Archives for the month of: April, 2013

In April there are no leaves to filter the light, there are no midges and the birds sing late. Rain came to sweeten the grass and tremble the pond, and it left an evening freshness of water gold to wash the sky. We had a sense there was wind up there but the valley was quiet.


moonIt was supposed to be a good night for seeing asteroids, so after the wine and the dusk we walked out to the field with the moon. Fresh from the fridge it brushed the valley, and the larches wrote their calligraphy across it’s shine.


The clouds had come though, trailing milky under the stars so if there were asteroids we didn’t see them. But there were sheep bleating up in the fields to the north and tawny owls in the trees to the south, a kwek kwek answered by an urgent and quavering hoot.


Sheep apparently, can survive buried in snow caves for almost a week, but it’s been a wretched time for farmers in Anglesey and the north in spite of their tenacity. There were dead and lost lambs, and snow scorched grass for the rescued.


We were honeymooning when the snow hit Britain, and didn’t know it had till we tried to get the football scores and there weren’t any. We read in awe in an old ferry newspaper about a family near Wrexham that could step over their washing line and had to burn their furniture for heat.


SheepThere was no snow in our valley, and our neighbours the badger faced sheep were still chewing on the hay delivered daily by William the farmer. He borrows fields all around here for his tough old variety sheep, and his jumper is as much hay as wool. ‘There’s no money in it’ he says, it’s a labour of love ‘just to keep the old breeds alive’. His daughter farms the modern ones, the fat ones we see everywhere now.


Some of the fat ones have arrived in the valley too. Chris thinks they came down from the hill farm, he mended a broken fence up there some weeks ago not realising six ewes were through already. The escapees seem happy enough grazing among the holly and the hazel. They have developed a nonchalant grace and trip one by one along the lane to the scout field where they nibble at the edges and drink at the stream. One of them has given birth to a pair of lambs. They were waiting saintly and sedate at the top of the bank with light in their ears, as I crossed the stream.