And I thought I was going to get a chance to read some books…….

At the start of the year I had enjoyed going onto the yard to lunge George and Teddy. George was especially good to lunge and was coming along nicely. They were both getting back into work mode and come February I was sorry to miss the first training session with Sara Howe as I had to go away. However, a good lesson with Susi, in the carriage, with each of the three boys and I felt like we were all well on our way to being ready to start the season, once the rain and mud had gone.  But other ominous clouds were looming.

Already the university clinic in America where my  daughter worked had asked staff to work from home, and the schools had closed. Claire advised us to restrict our contact with others, be fastidious about hand washing and that they were all wearing masks if they had to go out. BA cancelled our flights and we realised that, with the risk of a highly contagious virus, with no cure, and no vaccine, it would be a very long time before we would be seeing our two grandsons again. We were very sad. We checked our store cupboard, did a final shop and made a plan.

We would stay at home, we would grow vegetables, in case there was a shortage, and John would get on with all the outstanding house and farm maintenance jobs that had not been getting done.  

John was delighted at the opportunity to get on with stuff with no outside distractions.

We hadn’t grown veg for over 30 years. The animals had always taken up all our spare time. 

We didn’t even have a greenhouse. 

A rummage around in the barn produced 4 double glazed windows from a bungalow demolished 15 years ago, a pair of glazed doors we had inherited when we bought the farm 20 years ago, and a 30 year old bit roof light from our previous house! 


And then there was the veg plot to dig.…at last a good reason to find and fire up the Howard Gem  rotavator hidden away in the barn since its last job 8 years ago.

By the end of April life was completely different, we still had all the usual daily chores to do. Ginny the ‘not so puppy’ was getting lots of training and loving having us around all the time. I’m not so sure the feeling was mutual ….we had a ‘Bloggs and Bloggs designer greenhouse’ in the garden, and a veg plot in the corner of the hayfield all sowed up. And we were exhausted!

 We had moved out of our house and into a converted outbuilding so that we could get on with working on the house. We had managed to arrange deliveries of food from Aldington Fresh Foods, milk and dairy products from Plurenden Manor on Susi’s excellent Fb recommendation, animal feeds from Gillett Cook, and eventually had managed to get an order of some flour and yeast from both ‘Dove’s Farm’ and ‘Buy Wholefoods Online’. Claire was home schooling in the US and had persuaded us to join them on FaceTime for the daily ‘PE with Jo Wicks’ workout on Youtube….hilarious and much too strenuous from me. But thank heaven for technology, FaceTime and Skype. We had learnt how to join church and do pilates at the Partnership on Zoom. And I could take a ‘Virtual swim’ in the sea with, sister, Julia who is Facebook posting the video of her daily swims.

Fay had been helped with lambing and calving emergencies… a distanced gloved up way and the calves and lambs are doing well. 

Out in the fields and garden it was quiet….always….sometimes oppressively…….like a never-ending Sunday.

And in the quiet we would wonder how everyone was and were they getting on ok? Are they coping without the help, support and activities we had all be so lucky to have. Thank you Susi for the photos on Facebook, all the smiling faces and willing, glossy, hairy ponies, reminding us of how we all enjoy our times together.

So, ‘Thank you, Jean’ for asking for News and doing a Newsletter. We’re looking forward to hearing how everyone is. And especially, ‘Thank you’, to Susi and those who help with the ponies. I’m sorry I can’t join you. Keep safe everyone….we’re thinking of you.

John and ‘tricia

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