“CHRISTMAS IS coming and the geese are getting fat”, so the saying goes. Actually, Christmas came and the geese are still getting fatter.
I decided I like the geese – and not in the culinary sense of the word. To be honest, we didn”t eat any of the produce I was rearing for the plate. All those dozens of ducks hatched this spring and summer are still being fed every morning with no notion of how lucky they are. I have decided they are like an insurance deal against a fox attack, similar to an extra 5lbs weight coming into the winter in case of a nasty bout of flu.
It’s been a big year in our family calendar: Two sets of big exams, both Amy and Helen leaving school and moving on, Jenny’s 21st birthday, my brother home from Australia with decisions to make about where home is for him, the death of my closest aunt, two very wet holidays, not to mention a very wet autumn and grappling with the intricacies of decoupling.
My diet of farm economics and politics consists of a daily 15 minute dose of the local farming radio programme and what I can glean from conversations, often heated, around the kitchen table, so the subject of decoupling wasn’t an easy one for me to grasp.
However at least I am better set up to hear the programmes coming into this New Year. I love to listen to the radio and have tried all sorts of ways to be able to follow my favourite programmes when I am round the yard, from the car radio at maximum volume with all the doors open to tiny transistors with miniscule ear phones held onto my head with a selection of hats and scarves.
This is fine for music, but my love is talk radio (and obviously it’s my only chance of learning about the farming world) and to be honest both these systems are not up to scratch. I can be quite happy working away listening to a debate on the provision of wheelie bins, or other riveting subjects, then I open the hen house door and all other sounds, bar overexcited geese, are completely drowned out.
Now all has changed as I have discovered Johnston’s ear defenders with built in radio. Each ear piece weighs about a pound, but the reception and volume are first class.
When Johnston first discovered these, I balked at the price; thinking that my 4 little pocket radio from Tesco’s would do me rightly. However, Johnston”s mind doesn’t work that way. He firmly believes that if life’s little luxuries can make an unpleasant essential job bearable, then spend the money.
For example, we have an ancient rattly JCB to fill the silage wagons, an essential, but on cold wet mornings, an unpleasant task. However, Johnston bought himself a state-of-the-art, ex German army gortex suit, a pair of padded waterproof gloves and the ear defenders, now he can happily listen to Terry Wogan as he feeds the cattle. I am now convinced that being happy at your work is worth budgeting for, and if I use them too – sure that is twice the value.
Mind you, if I’d had my old system then the cackling geese and the quaking ducks disturbing my listening might have made me more hard-hearted and they would have been gracing a few festive tables over the past few days. Anyway, my family, my poultry and I had a lovely Christmas and hopefully a great New Year to come – I wish the same for you.