DIARY FROM A FAMILY FARM IN ULSTER
I GOT a bit of a shock last week when I walked in to the kitchen to see Johnston sporting a long dark wig, a pair of pink sunglasses and a "ban the bomb" medallion. Whats more, his sister Susan was transformed into a Marianne Faithful look-alike with a waist-length blonde wig and a peace headband.
As I have maybe mentioned before, our kitchen has been the setting for many strange events, but this was certainly one of the funniest to look at. Mind you, the time he was practising his dance steps wearing the back half of a pantomime cow was pretty funny too! As you can probably guess, the Morrow family is keen on taking to the stage at regular intervals, purely to raise money for worthy causes of course, not for the personal glamour (or so they tell me). This latest production was in aid of our local churchs millennium project, which plans to sponsor 10 people to build houses in Botswana this September. It has captured the congregations imagination and we are working hard to raise the £15,000 we have pledged to the scheme, which is organised by the international charity, Habitat for Humanity.
I, on the other hand, am more "artistically challenged" than "artistic" and I dont like acting, singing, dancing or any strange dressing-up behaviour in which the rest of them seem to revel. Nonetheless, they also serve, those who only serve the tea, and as is the tradition in most church fund raising events, "the supper" is a big part of the evening. There must be few other venues that can bring out the organiser in women more than putting on a church supper. I find I really have to control myself not to behave like an absolute dictator. My other escape is to laugh about how petty we can all get, because in truth I am the worst. I actually do believe that it would be more efficient to have the tables down the side rather than in the middle, or that the sandwiches cut lengthways are more attractive than triangles, and, as for anyone who thinks they can get away with only six bags in those big pots, well, they obviously havent a clue how to make a decent cup of tea at all.
Has spring sprung with you yet? It actually feels as if the weather is on a spring here as it bounces between sun and rain, freezing winds and blue skies. Weve had the calves out for a few weeks now, but the shed was bedded yesterday, as we were sure we would bring them back in today – but instead it brightened up and they were racing up and down the field with the sun on their backs. Most of the calving is over now and we are starting to get the swing of the new milking parlour – as are the cows. The first time we brought them in (in darkness as the electricians hadnt got the lighting wired up) they all stood with their noses facing into the pit.
The calves have quickly learnt that the rumble of the tractor means the "suck-mobile" has arrived and jostle to get a hold of a teat. The days of bending over, cajoling reluctant calves to latch on to the unfamiliar teat with the inevitable bitten and bruised fingers are over for this year. Well, over for Hilary, Timothy, Johnston and James, because I have to confess, I didnt feed any calves this year – sure I was much too busy making tea.
Peace work…Johnston (left) has been dressing up as hippie for his Churchs charity work for Botswana, much the amusement of his family.