Spring has finally arrived. The driving rains have stopped and the sun has come out, so the grass is growing like billho and the cows are happily sunning themselves in lush pastures. No more over-nighting in the byres for them.
Spring cleaning down on the farm is going on apace. God bless the inventor of the pressure washer. In days gone by, stiff brooms and scrubbing brushes made a laborious and back-breaking job of it. Now, a powerful jet spray shifts the most stubborn of clarts very quickly. I am the junior member of the team and humbly follow behind with my brush and barrow, sweeping the old muck and straw into mounds, to be shovelled up and taken away to the midden.
We leave in our wake, gleaming byres and sheds, fresh and clean, ready for the cows to come into again in the winter. We are still at it. There are still more byres and the huge silage pit and yard to clean. Let us not count the hours - there are too many.
If only I could spring clean at home so easily. Just hose the walls and floors down and hey presto, it would be done. But that would mean no furniture, carpets or pictures on the walls. Mmm not an unattractive idea, especially as spring cleaning is not my favourite occupation ... perhaps a yurt or timber-framed hut might be the answer.
I wonder how we got into this business of decorating and furnishing our houses? I blame it all on the Kings and Knights of yore, building huge, draughty old stone castles. Then they had to put rugs on the floors and thick tapestries on the walls to keep the cold out. That's when the rot set in. They set a trend and now here we are, with wall-to-wall carpets and 'stuff', all to be cleaned and maintained.
Thinking about it a little more, when we were carefree hunter-gatherers, roaming the forests for our dinners - Mrs Ugg, bone- weary after a long day of 'gathering', probably sat down on a grassy knoll and defiantly declared, 'No, Mr Ugg, not another step will I go. I am staying put. I am having a stone-age holiday.' It was a short step from there to staying put permanently - cosy caves, paintings on the walls and skin rugs on the floor ... and so here I am, in my bricks and mortar, duster in hand...
The upside of all this is that I will probably be happy to return to the writing in another week or so, even if I am nearly crawling about, crablike, on all fours. My characters are impatiently running about in my head, waiting to get on with their lives. Patience children, I'll be with you again soon.