Archive Article: 2000/11/17

17 November 2000




LOOKING out of the kitchen window here at Vimer it is wet, grey and sad. The bulls and heifers in the field opposite make their way down the bank and stand knee-high in mud while they wait to come in for feeding.

The milking cows are in the cowshed, which has been repaired after last winters storms and the first this summer.

Life goes on as normal.

I am comparing the view from the window with that of the lady farming in north Wales I have just been listening to who can see only water from hers. Her husband is battling to keep his cows from succumbing to fatigue and the rising water. With the prospect of more rain on the way, my heart goes out to them. It defeats the imagination.

The storms, which swept France in December, were devastating but they were not as relentless as this terrible weather which is hitting the UK, nor are we suffering as much at the moment from the rain.

On a brighter note, we found ourselves one weekend in October before the "weather", in a café drinking hot chocolate after walking around a Brittany market as it came to life in the early morning. We were heading for Guernsey at Andrew Casebows invitation, where Tim gave a talk.

It is a joy for us to visit from the moment we get on the 16-seater plan for the half-hour flight, to the warm welcome we get on the island.

After the talk we had the weekend to visit and we spent Saturday on Sark. First stop was the bike hire shop (tractors and bikes are the only form of transport on the island). As we wobbled out of the village to explore – it is a long time since either of us have ridden a bike – we saw a lady holding her granddaughters hand and singing, but as we got closer she called out: "Tim Green… I was just coming to look for you." We nearly fell off our bikes, we had not discussed our plans with anyone, apparently someone had seen us waiting for the boat.

Whatever, it was very opportune that Evelyn Nightingale should greet us so we met her husband, Chris, and daughter, Mary, and visited their dairy where they make icecream, and pasteurise milk for island inhabitants. A winner of the Young Businesswoman of the Year award, Mary gave an account of the machinations of living and working on the island. It is another world.

I quite took to the idea of living somewhere like that until I realised I would have to slip my dancing shoes in my pocket and don wellies, mac and rain hat, climb on my bike and pedal to every local do. We had a super day, and surprisingly did not suffer stiff legs or sore derrières.

The next day we visited David Cowleys dairy farm and potato business before lunch and the flight home, which left earlier than scheduled due to the fact that the pilot and us, the only passengers, were ready to go.


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