Closing off 2017. By @ZSlatter
By Zoe Slatter
Closing off 2017.
So as Dappy once sang, No regrets, no regrets, I shall be leaving 2017, like Dappy (and perhaps unlike the break down of N-Dubz) with no regrets. I could watch a film, people watch and call I friend, but I don’t need any other excuse to spend hours on my phone. 2017 was a very exciting year, lots happened and for many reasons, I wanted to close it by thanking those people that I haven’t had much time to along the way.
I live on a farm. And for the last four to five years my input and appreciation of having any involvement to do with this has dwindled. As a result, I feel somewhat a country girl that has become ‘city-ize’. My dad even joked ‘do you know where you are?’, insinuating that I hadn’t been out on the farm properly in years as we stood in a field only 500m away from the house. In London people can turn sour, smelling of smoke, grumpy and practically growling if somebody nudges anyone’s shoulder when they walk past. So I knew I needed some kind of rehabilitation, a bit of fresh air and that sweet smell of cow shit to put my priorities back into perspective. The fast-paced city life makes peoples life priorities skew. I see people ranging with anger when somebody stops to take a picture in the street and messes up their line of path. I get it, it’s annoying, but honestly it’s not the end of the world, take a step to the right and walk on. People act like that person has literally stopped turned around and shat on their smart office shoes; and trust me, that would only happen in the country.
So this morning (Sunday 31st December 2017), I was up at the crack of dawn ready to jump on the ‘quaddy’ my dads fun abbreviation for the quad bike, ready to spend the morning helping my dad logging. This isn’t such a typically job on a farm, however this time of the year there isn’t as much to do proper job wise. Tups have already given the ewes the bonking, so their roaming freely pregnant in the field; other fields are too wet for crops and all that’s left is some clearing up, therefore some ‘odd jobbing’.
So this morning after many attempts I reversed the quad bike out the shed. It took many 3 point turns, reversing and laughing to do this, but I did manage to reverse the bike onto the trailer. This made me feel ashamed as I knew how to do very well four years ago. As the morning carried on dad drove the bike up to the field where old oak trees over 50 years old are one by one falling down. It’s quite a gloomy site to see, as each tree is slowly stretching towards the light so slowly you know their just going to snap.
There isn’t much to say in terms of the logging morning itself. The tree that fell was massive so Dad had the chainsaw and I tried to half the logs with an axe but in the end, I ran around picking up all the offcuts and putting them on the trailer ready to be picked up by the loader. The noise from the chainsaw and the practicalities of the job meant we didn’t speak that much, but when we did he taught me how to properly use the axe and gave a few remissions to when he was younger living on the farm. He told me that where we were stood use to be an orchard full of trees, and now it only had a few. He showed me tree’s that were planted in 1991 and told me stories of my brother acting like a sheepdog when he was younger. Doing this also sparked my creative side as I saved some unhalved logs and brought them back with me as I now have the idea to sand and vanish the wood ready to paint on. And as a tree is only 40p once sold it could make quite a good revenue, apart from the waiting time of course!
I never told him why I was doing this as I think he knows I want to spend more time on the farm but I just couldn’t because of the work I’ve had to do over the years. For many summers he has asked me to do tractor work for him which has never happened. So whether it’s just a couple of weekends in the summer corn carting, I want this to be a small but achievable resolution for the new year that I will do. This should be an example that ‘life getting in the way’ is no excuse for being unable to spend time with people that have given up a lot of their time for you.