Saturday 12 March 2011

getting in a tizz

Shep is slowly getting into a tizz, now you might not know what that means. Wound up I guess would sum it up well, or mebbes the clinical description would be stressed, although I would say that was probably an exaggerated description of being in a tizz.

In a tizz - quite simple really, a feeling of much to do and not enough time to do it. I wouldn't care, the days are getting longer, there are more hours available to work in, it ought to be easy to get caught up with work and things.....

It's the pre - lambing tizz that is the problem, coupled with unco-operative weather. Rain, gales, snow, sleet, more rain, fog, clarts, you name it! For a few days it did seem like spring was arriving, now it feels like mother nature has changed her mind.

Have to say, there has been some great excitement, I was like an overgrown kid when I heard the skylark for the first time on 16th Feb. "Skylark! Listen. Definitely skylark, there they are look...up there" Caught talking to myself once again, the dogs cocked their heads on one side and stared at me in despair.

Then there was the frogspawn on 23rd February, I jumped off the bike and did a little dance...... the dogs sat back and gave me a quizzical look. I faired no better when I conveyed my excitement to the shepherd I was working with. "Is the other half registered as your carer?" was his reply!

I don't care what the dogs or anyone else thinks, it has been exciting. There has been the first Peewits and Curlew, Oystercatchers on the river side, geese heading south - you name it, the signs of spring were appearing everywhere, life is looking up, spring was springing. Yipee!

February disappeared into history and March arrived. The 'phone kept ringing, work to do. Hoggs to hornburn, sheep in need of their pre lambing inoculating, dosing required, treatments for ticks needed, much to do.

'Tis great, I do like to be kept busy, all was easily manageable before I head north at the end of the month, no need to worry. Until, that is, the weather broke!

Sheep pens are outdoors, hoggs are burnt in the sheep pens, the fire is lit in the sheep pens........ Have you ever tried burning water? Doesn't work too well.

Not to worry, will re-organise the burning and get on with dosing etc., Trouble is many wish to treat their sheep with a preventative pour on against ticks, this is the same sort of pour on used in the treatment of lice. For all it doesn't specifically say on the container that it must be applied onto dry wool most do prefer to do this, so once again it isn't possible to get on and the sheep work is beginning to stack up, time is ticking on........

Shep's getting in a tizz..........

One job which needs doing is I have been asked to head into Scotland and inoculate the sheep which I am to lamb. I am excited at this prospect, not because I'll get a cheviot fix but because I'll know they are inoculated against lamb dysentery, a disease in the lambs which has been a rod to bear over the few years I have lambed this flock. This year they ought to be dysentery free! I really want to get up there and get them done, but then there is everyone else queueing up also!

There are other issues also, ordering and taking delivery of a new fridge freezer. Car repairs. Lambing supplies (chocolate!). Appointments. Letters to write. Phone calls to make. I almost feel snowed under, ironical considering it is actually snowing!

My car is getting weary. Can't expect miracles, it is 16 years old. I like my car, it goes and it stops when asked to, what more could I ask for? It is having some maintenance work done at the moment, apparently it's body is beginning to show it's age and major, expensive rebuilding work will be on the agenda should it try to go through another MOT.

To add to my tizz I decided to go and look at another car.

I know I wont get one like the one I've got, or if I should I'll just have another rust bucket. But my headset likes my car, I'm used to my car and I'd quite like another very similar. Also, I don't want to buy a car for lots of money, you could say I'm mean but also my car is used as a mobile dog kennel, it carries three dogs to and from work everyday. It is a hatchback with the back seats dropped down,it is trashed inside, has an aroma all of its own - a true work horse. Do I want to spend a lot of money on something 'nice' just to trash it? Definitely not!

I happened to see a car advertised which was similar to mine, a few years younger with a reasonable mileage and at a sensible price - almost too good to be true! I rang up about it to find it was at Newcastle, umm, Jarrow in fact, oh! I had to ask where Jarrow was, have heard of it, the Jarrow March and all that. Anyhow, it's near South Shields, umm!

