Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Hoarding . . .

. . . or it will come in useful one day.

I would be the first to admit that I’m a hoarder. I’m not sure if it’s inherited and I come from a long line of hoarders, or it’s something that’s crept up on me. The fact that I still have toys and books (a lot of books) from my childhood indicates I started hoarding at an early age. There have been times in my life when I momentarily slipped off the true path of hoarding. If I had kept my battered and moth eaten teddy bear, instead of throwing away when he fell apart – what would it be worth now? Probably not a lot as I don’t think it was destined to be a classic. But what about the orange Whitefriars vase we got as a Wedding present? Why did that go to a car boot sales in the ‘80s? But I’ve not kept things because they were (or may be) valuable. I’ve kept them because I like them and couldn’t face giving them away (or selling them). Even when some things are obviously past their best and maybe even beyond recovery it’s hard to part with them. Having had four grandsons I looked forward to buying some girlie toys for Izzy. After a bit of a struggle I reconciled myself to parting with twin dolls I’ve had since I was about five, reasoning that they wouldn’t be thrown out, just stored somewhere else. (If I’m keeping something, I keep it close by). But when we got them down from the loft nostalgia seemed to have played tricks with me. They were loose limbed and in need of a lot of TLC. Definitely not fit for a 21st Century Girl. Perhaps I should have got rid of them then, but I did the decent thing and packed them up very carefully and put them back in the loft – and bought a brand new doll for Izzy. (Will that still be around in 50 years time?)

What brought these thoughts to the Blog? We’ve been watching the television series “Victorian Farm” (don’t miss it – Thursdays BBC2), and have been struck by how much stuff in general use in 1880, is still in evidence at Strickley. We may not use the old implements now, but if we had to, could lay our hands on them. And in the house, I may have electrical help with the washing, but I still have the wooden Dolly and flat iron. I may have a mixer and food processor, but I still have earthenware bowls (the largest used in December to mix the Christmas cake by hand). I may buy butter at the supermarket, but tucked away in a corner in the pantry is a full size butter churn. We may not keep and kill pigs, but the tools for hanging and scraping are hanging up in the kitchen. And of course there’s the Aga. But that’s not hoarding – it’s just been there for over 50 years.

What do I hoard?
Food – freezers (now only 2) full of food – “just in case”.
Crockery and glasses etc – from basic everyday stuff (handy to have 5000 plates if you have to feed the 5000), to my great great grandmother’s china breakfast set. From Ikea tumblers to old delicately etched wineglasses.
Soap – I’m a sucker for good soap, and I’m easily tempted by interesting packaging.
Candles – you never know when the lights will go out
Books – I have most of my childhood books and have very rarely thrown anything out since then. The trend has moved from hardbacks to paperbacks (and back again when I can’t wait for the paperback to be published). I’m almost a Completist with some authors (but only to the extent of one copy of each book, not in every format).
Records (78’s, 45’s, EP’s and LP’s), Tapes and CD’s – from Singles from the Sixties to newly released CD’s. Definitely a Completist with some artists.
Maps – despite Sat Nav I like to be able to put my finger on the map and say “that’s where I am”. So we’ve OS maps for everywhere we’ve ever been.

When does hoarding become collecting?

Not hoarded but collected –
Anything Shorthorn related (old paintings, etchings, photographs, books, Coates Herdbooks, Beswick animals etc)
Blue Glass
Various old kitchen utensils (overlaps with hoarding)

This has turned into a bit of a ramble, and I apologise. I’ve been hoarding all these words for the past week when I haven’t been Blogging.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Back to Reality

Time has slipped quietly by and I'm back at work. It's as if I've never been away. No magic fairy has been in and done any of my work. Does this mean I wouldn't be missed if I was not here at all? Or have I got my routines so streamlined that they run effortlessly on their own? I like to think the answers are No and Yes. There's always something new waiting for me to plunge into, while the daily background jobs (usually) work with minimal intervention.

The real work of course is done at Strickley - and no farm activities run on their own. Over Christmas Henry and James did have a couple of days when they just did the bare necessities (only 5 - 6 hours work), but whatever the season stock needs feeding and mucking out, cows need milking. Cows are served, calves are born. And in between it all there's muck to spread and while we have such "good" weather, hedges to lay.

The number of stock is more or less the same all year, but it's balanced out by pluses and minuses - calves are born, bull calves are sold, some older cows leave on their last journey (Strickley beef in a butchers somewhere next week).

Monday, 5 January 2009

Fling it here, fling it there . . .

Another fine sunny day at Strickley, with green grass, blue sky and now a definite agricultural whiff in the air. We've been steadily taking out loads of slurry with our tanker, but to get onto the steeper bankings we use a contractor who pumps the muck from the pit through an umbilical cord to the spreader on the back of the tanker.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Fifty years old and still going strong ...

. . . or things are never as big as you remembered.

Yesterday it was time to ignore all the new toys and get the promised treat out of the cupboard - "Granddad's train set". All it took was a drop of oil and a bit of sandpaper on the connections and the Princess Locomotive was whizzing round the track. We're not sure how old it is (1950's) or when it was last used (20 - 30 years ago), but the four boys enjoyed it (Henry, James, Robert and Chris) and I think I can see ideas for Birthday presents in various minds!

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Since (our) records began . .

Up until last night the coldest day in 2008 was way back in February when it got down to -6.6. But that record was broken yesterday when the freezing fog kept an icy grip all day, and by midnight it was down to -8.5.
The New Year has opened with an all time low of -9.7; colder than the previous record holder in March 2006. The sun is about to creep over the horizon - so who knows what dizzy heights we can expect today - maybe even zero.
Keep an eye on our weather page!