Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Riots and markets

Must be the weather. Or the fact that Vodafone/Orange/BT can’t be bothered to upgrade lines/masts/bits of string enough to get a decent broadband signal out here in the country. For heaven’s sake this is Kent not Outer Mongolia! Not exactly the outer reaches of civilisation ...

Anyway, dear readers, internet connection permitting, here I am once again. Better late than never.

So, we have a bit of catching up to do!

Sunday was a day spent selling cheese to the good people of Parson’s Green, including of course, Mad Parrot Woman. She brought me a magic potion this week for my aching cold fingers and toes .. something vaguely peppery in a strange brown bottle. Works like magic apparently ... I will keep you informed!

Here are a couple of the other stalls at the market:

Greatest comedy moment in the market was watching James of Little Jack Horner’s Pies giving his full attention to a small person in pink that could only just see over his table. It was a quiet spell in the market and he was giving her the full sales pitch ... ‘Pies’, said the small pink voice. ‘But these are no ordinary pies, madam. These are potted pies in enamel tins. And I buy the tin back off you or give you money back on your next pie’. ‘Pies’ said the small pink voice again before it bounded off to find a larger human without an apron and scary beard. Nice try, James ..

It must be something about going to Parson’s Green that encourages the goats to be naughty when I am away. Remember the occasion when they broke the gates and got out into the barn? Yes, well ... I arrived back on Sunday and was talking to David in the barn when he suddenly said to me – ‘I think we may have a problem’. A problem?? We don’t have problems .. only challenges and opportunities ... I followed his eyes and saw what he had already spotted – a couple of little goatie faces staring out at us from INSIDE the milking parlour. Ah .. yes .. you could be right. We may have a problem.

In fact, it wasn’t a problem – it was a riot. Or had been. Judging by the amount of poo and chaos that greeted us when we opened the door, it would seem that every single goat had been in the parlour that afternoon. David had been out there early afternoon and so it couldn’t have taken them very long to turn the place upside down. There were about 20 goats stuck in the actual milking parlour – they were able to get in, but could not get out without a human to lift the parlour away for them. They were just standing there patiently, if a little bored. The feed bins were totally empty, the lovely large basket of apples from Franklins Farm Shop (waiting to be chopped and shared) had been totally trashed, though not the basket itself fortunately, as I have to return that to Franklins this week.

And so before we could even think about milking on Sunday evening we had to do a massive cleanup and thorough disinfect of the parlour as well - just what I wanted on a freezing cold Sunday evening after a weekend of London markets! And how had all this happened? David has a theory that one of the goats managed to open the gate into the parlour. It is possible as they are very very adept at opening gates, even ones that are meant to be goat-proof. We have one goat in particular, who is very good with gates - yes, Willow, you know who you are -  but she usually opens them and then steps back to let others through so that she doesn’t get the blame. I just wish that we had a CCTV installed to capture the fun!

Here is Kiki standing on the offending gate:

Monday morning began with a little gentle exercise. Little Hermione had been in the wars last week when one of her ear tags had started to rub for some reason and I had been bathing and spraying it for a few days – she was sporting a lovely blue ear for most of the week. However, yesterday morning, she decided that enough was enough and that she wasn’t going to be caught again. Round and round the barn we went ... Trying to catch a small speedy and very determined goat in a large barn is virtually impossible when you are on your own ..

Eventually I had to call in reinforcements – fortunately David was working just up the road and so came along to help catch her. Round and round we both went .. We managed to get her eventually and having looked at her ear again we decided that we should cut the ear tag out and let the ear heal up properly as it was starting to look quite nasty. So, now she has a blue ear with a hole in it! But not to worry, it will heal up and when it is quite better, we will put a new tag in for her.

Needless to say - she won't come anywhere near me again at the moment!  She just gives me a dirty look and walks off in the opposite direction.

And today it snowed .. not much, but it did snow.  So, our forecast for bad weather in February is looking like it may be proved right .... Any excuse for another snowy pic!  For those of you who don't know, David runs the snow plough in our area and so he gets to go out and play when the weather gets really bad:

And sometimes, it gets so bad that even the snow plough can't cope.  A couple of years ago he had to get a farmer friend to come and dig out one of the roads that we couldn't plough any more:

Here's hoping!!

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