St Abb's National Reserve

St Abb's National Reserve
View from my office

Friday, 4 January 2008

New Year

Happy New Year! One and all (or, more likely, one and another one.)
'It's all over bar the shouting.' My old dad used to say. Not exclusively about the christmas period, you understand- about lots of different, mostly farm-related stuff. The harvest, for instance, or the sheep dipping rituals.
The saying puzzled me briefly, at each count, for with my dad's particular method of farming, shouting seeming de rigeur at all points before and during whichever task dad had employed himself to complete...
Not strictly true, actually. The shouting usually depended on the attendance, or, indeed, non-attendance of one, or even both (God help us) of my elder brothers.
Such contrasts were not unknown to me, as witnessing my pa, (always a weathered shade of pink, at the best of times), his paternal eye on some grazing stock, enjoying the serenity of the moment, then, in a flash, his head to appear is if to boil from within, the puce of blind rage, fists curled to white-knuckled tension, at, perchance, the sight of a combine harvester dancing across the top of some hedge, issuing it's precious gleening of wheat, alongside the straw; A heedless son attendant to the rhythms of a (New-Fangled) radio. Or sometimes it would take only words; the mere issue of some telephone message; (In the days before mobile phones a farmers wife may have trekked miles to deliver words of wisdom from a vet, or sought out a signature, orworse, a cheque...)
yes, farming out in the open air, the green grass, the blue sky, the blue language...fond memories- dad's little sayings- 'Oi, Buggalugs,' His term of endearment for any family member within earshot (Oh, how my mother suffered.) 'For the want of a nail...' from, of course the famous poem- and Dad's reasoning for keeping every mortal key, nail, screw and old fuse that he ever came across- pick a scrap, go on, any scrap. dad was an expert, a specialist in his firld (and it had to be a big field, because there was alot of scrap- the family, in ill-humoured moments were apt to drop the 's'- possibly in the spirit of throwing away something that was no longer needed.)
...Yes pointto something, anything, (oh, well, maybe not that- the collie killed that, this morning. Dad would proclaim 'That, now that is the longward up-adjuster for a 1936 Massey-Fergusson threshing machine...'
Fabulous, Pa, I bet the rest of it is around here, somewhere.
'And this is the rankle forstwinder for a German FirstWorld War Helmet-Shuffler.'
Somewhere in time and space, some technology would have an application for the kind of brain my Pa enjoyed. Somewhere that didn't really mind where things got put, but, had a need for the identification of randomly placed, unrelated articles. Nevermind Dad.
He landed 'farmer' instead, and a modern farming operation requires more, an eye on modern farming methods, business acumen and a nose for trends...
Oh, you know what? my youngest has turned the telly on, and Simpsons have successfully switched off my mind.
perhaps it's just as well.
I had set out to talk about being ill at christmas, and kids throwing up before opening their stockings, but, maybe there are a million other blogs recounting the same...
Ta, Dad.


occasional northerner said...

Happy New Year. We had a happy Belford one with pipes, fireworks and friends.

Jeffa said...

Happy new year from OZ.
Just read this and wanted to say, that is pretty much exactly how I remember your Dad especially the "buggalugs" bit.
All the best