30 weeks to go…

by Max Akroyd

Sorry I’m late. 

Monday evening usually finds me perched over my computer, completing the main blog post of the week. But this Monday, it being the end of half term, I was sitting in Waterloo station next to a couple of giant (we’re talking six foot high here) cuddly toys. The fact that they were in the charge of two well-heeled looking Chinese gentlemen only added to the oddness of the scene. If you ever find yourself in London wearing old work shoes with mis-matching laces, a hand-me down shirt and other slightly fraying items of clothing I strongly recommend sitting next to a leopard and a zebra. No one notices you.

Our house was almost as busy as the concourse of a London station last week. My brother – the Great Provider of said shirts – and his family came to stay. No one told the cousins about the lifestyle disparities of a futures trader and a peasant farmer – they were too busy having fun anyway. Instantly thick as thieves, despite only meeting once in the last seven years.

The same glorious rule of family affinity creaked more slowly, mechanically into life with the wise grown-ups. I’d decided the best way to celebrate this rare gathering was to kill a pig. Made perfect sense to me. Even the butcher described her as the perfect pig. Strangely Big Pig’s demise didn’t strike everyone else present as a fitting culmination, a generous tribute and all the other nonsense my head is full of. Instead, she struck a chord about the difference of perceptions between us and that sound was flat as ‘owt. Oh well, at least we could all agree she tasted good.

When the end of preparations of one meal only signal the start of the next one, it’s tempting to look forward to the post-holiday calm. Now it’s here, I’m less convinced that easier is better, or even more productive. Seven kids around the place was great. School starts today and it’ll just be me, Emma and the baby again. Without big pig in it, the farm feels reduced too. She was visible and audible from most points of the land and that land is also rapidly shrinking back to its winter core. 

These autumn colours are all very well, but long live spring – I’m off to sow some peas.