Monday, 31 May 2010

On alarm clocks, etc.

When in the UK, during the working week, our getting-up time was governed by the alarm clock which would ring insistently until we answered its call. (I used to put it on the other side of the room so I had to get out of bed to switch it off)

Then we came to France, and for a magical two years we have been minus the alarm clock regime,  using it only if there was need to get to the airport, which is not often. So the only form of awakening has been the dogs getting restless, or a loo-trip, or the arrival of the builders. 

Since Hubs doesn't have to be on his PC until 10, France being one hour ahead of the UK,  most times we have been waking up by natural means, and if we linger then it doesn't matter as he has no commute along the M25 to do anymore so can fall out of bed and fall onto his PC, cup of tea in hand, without any effort. 

However: now, at about 8 every day, and never later, one sheep will us that we should be up. It is said insistently. She is not to be ignored. And her voice seems to penetrate whatever sleepy state we are in, although most times I am up and about but doing other things not relevant to sheep-care. It is as if she is telling us that the day has started, so why haven't we.  But she won't keep on speaking. No, she will quieten down. But her voice would have become implanted in our heads, such that we know we must move, get into action. And if we don't? If we don't act? Well, like the best of repeat alarm clocks, she will speak again after a while. She will not be switched off, and neither will she run out of battery power.

Sometimes we make an immediate response, and catch them out. The flock will be half asleep themselves, and take a moment or two to get themselves going, having to be shoo-ed across the road before a car comes along, whereupon they will trundle across Station Field with shoulders hunched down, and 'We don't want to do this today' look about them. Just like Hubs used to look when I waived him off to work in the UK. 

But if we are late, then they will be queued up at the gate, giving us 'Oh doooo come on' looks.' Across the road they romp, quickly trotting out into the field along their own M25-type road, both the Paddock and Station Field now starting to get sheep-tracks where they regularly walk. Normally the boy-lambs will be pushing ahead. They are a naughty bunch and are often evicted from the Sheep House by the others who are still asleep, although always they will be accompanied by one ewe, plus the ram. If she can't control the hooligans, then he will step in to keep control. He keeps a tight ship, does the ram, and will stand no nonsense. But mostly the little ones, who are now nearly the size of their mums, will just aggravate each other by practicing the movements necessary to make the future generation, or headbutting, and generally being boisterous.  Like all young males really, just being thoroughly annoying to all!

SHEEP WOOL PROJECT: Well it isn't happening at the moment. I keep looking at the pile of fleece, which is starting to look grubbier by the day, thinking I ought to start and not knowing how to. I have searched on the Internet for help, and all I am told is 'sort the wool, disregard the dirty' and that the wool fibres must be 'at least two inches long' for spinning. But when I pull out some wool and separate the fibres I can't suss out the length of them because they stick together. 

So: am going to risk the other fleeces rotting, and put them in plastic bags to stop them from getting dirtier, and work on the tattiest of the fleeces, which came off Mr. Sheep. Despite being the biggest of them all, he produced the least impressive fleece, his energies, I guess, going into keeping his testerone levels up which I suppose he needs to keep his girls in order. Anyway, this is my learning-curve fleece:

I think 'bon courage' is what I am needing, don't  you think! It is as mucky as the photo says it is. Not to worry, though. I will give it a go. 

RABBIT PROJECT: Mum is doing well, and the babies, despite what they think, are now not babies but little rabbits. Hubs is yearning to handle them, and has decided to give the Rabbit House a clean up, an excuse, I think, to pick them up. However, this is yet another occasion when Gussy especially, and Bools, will have to be shut in the house. They are already moaning about being shut in for all of five minutes twice a day when we cross the sheep to and fro their Paddock. All they want to do is be involved, but their endeavour to help only ever produces more chaos. We are not, as yet, wanting to have the rabbits scampering about all over the place, so the boys will have to stay un-involved. No doubt they will fiercely voice there opinion about this. 

HOUSE PROJECT: Jean-Pierre is now pulling down the side wall of the Tall Barn. It was found to have four major cracks in it so was mortally wounded. It hurts me in my heart to lose yet more of the original dwelling, but it will pull down the Gate House and the Office if it were to fall. 



