Given the emotional turmoil of the last few weeks and the fact that we had spent the day in Worcester working on a recruiting stand Tracey and I were looking forward to trying out our new bed. Smallholders find, unlike their non smallholding colleagues that the weekend is not a time of sleepins but a time of less sleep as you inevitably go to bed late and get up earlier. We decided that we would, no matter what sleep in on Sunday morning.
Saturday started extremely early saying goodbye to Ben, we then did our round and fed and watered the beasts before getting ready to stand in Worcester City centre handing out leaflets. We saw more people in five minutes than we would normally see in a week in our local town. Quite why the modern British male chooses to wander the streets demonstrating he has the dress sense of a 14 year old American teenager is beyond me but we persevered at our post and in four hours handed out 500 leaflets.
Back on safe ground at Rock HQ a few odd jobs were done and it was bedtime. 12 hours ahead of restful sleep on the new mattress.
Initially the dogs had other ideas. The puppies camped out on the stairs instead of their beds and as I began to drop off I hallucinated giant rats gnawing the bedroom door. Not quite, but a Berner pup decided to have another go at the stairs. Several tellings off later they beat a retreat and an uneasy silence descended on the cottage. This was soon broken by the outside dogs baying, in full cry, which could only mean one thing. Fox.
Tracey and I took it in turns to hang out of the bedroom window, remonstrate with the dogs and scan the darkness for anything fox like. Nothing.
Two am brought a new sound, akin to a cat being run through a mangle backwards. This went on long enough for me to decide it wasn't going to stop, get my boots on, unlock the workshop, find the gun, turn on 3 security lights and get off five randomly aimed shots in the general direction of the mayhem. It was foxes fighting in the field directly in front of Rock HQ, probably cubs wandering round dispersing or a fight over territory.
Once I was sure they had got the message I reclimbed the wooden hill and threw myself onto the very comfortable mattress. Sleep finally overtook me right until half five when the dogs started again.
I toughed it out until seven with a pillow clamped over my head when I relented and got on with the day. Which has, despite having one of those nights been a great day. Everything went according to plan, a major job got done and we went and collected Tracey's new charges, pictured above. A Chinese Gander called Sunny ( a husband for Sally) and four grey Chinese Geese, a Gander called Thunder, then three geese called Storm, Gale and Cloud. Sally instantly fell webbed foot over wing tip in love with Sunny and has been flirting with him endlessly.
This might seem incongruous given the fox problem but they are secure in one of the goat houses until a special duck and geese pen is completed in the garden next week.
Next weekend we start a weeks leave, and there are big plans afoot that will completely change the way Rock HQ operates.