Basically for a country bumpkin like me it seemed a long way away, although it would be fairer to say it was somewhere I'd never been to before and never really wanted to - in the town. Never mind, beggars can't be choosers.

Eventually, we both found ourselves held up with the weather, a quick 'phone call confirmed the car was still for sale and off we headed. No sat navs just a good old fashioned map and an address. I have to say I don't like towns or cities or in fact anywhere where there are houses, traffic and people.

My fingernails were about chewed off by the time we arrived at our destination and I wasn't doing the driving! For once my navigational skills didn't let me down either - must be a good omen!

It wasn't. The car wasn't keen on starting (at least my rust bucket does!), when it did start a cloud of black smoke rose from the engine, matched by the black smoke coming out of the exhaust. Umm..... back to plan A (I do like my car!!)

Four hours from leaving home we returned, having driven through snow at this end, fog in the middle and rain in town we'd been, turned around and come back with nothing to show for our little gander.

Shep was feeling well and truly tizzed and needed to get out into the open somewhere, having been couped up in a car for hours and stuck in town on concrete streets with traffic and people I needed to head into an open space and leave the world behind, go back into my world.

The weather was poor, snow was still lying, it was by now raining and foggy with it, dogs and I jumped into the car and without realising where we were headed found ourselves on the shores of Kielder Reservoir. Strange really, it is on our doorsteps but not a place I ever really visit - I must have been in a tizz!

Two hours later and I felt I could return to civilisation. My choice had been a good one, on such a dank day there was no one wandering about. Dogs and I had the walks to ourselves and we reveled in the peace and beauty of the place.

I found myself transfixed, I'd ground to a halt at a puddle. Not any old puddle you understand, this was a big puddle. A swampy area which had flooded and covered the footpath, there were trees overhanging the area and rushes and mossy humps showing up through the water. I had haltered due to the path being immersed in water and then I ended up in a spell. It was the sound which held me under a spell.

One of those magical moments, the sort that bring you back from somewhere you hadn't enjoyed being. The drips of the rain hitting the puddle, accompanied with the drips which were accumulating and then dropping off the trees. There was music. Every drip or drop produced a slightly different tone, some threw up bubbles which produced a different sound again. I stood there spellbound - an orchestral puddle - amazing!

I was beginning to wonder if the music could be recorded, could you play around with the recording and come up with some wonderful, natural mix of music? But was it not necessary to have the visual also? The drops hitting the surface causing ringlets, mini waves which rippled gently across the surface before breaking into one another before finally dying as others were formed?

My trance was finally broken, the dogs had decided there must be a problem and were pushing there noses into my legs, looking at me questioningly. The shepherds remark "Is your other half registered as your carer?" came into my head and I laughed and we went on our way.

A puddle managed to calm my feeling of tizziness, I am now a day closer to heading off lambing, but my sanity (some would question that I have ever been sane)has returned, the hubbub of traffic, streets and people is a distant memory, the future work loads will pan out one way or the other - I've returned to my world!!


Dr Clive Dalton said...

A lovely piece Shep. Specially like the fact that 'time was ticking away' when you were waiting to treat the sheep for ticks!

Keep up the good work and enjoy the magic of Spring after a long hard winter.

Tarset Shepherd said...

Thanks Clive, hee, hee...

better afternoon today, curlews calling, kestrels pairing up, aah, spring is definitely on the way!

TheBigMan said...

Shep, lovely piece about the puddle and sounds and music. You have the soul of a mystic. My father once told us a story about having been to the village to the pub and when he climbed the hill lane to his own home, he was enchanted by the vast expanse of starry sky. So he lay down in the field and stretched his hands behind his head to enjoy the sight. It was in the middle of winter too.

Tarset Shepherd said...

Hi BigMan! How ya doin? I think you're father and I could possibly have had something in common - it does whiles pay to stop and take in the whole picture. As for the soul of a mystic? Well, what can I say!!