Planning Approval came through for the new grain store last week, from Lewes District Council. This was fortunate as the boys were not that keen on putting the old bins back together again, having spent weeks painstakingly taking them apart panel by panel, bolt after bolt.
The work on the new building should begin next month. Hopefully by then the water table may have dropped at least a couple of inches below ground level. The prospect of no more grain shovelling has already put a spring in our step, so with John’s new bionic leg steadily mending, by early summer things should hopefully be back on track.
It has never been easy merging town and country folk. As far as I can make out we sometimes struggle to speak the same language. And when it comes to coping with the peculiarities of either’s environment, and the practicalities therein, we sometimes fail to end up on the same page.
Those who have their boots firmly grounded in the mud, and who by necessity have to cope daily with life’s ups and downs, including blocked cess pits, births and deaths of livestock, fallen trees, fly tipping and other such things, can find those less used to coping with life’s little difficulties, challenging.
The advent of farm building conversions into offices has been a successful innovation, and positive for farms, bringing in a steady income through diversification, and also for those renting the buildings which are often full of character and practical. They are mostly off the beaten track, surrounded by beautiful countryside, have plenty of parking, and the rents are very competitive compared to similar space in the high street and industrial parks.
However, when choosing to locate to a converted farm building, most of which run alongside still active and working farm businesses, it is worth bearing in mind that such an environment is not necessarily going to be quite the sanitised, tarmacked surrounded, fortified office block that can be found in nearby towns.
On the contrary, farms do occasionally produce an exotic aroma from cattle yards or the more fruity scent of pigs and poultry. And if it is an arable and livestock farm with grain and feed stores, there is a chance that during the winter months the mice and other vermin may move in from the fields to stock up on provisions. As the weather turns colder they are thrilled to find nice cosy crevices in rafters above heated offices, an ideal new home to while away the winter months.
The draw back comes when these little creatures sample the bait we place carefully to deter these thieving intruders. They then return to their warm snug winter quarters, where they fall asleep never to awake, and a few days later we receive the inevitable call about ‘a nasty smell’ lingering in the offices!
Having spent the best part of the weekend poking about in the roof space above the false ceilings in the office block, and finding the occasional decomposing corps, I must say I am quite satisfied to know the bait is doing its job. However I think in future I shall hand out clothes pegs and air freshener until the little perishers have completely decomposed!
Talking of fresh air, I think we should call it Morning Glory, Woodland Wind, or perhaps Ote Hall Mist. Having been completely taken in by the report of an entrepreneurial team who were reported to be selling jars of ‘English’ fresh air to the Chinese in Hong Kong, I thought - ‘we too could do that’!
The idea of individuals leaping about the English countryside, ‘filling’ jars with fresh air, to enable millions across Asia to gasp a lung full as they battle through the smog, in Hong Kong, Singapore and dozens of other overcrowded and polluted cities, is somewhat appealing. And at £80 a pot, very tempting. However, the story just has to be a very premature April fool’s day hoax, but stranger things have happened!
I shall now have to put my mind to coming up with a similar project. If we can sell English wind and water, of which we have had far too much this winter, perhaps we could also find a practical use for copious amounts of Sussex Weald mud, which we also have in abundance.