Crofting Life


Things have been relatively quiet on the blogging front for me. I have been acutely aware of it. For the past year, I have built up a substantial number of posts currently filed under ‘drafts’. Getting them out of the starting blocks has been an issue, let alone getting them checked and over the last hurdle into the published section. Things would happen, but by the time I got a chance to write it, I seemed to get writers block. My brain just wanted the power button to go to sleep mode. One of these reasons, was for being so busy.

‘Busy?’ I have been asked that very question (but say it with your eyebrows slightly raised and a look of ‘aye right, you’re having a laugh’). And this is one sticky point (like chewing gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe, rather than a sticky toffee pudding sticky-but-oh-so-good type of sticky; just in case you got the wrong idea). I will not go into detail on the background but I concluded from the lady’s question and further (patronising) statement, that during the entire lockdown she has a) had no dependents and b) no requirement to work. I was about to turn up at her door the following day, hand over a 2 and 4 year old, the keys for a tractor which doesn’t like the cold (honestly, it’s a battery problem, not a tractor that wishes it was in Spain. Well, maybe it does after the cold spell we had back in January, I never asked it, but even if it did, it’s not going on any holiday!). Anyway, she could have my two Mini Crofters for a day (luxury really), the tractor which won’t always start, 13 cows to feed, oh, and why don’t I turn her water off so she has to sort that too and then ask her why she’s not done anything. I wouldn’t, may I clarify. But the thought did cross my mind. Instead, I just looked at her. It was a shell shocked type of response. I’m not really known for my witty comebacks, my responses are more like fine wine and need to sit in a dark space for a while before suddenly appearing. But it did highlight a serious flaw. There are people who have literally sat about and become completely disconnected from how lockdown has affected different people, different groups, differently. Now, I’m not about to stand on a preacher’s block and ask why some have just done nothing (or even why the lady thought that was everyone). I should clarify, sitting does not necessarily mean you have done nothing. Nor does it mean you are disconnected. Neither does the act of being busy mean you have accomplished things.

Did the lady receive no post or deliveries throughout lockdown? Did she never once need to access the NHS? Did she ever wonder why food shops were open and how they managed to have food to sell? From our level, even the Crofter has had to keep working throughout it. And that has been one of our major issues. His work is based in Norway, which as a country has been fairly strict with travel and quarantining. Two weeks of quarantine before going out to the rig would have made it 4 weeks away, 2 weeks home. So they upped the work time to cut back on the number of times he needed to quarantine. So, his away times were long, his home times brief.

Not only that, schools have been off, then on, then off again. The teachers have had to manage working through it. In the spell after Christmas, our oldest, being in nursery, had it five mornings a week on google classrooms. There was then another session with his key worker. I did not make every one (about the time the byre water froze and I was running kettles up and down was when I decided keeping animals alive was a higher priority than logging on). And that’s just it, keeping everything alive was pretty busy.

And so in answer to the lady who thought I should have ‘managed’ a lot more; well, why not come by for a cuppa? Don’t worry, I won’t abandon my children or force you to jump start the tractor. But just, if you have so much spare time, bring wellies, washing up gloves and wine, as I’ll take it you are happy to help (and I won’t preach; but I’m not bad at getting three points all starting with ‘W’!). And the benefit? Come walk in my shoes and you’ll gain the smell of fresh manure, probably get insomnia, and understand why I never wrote a trilogy in lockdown.

2 thoughts on “Busy”

  1. You don’t need to justify your life to anyone.Everyones lives are different. It sounds to me that you’ve been juggling one helluva lot of plates and have been doing a remarkable job. Ignore ill informed comments and pat yourself on the back that you’re still standing! 💕


  2. Busy! Yes I do know what you are talking about Beth, i remember all those jobs from when my Dad worked on the farm. He had me as his ‘go do this’, and ‘carry that’ youngster. We didn’t have any Mini Crofters to look after though!


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