A Very Damp Lambing

Breaking News! I have just received a letter from Mr. Tev ’Aho, who carried out the HoLEP procedure on my prostate. As I mentioned in my recent blog post, the material that was removed was subjected to a detailed inspection for any signs of cancer. Mr. ’Aho’s letter said: ‘I am delighted to report that the results of the prostate tissue analysis are now back and the tissue was completely benign. No cancer was found.’ Hooray!!! Thank you so much Mr. ’Aho and the team at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. LONG LIVE THE NHS!!!

I do apologise if this blog seems only to be about my medical history and the weather, but those are the things that have been dominating my life lately, so you’ll just have to put up with it. At this point I can imagine my agent saying: ‘Come now Francis, you can’t talk to your readers like that. You depend on them to buy your books and massage your ego.’ And of course, he’s right. So let’s start again:

I do apologise if this blog seems only to be about my medical history and the weather, but there are times when the forces of nature assume a dominating… No, that isn’t working, either. Let’s try one more time. Cut to the chase. Take three:

The ‘Beast from the East’ (see my last blog post) was followed, a month later, by what our friends in the press labelled (and rather less memorably): ‘The mini-Beast from the East’. It wasn’t mini at all and it wasn’t as cold as the first one, but it more than made up for any lack of ice, by a vast quantity of rain – which was precisely what we didn’t need in early April, when lambing had already produced half a barn-full of lambs, whose lactating mums were all desperate to get out and onto some nice new, succulent grazing. And it’s still raining, with bitter north-east winds, as I write, half-way through the second week of April.

I took the following four pictures on April 2nd. The first three are views of the garden, the fourth shows the paddock near the barn where one day we plan to turn-out the ewes and lambs. Obviously I would be mad to do that while the central flood is still there. It would also be very stupid to have any animals graze it while it was still very muddy. So I guess we’re looking at another week – or longer, if the current forecasts prove accurate.

1 flood serpentine

2 flood meadow

3 flood glade

4 flood paddock

Four days after I took the pictures of the floods I photographed the ewes and lambs in the barn and then the following day we let them out into the yard, which is quite well drained and can take a lot of rain. I’m glad to say that the earth you can see in the second picture has now been covered with straw.

5 sheep in barn

6 sheep in yard

And finally, the ‘wild’ (supposedly native, but I’m not 100% convinced) daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus), which we planted in the hay meadow back in the late 1990s, have really come into their own, despite the wind and rain, which they have recovered from remarkably well. And who knows, maybe this does support the suggestion that they are indeed truly native? I’m so glad we made the decision not to plant any ‘improved’ varieties in the meadow and just restricted ourselves to the wild daffodils, whose colour, shape and appearance in a drift cannot be improved on. I took these two photos on the 5th of April and just four days later they were starting to look rather tired, as yet another wet gale bore down on them. And now I must climb into the 4-wheel drive, attach the trailer and collect another load of straw bales. Then it’s back to my book on the Fens, which I’ve got to finish in exactly a month. I’m going to be busy!

7 daffs in meadow

8 daffs close-up

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