jim’s back and my legs were aching afterwards. The sheep were not co-operative on our first attempts to get them in without a dog, but Simon and Molly gave us a hand. Poor Molly is not as clever as Skip was, but the sheep said “Oh all right then, we’ll come quietly.” They seemed pleased to be rid of their wool and very happy to go up to the Herb Field afterwards. They knew exactly where they were going and ran straight into their new field without any guidance. Simon has been shearing his Herdwick hoggs. They come in like substantial black barrels and go out like slender grey sylphs with really thick, solid legs. Those naughty hoggs got out twice at the weekend. The first time Jim left the small gate to their field open when he came in for lunch. He tried hard to convince me that I left it open when I didn’t go through it, but the tractor standing on the other side was rather damning evidence as to who had been through it. Two hoggs took their chance and were scooting up the drive when we came out after lunch. Jim rushed into the field at the side of the drive and tried to overtake them, but they got past the fence and burn before he did and it took him quite a while to get the far side of them. Emboldened by that escapade almost all of them got over the dyke at the culvert and ran down our drive and up Rhona’s in the night. She found them at her cattle grid when she set off for work in the middle of the night and was worried that they would run in front of her vehicle up the road and into the forest. So she hastily opened the nearest gate and ushered then into our Laight Holm. Which would have been fine, had Simon not taken the gate between there and the field he was leaving for silage off its hinges and laid it on the ground.(no idea why)… The next morning all of the escaped hoggs were in the silage, which obviously tasted much better than the grass in the Laight Holm and they appeared to have spent the best part of night running about all over the long grass.
Have just rung the number provided by the hospital and been given two more to ring to find out what is happening to Jim. The third one was recovery and he was just there by the ‘phone. He didn’t sound entirely with it and was rather croaky. I still don’t know which ward he was about to be transferred to, but he promised to ‘phone when he is reunited with his things.
The barn owls are working overtime to feed all their hungry beaks, and can be seen rushing backwards and forwards with food. A small mystery. When I went out to get the post (waste of a walk in the rain. that was, there was only a catalogue of bird food in the box) I noticed a trio of wet vole corpses lined up on their backs with their little paws in the air, lying on the step beside the bay tree. I cannot imagine Felix leaving them so neatly lined up (if he would leave them at all) and, so far as I know Simon is the only other person to come anywhere near here today. The thought of him collecting and leaving them there is is unlikely, to say the least.
Now I’m off to clean the bathroom and change the sheets so everything is nice and clean and hygienic when Jim gets home. I went shopping this morning to buy all sorts of things to tempt his appetite. I’ll have to see how he feels on Sunday as to whether I get to church.