Counting down the days until school is out and there is a new addition to the pen of pet lambs at the farm on the M62

As the month of May draws to a close, the last few days are diligently crossed off the calendar.

John William is counting down the days to the school holidays

Days, hours and even seconds are counted. How many seconds in a day he asks, in a week, just the ones where I’m at school, don’t count the seconds when I’m at home.

Just school ones. “Do you know what school stands for mummy? Six cruel hours of our lives,” he shouts.

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This mantra is repeated, over and over. It’s usually voiced with huge exaggeration and a dramatic facial expression as I drop him off at school every morning and repeated as he slams the classroom door shut behind him at the end of the day.

It saddens me that he struggles so much with school and finds the very prospect of going unpleasant.

The work is easy for him, no problems there, but the four walls, the routine and lack of outdoor time leaves him sullen, frustrated and often tearful. He emerged from his classroom one afternoon clutching an envelope.

All the other kids were eagerly waving the same white envelope as they rushed towards their waiting parents. He turned the envelope to show me a photo of his face, captured on a jaunty angle.

I tilted my head to look at the proof shot of him, his ever-present mischievous smile beaming back at me. His hair sprung up and out at every conceivable angle. He looked like he’d had his fingers stuck in a plug socket, the result of going to bed with slightly damp hair.

Several squiggles of felt tip pen marked his cheek and the remains of his chocolate pancake breakfast were smeared in the corner of his mouth.

School photograph day, great, another thing I’d managed to forget. We trudged back to the car laughing about his mug shot. “Guess you won’t be buying this year’s mum”?

The remaining ewes left to lamb have decided to go on strike. No fresh faces have appeared, dragging out our lambing period and keeping us anchored to the farm. Mother Nature is doing her worst, with unseasonably low temperatures and driving wind and rain making this a record May.

Unfortunately, this month is not breaking the heat record, quite the opposite. Walls, heather and molinia tussocks and ring feeders provide a degree of shelter for the lambs, but it’s only the very strongest that can tough it out.

A recent phone call alerted us to a new-born lamb that appeared to have been abandoned. Friends of ours who live near where our Herdwicks graze had found the lamb and kept on eye on it hoping the mother would return. Eventually, with no mother in sight, they’d taken it inside.

John-William and I collected the lamb who despite being very hungry was happily warming himself by their fire. Wrapped in a large fluffy towel, he was less than impressed at being whisked out into the cold night. He has joined the other pet lambs and as expected has John-William’s red mark on his side!