25 days ago
Kept awake by the sort of irritating, minor and temporary but painful condition that a gentlemen does not discuss on the internet, I find myself, as is often the case, considering the idea of my last day at work.
82 days ago
My step brother T has sent me a photo of our late father sitting, topless, holding a large chicken and wonders if it was in Greece. It is not terribly flattering so I shall not publish it but it is the sort of memory of an eccentric man you treasure. It reminds me of a story from when we were very young and my father had just returned from a trip to the mountains of Northern Greece. We had stayed at home with mum.
106 days ago
The couple who run the Greek/South African restaurant here had another present for me today but there was so much of it I was told that Joshua and I would need to collect it in a wheelbarrow.
108 days ago
When we arrived here two years ago, the grass, ferns and nettles were more than six foot high in bits of the small field above the barns. You could not see the gate fence and chicken shed at the end of the field which separated it from our upper meadow which goes all the way to the churchyard. The glass-filled ruins of an ancient shed just before the chicken shed were hidden from view. I had no idea it existed. What a difference two years makes. This is the field onto which five of our neighbours must look at from their houses and it was one of them who made my week by saying thank you a couple of days ago. So what does it look like now?
120 days ago
The main, listed, barns at the Welsh hovel form an enormous upside down L covering two sides of the farmyard. The house is on a third side and at the bottom is a separate barn and a garage and behind them the old apple orchard and then the river. The main barns have all been re-slated and now work starts on repointing them and also the house. That work started today and will last for at least a month and a half. We start with the one storey barns at the top of the L and at the start of its spine. These will be the chicken and goat sheds at some point and do not actually need much internal work at all.
123 days ago
It is not exactly by popular demand but this series has a cult following who wish to see more obscure titles assembled as I sort forty cases of books belonging to my late father. The first three in the series are HERE but this set is, arguably, the best yet in its diversity.
191 days ago
I thought that Robert and his team, who do the big jobs on the land here at the Welsh Hovel, would laugh at my idea of creating a huge lawn and Ha Ha. But I had been kept awake at night working out in my head how it could be done. And to my surprise they did not laugh. It was viewed as creative. Objection after objection of logistic issues were raised but each one was dealt with so we will go ahead. You may ask what is a Ha Ha? The Mrs did.
203 days ago
The workers arrived at 7 and the skip shortly afterwards with the first project the removal of the asbestos shed at the bottom of the vegetable garden, the area formerly known as the jungle. Notwithstanding my work into the early hours on family papers, I’d set an alarm and was there at the outset to make coffee for all.
226 days ago
When we first arrived at the Welsh Hovel, you could barely see this shed which was buried amid foliage at the near end of what was known as the jungle. Today you can see it in its full horror and it is pretty ghastly, is it not?
265 days ago
The day is looming when I must consider my New Year’s Resolutions. It is no great shock in that my top few are all to do with being a little bit, no a lot more, healthy. Spending those last couple of weeks with Dad and his death, covid, the second big lockdown here in Wales, the new baby and now Christmas have not been good for my health. The large Christmas jumper given to me by my mother in law is a little tight. I am all too aware of what needs doing. I am 53 in two weeks time and I have a one month old baby so I need to up my game in the healthy living department. It is all very well me considering plans for wind down and retirement but you have to live long enough to get to spend more time with your children and goats.
973 days ago
My two year old son Joshua has a tendency, these days, to say that everything belongs to him. So it is "my house", "my car" and pictured below is "my goat." Of course it is not.
1686 days ago
Above the main field at Butterwell Farm in Byfield was a smaller field. On one side was a continuation of the dry stone wall that separated our land from that of Mr Peter Thompson, on the other the extensive gardens that my mother worked to create. At the bottom ,separating this land from the main field, was a giant old barn which contained a wooden three-seater lavatory seat among other gems. At the top there was another barn which in turn formed one half of one side of the yard behind our house. We we worked hard to turn the barn into a fox proof hen-house. and then started to build up a flock of chickens with the odd bantam picked up along the way, for fun.