As quickly as it was organised, the day came for Primrose and I to complete our biggest country challenge yet. You know, the one I’ve been dreading……no.1 of all the National Trust’s 50 things project – Climb a tree. With this year’s summer of 50 Things already upon us and with so many events and adventures to go on in London and South East, it seemed fitting that we should start at the very beginning with no 1. Continue reading
With midsummer here at last, I’ve been wondering if we have been touched by a bit of that good old midsummer magic of late. Don’t worry we weren’t last seen dancing naked at dawn around a stone circle or joining a load of druids on a pilgrimage to mark the summer solstice. (Although, Jerry swears he was on the 18:23 from Waterloo with Druid Arthur Uther Pendragon on Friday night). No, nothing all ‘Glasto’ drastic as that. However, trundling along the parish boundaries in an ancient village church tradition to bless the fields and the beauty of our little patch of countryside, I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps Jerry and I had gone native, dear Reader. In a month or two, it will be the anniversary of our first year here and it is difficult to imagine us anywhere else these days. Continue reading
Dear Reader, I do apologise for the break in transmission. I’ll be honest, I have been putting off writing this post as the past two weeks have had some serious ups and bottomless downs unfortunately and my birthday in between. We are all exhausted here at Margot and Jerry HQ. Raising orphan lambs is no picnic. Not only is there relentless bottle feeding and checking to be done but lambs (as I was told by so many farmers) have a desire to snuff it lurking around every corner and ours have certainly tried to prove that fact.
When we started out, we had a tiny scrawny black faced lamb (our Suffolk cross dubbed Blackie….I know original isn’t it?!) that was struggling to bottle feed and it took us a week or so to get him sucking as well as to cure his awful bowels. Poor chap was in a dreadful state but perked up with round the clock care and gentle persuasion. He now follows us all like a little puppy and is most put out when you don’t stop to pat him on your way to filling up the feed trough. Continue reading
Easter has departed for another year, leaving behind the most obscene amount of chocolate that I have ever seen. Spoilt rotten by so many, Primrose and Poppy seem to have a chocolate Everest stashed in the cupboard. CUE the serious choc-induced madness at church on Easter Day, resulting in Poppy screaming most of the way through the first few hymns and then half of the sermon. With disapproving glances from some villagers, I made a point of praying for a large gin and tonic when the vicar asked us to call to mind any matters private and personal that could be offered up during the prayers. Perhaps I should remember to put a hip flask in my handbag for such occasions…?
Still spring in the village is a fantastic sight to behold and everywhere we look there are signs of rejuvenation all around. Wild garlic in the hedgerows, the crazy cawing of rooks and their babies can be overheard in the trees all around us and we even spied some baby deer from afar up near the woods. With so many baby animals about, several trips have been made to the local lambing sheds to see the sheep equivalent of a maternity unit. Truly marvellous to behold. Continue reading
Desperation and despair set in this week…….well as one knows, I do love a little melodrama in my life, dear Reader. Jerry and I looked at six houses and not one had any merit! Too small, too much to do, too damp, too far from the station, the list went on and on…..I felt positively more and more like Goldilocks with each house we entered! Jerry and I weren’t nearly so fussy when we bought the beloved cottage! The damp farmhouse with huge garden and 2ft of water in the cellar looked ever more promising until a call from the agent revealed that someone had signed and sealed the letting agreement the day after we had been to see it for a second viewing. Downcast, I sulked for a day or so muttering under my breath that Jerry had ruined my chances of living the good life forever. Remember what I said about a little melodrama, dear Reader…. Jerry took it all on the chin, adding rather bluntly that the farmhouse could only ever have been my dream house if it had been gutted and had had hideous amounts of money thrown at it. Something which, as it was a rental property, was unlikely to happen. Of course, he was absolutely right which left me infuriated and more sulking ensued.
Thinking that I could not sulk forever, I turned my attentions back to my list of Margot’s New Year resolutions. I have been remiss of late and far too focused on house hunting to sink my teeth into anything else. With only 4 months until the Big Move, I was worried that I might not have mastered all the requisite country skills needed to wow my new villagey neighbours. How would I ever be adopted into the bosom of the countryside WI, if I couldn’t complete no.18 on the list: Knit a tea cosy?
With that notion firmly planted in my mind, I recalled that at the start of the year, one of my favourite Tweeters, the lovely @Twickermum blogged about the relaxing properties of knitting….’meditative properties’ no less! Well, surely that could take my mind off house hunting for a while and have me skipping all the way to my first WI meeting in the village hall? Killing two birds with one stone as one would say. I even had all the crafty implements for this one squirreled away. Dear Mamma added a beginner’s knitting kit (for 8 years old and up) to my Christmas stocking last year and I hid it under the bed, in the full knowledge that if it stayed there long enough, I could avoid having to make something with it. Knitting has been my arch crafty nemesis for some time. I am hopeless at it and what makes it all the more awful is that, my dear Mamma is an amazing knitter. Her creations have been worn by many in the family and even friends of mine who have had babies. From berets to christening shawls, Mamma can knit anything! Just in case one was wondering, knitting skills are not genetic and the ability to turn long thin noodles of yarn into garments has not been passed down to the next generation. It would be fair to say that Mamma has long despaired of my lack of craftiness and has tried many times to teach me but it would seem that I am rather a lost cause. Disappointing. Especially as Primrose has been dying to learn how to knit. Casting these negative thoughts aside, armed with a knitting pattern, stitch instruction booklet and some wool, I set about facing the woolly enemy. Sitting in bed with yarn all around me, gesturing and ranting loudly at something ridiculous on the television over the click clacking of knitting needles, Jerry commented on my rather striking resemblance to Madame Defarge from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. I bet she didn’t struggle with knit one, purl one, otherwise the names of impending deaths would never have been encoded in her knitting. After a few hours, some swearing, more ranting at the television and at Jerry for making me drop stitches, the result was rather…..well…..let’s just say I could do with some more practice.
Not sure I got much further than one side of the wretched cosy before I became purposefully distracted (momentarily of course, I really was trying to take this knitting thing seriously…) by a questionnaire in The Telegraph……no prizes for guessing why! Are you a Good or a Leadbetter? Attempting the Good Life quiz, I realised, even before I got to the second question, that perhaps I was going to have to work a lot harder on my transformation from townie to country bumpkin. Turns out (most unsurprisingly) that I am still mostly Margot. Well, dear Reader, one can lead a horse to water….. It would appear that Primrose had been thinking the same thing and had little faith in my ‘Good’ly abilities, especially once she had seen my failed beginnings of a tea cosy. This is perhaps her best picture of me yet!
Must dash, dear Reader…..off to change into my maxi-dress and turban before dinner. Knitting my tea cosy will just have to wait. That G&T is calling to me!