An early start ensures the roads are relatively traffic free, a blessing when you have a very nervous Welsh cob.
The scorching Mediterranean-style heat we’re all enjoying is a bit overbearing for riding in, so come 6am, I’m en route to my mother’s, where I keep some of the ponies.
The early summer months are truly wonderful. Fields bursting with new life, lambs sharing their first few breaths and joyous bounds next to curlew and lapwing chicks.
As the grass continues its upward stretch towards the ever warming light, the tips of hares’ ears can just be made out in the fields. The heady fragrance of May blossom still discernible in the early morning air. My ride one Sunday morning took me past some freshly mown meadows.
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, no vapour trails, just nature laid out before me in all its splendid glory. The sun was doing its job and drying out the grass. The smell, drifting on a warm, gentle breeze was nothing short of heavenly. Is there any other smell that comes close? A smell that can in an instant whisk you back to childhood, stirring up long since cherished memories.
Sitting on the old tractor with your dad, the sweet dust from the grass coating your skin, all hands on deck to get the first cut in, get the bales loaded onto the trailer. It’s a memory that all farm children can relate to, that unique connection with the land and nature.
One that nowadays is so sorely absent from many lives. I was brought back from my fond musings when a squirrel scampered along the wall top right next to us, sending Raf, my highly strung ride, shooting sideways.
We made it back to the stables as the first tractor, swiftly followed by a forager appeared on the scene. For both my sake and theirs it’s best to be off the roads when they start carting the grass.
This week has seen the staggered introduction of children back to school, a huge worry for many, a blessing for some. Talk of school is hurriedly pushed aside, a dismissive grunt coming from John-William as he stubbornly ignores the soon to be inevitable return. For now, his year group remains at home, a huge relief for him!
As the fields become a hive of activity with tractors, mowers and balers, his excitement becomes contagious. Despite enjoying many happy hours perched on the passenger seat of his dad’s tractor, he is desperate to prove his worth, be a real team player.
Thankfully, there is one job that he can safely do, a mundane, repetitive task that he loves. The bale wrapper. So hour upon hour he sits cross-legged in the old 1494 parked up in a corner of the yard whilst bales are loaded onto his wrapper.
A look of determined importance set into his features as he wraps away, delighted that finally, he is one of the lads!