Sarah Todd: High time for haytime as school’s out for the summer

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HAYMAKING has had us preoccupied with the weather this week.

The Husband has a fancy phone that he can get weather forecasts on and it’s been interesting to watch his confidence in them diminish as the week has gone on.

The television weatherman was my point of reference and, to be honest, it was hard to tell what on earth he was talking about. Their forecasts seem so much more complicated than when they used to either stick a sun or a raincloud symbol onto the map.

I can remember my granddad tapping “the glass” (barometer) to see what the weather was going to be like during harvest time.

It has been a job to find somebody to bale the hay. We were after small bales, the old-fashioned variety, but the number of people who still run these old balers is getting increasingly thin on the ground.

Everybody has an opinion on the art of haymaking. From how it’s rowed up to when to actually bale.

“It’s not rain that makes mouldy hay,” advised my father. “It’s being too quick on it. Good hay needs time…”

As this is being penned, the children are still running around in their pyjamas.

Their father looks a bit disapproving about this, but in my mind it’s grand for them not to have to get their school uniforms on and be ferried off to the classroom.

There was a bit of a panic earlier in the week when it became clear we had absolutely nothing organised. But it’s amazing how the days are managing to fill themselves. We try really hard not to meet up with any school friends as it’s good to have a complete break.

Our little lad sits on a pony like he’s been here before – picture an old-fashioned hunting print.

But he’s never been really all that bothered. He’s been to Pony Club camp and riding lessons, but he hasn’t ever nagged (forgive the pun) to get aboard a four-legged friend like his sister.

It did tickle us that he spent five minutes watching some ancient Roman soldiers re-enactors bombing around on horses, battling with each other and chopping the top off a cabbage on a pole with their swords, and he’s suddenly become as keen as mustard.

The next day he’d set up a Roman riding assault course all of his own with a jump – he has refused to go over any poles for about a year – and a tortoise on a stick for jousting practice.

Calm down, it’s not a real tortoise. He won first prize for it though, in the “animal made out of a vegetable” at a recent show.

“Just think what we could set up in the hayfield,” he declared. We’ll have to get the bales first…