Fathers Day. Yes, I know it was on the 15th. Although it was a big surprise when it was announced in the radio that morning. Our kitchen calendar states very clearly that Father's Day [UK] is on the 22nd......
So this week got a very confused start. Mind you, every day has been an improvement since. Yesterday's visit to the Highland Show was nothing short of brilliant. To me the Highland was the first impression of Scotland all those years ago. Nowadays I spend a lot less time drooling over Hisself than I did then, but that has not reduced the attraction of the day out at all.
Could I add that he looked gorgeous on the day and I nearly felt the need to fend the competition off with my handbag. On second thoughts it is a brand new bag and letting the next generation loose around dad works much faster. Maybe I should have dressed with more care too.....But when weather forecast is blustery wind and heavy showers it really does not matter what I have under my full length rainproof jacket, all one can see are my trusty "show boots".
This year's show was all about making it fun for No5. Seeing things that she would find interesting and pointing them all out. Making her feel successful and part of the community. I love being among farmers and I want her to love going out among cattle, machinery and other country pursuits. She was chuffed to bits with herself, behaved beautifully and generally enjoyed her day out. Her default position is anti crowds but obviously she spotted the difference - country folk were less "at her face" and she did appreciate the courtesy.
It is my annual window to the wider world in more ways than one. I spend the day looking, gathering ideas, collecting web addresses and generally investigating what goods and services small independent companies offer at this point in time and at what cost. This year I figured out that the difference between bargain box fleece jumper for No5 at the bottom of the hill compared to the one on top of the hill is about £40 and the label.
Another big change is the return of the buggies. In the early 1990's the show was full of small children. However in the turn of the Millennium there were few enough to count them all. It seemed that the hard years made people postpone starting the family or simply not have the money for a day out. Now with the brighter future the number of next generation has gone up too. Markedly many of the parents are much older than they used to be. As ever, the fathers take charge of the little ones on their own too, and it warms my heart to see what able, caring and loving fathers farmers are.
Another change over the years has been the quality and quantity of free gifts that companies offer. The children used to gather a large plastic bag each - now one of them got a free pen. In the drinks front I can remember the time when wine flowed freely. It soon turned to cups of tea and coffee which latterly have been replaced with spring water.
I never budget for food or drinks on show days but I think it will soon be necessary. This year we received the usual number of invitations to lunches, launches and refreshments. Sadly I must say that last years platters of prime beef and whole roast pigs were replaced by thin slices of cheese, the basket of bread was now an oatcake and pyramids of biscuits had shrank to a single offering next to the tea cup. Most alarmingly the flowing tea and coffee has in many places been sadly replaced by a re-usable shopping bag with a few leaflets inside. Please!!! I have now gathered 23 thin cotton bags. Could it be possible to exchange some of them to cups of tea in the next show???
There are still few traditional companies with good old fashioned hospitality. We parked our buggy into one tent for afternoon tea and a bottle for the youngest one. As I mentioned it was a blustery day and a gust of wind blew in from the open doorway, whipped a vase of flowers into the air and the water went flying - straight into No5's buggy. No harm done as it was just water but it rendered her transport unusable for the original purpose, carting Missy around. There was nothing to it but head for the car and start the long journey home.
First time ever we had to stop on the way home for a meal - we were starved!
P.S. If you have read Hisself's blog and wonder I can assure that we were in the same show and spent several hours doing things together.
Enough time has now lapsed to find some humor in lambing. This season's best must be the morning when I went castrating lambs and found that No2 [daughter] had pushed the box of rubber rings into the hand cleaner. I was in a hurry and stuffed a few into my pocket as they were and boy did we have fun! They pinged off the ringer every time flying an amazing distance to an unpredictable direction. I am sure even the ewes were laughing in the end! There was nothing to it but to return home, wash every ring carefully in a warm soapy water and dry them in a sieve above the aga.
This weeks disaster must be No1 [son's] end of exams party. It was something we expected but not one we want to repeat. Hisself is allergic to alcohol. He does not drink at all. No1 cannot tolerate beer. He is fine on the night but 24 hours later........So he decided to see what effect spirits would have on his body. His memory stops two hours into the party and into his third drink. Then we got the call to get him home. He stopped retching 14 hours later.
On a more positive note I can be reasonably sure that he will not be drink driving. The driving lessons have started and every time he comes home with a new tale to tell He has been driving his tractor from1970's for four years now. First lesson he found working brakes, now the clutch control is giving him trouble. This looking behind you business is confusing too - this far he has concentrated to making sure he does not drive over sheep in front of him.
No2 [daughter] has always been full of surprises. She is a girl who will paint her nails and do the hair for a game of footie. That is playing, not watching - she is a mean player. She loves her creature comforts and yet this weekend announced that she was going camping [!?]. Or tenting as she calls it. I am still quite unsure what to make of that. She went with a bicycle [!], dressed in tracksuit and it was raining [!]. As she is nearing 6' in height there are no young farmers taller than her armpit in cycling distance and at her age  looks are all that matter. Any ideas what she is up to????
For a day or two I was getting comfort from the fact that No4 [daughter], who is ten is still straight forward little girl. None of the hormones of big sister and grown out of the tantrums of little one. This came to an end when she borrowed some CDs from a friend and is presently educating me with gusto. For three nights now I have cooked to the tunes of Abar-Ul-Hag; Fakhir v/s Atif and Omer Inayat's. All big hits in Pakistan I hear. In addition she demands that I dance to her favourites......For some reason the cooking has not been to my usual standards.