It has now rained for 40 days and 40 nights. It has forced me to get into hardcore. That’s right. Hardcore. About 50 tonnes of it. Sarah has already had to be rescued from a ditch several times. Without hardcore, she’d have floated away and drifted down the Rother, bobbing along in an elderly Landrover, heading for Calais. Hardcore now populates the trenches that have been gouged in our tracks but the rain is winning and we have more trenches which means more hardcore.
The long range weather forecast from Exacta Weather, run by a bloke who does it from sunspots (and gets it mostly right) says we can expect this all summer. I predict the price of hay will go up to about £10 a bale because there won’t be a harvest, and the sheep will get even more grotesquely fat on lush grass.
But nature persists, and on the 12th of April I saw the first swallows, and then on the 16th heard the first cuckoo. Regular readers will remember that, if I was in charge of the Spanish Inquisition, I’d make all my victims listen to a cuckoo for a week. They’d confess to anything after that.
But back to the weather. It makes our glamping business here at Swallowtail Hill excitingly challenging. Sarah, who as you know has unnatural upper body strength, now has unnatural lower body strength from plodding through the mud carrying sacks of logs, cleaning equipment, small children, dogs and boxes of linen. She is in the middle of transferring glamping operations from the house to the barn where she has installed a full range of freezers, washing machines, storage cupboards, sinks, ironing boards and about 500 sets of bedding. What was once my domain – filled with MAN STUFF (tractors, spanners, bits of wood I know I will need one day, mysterious tools I have yet to find a use for, boxes of mixed screws, oil drums and power tools that don’t work) is slowly being taken over. Its manliness is under threat.
Where will it stop? I’m relegated to a narrow central aisle and a workbench at one end, and I think it only a matter of time before she gets her hands on them too. Will I find curtains and scatter cushions appearing? Is the barn going get a full Laura Ashley makeover? She’s even got one of the new sheds as her private preserve. A woman with a shed! This can’t be right – can it? Maybe I need to start a campaign, enlist some support from other men who find their important, private, bloke spaces, dens and territories taken over without so much as a please or thankyou. Or I could fight back and move the lawnmower into the kitchen, mend tractor parts on the dining table and bring my range of power tools to the bedroom (yes there’s a joke in there somewhere).
At least we’ve got a spare tent. If I ever find myself totally squeezed out, I can go and live in that.
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