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It’s called the pork pie chapel because of its rounded front. Really it’s Gomeral Methodist Church, and friends of ours got married there on Saturday. It’s a lovely place and it was a lovely wedding.

All the pews are the boxed kind, with little doors. As I was admiring them, before the service, the minister said: “Oh, but they’re not original.” Just as I was about to enquire who made such wonderful reproductions, the steward added: “They were put in in 1904.” Not that modern then.

The organ loft is still there, although the organ itself has been moved down onto ground level. See the balcony? Now that is still there, in its totally orginal state.

Lovely stone steps leading up there.

But due to the shrinking congregation it’s not used any more, and not cleaned, so is thick with dust and cobwebs.

They even stil do the same Cradle Roll as used to be up in the Sunday School I attended, 30 odd years ago.

The bridal party arrive, and chat to the minister. That’s m’husband in the blue shirt, who was also official photographer. We all trooped in and sang ‘Give me Joy in My Heart’ and later the Welsh hymn ‘Guide me, O though great Jehovah’. That’s the one where you get to sing ‘Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven, Feed me till I want no more’. I cannot put the magnificence of it into words, but it’s a great thing to sing.

Unfortunately I was somewhat hampered as I was wearing my contact lenses, which I haven’t worn for going on for a year, so my eyes were grumbling. Also I think my prescription has changed considerably since I bought them, so what with longsightedness kicking in plus watery eyes I struggled to read the words. I was okay with the tune, except it falls in an awkward register for me. For the first two verses I sang soprano, then tried my natural contralto for the third. This didn’t work however, so I warbled up and down and all over the scale.

Note to self, stick to soprano when it comes to the Bread of Heaven hymn.

Here’s m’husband again, directing the bride and groom into the most photogenic poses as they leave the chapel.

The bride chats to her family while I admire the back of her dress.

The bride tries to keep the best man calm. He was infinitely more nervous than the groom, and got worse as it came closer and closer to the time he would have to make his speech.

Photos over, everyone gathers on the road outside the chapel ready for the confetti. M’husband’s got them poised and you can just see him hurrying off in the opposite direction for his final shot.

One, two, three – go confetti!


My results section is through its second draft. I still need to give it a good workout to get it into halfway decent shape, but at least it’s now 30 pages long rather than five.

I had a cheery walk yesterday with third-and-final son, Sparky, Willis and my youngest brother’s Jack Russell terrier, Pippa. Pippa has the shortest legs I have ever seen on a dog. They’re so short – especially compared to the length of her body – that she can’t even sit down in a properly dog-like manner. So watching her trying to keep up with Sparky and Willis sprinting through the long grass was hilarious. She kept losing them, at which point she’d stop and jump high in the air until she spotted them, then race to that location… only to find they’d moved on already, at which point she did the high jump again. Consequently Pip got quite tired, so son and I gave her an occasional lift, which was very pleasant as she is a very cuddly dog. No, I didn’t have my camera. Is anyone surprised? I’ll take it next time.

Here are the rest of our haymaking pics, posted in tribute to my father’s several hours of labour on his own to get some hay off the top field. We got 211 bales from the hayfield in two hours. My dad working on his own got – wait for it – 17. But the grass was much thinner, plus the baler broke down and he spent quite a bit of time sorting that out. Here you go Dad. Always remember, the more the merrier.

Sparky has been brought up as a town dog, and she struggled with the idea of haymaking. She wandered around the field, had a few sniffs in the verges, but basically kept looking at me with a confused expression as if to say “why are we staying in one place?” I lifted her onto the bales for her portrait, and she looked positively traumatised.

And then there’s Walter, who is a country dog through and through, and had a whale of a time right up until third-and-final son got Willis out of m’sister’s car. Willis and Walter are sworn enemies, and eventually had to be unlatched from one another’s throats – by means I’d rather not go into in polite society – and were banished to 4WD and pickup, respectively.

Son-in-the-middle gets a tractor driving lesson from Grandad.

The hay in its over-winter stack. The one in the pink top is m’sister. I was just about to give her a hard time for not turning up until the last half hour, when she got in first and pointed out that she and her partner had done it all last year as I was unavailable. Sorry sis.

A hard but satisfying couple of hours work. Now it’s homeward bound.

Third-and-final son breaks up on Tuesday lunchtime. Firstborn and son-in-the-middle are already at home. I am despondent. No time on my own until September 8. And I still have the blasted RP to finish. I had a total and absolute brain freeze last week, until my youngest brother came round and got me moving. Then I taught all weekend, so the brakes went on again. Sh**, sh**, sh** and b***** it.

