Well, I’m back, and now comes the usual extraordinary process of getting used to living indoors again after a fortnight outdoors. The kitchen seems like a stone cave, and everywhere there are ceilings and walls instead of sky. And so much Stuff! All the pictures and cushions and gadgets that make life so interesting, but which we manage without quite happily when we are wild camping.
In the Sahara, I treasure my food, washstand, camera. Now I’m getting used to possessions such as a grandfather clock, a backgammon set, an inherited umbrella/horse measure combo. It takes time.
In Morocco we were constantly among people who led a hard and unforgiving life in which their animals shared. The animals have worked out coping stratagems, particularly the camels who just rise above the whole thing, but returning to my pampered brood is a relief.
The two horses are fat and feral. They have been fed and checked but not handled for two weeks and now they are wild and free, spirit of the prairies. I’m going to have fun when I saddle up Slip. The sheep need shearing, no doubt about it. And they’ve already mentioned the fact that they don’t fancy the idea. More joy to come.
Indie is slim and shiny and has spent a useful fortnight persuading the housesitter that he is allowed to do things normally forbidden. “I ALWAYS jump up on the breakfast table and walk about on it: nobody has ever told me not to. And I eat butter out of the butter dish. Obviously.”
The Labradors are slightly fatter, and smug. “Whippet’s been up on the breakfast table every day, and eaten all the butter. We haven’t. We’ve been in our baskets, because we are GOOD. Not like Indie. He’s bad.”
Scarab spent a peaceful couple of weeks licking all his winter fur off from the depths of our duvet, having hooked open a door that was meant to be closed. He’s now sleek and svelte, and our duvet cover is indescribable.
Up in the henrun, Twinkle the incredibly old bantam shuffled off her mortal coil on the henhouse steps. This freaked out her sisters who refused to go to bed over her cooling body, instead dispersing to far corners of the orchard and perching in trees. They were not very good at this, fell out with dull thuds then sat on the grass as perfect fox food. So the housesitter had to bury Twinkle with full military honours (which freaked out the housesitter) then find the rest of the gang by torchlight, before the fox.
Now I must go and fetch the chicks, who spent the fortnight with a friend in the village. I hope you’ve all had a great early May, and I’ll write more when I’ve slept enough to be able to make sense.