I know it’s been a while since I wrote an entry, over a month, so I thought I try and update you all as to what’s been going on here at Alledal. It has been a very busy time. We’ve had houseguests, undertaken a major rewiring of the barn and had an altogether too brief visitor from Poland.
First, an apology, no I’ve not died, nor given up writing this drivel. It’s just that we’ve been busy and somehow writing my blog just kept getting put down the priority list. We’ve had houseguests – Steph’s parents – and somehow you’re life isn’t your own when you’re entertaining.I seem to remember reading somewhere
We labor to make a house a home, then every time we're expecting visitors, we rush to turn it back into a house
And it’s so true. Whenever we have guests visiting I always spend days with either a vacuum or a duster as a permanent attachment to my arm finding something to clean. I think housework is one of those things that passes unnoticed until it isn’t done, and when guests are due I find myself being hypercritical. It’s not like my house gets to the state where I need to put up ‘beware of the dust bunnies’ signs or anything, but I guess I feel people will judge me on the cleanliness of my home – definitely something to work on I think.
No matter who is visiting things here have a routine that is fairly immutable. There are always; animals to be fed, a dog to be walked, goats to be milked, milk to be separated… the list is almost endless and any guest here has to fit in around that. It’s always nice to see family and friends and to hear news and trivia. Out here we are somewhat detached from the world. It is easy to forget to look outwards. I guess that’s what is so magical about our lives here, is that if you wanted to you could easily forget the outside world exists.
While Steph’s parents were here we took advantage of his father’s expertise on domestic electrics and totally rewired the barn. It’s been a cause of concern to him since he first visited and he was anxious to replace it. It was a major job and took almost two weeks – we are amateurs after all. Some of the things we discovered caused a few dropped jaws and sharp intakes of breath. Wiring was done without regard to European standard colours. Spurs branched out from spurs with complete disregard of whether they were for lighting or power. After much toil and sweat and not a few frustrating moments, we now have a barn that is acceptable to Steph’s dad, and I no longer get electrical shocks while working on machinery in the barn – how good is that!
All the livestock are doing well. The bantams that had just hatched in my last entry are all fully-grown. The yellow ducks are all outside enjoying the sun – and the rain – on their backs. I think that hatching is over for this year. I still have one duck sat in a corner of the barn, but I have no plans to hatch anything else and have already packed away the incubators for this year. I am still knee deep in eggs as the Blommehöna are still laying very well, though we have a regular and appreciative clientele who just love the deep golden thick yolks. Eggs as eggs should be rather than the pale and insipid super market versions
We had a brief visit from a racing pigeon, who hung around the barn with the chickens for a couple of weeks or so. With the aid of digital photography we managed to get a look at his leg rings on his left was a narrow white and a broad wine-red ring. On his left a pink ring numbered PL012-08-6042. I think this makes him Polish. I tried to contact the racing pigeon groups in Poland but got no reply. I quite enjoyed having him [I took to calling him Parsifal] around. He was a cheeky little chappy, huffing and puffing around the yard in and around the chickens. The internet suggested that I should just feed him and let him get on his way, he seemed quite content to hang around and I began to make plans for accommodation etc. when he upped and disappeared. It’s curious how much I missed having him around. I think I could get to like pigeons and would like a few flying around the skies at Alledal. So watch this space dear readers, you never know.
Speaking of things in the skies over Alledal, the swallows have all hatched and fledged and the skies, and the barn are full of their chatter. One of the pairs appears to be preparing to raise a second brood. I do hope so. I love having them around.
I have also continued with the Billingemölla wildflower project and will be posting another slideshow, or at the very least another photo journal of images I took last month.
And finally this week has seen our third anniversary of moving to Sweden and I couldn’t let that pass without, at the very least, a brief comment. It is hard now for me to think of myself living any other way. It would be a wrench to return to a nine-to-five. Things haven’t always gone quite how we expected, but honestly what does? My life here is something of a dream. A great home, small patch of land, livestock – all of which we could never have achieved in the UK.I have no regrets about moving. There are still things I miss, but they tend to be small, silly fripperies for the main part, bacon, custard – things of that ilk, nothing life threatening. People, friends – those that I care about I do miss. Yes, we can keep in touch. That’s pretty much the raison d’être of this blog to let people back home what’s happening in my life. There are times when there just is no substitute for a good old gossip, to chew the fat over trivia and put the world to rights – and that is one thing I can’t do here. But for me that’s the only downside of being a stranger in a strange land.