Jo Foster’s hopes spring eternal despite the downpours

The Yorkshire Post's Country Week columnist Jo Foster. Picture by Tony Johnson.
The Yorkshire Post's Country Week columnist Jo Foster. Picture by Tony Johnson.
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I am sat on my doorstep just under cover from the rain, watching it pound down in torrential waves. The force and energy it holds is electrifying.

If I wasn’t involved in farming with hungry livestock to feed and racehorses to keep fit it would almost be exhilarating, instead it just signifies abandoned race meetings, flooded fields, no turnout for stock and straw prices going through the roof. At a time of year when we are traditionally considering leaving tired winter thermals in the drawer for the first time in months it is a disheartening view.

However, despite all the disappointments of late I have a real sense hope is in the air. The birds are babbling away noisier than ever, making concerted efforts to be heard over the incessant beat of the rain. They fight on to survive regardless of what nature throws at them, as must we who live off the land alongside them.

During the Easter holidays my two young nephews, aged three and five, came to stay. They live in London but my brother has converted the barn on the farm which the family use in the holidays. On Easter Saturday I treated them both to an Easter egg hunt on horseback held at Kilnsey Trekking Centre, organised every year by proprietor Jane Pighills, one of our hunt masters. Nestled deep within the Yorkshire Dales the centre is overshadowed by Kilnsey Crag, set in one of the most picturesque valleys in the country.

The view meant more to the parents than it did to the children whose eyes were agog in the search for goodies Jane and her team had hidden around the fields. They may have only sat on a pony once before but it didn’t matter, they loved every minute.

The girls leading them were friendly and helpful, and the ageing ponies angelic. In fact, it proved such a popular and inexpensive activity the boys are returning again for a pony trek along the River Wharfe, with their four city dwelling cousins, this week.

In an effort to keep my own eleven-year-old son entertained during the school holidays I am taking him to stay at Jack Berry House in Malton with me this week.

He has heard so much about the rehabilitation centre his mother has virtually lived at during the last three months I asked if he might be allowed to join me this time as I was struggling for a babysitter.

As a one off they agreed, so he has packed his gym kit, running gear and a set of smart clothes (he thinks I go out every night when I am there).

Little does he realise I collapse in a heap and am usually fast asleep well before nine after such hard daily sessions.