My language is getting worse and my patience ever shorter. It’s also my 20th wedding anniversary at the end of August and I want some congratulations around here. Presents would also be good. It’s been hard work at times and I want to feel the love. I’ve been trying to work out with m’husband how we can celebrate with immediate family (that’s 19 people without the two of his sisters who have run off to Antigua) and not spend a fortune. We are getting nowhere fast. I think I may consult m’mother for more bright ideas.

As I am in such a depressive, cranky state I went looking for a pic which would soften my heart, and here it is. My beautiful Waterside Duke, gleaming in the sunlight at the Great Yorkshire Show three (I think) years ago). He was placed sixth in a strong lineup, and I was very very proud of him.

I need to get the RP out of the way by the end of this month. I keep writing a couple of lines, then I get stuck. So I go and rummage around in the electronic databases (PSYCINFO, I love you) and find another paper to give me a little boost. This is despite having decided, three weeks ago, that I’d found all the research papers I could ever need because I was moving into duplication. In between writing and angst, I argue with my firstborn (16 years old, finished GCSEs, been hanging around the house doing sod all apart from minimal housework for the last six weeks) and make drinks for son-in-the-middle who has finished school a week early cos he had an operation on his toe this week.

I WANT IT FINISHED! I want to relax and do a bit of crochet, read, garden and walk the dog without feeling guilty. I want to go to the fruit farm to pick strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants before the season is over. I also want to stop eating so darned much, out of boredom and frustration.

Here’s a shot of Tinker, who likes to be busy. If she isn’t busy she eats everything, including tree bark, and is consequently a right little butterball.

Behind Tinker is Kizzy. They were in the trailer as m’sister and I were taking them to the vet for an ultrasound to see if they were in foal. Despite frolicking in the field with the stallion for a couple of weeks neither was in the family way. M’father has decided that in-hand covering is the way forward.

I spent three days last week at the Great Yorkshire Show, and I’m still knackered. I drove there every day, which  would be nothing to a regular commuter, but then I’m not used to commuting so next year I am thinking seriously about getting m’husband to tow the caravan up on the Monday evening so I can stay on site and have a little sleep after lunch every day. Age is obviously catching up with me.

The ground was pretty sodden before the show had even started:

But the judges and stewards were immaculately turned out, as always, they just added wellies to their outfits:

The main reason I go on the Tuesday is to watch the hunter classes, which are always good but this year the standard was incredibly high.

Plus there are always sheep, pigs and cattle to inspect. Cattle entries were definitely much lower than usual due to the bluetongue restrictions, but there were still some excellent specimens:

The weather was a bitch for taking photographs with my little camera. It seemed to be overcast, but after a couple of hours I realised I was screwing my eyes up all the time because the seemingly cloudy sky was so bright. Consequently my pictures are even more crappy than usual. M’husband came with me on Wednesday, bringing a slightly better camera and infinitely more technical expertise, so I’ll try and post some of his tomorrow.

It goes like this:

Richard (friend of parents) drives tractor and baler up and down the field, capturing the rows of loose hay and turning them into bales.

The baler is followed (at some distance, depending on how fast they’re working) by the other tractor and trailer team who pick up the bales I’ve tidied into piles.

Here they are, working hard. By this point I’ve been abandoned by third-and-final son, who has decided it will be easier to assist on the trailer.

Meanwhile, m’mother (and Fly the border collie) are raking bits of hay from round the edges and adding them to the rows, ready for Richard to bale. The lovely green bits are where m’father cleared the brambles and re-dug the ditches this winter – the grass didn’t get going in time to be cut this year.

After clearing the edges, m’mother moved into the middle of the field, along with son-in-the-middle. Although, as he is a total townboy, even more than his dad, I’m not sure how much work he actually did before sloping off to return with refreshments.

The forecast for the next four or five days is rain, rain, rain. So on Wednesday m’father cut his hay, Thursday he turned it and Friday evening we all turned out to get it baled and stacked.

I haven’t made hay for about the last 25 years, but it’s amazing how it all comes back to you once you set foot in the field.

We hitched a lift down the field on the trailer.

Son-in-the-middle gets the hang of jumping on a moving trailer.

Sparky with her ‘what are they doing to me now?’ expression.

The troops get their instructions.

Third-and-final son (and Walter) give me a hand stacking the bales ready for pickup.

Tough job this one.

And lift!

Tomorrow: rakes, tractors and more of the team.