The Goldoni in mud. If you look carefully you can see a goat bemused by the lack of progress.

Sometimes I question whether I made the correct decision when we jumped ship; leaving the city and life as an NHS consultant for a life of self-sufficiency in the back of beyond. Today was one such day.

Over the last fortnight I have been troubled by a persistent and debilitating cold. I have coughed and spluttered through the days,  coughed through the night instead of sleeping,  and generally limped my way though the days while my muscles ached and my brain messed to mucus and dribbled out of everything orifice. I have spend a small fortune on placebos – any overpriced piece of confectionery which proposed to alleviate the symptoms of the common cold – and the entire world I inhabit smells of menthol and eucalyptus.

The problem of having a cold in this new life is that it is not conducive to ‘phoning in sick‘ and then taking a few duvet days. Unfortunately now the goats still need milking, the sheep still need fed and the poultry still need chased in and out, watered and fed.

We are also working against the clock in getting the barn ready for lambing in the spring. The barn has an old asbestos cement roof and it is scheduled to be removed next week. In advance of this I need to remove an old waterlogged wood pile, there is a ton of logs which has been under water for two years because of fully guttering.

Due to the mild winter we are having the ground is

The ‘helpers’ planning the next stage in the barn’s restoration

soft and difficult to cross with heavy loads.  The Goldoni two wheeled tractor has come into its own in this task and I doubt a quadbike would have managed the terrain any better (Though we still need one of these for the sheep). Although,  at times,  it was touch and go.

While I plodded through the day my gang of helpers tried to be of assistance. Though finding interesting sticks and attacking the wheels of the trailer was actually of limited help.

As I stood, up to my ankles in mud, covered in mud, coughing my lungs up, in sodden clothes, working against the failing light, I looked at my dogs and goats and thought “Did I make the right decision? Is this better than an afternoon in the clinic?”.  Then I remember what it was like working to little avail in a failing system and realise “Yes. I made the right decision”

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