Sigh of relief on Stott Hall Farm as all clear given to cows after TB testing - Jill Thorp column

Stott Hall Farm
Stott Hall Farm
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We are able to breathe a huge sigh of relief after our cows were given the all clear following their TB testing.

The vet returned along with the camera crew to check there were no reactors amongst our herd and thankfully there were none. That is us clear for another four years.

As the nights close in, we desperately try and cram as much in as the short days allow. Our winter months are often spent on the road, travelling from grazing site to grazing site, mile after mile of electric fencing to be erected.

It’s a laborious task but unfortunately one that must be done as not all of our away keep is fenced. Despite showing willing in the early days, John-William is somewhat more reluctant to disappear off for the day with his Dad, especially in inclement weather.

Most of his spare time is filled with ponies and after school clubs. Karate, art, gardening, summer Olympics and for one brief and slightly exasperating term, the ukelele have all been tried and tested.

Up until recently, we have made little time for swimming lessons, but when a place became available at a superb private pool we jumped at the chance. New trunks and goggles were purchased along with a swim cap and all his worries about water seemed to be a thing of the past as we arrived for his first lesson.

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Alas, the excitement soon ebbed away as despite having multiple floats attached to his robust body, my little guy swam like the Titanic. As his shiny new swim cap sunk beneath the warm water of the pool, a long arm, belonging to his instructor reached down and pulled him to the surface and quickly added several more buoyancy aids.

Amidst the coughs and splutters he expressed his immense shock at discovering the swimming pool didn’t have a bottom to it and for the rest of the lesson attached himself to the instructor. Thankfully he was not put off and has so far managed to avoid sinking to the depths.

Unfortunately sad news reached us last week when we learnt that a very dear friend had lost his battle with cancer. Both Paul and I were left heartbroken. He was a true gentleman andan absolute character whose humour and general enthusiasm for everything was infectious.

We first met him when we were on the look out for another dog. A mutual friend had pointed us in his direction and said “Amos will sort you out”. He wasn’t wrong, we came away from that first meeting not onlywith a world class dog, but with a wonderful friendship formed.

Many encounters followed over the years, always filled with laughter, such was his colourful nature. His funeral of course was very well attended, a testament to what a wonderful, generous gent he was. The Dales have lost a very special character, one that will be so very sorely missed.

I can only hope that his journey to the next life will be swift and he will soon be gathering that great flock in the sky.