Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Winter Work, Good Books, Rampant Rams

Even a fence post & barbed wire can look beautiful with a coating of hoar frost!

Despite the run up to Christmas beginning to gather pace, things are quite quiet here, though busy, but its a routine sort of busy-ness. Elder Son is off hedge-trimming while he can get onto the land with frozen fields, Younger Son is off each morning working on a tree-felling job & the Farmer is also working with chain-saws today thinning out out a conifer plantation on the farm. Again, while the fields are frozen and hard, work with tractors & winches becomes posssible that is normally only done in the summer.
So while all the men-folk are off being manly I keep warm in the house with cooking, ironing, Christmas preparations & grabbing the odd moment to read some very good books.

K.T. has just lent me 'The Winter Ghosts' by Kate Mosse...wonderful! A clever & poignant ghost story linking the distress of the grief & guilt of the 1914-18 War with the horrors of the torment of the Cathars in France in the 14th century. It is not a long book but totally gripping.
As bit of light relief I have also been reading a couple of the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries by Carola Dunn. Good whodunnits set in the '20's with a delightfully nosy society flapper and a solidly attractive Inspector from the Met. as their leading characters in a series of good old-fashioned murder mysteries. Good stuff on cold winter evenings by the fire.
For even lighter relief 'Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks; The Essential Alan Coren' has been unbeatable. It is laugh-out-loud stuff and so clever and off the wall. I loved hearing Alan Coren on the radio but as we rarely buy national ( or local for that matter!) newspapers I did not see his regular column in The Times, but have now discovered what we missed. Glorious eccentricity.

We had a small & fortunately short-lived, unpleasantness yesterday when our two rams were brought into the yard to remove them from the flock of ewes, who are now hopefully all in lamb. The rams who have been happily living together in the main flock since October, once separated from their harem decided to kill each other! They have incredibly hard skulls and just run at each other with their heads lowered and inflict an astonishing amount of damage. They were quickly separated & removed to other parts of the yard but an amount of blood had been spilled. They now just roar at each other balefully from behind their respective fences. Murderous sheep...the power of instinct and the survival of the fittest & all that stuff!

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