Monday, 13 September 2010

Sick sheep: Part Two

So lambs down at Sarah's place where they are being fed frequently. They are less dehydrated and looking good. Argument raged through my head as to whether I should stay there and help with the night feeds, but I was shooed away by Sarah who said I needed my sleep. The guilt washed lavishly through me as I drove away, with the instructions that I had to milk the mum sitting uncomfortably in my head.

So I made a return to Labartere. The ewe was standing at the field gate, looking better in herself. Hubs and me got her over into the Paddock. She went quickly, thinking that her lambs were going to be there. Hubs had computer work to urgently do. He moved off, with a 'Good luck with the milking'. Crikey! 

So I followed the ewe back into the sheep barn, to find her conveniently nosing about in the small pen at one end, the one where she had stayed with her lambs. I shut her in. I tried milking. Ooooerrrrr! First of all she wouldn't stand still. She is a big sheep, and I am but a mere human girl. To grab at her coat to keep her in one place took two hands. Those I had. But then there was the milking bit to do. Obviously this needed more hands. Only having two, this proved a difficulty. Anyway, I had a go. One hand holding the mum, the other feeling around her undercarriage. Oooh, but that was a strange experience. She was all hot and her teats felt rubbery. I did a bit of a squeeze at the end of one. She bucked and shoved me away. Not to worry. Small enclosure, not much room for her to escape me, so I tried again. Nope. Wasn't going to work. 

So I gave up. 


Into the house I went, and there I had a tear. Not a big one. Just a bit of one. And for all of two minutes I had it in my head that I wanted to go back to the UK. Sell. Go. Do what others are doing. Retreat. Trying to build a new life, with all its attendant difficulties, was proving far too much for me. 

And then swiftly did those thoughts evaporate. This was too self indulgent. One makes decisions to try something new, therefore one must persevere, and with a smile on one's face as well. This I did, helped by Hubs coming into the kitchen and seeing my tearfulness. "Come on," he said, "Lets go milk that mum"

So we did. Having milked cows Hubs knew how to milk the ewe, and quickly the milk was squirting into the bowl, despite the ewe's disinclination to help. We managed to get the pressure off her udders although didn't clear all the milk because she was still too sore with the mastitis and she was p*****d off with us. Well wouldn't anyone be, having their milking equipment manhandled!

Back in the house, me and Hubs sat, both exhausted by the efforts of it all. One can do several things when one is in this state of being. One can either moan and complain. Or have an argument with one's partner to relieve the tension. Or discuss selling up. Or one can go make a lovely plate of egg and chips. Which I did. Then off to bed, putting an end to a day which had been, quite frankly, fraught. 

Not to worry, another day ahead, and I am off to see the lambs shortly and help Sarah with setting up a website by way of thanking her for her efforts. I think we will have to have a go at milking the ewe again before I do so. 

My spirits are up. There are times when one has to stay up on one's feet despite the nagging desire to go to sleep for a hundred years! Ah well, better than sitting in front of a TV, which I did loads of when back in the UK.

By the way, I looked at the Black Cockerel this morning, and my intuition said that he will be needing to be recycled soon, the reason being that he is starting to show attitude. But he didn't have the mop thrust at him last night to get him out of the tree in which he was trying to go to sleep, because he was actually inside the Hut. Mmmm, perhaps he is aware of treading a fine line now! One of the other hens has gone broody in the  empty rabbit hutches that they decided to use as nest boxes. But Hubs booted her off, because she had taken unto herself all the eggs laid that day, which were four in total. No doubt she will keep on wanting to sit on a clutch. No doubt we will try to encourage her not to! 

So bless this smallholding life. Now where can I buy a penny's worth of patience!


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

Vera, patience is one of those things that can be difficult. I have never been a patient person but I do seen to be (sort of) improving in my 'old age'!! Nigel of course may disagree!

I am so glad to hear that Mum is doing well and looking better, the lambs sound like they are in good hands.

