Mr Packham

This was one of those days that makes you know you’re alive. Where you don’t have time to appreciate one individual second of it, tunnel-vision-intent as you look for the next job to do, washed over by waves of emotion only when you switch off and let it all go.

This would be lambing time. On a day that decided to (very briefly) rain.

The rain’s an important factor, by the way. For some reason best known only to evolution, sheep lamb* when it rains. Until then, the majority keep their legs crossed, stuffing cake** as often as possible and chasing any person carrying either a crackly plastic bag or a  yellow bucket***

Since 13:30 this afternoon, we had a goose that laid an egg on the trailer door (which is lifted and closed every night) and proceeded to attempt to build her own nest out of straw stolen from the other.

There are now four brand new lambs added to the chaotic band of pets, two jet black (Zwartble) and two white with black and white faces (Kerry Hill crossed with Swaledale). The mother of the white set had no milk and didn’t care about her lambs, the black set were found abandoned and shivering on the hillside, unlicked. A single lamb has a mother with only one ‘tit’ and no milk in it, but its mummy loves it, so for the time being it’s with her and being bottled****.

And then there’s Mr. Packham.

Mr. Packham is a pet lamb who has a severe case of the shits. Yesterday, it spent the morning in front of the gas fire in a crate, wrapped up in a padded shirt. It was put back in its pen with its mates when it developed a propensity for climbing out of its crate and setting off round the room.

At 13:30 this afternoon, Mr. Packham was fine, sitting quietly but comfortably with its friends. By 15:00, it was at death’s door, head twisted to look directly behind, utterly miserable. Thinking it was dehydrated, we wrapped it up in a cosy furry Parker coat, took it inside, and tubed it with electrolyte fluid. Then more. We gave it ‘rattlebelly’ pills (Norodine) and more fluids. No milk, so the bug can’t feed off sugar and fat. If we avoid that for as long as possible, perhaps the bug will wear itself out in 24 hours.

Himself has tubed it again tonight when he got up very late to give the pets their last feed of the day, and will do so in the morning too, if it’s still alive. Poor Mr. Packham.

Are we right to try and keep it alive when it’s so miserable and poorly?

Maybe it's a Swale but some of our Kerry crosses look like this.
could be a Swale, could be a Kerry. Looks like a joker.
Kerry hill lambs
Kerry Hills – Highway Sheep as lambs.
zwartble lambs
Zwartble lambs with a lot more greenery than our lot have.


*lamb as in the verb ‘to lamb’. As in birthing a lamb.
**hard, pellety chunks that probably taste sweet and malted. Not the chocolate kind.
***both cake carrying items, as the sheep well know, though not full time; sometimes they carry boring water or goose grain, which the woolly raiders only find after they have trampled the person carrying the vessel and knocked everything all over the yard.
****’bottled’ as in given milk from a large baby’s bottle, not as in being smashed round the head with a Pils bottle.

Fresh Out

Waiting … Waiting … The Kindle version of Autotherapy is out already and it is only a matter of weeks before the paperback will be available but I’m in danger of already having saturated the media with my cries of ‘buy me, buy me’. I know there are subtler, longer term ways of infiltrating the public, but I’m making the most of the time that I have. Which isn’t a lot.

I’m crawling over the internet like a spider spinning a web, registering with everything and posting my website in appropriate places.  Basically hoping that getting out the word to the most people possible will be the best thing for the book sales. Add in there the parameter that they need to be people who already read (so more likely to read your book), and you’ve got handy sites like and Amazon but what about all those potential converts out there? Why did I write a book that was supposed to be easy to read? How many people stick their heads in a book when they’ve got some free time? Who has free time?

*And breathe*

So, new resolution: don’t panic. I can use the promotion of the book to explore social media properly, in a non-timewasting way. I need to experientially learn how to utilise Twitter as it’s most likely to be the most far-reaching word of mouth-stylee communication. Get on.

In between these minor revelations, lambing time continues, particularly featuring four little pet lambs (now named Bunny Ears, Freckle Face, Baa Lamb and Fuzzy – Himself thinks I’m soft as butter) and two large ones (Big White Lamb and Smoky).Himself is, of course, the real farmer; I’m just the helper, to feed the lambs, take ‘creep’ feed to the hospital field (Number 5 and her twins, and the two big pets) and cook the dinner.

The geese have now laid around 60 eggs since February, and still doing so. We’ve got half in an incubator in Newbiggin and half in one in my dad’s garage, (with my mum turning them) and the last few are under a determined, very bad tempered goose in a trailer.

Life goes on, so we may as well enjoy it.

(Pictures to follow, promise).


Stormy Weather

Well, we’ve moved with an abrupt force, from balmy, clear, sunny (warmish) spring days, to what the media is terming ‘wintry’.  A survey taken from two people who had to climb over a wall and run across a field several times (the lives of two stranded lambs in the wrong field were at stake) in driving snowstones and galeforce winds, says that ‘wintry’ doesn’t @#*&%!~ cover it.

Wintry is to this evil, squally blizzard that a toothless Jack Russell is to a slavering werewolf. Wintry is Christmas Card, not Hell cooled down.