A LITTLE earlier this year, while visiting Diamond at the farm, I noticed a pair of Canada Geese had taken up residence on the pond in Arctic’s field. This is the field next to Diamond’s paddock and so called because of the 16hh grey hunter who lives there. A gentle giant, Arctic co-exists happily with the sheep, the lambs, the ducks who swim on the pond and latterly, the geese.

I was a bit concerned a few weeks ago, however, to notice that there was just one goose, seemingly on his own. He seemed to be spending much of his time sitting on the grass in Diamond’s paddock and sometimes I would even catch him having a little snooze, with his head twisted round onto his back and tucked between his wings. I was worried that something might have happened to his partner, especially as these birds tend to mate for life and there had been a large fox sighted in the area.

Thankfully, it transpires that my fears were completely unfounded as Mrs Goose has once again reappeared, alongside her husband with five fluffy goslings in tow. I was watching them all feeding at teatime today; it was idyllic. The sun was shining, Lapwings circled overhead, Mrs Goose and the babies were pecking enthusiastically in the grass, whilst Dad looked on. The sheep were grazing, except for the one ewe that often follows me, just in case a carrot should fall from my pocket. Arctic was grazing too but unwittingly, as he munched the grass, he was moving closer and closer towards the family. Mum and babies were oblivious but Dad was keeping a close eye on the situation and suddenly, a line was crossed. With neck outstretched and wings spread out to their full width, he charged at poor Arctic who was, to all intents and purposes, just minding his own business.

A little taken aback, he trotted a short distance away before resuming eating again, but this time ensuring that he maintained a respectable, social distance from the geese, as required.

Thankfully, things do feel a little more relaxed at the farm with regards to the lockdown situation and I am pleased to say that vets are now able to carry out booster vaccinations and also routine dental work, both of which Diamond has managed to benefit from in recent weeks. Nonetheless, everyone is still being very sensible and very mindful of the circumstances.

I have also started to bring Diamond in from the field now and again, just to give her a break from the grass and also to provide us both with some much needed exercise. I couldn’t believe how shiny her coat was though, especially as she hadn’t been brushed for weeks and that all she has eaten since March is grass and a daily carrot. I can’t begin to describe how good it felt to be able to do just a few “normal” things though, such as grooming and walking her down the lane, and I didn’t realise just how much I had missed spending time with her in the stable. But hopefully, if things continue to move in the right direction, this will just be the beginning and life will soon start to improve for everyone.

We will, of course, be forever indebted to the NHS staff and all key workers who have worked so tirelessly throughout this challenging time and who still continue to do so. If nothing else, I am sure that the last few months has given us all time to think, to be grateful for what we have, and to never, ever take “normal” for granted again. Stay safe.