Friday, 1 January 2010

Goodbye 2009

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The final day in 2009 was a snowy one and an interesting one. I've been haying a handful of sheep since the bad weather came on, due to the owner of them having being involved in an S.T.A. Now in emergency service jargon RTA stands for road traffic accident, should be easy to work out what STA stands for then shouldn't it?

It's only too easy to be involved in a sheep trampling accident, you don't need to be old and frail, it's all a matter of luck at the end of the day. The owner of these sheep was unlucky and the sheep knocked them down whilst trying to put hay out to them. The fact the owner is 86 years old may not have helped, icy conditions making it difficult to keep your footing whatever your age along side desperate sheep, hungry for hay can easily cause an accident and so Shep has the responsibility of feeding these sheep until the weather breaks.

So, road conditions were poor thanks to further snow fall and the quad bike was commandeered rather than take the car, the ewes as usual were enthusiastic to see me, struggling to keep my feet I carried a bale up the field, sheep's horns stabbing the backs of my legs in the hope I may prematurely drop the bale. Eventually the bale was laid out for them and I headed for home on roads which still hadn't improved.

The post man was the next for me to meet on my journey and the post for ours and beyond willingly loaded onto the bike, there is no need for the guy to run off the road just because he has junk mail and bills to deliver - most probably against post office regulations so if you're from the PO just turn a blind eye to this particular paragraph! No one around here expects anyone to turn up when the conditions are crap and everyone is prepared to rally and help one another out where ever they can. It was no hardship for me to deliver this mail.

A quick coffee and off I set on my journey. I picked up a passenger en route, someone seeking an adventure, suffering from cabin fever and only too pleased to travel further afield on roads unsuitable for normal vehicular access. The final port of call with the mail found the residents running out of groceries, so a shopping list was handed over and promises of bread and milk being collected sometime were given.

I did well on my run out as both Shep and the better half have had the seasonal sniffles, feeling just a tad under the weather we've sniffled, coughed, sneezed and blown our noses throughout the festive period. At one port of call the resident felt so sorry for poor ol' Shep that a cough bottle was offered and I may say gladly received - like I say, everyone tries to help each other out - it's a grand life!

The journey home found Shep way laid to partake in a spot of sledging - great fun and nicely warmed me up after the cold ride on the quad. The offer of tea and mince pies was turned down as the day was getting on and a trip to the Co-op was necessary. There had been snow showers all day and the plough had been through which unfortunately had made the roads worse. The soft snow which tyres can cut into had been removed and an icy layer of compacted snow and ice was left - not ideal travelling conditions but fine for the quad.

On arriving home the better half got his 4wd car warmed up and a mercy mission to the co-op ensued, just a matter of five miles and further down the valley the roads blackened as they receive better council support and also see more traffic on them, however by the time the shopping had been gathered the roads had turned white and we were heading back home in a blizzard and this is old years night....... we've got first footing to do!

Once again, later in the evening, the quad was brought out and we headed off to a neighbours for supper, along with twenty other hardy souls and not a car in sight. Either arriving on foot or quad we all got there. Enjoyed a lovely supper, sledged in the moonlight, sang auld lang syne, raised our glasses to the new year, played silly games and eventually arrived back home at 3am and still it was snowing!

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