I’m writing this life chronicle in a rural village four miles south of market town Thirsk, North Yorkshire. Apparently farmland on the periphery of this cottage, where I’m residing for a few days, former working haunts of veterinary/author James Herriot. The vet/penman whose series of books were heavily inspired by epiphanies sourced by real-life interactions with characters and scenery from this agrarian domain.
Market towns such as Thirsk, Malton, Ripon and Richmond, along with their surrounding farmlands underpinning local economy with their livestock and arable agricultural importance. This an area where you can always rely on a friendly local proffering an eccentric welcome of “‘Appen, veterinary!”….. Bizarrely, even if you aren’t a vet.
I briefly mentioned Thirsk in essay last week. This appearance (in Carrying The Reminders…..) relating to the boroughs place in my childhood, a consequence of being the family’s habitual stop-off point for a fish and chip tea. Breaking up what seemed like endless Friday evening childhood journeys from Gateshead to my grandmas’s Scarborough seaside home.
My current residence amongst these fields and narrow lanes of which Herriot wrote so affectionately the result of needing a break from living at my mother’s East Ardsley abode.
The matriarch’s and my relationship becoming ever more fraught as I meander aimlessly into month five of my occupancy at Mrs S senior’s abode…… Recent strain of habitation in chez Strachan senior causing me chest pains, which after January’s heart attack I clearly need to evade like the plague.
Anyhow, thankfully my presence in this small but comfortable link cottage four miles from Thirsk has returned my stress levels to an acceptable levels. Away from mater’s relentless, but unintended pursuit of killing me off***, they appears far less strain on my cardiovascular system.
*** – Well, I hope it’s unintended!
You can never know what’s around the corner. However the only worry I’ve got for a few days is keeping Coco the dog, who graces our party with her unconditional affection and tenacious training for Channel 4’s upcoming show ‘Dog Vs Food’, away from nearby fields of sheep.
Cokes hasn’t a bad bone in her body, though, so am confident that won’t be an issue. Thus far, the only member of our vacations faction who’s worried sheep has been yours truly. This occurring this morning on informing a couple of ewes in a nearby field the Tories were leading the General Election polls.
If truth be told these farm animals are residing in a field which is bordered on this side of these linked cottages behind a breeze block wall. This construction ensuring that any dog ‘holidaying’ within these buildings wouldn’t be able to ‘get at’ the livestock regardless of their malice or determination.
There’s a field of sheep about 100 yards from the cottage kitchen/dining table where I’m journaling these life events. They’re an ovis breed with thick brown wool, a look akin to a smaller version of Highland cattle complete with a 1980’s Kevin Keegan perm.
As I bring this narrative closer to conclusion I’ve looked over into the lounge of my cottage of residence where Coco’s fast asleep….. Perhaps there is something in the adage that counting sheep can induce slumber!