BEING a very lazy and comfort-seeking person, the thought that I had to get out of old comfy, slop around the house pyjamas to help move the sheep, was anathema.

After days of cooking and running around after family, a day doing very little was very welcome. But then the siren call. Persuasive, charming, enticing. If you help me move the sheep I’ll give you a hand taking the tree down.

Luckily the lane through our hamlet rarely boasts any early morning traffic. In fact, when we milked it was the route back from the fields into the yard and milking parlour and the cows virtually walked themselves home with only the sheepdog in charge.

By putting an old Barbour jacket over my jim-jams, though, no one, if there were anyone that is, would be any the wiser that my outfit was more suited to lazing around the house than directing sheep and obeying the unspoken instructions of our sheepdog Fizz.

Several of our ewes are in lamb. Since selling the main flock, and really keeping just a hobby set of sheep to keep the grass down in the village fields and paddocks, we have tended to buy older ewes in lamb, then rear their offspring either for ourself or the market, letting the ewes go separately to buyers looking for cull stock. But not this year.

We kept back several of last year’s lambs and took them to enjoy the company of a neighbours virile tup, then brought them home once John was sure that there was a good chance they had been covered. Of course rules and traceability being necessary these days even if only a few sheep are involved, this romantic holiday has been officially recorded. No unofficial flings allowed, even for sheep.

How duplicitous is my husband, though. No sooner had I walked back into the house ready to set to stripping off the tree, than the phone rang. An emergency request. A gun short on a friend’s shoot. Could John get himself there in half an hour? Did I fancy helping out picking up.

Well I declined on the grounds that I need to make sure the sheep are settled, walk the dogs, and most importantly get that tree out of the house. After leaving a last defiant trail of shed needles through the house, it is now sitting on top of a pile of wrapping paper and straw from when I mucked out the hen hut. Once the wind has dropped I shall be there with matches ready for a festive immolation. I can’t wait.