Pizza, fleeces, bees and a tree

I mentioned gluten-free pizza. Finding the perfect flour for a gluten-free pizza dough has taken a long time. But the company we buy our pizza flour from also produces a gluten-free flour. It is, albeit eye-wateringly expensive, amazing.

The youngest and largest sheep, Gwilym, has been getting bossier. When sheep nut treats arrive there’s great excitement, followed by a little tussle with Gwyneth. Gwilym wants the lion’s share. However, he’s usually very respectful of the old lady, Blackberry. Not so today and yesterday. Despite his size and greed, he’s more cautious than the girls, less interested in being petted. Though he will now eat from my hand.

We have the beginnings of a plan for their fleeces.  I’m not a spinner or knitter, weaver or felter, so insulation is the answer. We’re going to wash the fleeces and then incorporate them into the insulation of the upcycled hot water tank for the new showers.

Today, the men worked between and during downpours. It was cats and dogs. Stair rods. When the donkeys finally made it out to their field, I told them to be sensible, take cover in their purpose-built shelter or hide under the trees. I didn’t want to find them standing in the rain, at the gate, looking mournful and accusing. Did they listen?

The bus roof repair is completed. Two yurts have been put up and waterproofed. One more to go, as we will only have three bookable this season. We going to have to leave out some of the frills and the non-essentials this year to minimise the risk of infection.

Cleaning materials, PPE and essential pieces of kit arrive almost daily. I’m trying to find the greenest way of complying with all current advice and recommendations. A package which arrived today contained a note saying my order had funded the planting of a tree.

We love trees. Bees too. My daughter, a novice beekeeper, has a surfeit. Her mentor is currently advising her on the setting up of a second hive. There’s also a new swarm which arrived a couple of weeks ago and seems to have settled next door. They must like it here. Long may this continue.

Sunstroke and water

Around 200 hectares of damaged grassland and forest. The last time I checked the local news online, the fire was still burning. A hectare is just under two and a half acres, so this is insignificant set against Australia or Indonesia. But’s still horrible and it will have caused, and be causing, enormous harm to our wildlife.

Nellie has sunstroke and has to be kept in to recuperate. Her owner popped down the lane for a couple of bales of hay for her this morning. She and her mother, Bonnie, are Welsh cob x Shire horses. For the last few years, they’ve pulled our cart for the wedding couples who’ve opted for this mode of transport.

Investigation of the on-and-off water situation was ongoing today. The current thought is that the level is low but not critical. A pipe leak was found and repaired. So far so good.

The sheep have barely stirred today, except of course for their evening nuts. They’ve been immobile, hugging the shady edges of their paddock. Two days to shearing. I want to tell them – not long to wait – but they wouldn’t understand. I’ve had to cancel the spaniel’s coiffure appointment for later in June. Trisha, the lovely mobile dog groomer, has been allowed to resume her work, but with very strict guidelines. I’ve decided this new regime would be too traumatic for our old spaniel, so he’s going to stay unkempt.

On the phone to my sister this afternoon, we riffed on the endlessly entertaining topic of the state of our roots, and what we may or may not be doing about them anytime soon. Despite being more unlocked there, over the bridge, than we are here…there is still no salon excursion on the cards for her. Neither of us will be going purple.

Jenny Joseph’s ‘Warning’ was written in 1961 when she was only 29. Its purple referred to clothes, not hair. In 1996, There was a BBC poll for the most popular post-war poem and ‘Warning’ won, beating Dylan Thomas’ ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’. Jenny Joseph’s poem, (however dated some of the references seem today), has been a notable ode to nonconformity, especially female nonconformity, for almost sixty years.

We had a few wedding enquiries today, one from a woman who should have got married in Barcelona two days ago…so many personal disappointments and thwarted plans over the last ten weeks or so. I’ve been recalling the only two non-UK weddings I’ve been to – one in Northern Spain and one in Croatia. Both sunny and warm as you’d expect, but there was a fierce thunderstorm during the Croatian reception.

Rain, rain, rain. We’ve been promised a drop in temperature and light showers tomorrow. Fauna and flora – everything needs it.