We were like a cartoon characters – exploding out of the duvet, sitting bolt upright, eyes wide open and hair seemingly standing on end. The colossal crack-bang-clap of thunder shocked us awake, the simultaneous lightning flash floodlit the bedroom in a bluish light, the heavens opened and hail hammered down, pounding at the windows and ricocheting off the corrugated roofs of the barns. Wow! Robert leaped from the bed and ran round the house franticly turning off all sensitive probably-blasted-to-the-heavens-by-now stuff, bounded back into bed, snuggled down and pulled the duvet over our heads as we waited for the next explosion, and waited and…waited. That was it, just the one mega blast.
“I think we should wean the calves today” I mumbled from under the duvet
“The calves…wean them…today”
“Yes, I heard, but why, what?”
“Well it came to me. Suddenly. Just like that. In a flash of lightning!” I giggled.
So we did.
We also had the biggest, hottest and most satisfying of bonfires. Towering piles of neatly slashed and stacked brash wood from Robert’s hedge laying needed burning up. So armed with a potato sack, an old welly and a match I set about in true bushcraft manner to make a successful fire out of sopping wet wood in an even more sopping wet and liquid mud field, in the rain. We have a joke, and challenge, that if you’re worth your weight you can start a fire anywhere, with anything using just one match (no, we’re not that cruel, and do allow the use of a match still). So with Robert sceptically looking on I said a quick prayer to the god of fire and began. A spluttery tremulous flame licked the wet wood unenthusiastically, spat and hissed greenly, smoked, whorled, danced and grew – stronger, bigger, brighter and burst with that first hot crackle, that’s when you know you’ve caught it, the god of fire! In hot, smoked filled satisfaction, I piled on heaps of branches, feeding the every more persistent hungry flames. It consumed every twig in the matter of an hour and was still warm to the touch this morning. A success indeed – Oh and by the way, did I mention that a splash of diesel at that hissy-green stage works wonders!
We ended the day wassailing the apple trees, toasting them in cider, beating them soundly with sticks and blasting a trumpet solo through their boughs in lew of shotgun. The festivities culminated in a meal with friends.
Tomorrow is Monday, the end of celebrations…for the moment!