It is already the middle of February and Spring is almost here. The days are drawing out, the grass is growing on steadily – in fact, it didn’t really stop growing at all this Winter ! – the catkins are out and giving the hedges an early splash of colour and the daffodils and snowdrops and primroses are slowly coming to life again. I have replenished the goose and duck beds with piles of fresh straw and in theory by next week we should have our first eggs. Hopefully that will discourage our errant geese from escaping on a daily basis. Misty the sheepdog won’t be impressed – locating and recovering missing Geese is the highlight of her day, at this time of year. No snow and only two frosts means that Winter has not happened again. With no clear seasonal distinctions we have to expect all sorts of natural irregularities over the coming year, most of which will cause problems for some of us. I suppose you could say that a normal Winter should cause problems for most of us, with snow and ice interfering with our regular routines. What you might describe as ‘natural levelling up’ then.Very topical!

There is still much disruption because of the pandemic. We have to hope, now, that as a nation we will develop a degree of herd immunity that, combined with vaccines and isolation measures will gradually return us to ‘normal’. ‘Normal’ isn’t going to restore everything to how it used to be so realistically a new ‘normal’ will have to evolve that we can all live with. We have been out and about ourselves since Christmas and seem to have survived several pubs, the theatre and a day at the races. It looks likely that all Covid restrictions will soon be lifted and it will become a matter of personal choice how we mingle and socialise with other people. If you are fit, young and healthy you have to crack on and resume normal service. If, like us, you’re in the old codger category, or medically vulnerable, or associate with such people then just be a bit more careful. That is nice and simple, eh ?

At last, it’s February……Six Nations rugby and the Winter Olympics. We’ve made a bit of a wobbly start to both, so far. Sam Warburton made a very pertinent comment at the end of last weeks games. He said…..’We have to accept that two very good teams will come fourth and fifth in this tournament’ ! …… The whole point of having an odd-shaped ball is so no-one knows which way it will bounce. Life can be a bit like that, sometimes. Last year, we came fifth, but we beat France; France beat Ireland; Ireland beat Wales….and Wales won the tournament….! As for the Winter Olympics…..what’s going on there then….? I thought it was all about skiing, snowboarding and skating. There now seems to be several ‘flying’ sections. Not only are some of them defying gravity……they also have a strange, new, unintelligible language. It’s a bit like stumbling into some sort of parallel universe. Bring on the Skier-cross ( I think that’s what it’s called…!) . Rugby on skis….. Much more sensible….! And then…..there’s Curling.

So, back to reality, and life on the farm. In about six weeks we will be open for business again. Lambs and pigs and…..some alternative animals….. are in the pipe-line. Jethro and Denzil, our new goatlings, have settled in with Uncle Snowy and even Moo, our miniature Shetland pony, seems to think he’s a goat at the moment. I am ‘between horses’ at the moment. Having lost my hunter, Matey, just before Christmas I’ve only just started looking into replacing him. The price of horses has quadrupled during the pandemic as lots of people have adjusted their lifestyles and spend more time outside and by working from home have more flexible daytime routines. The price of houses, horses and dogs has soared, which is great if you’re selling, but not so good if you’re buying. This means that I have more time to keep up with the never-ending list of jobs so guests who are returning to North Bradbury farm will hopefully notice quite a few improvements.

We still have some availability for this year and even some peak weeks that have been cancelled so if you are thinking about coming on holiday, check out our web site. We are all looking forward to a Covid-free season with no restrictions.

Cheers for now, Farmer Chris.