Sarah Todd: Darling buds are shaken as wind of change blows through the household

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MANY readers will be familiar with the work of the late farmer-turned-cartoonist Henry Brewis.

His speciality was agriculture and, in particular, the clart-covered life of Sep and his sheep which had one ambition – to die.

He sprang to mind when I was drinking a cup of tea from a mug decorated with a bedroom scene…

Now hang on a minute. There’s nothing racy in our kitchen cupboards. This is the bedroom of Sep’s son.

The flat-capped farmer is stood over the sleeping lad and about to fire off a bird-scarer, while telling a worried-looking mother: “When I was his age I’d done a day’s work by now.”

It seems particularly poignant as, the other day, our son (he’s only seven) had the misfortune of being stretched out on the sofa with his legs casually crossed and his arms behind his head, watching some rubbish or other on the television.

It was gloriously sunny outside and his mother – much like Sep – saw red. He nearly jumped through the roof, certainly off the sofa, when he was told in no uncertain terms to stop being idle and get outside.

But back to Sep. Brewis wrote about him: “Anyone who has survived a lambing, pleaded with the bank manager, nearly murdered a persistent worm-drench rep, been kicked in the Y-fronts by a suckler calf, watched the heavens open onto a field of hay ready to bale, viewed the hunt gallop over his winter wheat, and choked on a tax demand will recognise Sep.”

Our young feller, after his roosting, went outside and started furiously bagging up horsemuck for his little enterprise selling it “well rotted” to gardeners.

Previously, his daft mother has done this job. His job has been to simply hold the bags open, the presumption being he wouldn’t be strong enough to dig the black gold out of the muck heap by himself.

Just shows what a telling-off can achieve. His sister, hearing the commotion, started frantically cleaning out the hens. Another job that their misguided mother often does.

The girl’s instinctively a real worker, it’s me who doesn’t have the patience to see her faffing around trying to open up the coop, and I end up taking over.

Time to try and take more of a back seat. Or rather a comfy one. A quick flick through the television guide reveals re-runs of The Darling Buds of May.

That’s a huge dilemma as they’re being shown at 3pm in the afternoon. This is someone who (apart from once a year for the Grand National) never watches television in the afternoon.

But there they all are. Pop, Ma, Mariette – all calling me to curl up and share their apple-blossomed world.

Idle? No, perfick.

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