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There are 53 animals at Swallowtail Hill, including the humans, and not including the bees. You can imagine the grocery bill. One of the humans – the female, as she is referred to in the pub – suffers from obsessive compulsive hoarding. Of animals. So in spite of the occasional tragedy, their numbers inexorably increase each year. It came as no surprise therefore when Sarah announced that she thought we should get a pair of donkeys.

I thought we’d got over this, and that Sarah was cured. I had successfully fought off the three year campaign to get horses. Llama’s made an appearance, but not for long. There was a moment of madness when she suggested Water Buffalo would be a good idea (“we could make our own mozzarella!”). And Alpacas reared their heads briefly until I pointed out how much they cost to buy, let alone feed. And people steal them. Now I know what the long animal conversation silence was about. She was gestating donkeys. Her pretext is that they would make lovely means of transport for our glampers. What’s more she had the idea that we could operate a donkey tuck shop – load the beasts with cakes, jams and chutneys, incense sticks, cuddly toys, and jewellery, then walk them down to the tents and Meadowkeepers like itinerant desert pedlars, and sell, sell, sell.

What she has not taken into account is the Swallowtail Hill Law of Sheds. This says that sheds fill up as soon as you build them. Even if you’ve got nothing to put in them, build one and almost immediately it will be full. We have 14 sheds, and two barns. All full. I am planning a 15th because I just know it will be needed for stuff we’re not even aware we need yet.

You may wonder what the connection is between donkeys and the Law of Sheds. Donkeys need a shed. So here we have an example of actually planning to get stuff before I’ve even built a shed to put it in.  That’ll be shed 16 then. And guess who gets to build them all?

Meanwhile Christmas is almost here – warm, sunny weather, early signs of daffodils coming up, next year’s bracken pushing through the leaf mould! Enjoy yours.

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