I had escaped upstairs to avoid any more recriminations, but I hadn’t gone far enough and was still in earshot.
“Ok - guess this: how many tape measures do you have in the boot room drawer?” I can’t remember ever buying a tape measure so I aimed high - “two?”
“Five!" came the triumphant reply. "Why would anyone need five tape measures?”
It was getting annoying. Adrian, my husband, has never shown any interest in the contents of my useful drawers, but with some time and an idea to declutter, apparently this seemed a good place to start. “And how many odd gloves do you have?” I was happy with this, I can wear odd gloves any day as long as they keep my hands warm. “But you have seven right hands and one left?”. Now, that was odd, where do I have a pile of left-handed gloves? The good news is that disposable gloves have no right and left hands - there must be a market for Winter gloves that have the same property.
We suddenly have time, having sped at speed from country to country, meeting to meeting and having hundreds of thoughts on pages of lists - we have been told to stop in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Hence the sorting out of drawers.
With the foot and mouth epidemic, the public quite rightly felt sorry for the farmer coping with stock getting thinner and the ever-present chance they would all be wiped out in a day. But I feel this time, we are blessed with space and a routine, but sadly no-one to visit to share and enjoy it with.
Although it will be a struggle for farmers to find markets for the farming produce with restaurants and hotels closed, my pork outlet has dried up and there is a drama unfolding with the markets for milk for the dairy farms. At least my pigs can continue to run round the woods until the markets open back up.
I miss the little family who are holed up in Geneva, but with daily viewings of photographs of the little milestones our 5 month-old granddaughter, Summer, has reached, we feel in touch.
Summer finishing some solids in the early days of eating food
Summer with an early eye on marketing opportunities
There are four of us living at home - Olly escaped the city with minutes to spare after threatened transport closure and lock down, and Archie is on stand-by for the army to support and rescue. We are getting to know each other’s dietary requirements, and in return the young men are learning about window cleaning, hoovering and we will be moving towards the bathroom shortly - bear in mind these "young men" range from 27 to 58 years old!
Projects and aims within the family vary from keeping a fast moving start-up company on track to learning how to bake a good banana cake. And demands vary from having a perfectly baked sweet potato every lunchtime and a plentiful supply of fish and avocados to a supply of frozen pizza and local beer.
It’s a joy to have some of the family at home, though, and a great support. Not to mention some new pieces of kit arriving as essentials for surviving life with the parents.
The new coffee machine
I have revisited recipes from the olden days, with many meals consisting of rabbit and pigeon. Rabbit goujons have been a hit, as has rabbit in cider and mustard. I draw the line at squirrel, though, even if there are three in my freezer - apparently they are a delicacy in smart restaurants - perhaps they can be recycled South in due course.
Squirrels that aren't going in the casserole
We are so lucky with our local village shop staying open, plus Fairhurst's at Berry's have shown huge versatility by producing nutritious homemade meals for free delivery within a 10-mile radius. Carrick's have continued to supply us all with fish every Friday and the local supermarkets have adapted to keep their staff safe while supplying us all with food.
Campbell's keeping their cashiers safe
Animals don’t know we are on a go-slow. Auntie, the sow, surprised us by doing handstands one day and delivering nine wonderful piglets the next. An enchanting mix of colours, as always.
Auntie's latest litter
Auntie staying on her elbows so she doesn't squash a baby
After sniffing the Spring air, we were finally able to get the older pigs into the woods.
Noses sniffing the Spring air
Bigger and braver and meeting the neighbours
Young pigs hiding in the wood
Young pigs sleeping out in the ark
Tiger and Traffic, the oldest pigs on the farm, are finally out in their pig pen.
Tiger and Traffic dozing in the sun
Everything has dried out, and the wild garlic is back on the lane sides. It is hugely versatile and mixes with everything - soup, wraps and a cheery addition to any vegetable dish.
Wild garlic covering the lane sides
The lambs are looking good - and I loved this one with a black belt.
A view of lambs
And thankfully we have at least one Highland calf from little Blondie. It is her first calf, and everything is going well so far.
Blondie with her first calf (not to be called Corona)
Our other young Highlands are enjoying the high ground.
The young Highlands
With a holiday cancelled in March, we made the most of our “ staycation”, and walked every day with the dogs - it felt quite novel, little did we know what was in store.
Photo on Staycation
With the yurt site closed for coronavirus, we have been so lucky that the vast majority of our customers are happy to postpone their bookings for later on in the year. This has helped tremendously with the running costs of the business, and it will be wonderful to have the site full again as soon as we are able. We have even had time for some hedge laying around the yurt site to help keep all the magnificent views of the countryside on display.
Hedge laying around the yurt site
I have had to learn a few extra skills with the lock down: injecting piglets, dog grooming so Wallis can see, trimming hooves, and cutting fringes for me and the husband.
Wallis before grooming
But I draw the line at squeezing dog glands, even if I have seen it done loads of times before - back to the disposable gloves.