Eat, sleep, bleat, repeat

April 2020

Eat, sleep, bleat, repeat. How many days into this are we now? I’ve lost track. Yan, tyan, tethera, methera, pimp … that’s counting sheep dialect in Cumbrian in case you’re confused by the words. From the valley of Borrowdale, Cumbria to be precise. Which is also where we were supposed to be spending Easter this year. With family. For coldwater lake swims, waterfall dips and fellside scrambles between the unfolding ferns of springtime. That wasn’t to be.

These are Hampshire lambs. Captured on camera last year in the lambing shed, nestled beneath The South Downs, over at Lamb & Newt .

Several of my photographs shortlisted this morning in the online Competition Gallery at @pinkladyappleuk @foodphotoaward.  A micro moment of joy for me which I’m celebrating here with extra apples today; always a good thing as I bloody love my rosy, pink pommes. The listed shot is called ‘ Lamb Taxi ‘ and features all the ‘wooly yans’ in the back of the Subaru below.

I’m also feeling full of woolly nostalgia for this time of year when, as children, my sister and I got to spend lambing time down on the farm in rural Cumbria, bottle feeding the weaker lambs to build their strength alongside Farmer Mary, with her broad Borrowdale dialect and gnarly brat apron fashioned from a hessian feedsack.

Living where they do, my sister had a pet lamb for spring one year, which her young children cared for. They named him ‘Sammy the Lammy’ & I’m chuckling at the memory of my niece & nephew’s little Cumbrian voices calling for their ‘laal’ sheep as it gambolled around the garden after them both. If I’d only made a voice recording, I could’ve uploaded it here.

In normal years, there’s an annual lambing shed transformation over at Lamb & Newt and a space which, filled to bleating with all things wooly and warm at this time of year, is replenished by the most beautifully curated, reloved treasures. From art deco furniture to vintage glassware, there are wonderful pieces, large and small, to rediscover.  I’m wondering what they’ll do instead in this upturned year of 2020. Doubtless, they’ll find a creative way to share their wares and find new homes for all their pieces, some as fragile and delicate as the weeny lambs born into the shed. Mariella, Hannah & Kate ( pictured with bottle below ) are three super creative ladies.

And the female of the species, well, we just shapeshift to fit the new role and situation don’t we? It’s a female thing, to adapt so readily; whether that’s for a young life growing inside of us or a global health situation requiring huge change all round.

In the meantime, I’m not certain what the Hampshire / West Sussex equivalent is to Yan, Tan, Tethera and counting sheep; do you know? Leave a comment if ewe do .. sorry, I couldn’t help myself there.



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