Thursday, 15 December 2011
Step outside the kitchen at the new place into the fresh air and you are stepping into what we call the cow-yard. It's a small area about 40' by 40' surrounded by the house, outbuildings, a stone wall and two galvanised farm field-gates. It would be familiar to anyone who has worked on a small dairy farm, and Dad certainly had one when he first started as a "GFW" (general farm worker) during student days. It provides an area to contain the cows when you've got them in for milking, or to manage them when they are 'indoors' so that they don't "poach up" (chop up by trampling) the fields when these are too wet. Generally they are either concrete or have a crushed stone base which you keep reasonably clear of poo by scraping and shovelling each day to save the poor beasts getting foot rot from wading around in cold wet poo all day. This one has a stony base.
When the farm became too much for TK Min and was abandoned, we assume that there was no great effort to clean up, scrape up poo etc, so the yard sat for 15 years with what must have been a good layer and this has long since grown a nice thick carpet of grass. Why am I telling you all about this? Because that is exactly where we want to stand the caravan when Mr Silverwood brings it up on Saturday and, rather than hop in and out of the caravan onto boggy grass, all be it only 3 inches or so thick, we decided that today's job would be to pull up some of this carpet to give ourselves clean dry concrete or stones to walk on. Wrapped around that we did all the usual lighting fires and strolling around scratching chins in a thoughtful manner, planning stuff. Mum and Dad even brought up from Silverwoods some left over garlic bread and pasta with meatballs which got heated up on the range in a first effort at cooking in the new place.
Dad loved the sounds and feel of the poo shovelling, evoking those early GFW years; the hollow scrape of shovel along wet concrete and then the swing, swoosh and splop of the wads of soggy wet poo flying off the shovel and hitting the muck heap. The humans are aching and tired now and will not need anyone to sing them a lullaby. We have returned to Silverwoods for a Birthday tea for J-M (12) which featured some of those trick re-lighting candles on her cake. I came home so manky from the exploring the poo job and piles of muck that Dad was too embarrassed to let Mrs S see me and was reduced to shampooing me in the kitchen sink before they came home