Bella Hall: Fresh starts aplenty

Spring is the season normally associated with new beginnings. In our household, however, September has seen us all make fresh starts in various aspects of our lives and on the farm. It’s been a month of enormous change.

Harvest finally reached its conclusion. A sporadic and frustratingly wet affair which Dave was happy to draw a line under.

Unfortunately, as only fellow farmers know, harvest is only half the story. No sooner have the last stalks been stripped from the fields, than the race is on to prepare the fields for new crops waiting to be drilled. The whole year’s cycle is ended and begun again within a matter of days.

This is fine if the weather is favourable, but conditions have continued to be unsettled. A sunny day suddenly clouds over, the heavens open to deposit a deluge of rain on fields that really could do without it. Dave, sensing that things weren’t going to improve, bought a second plough as back up if our old one gave up the ghost. It seemed likely that more ploughing would be required this year than the usual tactic of minimal tillage.

Fortunately our plough man, who is many years past retirement age but comes every year to tackle the task, was more than happy to take up the challenge of all this extra ploughing. He will often start his tractor before six in the morning and is still there until well past 11 at night. This amazing stamina goes on day after day. He says it is so that he can get everything done in good time, enabling him to return to his own autumn work, running his wood-cutting business.

The maze closed for the summer amidst high drama. Four adult pedal go-karts, which are large and heavy, disappeared from the site a couple of days before the season ended.

It wasn’t a pleasant feeling to know that we had been broken into, but when the chain of events began to unfold and three of the go-karts were discovered abandoned in the town, I couldn’t help feeling incredulous. It is possible that someone might just end up with a criminal record all for the sake of a half mile, high speed pedal.

So that was the end of the maze for another year; eventful as ever, memorable for the rain and the wind and the success of the Jumping Pillow. I was grateful to have had an average season in terms of visitor numbers given the weather conditions. Even as the maize harvester rolled into the field, Dave was stopped in his tractor by a car. “Was the maze still open today?”

Also in September we had a large field being drained, ditches being dug out, maize silage, grass silage, straw carting, ploughing, pressing and drilling all being carried out simultaneously.

The discovery of a BT line buried the entire length of the field about to be drained didn’t help the situation. Dave was immensely grateful to a friend who patiently waded through the different options on the telephone help line. He was eventually able to speak to a real person and persuaded them of the benefit of re-routing the line into a new, deeper trench alongside a water pipe. I was immensely grateful, as well, as I’m not sure that Dave’s blood pressure would have coped very well with too many automated options.

September has also been a month of new beginnings for Charlie who, soon to be five, started school full time. He looked so smart and proud to be at long last doing the same thing as Will and Evie.

I started a new job the very same morning. At the beginning of the summer I had seen a job advertised that I knew I would just have to apply for. It was working in a high school near to the children’s school, part-time and within the school working hours: a cover supervisor, a new version of a supply teacher.

I managed to get the application done (amidst the start of the maze and harvest), found myself being interviewed and then offered the job. It was all a bit of a shock. I suddenly had a new job (having not had a “proper” one for about 12 years) due to start the day that Charlie started school.

Fortunately for me, Charlie was more than happy to be left in his new classroom with all his friends. That evening, Dave asked him if he had enjoyed his first day.

“Dad, I had a lovely time,” came the reply.

My response to the same question wasn’t quite so full of youthful joy. Good, but will take a bit of getting used to, is more the story of my new beginning.

• For more from Bella Hall click here.