As for two hands, sometimes here on my own I could just scream, using feet as extras just don't seem to do the job properly:-)

I am sure you will never want to go back to 'just' watching TV again! Diane

Anonymous said...

Hello there Vera,
You have certainly had a roller coaster ride for the last few days, glad the egg and chips saw you through though. A good cry and some comfort food can usually set you on the right track to recovery. Hubs sounds to be a star. Pity we are not near each other, as it is my birthday today and a glass or two of fizz is always cheering!!

Anonymous said...

My word verification for today was "scrosms" which is a bit how I feel really!!

Tommo said...

Ah, the jolly old tearful 'this is all one big mistake so let's sell up and go back to The Cesspit'. I know that feeling well, having experienced it on a number of occasions. It's a perfectly normal and common 'downer' for us pioneering francophiles, especially at times when you need three hands to twiddle the tits of an unco-operative sheep and you only have two.

But worry ye not. Contrary to popular media reports, not everyone is selling up and going back. A few are of course, but maybe they miss families and friends 'back home' more than they thought they would. Or maybe they have a problem learning basic French. Or maybe they can't stand living with cobwebs and mice. Or maybe they miss fluffy pink covers on loo seats. Who knows? Who cares? Maybe they shouldn't have come out here in the first place.

For every one that returns, you can bet your boots that there are an equal number, or even more, that would dearly love to pack up and find a new life out here but, for whatever reason, can't. Or won't.

Personally, having survived five and a bit years out here, I don't think I could face going back. I'd see it as defeat. And besides, if I did return there, I'm sure there would soon come a time when I'd be thinking "hell, I miss France more than I used to miss England - dammit, I have to get back there".

To me, tough as this life is in France, it's far more interesting, challenging, exciting, rewarding and just plain better than life in boring old England. And I'm sure it's the same for you.

So stick with it. You and Hubs are doing magnificently. The good times always outweigh the bad.

(Apologies for this lengthy dirge but it just seemed a good way to spend my lunch break.)

French Fancy... said...

Everyone needs a Sarah and a plate of egg and chips in their life. You did and are doing fantastically well and there are bound to be days when it all goes pear-shaped. Once the lambs are back with the ewe I am sure she will be in a better mood - plus when the mastitis goes.

And you will be in a better mood too.

Land of shimp said...

Ah! "Recycled", I like that :-) Seriously, I do, it fits with a notion I've long since liked that creatures come back to us. Or perhaps that isn't quite what you meant (I'm sure it isn't) but isn't it a fun thought?

"You're being far too cocky you rooster, you. Back the drawing board, start from square one!" And he does. Or doesn't. It isn't as if I know, I just like the thought of second chances.

Which is rather like what your building of a new life in France is, isn't it? Animals end up with different sorts of second chances, we humans make our own.

Your life certainly isn't boring and staid, Vera. I don't think you would suit being boring and staid.

Vera said...

Diane: It must be so difficult for you to be living here for part of the year with your husband still working in the UK. I guess you are laying down the pathway of you future life, and for that I think you have a lot of courage. Thanks for your best wishes re the lambs.

Ondine: I could quite cheerfully have sunk a bottle with you today, but all I can do is wish you many happy returns of the day, 'scrosms'is word I can totally relate to - 'I have the scrosms today' would be exactly how I felt last night! Bless you for adding such a wonderful word to my vocabulary.

Tommo: Thankyou so much for your words. I needed to have them, so maybe that is why you were inspired to write them. Thankyou my friend.

FF: I am in a better frame of mind today. This recent blip seems to have helped re-arrange my thoughts as to what I need to focus on. With so much happening by way of sorting out our new life here, I have slipped out of focus. Now I have that focus back, and I feel all the better, therefore, for having that blip. Thankyou for you words of positive

LofS: You are absolutely right: I definitely would not suit 'boring or staid' either, and my spirit runs high. Most times. Except for the occasional blip like I had yesterday. But then my fellow bloggers send me wonderful messages, and that most certainly helps to get me over the blips.