My Dad and His Animals
This week has flashed by in a whirr of book editing and gardening for customers , oh! and a quick trip to Norway for the weekend! and I am back as promised (to myself) writing my blog.
I have been trying to work through the nearly final edits of my book while also sorting out the cover (and I still haven’t found any time to watch the final episode of Poldark!)
Last night, Fox Halt Farm jumped off my computer screen and appeared outside my front door in the shape of some black and white cows who had decided to break out of their field. The future of a dairy herd is a part of my book and although the real and un-invited four-legged visitors threatened to trample flower beds and knock into cars, the truth is I thought that it was nice to see them…
My earliest memories are on the farm where I grew up. The first two moments I recall of my childhood involve the dairy cows we kept back then.
My strongest memory (probably when I was about two-years old) is sitting on the back of a cow that my dad had named after me. Of course she became my favourite animal on the farm and I remember how her coat was always greasy and warm, and how my fingers were coated in a sticky grey goo after I had been stroking her. Celia (the cow) always seemed to raise her head and nudge her wet nose towards me when she saw me.
The other moment I recall is being in the shippen with the cows all lined up waiting for my father to milk them each in turn. As far as I recall, they would always come into the shed in the same order and always go to the same stall. I remember how tiny I felt as they walked by me and how they always calmly ignored me there in my little wellies… and I remember too that there were always lots of cats around me purring loudly while they waited for a saucer of the warm milk.
This was more than forty-five years ago, and sadly my has father passed away. But last night he and his cows were back in my life in an unexpected way.
Flies were probably bothering the cows and that’s why a few of the herd had jumped the field fence but when I saw them outside our house they were quietly just having a bit of a mooch around.
I contacted our local farmer to tell him his animals were hanging around our doorstep, and eventually he turned up with a bag of feed and lured them back into the field. It was lovely to see the farmer with his cows because it reminded me so much of my dad. As soon as the man called the escapees they started to move towards him, no stick, just gentle easy-going words just like my father would have used. I watched the farmer with his laid-back attitude and there was my father. Dad always had the same demeanour and in that the same way, he would eventually get around to things. He drove us all mad at times but we were never able to rush him, and when I left the farm to do my degree in London I always recall the stark contrast with his way of doing things and how everything had to be completed at top speed in the busy city; just waiting two minutes for the tube seemed an eternity in London but in Devon my dad spoke in timescales of no less than a month (or maybe two!)
So why am I telling you this? Well it is just that writing my book has dug up a lot of memories for me that are so far in my past and so different from my life today that I had forgotten them. I always aim to live in the present and I am always keen to be grateful for little things I encounter each day. I am quick to think that my past is my past and frame it in the way that it has provided lots of lessons, which I hope I have learnt. But the past has also made me who I am and really, I suppose, I just wanted an excuse to talk about Dad and what a fabulous person he was.
Again please let me know what you think, or maybe just give this post a ‘like’ THANK YOU
My debut novel Fox Halt Farm will be published on November 1st 2017