Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Living Womb

I had a wonderful weekend last weekend.  I went to see my Iron Age pal, who has a horse kept in a field at a friend's farm.

It was pouring with rain, and the inauspicious start to the day involved trudging, up to our ankles in mud, dragging a wheelbarrow to collect piles of horse poo.  It was actually quite hard to spot the poo against the mud, but once I had my eye in, I could pride myself on hunting out the heaps.  Once found the multiple boluses (?) needed scooping up, which was quite tricky as they tended to roll away from the spade.  I was reminded of one joyful day as a lifeguard at a quite smart pool complex, where I had to fish a turd out of the shallow end.  When I recounted this to my friend, she asked whether it was my own poo.  I felt quite indignant - as if I poo in swimming pools, honestly!

When the muddy poo collecting was done, we went to a barn to bottle feed the most beautiful little lambs who had been making a big fuss about being hungry.  They guzzled greedily and bounced around, full of the joys of spring.  I had been warned not to appear to be bonding with them, this is de rigueur on the farm from which they would be sent to be slaughtered before autumn.  I managed to look fairly serious and not like I had just fallen in love, and called, 'number six, time for your bottle'.

After this, we picked some curly kale for dinner from the veggie patch, and then went and sat in the farmhouse kitchen.  It was like stepping back in time, or maybe finding you had walked into an episode of The Archers.  An ancient range was glowing orange and emitting warmth as if from a huge hug.  There were two well sat-in armchairs arranged next to it, and about five friendly dogs agitating to be stroked and patted. I took a seat and was promptly given a mug of tea and slab of extremely tasty home baked cake, with home made jam filling (butter cream icing for those of you who like this level of detail).  It wasn't a living room, it was a living womb.

We went back to my friend's house where the slow cooker had been doing its stuff on two lamb shanks, yes, bought from the farm.  I think we were eating the great aunt or uncle of number six, a thought I had to put to the back of my mind as I tucked in.  It did taste delicious, and for once I felt like I was eating something better than Michelle Roux was busy cooking up on TV at the same time.

All in all a wonderful day.