A Pastoral Life

Hi, Degs again.

Just found a few minutes to share some thoughts.

I am sitting in the kitchen of our tied house that we have occupied for the last seventeen years looking out at the tree dotted ancient parkland of Baggrave Hall Estate where I work. Today is a good day, the sun is shining on the autumn leaves that are being tossed around in a stiff breeze, two buzzards wheel above in a clear blue sky calling to one another.  My day’s work was to fell and clear two ancient chestnut trees that had finally succumbed  to disease.  I started the chainsaw first thing this morning and a deer broke cover and bounded over a fence into a wood.  Later on in the day I was entertained by a stoat as I sat quietly on one of the two now horizontal chestnuts.  He appeared from a grass verge carrying a dead pheasant poult twice his size and weight and proceeded to drag his prize, with much effort, across the road and into the undergrowth opposite.

I often work alone and in remote parts of the estate, but today I was working by the single track road that bissects the estate.  This resulted in frequent stoppages as friends and acquaintances pulled up for a bit of a chat.  We know and are known by most people in the area.  Our family motto has always been “you only get out as much as you put in” and we have been fortunate in as much as where ever we have lived from Scotland to England, Wales and Portugal we have always become accepted and involved with the communities.

Our family unit is a tight one and on the whole contentment reigns.  I find this remarkable due to the stressful nature of most of the family’s employment, three out of the five of us are involved in social work at the sharp end of things.  I have been involved in agriculture as a shepherd over the last 30yrs or so.  It is ironic that I left one pastoral vocation for another so to speak.  However when I return from the old boys reunions it is amazing just how many of us went on into some type of vocational careers:  social work, nursing, teaching, counseling, paramedics; so perhaps the recruitment did in fact manage to gather together a group of unique characters of good morals who cared.  To this day I cannot quite put my finger on why there is still a gel that holds us together.

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