Down Time

I am having a No Plans Day today. I have just interrogated the refrigerator to find put what aged items are forming our lunch. It came up as a surprise couscous lunch with Chorizo, Feta, Peppers and Aubergine. That won’t take long to assemble. Mail and orders have been attended to. So, I am sitting here just staring out of the window.

Although the sky is a flat grey cloud, the sun is shining. I am looking out of the window to my right and this encompasses the hen hoose in the garden, the bog beyond the wall, and the field beyond that. The field is ridged and furrowed from the sowing last Spring but is now bare-earthed. The woolly-backs are over-wintering in there and are enjoying their winter fodder of neeps. A fence has been erected and every few days it is moved a few feet to the left, allowing our sheepy friends to munch on fresh neeps. They are advancing down the field toward me from my artificial horizon at the crest of the little hill – each sheep jostling the others and moving along a few feet at a time in search of its own unmolested patch of sweet root to lunch on. What began as a gentle amble becomes a race, with some of the sheep running along in hope of prime position. They end up at the foot of the hill, knee deep in mud, with 5 rows of freshly turned neeps neglected in their wake up the slope. Is this the ovine equivalent of greener grass?

There are no geese out there today, which feels strange. For the last few weeks the field has been covered in geese and I miss them when they are not there. They must have found their greener grass elsewhere. Won’t be long now until they are gone gone until next winter.

The chooks are there to be admired though and they are enjoying the lack of wind today. Spring is upon my feathered friends and they are starting to bestow their precious eggs once more – had we not already known that, we might have guessed – as they are now in breeding condition. The Black Rocks look so handsome with their feathers shimmering blue-green among the black and the Cochins are all fluffed up and white like meringues on legs. We are currently in that happy time when the hens are laying but content to lay in the nest boxes. As the weather improves and the days lengthen, they will once again go feral and furtive and we shall spend our time thrashing about in nettles in order to find our supper. I don’t mind – happy chooks make tasty eggs.

There is a polythene bag attached to the fence that separates the bog from the field. It blew there in last week’s wind. It has adopted a form, creased and folded on the barbed wire, looking like stylised rabbit. It’s eye, ear and nose are all distinct, and it’s little fore-paw under its chin… it stands on its hind legs sniffing the air and alert to all about it.

Time for coffee. I think I’ll take mine outside and have a wander – there will be plenty of time to work later, once the sun has gone in and lunch has been served.

I need to clear some space after lunch. Having spent all winter in the gloom and hardly able to make a stitch, it has now been notified that my daylight tubes are being installed this weekend… the longer days and better light having arrived with us. I know why. Somebody is feeling a tad guilty about having bought a drum kit and this will make him feel less bad.

I like this lack of plans thing. I might keep it going all weekend.

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