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Thursday, 30 September 2010


Sorry, in a rush, will finish this post later but needed to copy and paste photo to someone!!!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Last Nostalgic Post.

I've finally finished decorating my new small, cosy living room (I like small and cosy!). I painted it bright, sunny yellow and Eugen, my Romanian HelpXer has laid wooden laminate flooring. I bought a couple of pine tables 2nd hand from the market and a very cheap but incredibly comfortable 2 seater sofa from a charity shop. Photos to follow soon!

I found some of my old CDs and just listened to this track. It's the one I chose for the funeral and says it all.

I've got loads to do, loads of animals to love and look after, and loads to look forward to, including a friend's 21st birthday party tonight. I drove my friend's Ford 700 tractor the other day (a BIG tractor!) and was in charge of the haylage bale wrapper, then brought my 2nd cut of haylage down by myself.

I've also hopefully, got a German couple of HelpXers coming on the 20th October. Sarah, 23, is an experienced rider and trainer and Jonathan, 21, is a skilled carpenter. They will be so useful and sound lovely people too.

Onwards and upwards!!!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

My Previous Rescue Case.

I did have a pony whose life we actually saved a couple of years ago. A local animal 'sanctuary''s stables burnt down and when we asked if there was anything we could do to help the owner sent us two ponies as she was worried about anyone seeing one of them.

When I first saw him, when he arrived in the lorry (David went to pick him up) I was horrified. He looked like a dead horse walking and his eyes were totally dead and hopeless and his back end was filthy with diarrhea absolutely pouring out of him.

He perked up a little when he saw a clean, dry cosy stable with lots of hay. I asked what was wrong with him and was told that he had liver failure and was dying.

It quickly became obvious that he was having great trouble eating so I got my dentist, who is really good, to sort his teeth out (several broken and falling out plus lots more overgrown), got my vet to take blood samples (liver almost normal), treated him for his lice and worm infestations and took advice from an equine nutritionist.

Four months later, after feeding him 6 times a day, I had to return him to the 'sanctuary'. My vet, David and I fought to be allowed to keep him here but to no avail, and my vet wrote the 'sanctuary' a very strongly worded letter about what would happen if he were ever to be neglected again. Watching him go nearly broke my heart.

This was him the day after he arrived:

And this was him 4 months later. He was full of life by then and was a really sweet, loveable little character.

I cheered myself up later because I was given Grace and would never have been able to persuade David to let me have her if we'd been allowed to keep the grey pony but it still hurts to think what may have become of him.

Monday, 20 September 2010

The Fell Two Year Olds, Now and 6 Months Ago.

I took some photos of the two year old Fells the other day and here they are, along with the photos of them when they arrived here 6 months ago:




Sunday, 19 September 2010

New Arrivals.

I had two new arrivals over the weekend. Firstly my last Aberdeen Angus cow gave birth to a really beautiful heifer calf on Saturday morning. She is Pascoe's daughter and very strong and stocky. She was born very quickly and was up and suckling within 40 mins.

I'm going to call her Clover and my plans are to keep her and her mum, and hopefully to learn how to artificially inseminate them, so I can carry on breeding them without having to keep a bull here. I was going to give up cattle but I love having them here and they are the last cattle in the village now. There were cattle here before me and I'd hate not to have at least a couple here. I'm hoping that if I sell future calves after weaning as quality store cattle they will at least pay for themselves, and I am supposed to earn part of my income from agriculture living here. I'd love to believe that there's money to be made in breeding alpacas but I can't see it. The market is already flooded around here.

This is Clover and her mum, Isobel, at around an hour old:

The second is this young hedgehog I found sitting in the road in broad daylight when I took Grace out for a ride on Saturaday afternoon. He's underweight for hibernation and had some blowfly eggs on him, and a gummy eye, so I picked him up and carried him home. He is eating cat and dog food with great enthusiasm so I hope he's going to be OK with a bit of feeding up.

Spike, my hedgehog!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

My First Date!

I have a date tomorrow night. I'm trying not to get too nervous or excited but he sounds really nice and is a friend of a friend. I hope I can find enough to talk about but that's usually not too much of a problem for me these days!!!

It feels like a whole new start. I already have a whole new life and a whole new me. A partner to share it with would be the icing on the cake and an end to loneliness, but I'll take it slowly without too many expectations or the poor man will head for the hills!!!!!!!!!

Wish him luck!!!!!!!!!!

My Poem.

I have been thinking and researching about grief and what it feels like, and how to survive it and come out the other side stronger and a better person.

I found an article by Patrick Swayze's widow, Lisa Niemi, which resonated with all I've experienced.

