There is a fair glut of blackberries, apples and pears, and the fields are heaving with mushrooms. I think that maybe something to do with the exceptionally large moon last week, which was stunning as it lit up the night sky.
In days gone by the house would be a hive of activity as my forbearers’ collected surplus fruit which would be bottled, frozen or pickled and stored away for the winter months. I am in awe of their productivity; for the life of me I cannot understand how they found the time. Today with all our time saving gadgets, instant communications and ‘progress’, there are never enough hours in the day to complete just the normal day to day tasks.
When I recall how my mother coped without our modern day washing machines and ‘time saving’ gadgets, I am appalled by my slothfulness. In those days laundry was boiled and starched by hand. She would churn the cream and make butter every Friday, make bread twice a week, pick and freeze seasonal vegetables, and bottle soft fruit and store apples and pears for the winter.
Today our vegetable garden has become an orchard, the fruit from which is gathered by friends and family. And I feel guilty for not slaving away in the kitchen making pies and preserving produce for the winter. I am full of admiration and bewilderment for those who do still manage to find the time.
There are regular stories in the press which make one question our freedom to choose the direction we take our lives and those of our loves ones. Looking around the world we should be comforted that the UK is a peaceful place to live, is not a police state, and so far, we may choose what religion we may or not follow without facing beheading or crucifixion.
It is however disturbing to become increasingly aware of cases where daughters are being secretly jailed for removing aged parents from unsuitable care homes, when they fear for their wellbeing. One has to ask why council personnel and others are considered to know what is best for our families and loved ones than we do.
There is increasing concern regarding the high handed behaviour of the RSPCA. Again one must question their right to intervene in deciding when is the right time to put a family pet to sleep. Surely the family which has cared and nurtured that animal over many years and know the animal should be left to decide the time and place. Unfortunately it is too often well-meaning but interfering neighbours who call the authorities who then brazenly mishandle the situation.
Only last week it was time to allow our much loved Labrador to gently slip away to the ‘happy hunting ground in the sky’. Sasha was 15 years old and her heart and lungs were failing her. Had some busy body from the RSPCA called the day before her final journey they would no doubt have whipped her away in a callous fashion, prosecuted me for neglect and removed all my remaining dogs to be rehomed or destroyed. As it was Sasha spent her final evening rabbiting with our one eyed, semi disabled whippet, in the field behind the house. They returned home blissfully happy, exhausted and breathless but with not a care in the world.
Would the RSPCA or busy body neighbours have approved of that, no of course not but as we watched our old friend slip peacefully away the following day, all we could think about was the wonderful life she had lived roaming the fields, the companionship and loyalty she had given, and the satisfaction of knowing her last evening was spent tormenting the bunnies which she never caught, with her best friend Roxy.
Westminster politics seem to have been infused by intrigue since Boris Johnson, as expected, announced he would like to stand as an MP at next year’s General Election. Which constituency he ends up fighting will be interesting. Will it be one to be vacated by a retiring MP or will someone give up their safe majority for Boris?
Electioneering is already underway across the country as associations gear up for national and local polling in 2015. I am told by canvassers that although very few have any love of David Cameron, when asked if they would prefer Ed Milliband running the country, the answer is a decided no!
Taking a straw poll amongst the farming and rural community it is very evident that Mr Cameron is viewed with suspicion and mistrust. Had he not sacked Owen Paterson at the recent reshuffle, one must assume for no better reason than to up his tally of women in the cabinet, he would be rather more popular than he is now.
How things pan out and will his popularity increase over the following nine months, time will tell.
Carola Godman Irvine