We plod along. By and large, life's excitements pass us by. It's tranquil up here. In the past week we have seen the greening of the countryside and basked in glorious warmth. We note the arrival of birds* and the tapestry of wildflowers shoving forth from hedge and ditch. Last week, on Tuesday, we harvested 12 cauliflowers and three still languish in the fridge. There is only so much cauliflower cheese a person can eat. (I should add that we have also donated cauliflowers to anyone who looked vaguely hungry....)
This week we have also started harvesting asparagus from the bed Alan planted in 2006 - fresh spears, dressed with butter have been on the menu each night this week. I suspect we will be sharing some of this crop too. How good it is too eat food in season.
But what's this disturbing the rural idyll? A thud, a bang and next door's dog sets off barking. Smoke is blowing across the lane from beyond the barn. A tractor is on fire. Its driver is on his mobile - struggling for a signal - and trying to establish where he is so the fire service can come and do the business. With the best will in the world they are at least 15 minutes away so in the meantime it is, literally, all hands to the pump. We race to our sheds and unearth inadequate looking extinguishers while a neighbour and the young driver connect a hose from a drinking trough to a spare bit of alkethene pipe. There are flames and some alarming bangs and clouds of stinky smoke coming from the tractor. Extinguishers are pointed and water is sprayed liberally. There are a few dramatic moments in which I wonder if knowing a bit more first aid would be a good idea. By the time the brigade arrive we think the fire is out but they go into full fire-fighting mode anyway - helmets, hoses, the lot. It's an incongruous sight at the end of our quiet lane - flashing blue lights on the shiny red appliance which came up from Welshpool with sirens blaring.The good news is that the driver is OK, only a little shaken, and that he hadn't started loading straw from the barn - a potentially volatile situation. The adjacent barn was empty too - the cows and calves had been moved on at the end of last week. I guess it took the Fire Service about 20 minutes to arrive and while that's pretty good I guess there would be situations when that time span would seem like an eternity.
With the excitement over, mundane chores await us at home; Alan finishes hoeing chickweed from the asparagus bed and I prepare supper - salmon and new potatoes. With cauliflower and asparagus.
Swallows: Saturday 29th April - 10 days later than last year. I need to keep a note of that.