During what is often a harsh winter here, it is too cold - and in particular damp - for the sheep to stay on the high tops. So most hill farmers bring their sheep down to lower ground (our farm is around 650feet asl) for the winter and pay someone else to look after them. We have been dealing with the same hill farmer and his sheep since long before I came on the scene.
The sheep came this morning. The first lot of almost 150 arrived, tumbled out of the back of the trailers, shot across the field and immediately started eating the dying hawthorn leaves in the hedge. All the lovely fresh grass seemed to hold no interest for them whatsoever - but they were up on their hind legs at the dying leaves.
Judging by the awful weather today they came just right. The temperature is down to about seven degrees, the cloud is so low that it is almost dark and a light rain is falling. We have just been down to our feed merchants to stock up on wild bird, dog, cat and hen food and I am now about to get a warming lunch (pork, broccoli, carrots and mashed potatoes). Then I think it will be a nice sit by the wood stove all afternoon.
If anyone wants an interesting read I am reading Alan Johnson's (he was Home Secretary in the Labour Government) "This Boy". It is about his awful childhood in Liverpool just after the end of the Second World War. His mother struggled with ill health and his father was rarely there, so he and his sister had more or less to fend for themselves. It is a sobering read, lightened by the fact that his mother, sister and he were always joined by a strong bond of love. That certainly helps, although it doesn't do much to make a full stomach when you are ravenously hungry as he often was.
On a lighter note, Elizabeth (About New York) has knitted me the most super alpaca woolly hat for the winter. The colours are lovely, it fits just right and I love it. Rather than send her the money for it she has asked me to make a donation to Syrian refugee children. I am in the process of setting up a direct debit to Unicef, which seems the best of the charities trying to help out there. What can we possibly do to alleviate their terrible suffering, and the knowledge that they may never be able to go back home - in fact, is there a home to go to?