I recognise all of that - grief being "an animal all of it's own" and "your body not being your own". I couldn't believe it was possible to have such strong emotions and I remember sitting in deep despair saying to my wonderful friend, Michael, "People do survive this, don't they?"

I found one book that helped me a lot, 'The Empty Bed - Bereavement and the Loss of Love' by Susan Wallbank who was a CRUISE councillor for many years, but apart from that there didn't seem to be much out there in a form I could deal with and to inspire me to hang on in there as there would be light at the end of the tunnel.

Above all else I needed reassurance that I would not only survive but I could use the whole experience to enrich my life and make me stronger, which is what I believe I am doing. I needed someone who'd been through it to tell me that they'd been exactly where I was and that it wouldn't last forever, and would be worth the fight and the enormous amount of energy and sheer hard work it takes to get through that amount of grief.

If I'd had that I might have been less afraid.

My equally wonderful friend Peter said that he'd tried endlessly to put himself in my place, to try and imagine how I might be feeling and how best to help me. If he'd had some reference to help him it would have made life easier for him too. Luckily for me he and his brother are very empathetic and knew David very well so they instinctively did the right things - they were always there to talk to, kept me company and kept me busy whenever they could, gave me a project to work on and a future to work for - turning this farm around and making it earn my keep so I could stay here. They treated me normally and made life carry on normally around me, teased me unmercifully (if very gently) and made me laugh at every possible opportunity.

I met someone the other day whose husband of 18 years died 3 months after David. She said what she misses the most, apart from the companionship, warmth and cuddles, is the way her husband teased and gently mocked her, making her laugh at herself, and what she hates the most now is the way that people walk on eggshells around her, afraid to mention him or to say the wrong thing.

In my experience what you lose the most when someone that close to you dies is all sense of normality. When you've shared every aspect of your lives and the one person who was always there for you and you could always rely on is gone, leaving you alone with your main point of reference gone forever, it seems like you're in a dream that you'll never wake up from and nothing will ever seem normal again.

People who haven't been through it can't know that. They don't know what you need or how to help and not many are as empathetic as my two friends are, or as brave and persistent (18 months of hard work for them too!) because it must have been very hard for them at times, especially Michael who nearly lost his own wife and soul mate once. She was on a ventilator in Intensive Care, and I know exactly what seeing someone you love in that position is like, and it must have dragged it all back up for him, time and time again.

They are both wonderful and devoted parents which I think had a lot to do with how brilliant they were, and still are, with and for me. I owe both of them my sanity and my relatively rapid progress through grief, and they've kept the faith alive in me that I will find someone else, and hopefully soon!!!

Along with another very special friend in Scotland who gave me all the confidence and reassurance about myself, and about men, that I needed to do so. He has more wisdom and is more intuitively caring, considerate and honourable than he'll ever realise or admit to, and if he's reading this I thank him from the bottom of my heart.

Anyway, I thought I might try to write a book - something like 'Grief - What it Feels Like and How To Survive it'. I'm quite lucky in that I'm reasonably good at putting my feelings into words, which not everyone can do, so I thought it might help others if I do. It might also make something good and worthwhile out of all of this.

In the meantime I've written this poem. I hope you like it:

For David, With Love

I strain my ears to hear the voice I know should be there
Amongst the voices speaking in this room
I search kind eyes to find the ones I long to find here
That light that died and left me far too soon.

I knew you had to go although you fought so hard to stay
I know you did the best that you could do
But I never realised how hard my battle then would be
To find my way alone now, without you.

I learnt life’s lessons well from you, of cabbages and kings
Of mice and men and all those other things
You taught me how to live and then you showed me how to die
To face with grace and courage all fate brings.

I taught you childish wonder in the beauty all around
And how to throw your heart before your head
And keeping hopes and dreams alive when all our hopes and dreams
Lay scattered all around us, seeming dead.

You once told me that I’d never know how much I needed you
Until it was too late and you were gone
And life will never be the same without you next to me
But the strength and hope you gave me will live on.

My life has changed forever now, there is no turning back
But I can face the future come what may
There is so much of you still here and everywhere I see
That love lives on and shines to light the way.

Friday, 3 September 2010


I spent five wonderful hours in a combine harvester yesterday and even had a go at driving it in the dark, and was treated to a picnic of tea and cakes with two of my favourite people in the world.

My friend text me tonight to say that he'd just baled my row (the row I combined). I asked if he recognised it because it was so straight and he replyed yes, something like that!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've been having some down times again but I don't fight them anymore. I find that they're managable now and I come out the other side stronger each time. Those five hours were a complete break from everything and I'm so grateful for them.

I remembered this song and listened to it again tonight. I intend to keep right on dancing!!!!


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I am a clicker training addict and there is no cure - thank goodness!!!