Wind and wuthering

Winter is starting to drag. Persistent rain and wind have left the fields soft and lifeless. There’s more brown than green in the grass. . . it’s hard to imagine that, in less than four months,  we will be stacking the hay in the barn.

Out in the dark grey sea, the shapes of neighbouring islands Papay and Rousay glower through the mist, surrounded by big swell and sea spray,

Few folk in Westray can remember there being as much snow before Christmas as there was last December and, although it has been warmer since, January and February have been hard work. A walk out to feed and water the pigs takes some effort as the conditions suck the energy out of a 49-year-old, well-used body.

And there are the gales. I thought I was used to them until a couple of weeks ago when I spent much of the night drinking strong tea and comforting an extremely nervous Owen the collie/spaniel cross as 100mph-plus winds battered Orkney.

Still, a positive attitude and a heavy-duty padded boilersuit cover a multitude of sins and a trip down to the bottom field to dole out carrots to the ponies, the wind blowing rain into my face, was almost a pleasure.

The lads were pretty perky and showed no inclination to get out of the weather. You can’t help but admire the hardiness of pigs, sheep and ponies who don’t have the option of curling up in front of the fire with a hot brew and the rugby league on Sky.

The boys are coming up tomorrow to graze the patch near the pigshed where Molly’s nine piglets are getting on just fine. It never ceases to amaze me how fast piglets grow up and those little floppy things that seemed so fragile a fortnight ago are now double the size and little barrel-shaped things zooming around the pen.

It will be good to get them outside when spring finally comes.

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6 Responses to Wind and wuthering

  1. Dave says:

    It’s been a bit grey in Norfolk too.

  2. Yorkshire Pudding says:

    “Well-used” body? Don’t you mean misused or abused? If your body had been well-used you’d probably be a fitness instructor or the star in a new Lynx commercial. By the way, the heat remains sultry in Bangkok. What I’d give for a bracing Westray day just now!

  3. pat says:

    Just found your blog, very interesting, the wind here in
    Blackpool, can shift a bit, but you beat it hands down.regards.

  4. Frith says:

    Golly. I haven’t commented yet – better get a move on.
    Winter is dragging its sorry behind here too, although there’s just no point in trying to compare our weather to yours. We have had freezing days lately, the ground frozen hard as a rock, and too cold to do much aside from linger inside and watch “Local Hero”. I was a ski bum for five years and thought nothing of tromping around in a blizzard, usually just to go get a beer and play darts, but that’s the difference between 30 and 46 I think.
    How are the little pigs? One day when you’re looking for a topic for the blog, I’d love to hear how it was you came to settle upon (literally and figuratively) Orkney to raise your pigs, and why pigs in particular?

  5. Nick says:

    Laural and Hardy springs to mind!!!!!!

  6. Iain says:

    For what it’s worth (null points, methinks), the weather this winter was the worst we have experienced in about five years of life in northern Sweden; ’twas one of the harshest winters in Sweden for many, many decades. Minus 41 degrees around Xmas 2010, huge snowfalls and biting winds. Just too, too mc for me! So, not surprised you, too, had a hard one.

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