It sounds so romantic doesn’t it and nestles in the bottom of our valley in front of the farm with a babbling brook running through it. As we walked down the other day 2 roe deer and their buck ran from the wood and stood in front of us, almost challenging us to continue into ‘their’ home. They eventually ran off leaping the 7′ wall out of the stream bed up onto the road with ease but stayed within earshot watching us as we did some metal detecting. We have found a ‘hoard’ of … spoons … a few forks and the odd knife or two! Every square yard has produced a spoon over the last few months. We have puzzled for hours as to the explanation and searched old archives and newspapers for evidence of boy scout camps or army cadet camps but to no avail. We even wondered if the local chapel had held an open air religious event – hugely popular in Victorian times around here attracting thousands of people, or had they scattered their spoons like ‘litter louts’ after the annual Whit Sunday swim in the old mill dam followed by jelly and ice cream? The answer is very practical however and we found out quite by chance during a conversation with the local butcher. ”No, he laughed, they had pigs in that field and used to feed them swill from the schools.”
No – it was not me – it was the first line of a book that a member of my audience was reading. I was playing for the patients in the Doctor’s surgery which I do regularly and looked up to find a whole row of old men having a fit of the giggles. I often get booked to sit and play the harp in the most unlikely places where there is stress or where people just need cheering up etc and I play and chat and play again. They came and showed me the detective novel and I read it out to the large room of people. Big grins all round! There were a number of very poorly babies and toddlers so I tried lullabies – no success so after a brief discussion with my audience we decided to put my bells on and try a different tactic. It worked! The little ones were dancing and apparently my new friends (who had given up trying to read) informed me that men tap their feet but women don’t … certainly in that Doctor’s surgery!
I stuck homemade eyes and a large conical nose onto my fluffy, sausage duster, stuck the whole lot onto a massive cushion and tied two smaller cushions on the sides. I then rigged it on top of the step ladders and stood it on the balcony overlooking the wood and paddock. Amplifier and microphone set to the weirdest echo settings and I started my Easter Egg hunt with a conversation between my 10 year old stepson and ‘The Simomurf Bird’. He respectfully answered all the Bird’s questions and promised he would find all her stolen eggs. I love treasure hunts and successfully dodged two rams and 20 hens to lay all the clues and hide the eggs. The weather here today was beautiful with not a drop of wind so I could balance the eggs in trees and on top of walls. The hens were completely confused with the pink and golden eggs and I resisted the temptation to hide them in the hen house. I placed an egg on the tractor seat – Stix, the cats, favourite sleeping place and he guarded it from a safe distance. One of the hens started laying eggs on this seat and I didn’t notice for a while because Stix was laying on top of them! I am playing the harp in the Doctor’s surgery again this week and I have two new pupils which is wonderful.