No, there is no fanfare, there isn’t even a hushed awe descending on the house, but this is it, my first blog. As I am typing, the chaos of Moss Farm (yes, more about this to come) takes its very usual course. It sounds like a herd of elephants is dancing above my head, but I am assured that it is nothing more interesting than my husband trying to give Littul – our Patterdale Terrier and living proof that the word ‘Terrier’ is most likely a spelling mistake – a bath after they have both been playing with the digger and the muck heap (a winning combination). The other dog, Lupus, our Border Collie, is sitting next to me trying to look aloof – he pulls it off for around 30 seconds, before getting distracted by a pigeon strutting provocatively across the decking outside, which leads to a lot of undignified hopping and yapping on his part. He is adorable, but a little bit special – the farmer where he came from did not want him, declaring him ‘too soft’. I would second that, having caught him trying to lick the sheep’ noses on his first encounter with them…
Now, before I become distracted by writing about the menagerie and other delights of farm life, a few introductory words of explanation: I am not very good with instruction manuals, ‘how to’ guides or similar sources of information that may be useful – some may say essential – to starting a blog. I did try reading up on it, I really did, but got excited when I saw the ‘wordpress’ link to click on, thought to myself ‘how hard can it be?’, and dived right in – so here I am, blog and wordpress virgin, and making it up as I am going along. So bear with me. Anything could happen, and probably will.
On the plus side, I did manage to change the top picture to a snapshot taken of Eric, one of the goats, who has sneaked into the optimistically named ‘orchard’, a collection of rather elderly and picturesquely gnarled apple trees, where he is, of course, not allowed on any account. Other places where he is not allowed and therefore using considerable inventiveness to hang out most of the time include the feed barn where he likes to help himself to the extremely specialist top of the range horse feed stored there in a variety of buckets the lids of which have got a knack of disappearing, and the new decking outside the living room (he drives my long suffering husband to the brink of insanity by weeing and pooing on the brand new wood, which he has lovingly and meticulously soaked in rather astonishingly expensive oil – even Waitrose would blush before charging as much for their best virgin olive oil, hand gathered by virgins during a full moon…). His partner in crime, appropriately named Ernie, is a little bit slower and less adventurous and counts among his specialisms: getting himself injured (after years of poulticing horses, poulticing a goat was quite an experience, everything is SO SMALL, and one certainly would not try and rugby tackle a horse to the ground before applying a poultice) and getting his head stuck in one of the gates.
It will by now come as no surprise to you that goats and dogs are by no means the only animals living on Moss Farm. In fact, I am counting on them all to provide endless material for blog entries to come.
But one thing at a time, perhaps I really ought to introduce myself, first. I am the long suffering owner of Moss Farm (together with my husband who, believe it or not, before meeting me has never had anything more exotic than a hamster… sometimes, I catch him wandering around with that slightly glazed look on his face that says ‘what happened, and how did I end up here?’) – we bought the place about a year ago because I wanted somewhere for my horses and he wanted somewhere for his classic cars, and Moss Farm certainly provided space for both (and a myriad of other things, much to the joy of the rest of the family who – within weeks of our purchase – arrived with van and boot loads of tad – errrr ‘treasured heirlooms and collectibles’ – to fill every nook and cranny of every one of the considerable number of barns and outbuildings – 1980s lampshades, anyone?). The farm sounds idyllic, and its setting is certainly stunning. The view from my muck heap is breathtaking, remind me to post a picture some time… Truth is, however, the house is of an ugliness that is quite eye watering. The previous owners took what must have been a fairly run of the mill brick built farmhouse (oldest sections dating from the early, newer sections dating from the late 1800s), took away every single ‘character feature’ (including the chimneys) and turned it into something that looks like a blown up 1970s council house, complete with naff kitchen extension and enormous PVC windows. We are doing something about that, but its a lengthy process…
I am the one spending a lot of time in dresses and wellies, an unusual combination, perhaps, but one that works best for me. 3 days a week I escape from the farm and head for civilisation where I work as a part time university lecturer (in German Literature). Ah, yes, another detail, I am, indeed, German. Hence my love of long and convoluted syntax, my apologies.
So, here is my invitation to you to follow me as I try the impossible and combine the roles of mother, farm wife, serious academic and successful horse breeder (and, as of today, blog writer). My aim is really nothing more than just to cheer you up with the various mishaps of our life, to introduce you to my really very endearing menagerie (well, at least I find them endearing) and perhaps to get to know some fellow sufferers (just as soon as I have worked out how that works on here…).