The only bad thing about November is that I have a Birthday - this years was helped by a supper, with my two sisters at The Friar’s Head in Akebar, it was perfect and a good end to the day. I did have the usual humorous birthday cards, about drinks, needing forklifts to tidy out my hand bag and growing old with style (or something). However, I do love getting cards and feel that after years of organising children's parties, it is fun for my age group to be remembered, now all the young don't need parties. My list of girlfriends' birthday dates is constantly growing.
The celebrations continued with a quick pack and off to the sun! Very spoiling but it was mainly for Adrian's benefit. as he missed our Summer with his leg up. Of course, our leaving the country had nothing to do with the wild night spent at Berry's. We once again had a brilliant steak night with Vinni, who was also accompanied by Adrian singing " I did it my Way" - the Highland steak was very good though.
Talking of good steak, we have a new Chef, Gavin, who is itching to get some new menus out. He is extremely keen to use the Swinithwaite farm animals and bringing the message from farm to fork with zero food miles to the forefront. The soups and roasts are already getting positive comments.
Gavin has made the Darlington and Stockton paper already, maybe being married to the Manager helps!
I spent one morning with the Bedale hunt, just dishing out sausage rolls but it was lovely to see the hounds and the field all ready for a good gallop.
I wonder if I will ever get on a horse again. Certainly not this year with my to do list for the wedding! There are dress makers still to meet; I have been measured up for my wedding outfit. The gardens to tidy up, I have a list of flowers to grow for the wedding marquee – first job is to get rid of the wasp’s nest, must be safe now? Having just finished a book all about a Bee, I look at insects in a new light. I was persuaded to buy the book at the Berry's Christmas Fayre, the lady said it would be perfect for my book club - not sure the book club was over enthusiastic, but quite a gritty read and lots of currant messages in it about DNA and producing the perfect child - scary!
I popped into the Tennants Christmas Fayre, I wonder if Berry's will ever need six car parking attendants all with radios?! It was a stunning set up and with everything on sale I seemed to come away with things I didn't even know I needed.
We are already organising the village carol service, which this year will be on the village green with drinks in the Church afterwards. The parishes for the Church of England are having to adjust to not having a vicar for every Church service, apparently, we will have just three vicars for the area of Leyburn to Hawes by 2030 - big changes afoot but I am sure there will be positives to come out of the changes - more worship in people's homes and village halls.
Coming home from a holiday is always interesting - after Leeds had de-iced the steps for the aeroplane and then negotiating the A1, which had shut its exit to the A19, we finally made it home and the animals were all as jolly as ever. Rolo had taken on his brown snowball appearance to cope with the colder weather. Rolo had his teeth and hooves filed ready for a Birthday Party and all the party goers requested to brush him for the afternoon, I did wash his tail before hand, thank goodness.
Rolo has given so many children hours of pleasure - I remember my daughter 13 years ago, racing down the yard in the snow, dressed in wellies and a night dress (there was no time to get a dressing gown on). The penny dropped when she had unwrapped a parcel under the Christmas tree and it had a little yellow head collar with a message saying there might be something in the stable that would fit this; Rolo was just 7 months old and very happy to meet his new owner.
Doris and Black Adder were in different to see me - they have grown so fat after spending more time in the stable though at least they now can't escape from the garth now! I still don’t know where their escape route was, but it is good news for everyone, especially the young trees and hedges.
The highland heifers are allowed some hay now and Blondie's horns have grown enough to earn some respect from her two older hornless sisters - now she can graze in the middle of them and is not left to pick up the scraps after they have finished.
Sherlock has now moved in with a younger woman. I could be wrong, but I never felt there was much romance in Sherlock's relationship with Mango (the Mangalitza sow), she always seemed to be ticking him off. However, I do have high hopes for the young Berkshire crossed Hampshire gilts (young female pigs), very County.
The piglets are down to 10 from 13, easier to count but always sad to lose any. They are keen to explore, I had to pick one up that was not ready to go home and the squeals that followed didn't even cause Duchess to lift her head from eating - maybe she would prefer 9! I have an extra pair of hands, or legs to help me round up the piglets, now my Spaniel, Crumpet has worked out she isn't expected to retrieve them.
After a bale of straw was chucked in everyone rushes to keep warm.
I have been impressed with the new South Devon Bull, Billy 3rd, he has filled out during the summer and is having some good calves. I still miss Billy 2nd, who was so big he had to be put to bed every night in his own cubicle, he would always come when he was called but he was usually already waiting by gate. He is now happily in the Boarders and his new owners have promised to give him cuddles.
The new kids on the block are all in and learning where the food bar is.
It has been dark when the animals are all moved and fed so it is hardly surprising to find a tawny owl keeping me company, makes a change from the cheeky robins.
With the fishing season finished I have turned my attention to playing Bridge. I am joining a Monday session of Bridge players who are keen to either learn or improve. Bridge does seem to keep the brain cells active and is a sociable past time when the evenings are long and dark, my bidding skills need to improve so luckily there is no money involved.
Christmas is going to be quieter this year, with having 23 for lunch last year to just being the 5 of us this year. It is our last Christmas before the exciting addition of Daniel after the wedding in the summer. My eldest is distraught that this will be the last visit from Father Christmas, although at 29yrs she has had a good run! I'm thinking Highland Beef this Christmas instead of turkey, less trimmings.