A couple who have become friends over the phone finally got to visit me with their teenage son. They were the first to admit they were total townies but were fascinated by my place. Townies they may be but the mother certainly knows how to bake. Bringing with her the most delicious fruit cake I've had in years and some great chocolate chip cookies.
As they arrived I was dragging one of the lambs down from the top corner of the top field. The poor little fellow had been struck by fly strike which is a disgusting and painful condition where maggots eat the animal alive. The treatment is to clip off the wool in the affected part and spray it, having cleansed and soothed the area.
After an initial cup of tea, the father held the lamb firmly while I attended to it. Meanwhile, the son was asking some basic questions about the other animals. For townies they did remarkably well. Having treated the poor creature we went back up the field to collect his mate and I put them firmly in the barn together to recuperate.
The weather has been changeable. At times it has been quite chilly and then the sun has been shining and it is warm. The grass is growing really well now and the sheep and goats don't seem to be making much impression on it. The geese are looking quite fat on all the goodness in the grass but still assure me they need extra food. The turkeys are equally quite funny. If I pull in down the track from the road in the car they can be seen running very inelegantly towards me in anticipation of food.
The little Jack Russell bitch that went to my friends within three hours of my getting her came back for a few days while her owner went away on business. She is a happy, loving little dog with an ardent desire to chase chickens. Then my wonderful godson and his fiance came to stay bringing with them my labrador whippet cross Tara that they have adopted. She was delighted to see me and is obviously deliriously happy with them.
At church on Sunday we sang a hymn that my godson composed a tune for and he played for us. The tune is called Grassington. After lunch they helped me with treating yet another fly struck lamb and then we loaded the five dogs in the car and went for a walk in Grass Woods which was a wonderland of an English summer day in an ancient broad-leafed woodland.
Next morning we took off on a tour to show my guests some of the dales. First we went to the church at Hubberholme where they are preparing for the flower festival. From there to Outershaw then over to Hawes, where we visited the cheese factory. Laden with our favourites and one or two other things I just couldn't live without, we drove to Ribblehead where the viaduct loomed dramatically out of the mist and the three peaks were looking shyly sombre. Chapel le Dale has always been one of my favourite dales, with its dramatic steep sides and majestic grandeur. We came back past Malham and then via Darnbrook and Arncliffe – a truly spectacular trip.
I was out and about the other morning and I received a call from the relative of a long-standing friend who passed away earlier in the year. I have grieved for him but he was in his eighties. I was rather surprised when I was told I had been left a bequest in his will. I had to sit down. It will help me quite a bit and I was so grateful.
Then I was sent a ticket to the flower festival at Hubberholme. I have received many gifts recently including a bottle of wine left in my postbox. Thank you!