Friday, 9 January 2015

Brush Up Your Shakespeare

Guzzling Mum's colostrum.
Our little "miracle baby" is thriving so far and this morning he was amusing himself with some first of those springing jumps off all 4 feet, that they do. He is alone so far and, unless his 'Aunt' Polly was also 'got at' by the youngsters with whom these ladies were running up till Aug/Sept, then he'll presumably have to wait till March 25th to get any playmates - he'll be looking a bit less lamb-like by then, all being well. We will just have to see he gets extra fuss and TLC so that he doesn't miss that side of life. He has already had his first admirer come visit, a friend from down the lane brought her 8 year old daughter for a look and a cuddle.

A 12th-Night clown?
But what to name him? We had put out on the usual internet discussion group circuit that we needed a name which might evoke any of the following: Surprise, very early, unexpected, wind-blown wet acres or even first-born. They'd only come up with 'Heathcliffe' (from the windy-wet thing) but then I spotted that the little guy had actually been born on Twelfth Night at which Liz's ears pricked up!

Liz is this family's literature expert and learnĂ©d well-read Shakespeare scholar so she was straight into the Bard's play 'Twelfth Night'  and found the name of the clown/jester character, which is 'Feste' (I am told you pronounce this 'Festay'). I have to confess to not knowing this play well but we do have a DVD of the Trevor Nunn film version starring Helena Bonham Carter. Richard E Grant, Nigel Hawthorne, Mel Smith, Imogen Stubbs and, as Feste himself, Sir Ben Kingsley, no less. I love this film  and I can remember that the clown has a regular, repeated singing part which goes...

"Hey, ho, the wind and the rain, and the rain it raineth every day"

That seemed particularly appropriate for our little lamb just now; it seems to have rained every day since I managed to scrabble in the last of the spud harvest. As I was harvesting I was looking about me mentally listing all the other garden jobs that need doing (mainly tidying, cutting down raspberries and so on). I have been able to do none of these! Feste he is then. He is indoors today but, weather permitting, the family will get some outdoor exercise tomorrow, (Maternity Unit Matron) Mayo Liz has advised "Saturday or Sunday".

We have also been having some fun in a related area suggesting I might need to "Brush up (my) Shakespeare" which you may know is a very good song from the musical Kiss me Kate and given to some devilish rhyming as the song builds on the theme that the way to successfully charm your gal is to quote at her from the Bard

Just declaim a few lines from Othella
And they'll think you're a hell of a fella
If your blonde won't respond when you flatter 'er
Tell her what Tony told Cleopatterer


With the wife of the British ambessida
Try a crack out of Troilus and Cressida
If she says she won't buy it or tike it
Make her tike it, what's more As You Like It

(Ah well, maybe you had to be there! - if you fancy a listen to a good 'original' try

or similar)

It stains well, this lamb-medicine. Apparently it is how proper
shepherds recognise one another in shop queues and pubs; either
brown of iodine or the purple of foot rot spray!
Meanwhile, even though pinned down indoors by the rain, work goes on. Our chum JD Bob is a bit under the weather lately with flu so I was down there yesterday on cattle feeding duties, shoveling wads of silage to his indoor-housed twenty bullocks (always amused by the fact that locally "cows/cattle" means just the females, so if you ask a farmer does he have cattle, you are likely to get the trip-up answer, 'I don't; I only have weanlings and bullocks') I have also started culling out the young Buff Orpington roosters who have started to cause trouble with their battling with each other and aggression towards the smaller of our existing adult hens. Liz is plucking and dressing the first one even as I type this. Being a big breed, these guys are not fully grown even though they are at 22/23 weeks, so they make rather small carcasses (certainly compared to the meaty Hubbards we were doing most recently!). The first went 'oven ready' at 1.984 kg. Not bad.

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