Jill Thorpe: Farm life between the lanes on the M62

Yorkshire Post columnist and M62 farmer Jill Thorp
Yorkshire Post columnist and M62 farmer Jill Thorp

A full week of school has passed without too much fuss, although mid-week he did throw his arms theatrically in the air and say, “Crikey, I’ve done three days, how many more do I have to do!” I avoided answering his question about how old he would be before he could leave.

The motorway ground to a halt, late morning last week and stayed that way for the rest of the day. Silence washed over us, blissful silence.

We could hear water trickling into the well, birdsong and the occasional bleat from a lamb. It’s almost like time stands still, the old house sighs and everything slows down and relaxes.

No more tensing against the noise, straining to hear, desperately trying to block out the din. But for those precious moments, sometimes hours, if we’re lucky enough, somebody else’s world comes crashing down.

Our joy at the blessed, albeit brief cessation of the interminable din comes at great cost to someone else. Sadly on this occasion, despite the hugely heroic efforts of many, a lady lost her life. It took us hours to get home that evening. Despite the inconvenience and frustration, however, we made it.

Yet again the anger and insults hurled due to a missed meeting or being late to the pub that night were sickening to read. Somebody lost their life, just round the corner from our house and it always leaves me devastated. Never is the old saying, better late than never, more apt.

A few days later, the motorway was again at a standstill. This time, however, it was due to us or at least our sheep and the poorly maintained highway fence.

Both carriageways were halted whilst Paul and Sweep caught the escapees and for the hundredth time he pointed out the dire state of the fence. Several sections of the fence have been replaced but unfortunately have been fixed slightly too high, leaving gaps underneath for the crafty rooters to squeeze under.

John-William was bitterly disappointed that he missed out on helping his dad and blamed school for yet again scuppering his chance at being useful.

A close friend and I visited a garden recently, something we do quite often being keen gardeners. It took my breath away instantly, from the minute I walked through the beautiful stone archway. An elegant house stood looking over a perfectly manicured lawn and huge, towering specimen trees bordered the property.

Much to my delight there were plants I’d never seen before and many that neither of us could identify. The centrepiece was a pond, with an island in the middle, accessed by an ornate arched bridge with creepers trailing into the water beneath.

I sighed as I walked around. “Some people are so lucky,” I exclaimed. “Imagine living here and looking out onto this garden every morning”.

My friend turned to me and laughed.

“But you live on your own private island, not many can lay claim to that!”