 Ah well. Has to be done. But, as I say, it hurts me to see any of the more of the original be knocked down. 

And now I am woken up. Hubs has also gotten woken up. So the Lady Sheep has done her job. By the way, one of them has an odd shape - she has a swollen stomach to one side, but is eating well, and still looking chirpy, so no vet at the moment. Another is looking elderly so is probably on her way to Sheep Heaven. Now being devoid of their fleeces, we are more aware of their shapes, which has drawn our awareness towards these two. Bless. 
Off to clean up the Sheep House and Paddock now. Good news here: I am getting one whole barrowload of poo and wet straw each day from the flock. Which is good news for Veg Plot One, Veg Plot Two being supposedly worked on by Max, our Tamworth Boar,  which he does in between long patches of sleeping. Awww Bless. 

Things I have learnt: That sometimes one has to teach oneself that which is not known, and ultimately it is the struggle for the learning that the greatest pleasure is gained.


Barry said...

I enjoyed today's visit to your new life in France.

It has certainly taken me away from my own.

Vera said...

Thanks Barry. I know your life is difficult at the moment, so I feel highly honoured that I was able to give you respite. God bless you.

French Fancy said...

This is just fascinating, Vera. In the years to come when you have your restored house and the flocks of animals outside you will look back to these early days and marvel at how well you did. As for the trial fleece - bon courage indeed.

Vera said...

Thanks Jean. Writing these blogs is giving me a diary for the future, as you say - so we can look back and marvel at what we were have done.

French Fancy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vera said...

Apologies to French Fancy for re-naming her as 'Jean'. Her real name is Julie. That's the trouble with not having access to the real name of people: I don't like responding to the bloggers blogging name as it sounds too cold, too unfriendly to do so. So sorry for the re-naming mistake, and will stay safe and call you FF from now on as I can't remember my own name let alone everyone else's I am in contact with - blame it on my age - after all, I am in my dotage!

Vera said...

Ooops. Apparently I have re-named French Fancy as Jean, which is not her real name. Julie is. Oops again. Trouble is that I think it is rude to refer to the bloggers blog title when thanking them for taking the time to visit, but if I can't find their real name then I have to. But somehow I picked up on the wrong name, so a lesson to be learnt here, I think. If the blogger makes no reference to their real name anywhere on their blog, then one must assume that they want to remain anonymous, and therefore one must respect their anonymity. So sending to blessings to FF, and again megga apologies.

DUTA said...

Sleep is a wonderful mechanism, but sometimes it presents me with a big problem: I hear the alarm clock clearly, and yet I go on sleeping. Maybe I should take a sheep.

It's a good idea to deal with issues in a separate way: house project, rabbit project, fleece project etc.. You've got a good organizing mind, Vera.

French Fancy said...

Oh I didn't mean to cause you such angst, Vera. I think Jean is the blogger 'A Very Grand Pressigny'. It's only in the last year I've even revealed my real name on my blog - but not to everyone. (you of course are included).

I don't mind FF - most people use it.


Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Great post. I must do some catching up on previous ones - I will be back. Diane

Vera said...

Hello Duta. Actually I am not organized at all! But by naming the projects it helps me define just what I am up to. But an 'organized mind?' No, not a chance!Just me muddling through.

FF:) I don't know where 'Jean' arrived from, but not to worry. Will stay safe and use blogging titles from now on. How is the OU? Hope your writing is flowing excellently well.

Vera said...

Nice to have you visit, Diane, and I hope you enjoy whizzing through the previous blogs. I am now off to have a look at your patch of the blogging world.

Roz said...

I'd like one of those clocks that have days of the week on rather than time, it seems more appropriate for out here. I had to stop and think what month it was the other day. I'm either going nuts or just totally out of touch!!(either way I don't care!!)x

Vera said...

I do agree, Roz. I only know the month and the approximate date because of the bookings diary on my web site. But if all my flock are OK and don't need me so I am not reminded of the date, then the days seem to evaporate away with alarming speed. I don't care either whether we are both 'going nuts' or both are 'out of touch'. Hooray I say, and Hooray again!