We have two leap year ‘babies’ in the family. So, this year we celebrated a fifth birthday and a twentieth birthday. Now if you do your maths a twentieth birthday is a ‘big’ one, so the services of the Happy Potter were called upon to ‘sail the good ship Persabus’, as we made our way to a weekend of party celebrations for the birthday boy. Helping him celebrate his second twentieth birthday in a lifetime.
As the Happy Potter arrived off the ferry, a couple of days before our trip, the ‘banter’ around the farmhouse kitchen table was, as always, highly entertaining. When the Happy Farmer gets together with any of his brothers, sibling rivalry kicks off. Entertainment comes with the inevitable leg pulling and tweaking, as topics cover how many ‘ratchets’ are now required to shoehorn an expanding waistline into one’s kilt from thirty years ago. The Happy Potter won that one then. Next, the number of steps required to reach the top of the hill. In the Happy Farmer’s case this was cut down to how many steps it would take to reach the quad bike. Before a drive up to the top, wicked grin on face, as he steamed full speed ahead of the Happy Potter.
Last time we left the Happy Potter on farm duty we returned to a whole sequence of unidentifiable alarms going off intermittently throughout the course of the night. A week of disturbed sleep patterns. The Happy Farmer searched high and low to find the source of the various sounds, which would only last for a few seconds. Eventually an old kitchen clock, with some rusty sounding bird calls, was finally revealed under a bed. Of course, the Happy Farmer has been busy plotting his revenge ever since.
Full use was made of the Happy Potter’s early arrival on the farm. The Happy Farmer took it upon himself to organise an action-packed couple of days’ entertainments. This included helping the farmer to build a new fence around the Millhouse garden, although apparently, according to the Happy Farmer’s version of events, his brother only stood and watched the proceedings. The Happy Farmer has therefore decided to take full credit for the new gleaming garden fence at the back of the Millhouse.
The next afternoon of fun and games saw our Happy Campers also roped in. The Happy Farmer assured me those campers were desperate to be involved in all the entertainment happening around them. Entertainment which involved hauling old settees from the Millhouse to the Happy Farmer’s shed and replacing them with beautiful new cream leather sofas in the sitting room of our self-catering cottage. Once in place I found one very Happy Farmer carrying out ‘quality control’, checking out the comfort factor for our guests, by spending an hour or so relaxing on one of the new sofas. An important aspect of the job apparently, as our guests’ comfort is always our priority. Large drams were later poured for those campers, as everyone gathered at the kitchen table once more, to celebrate the afternoon’s achievements.
I finally managed to prise the Happy Farmer away from all these duties. We spent a truly fantastic weekend in the Midlands, culminating in a visit to the Black Country Living Museum. There my father entertained all his grandchildren with stories of adventures from his own childhood, and together they enjoyed trips down the mine shaft and a canal journey through the tunnels and limestone caverns on a barge. In the evening a buffet and dance followed at the Hotel and fabulous 20th birthday celebrations were enjoyed by all as we reconnected with family and friends.
On our return home to the farm it was the animals who surprised us after this trip. Mairi, ‘the magic sheep lady’s’ pet, Rowan, had been enjoying her very own celebrations in our absence. She had a very busy weekend resulting in the birth of an early set of twin lambs. Rowan is a mixed breed sheep and thanks to the early antics of Hamish, eldest’s Hebridean tup, she enjoyed an early lambing. Hamish had simply refused, last November, to remain in barracks, and instead had taken himself off on a fence hopping mission to get to the ladies in the neighbouring fields. The fruits of his labours and early antics were waiting for us on our return. Two gorgeous ‘spidery’ black lambs and one happy mama sheep.
Until next time…