Last year, my son Tom and Team London came to Yorkshire to enjoy Easter In The Country. They saw lambs and ducklings and chickens and rabbits – all the kinds of creatures that the average London park is a little short of.
This year, they asked for more of the same. Easter was early, so we knew that the ducklings probably wouldn’t appear. We weren’t to know though that this year Easter would be very cold and extremely wet with hail slashing our cheeks, then sleet.
Tom and I did manage a walk up the lane to let William see the lambs. That was when we got caught in a vicious hail storm.
As last year though, it was our friends Gill and Dave and their family who saved the season. William stroked their dogs and cuddled their cat Marmite (who used to be ours, before we went to France). Grandson Jack came round, and the two little boys bonded immediately, hunting for the eggs and chocolate treats the Easter Bunny had left (inside: no self-respecting Easter Bunny wants to get chilled to the bone hiding eggs in the garden).
Then it was time to visit Reggie the Shetland pony and his new friend Maple. They were saddled up, the boys were equipped with riding helmets, and off they went for a ride. Well, Jack did. He had first mounted a horse when he was six weeks old so now he’s a pro, trotting and everything. William lasted about two minutes. Sitting on Maple’s back was one thing: wobbling about when she moved off quite another. William preferred walking alongside.
Then it was pay-back time. William was put to work barrowing horse manure from stable to manure heap. There were eggs to be collected – he only smashed one. Finally, he had to feed the hens. And he got to keep the eggs he’d found – scrambled eggs for tea!
Memorable moments for a city child. Thank you Gill, Dave, Becky, Andrew and Carly … and of course Jack … for a very special morning.
William’s a London child. His commute to nursery passes railway tracks and city streets, as well as a walk through a rather nice park. The animals my grandson sees on his daily round are dogs-on-leads, cats and urban foxes.
We wanted Yorkshire to offer him something different. On his very first afternoon, we visited two-day-old lambs in the field at the end of the road, wobbly on their legs and clinging to their mothers. Later we’d visit older lambs, confidently running and jumping across a public footpath as William wandered among them.
Then it was off to the duck pond. Two Mrs. Moorhens had a chick each, so light that even pond weed could bear their weight: were they walking on water? Mrs. Mallard had eight balls of fluff scuttling from land to pond to rushes – constantly on the move.
The next morning, good friends Gill and David invited us over. There were puppies to pet, dogs and a cat to stroke. And then there was Reggie, their grandson’s very own Thelwell pony. Reggie turned out to be far too scary to ride, but perfectly good to take for a walk.
Then William was put to work, collecting eggs. He didn’t break very many as he dropped them none too gently into his collecting basket. Afterwards he fed the hens. And we went home for scrambled eggs on toast. Thank you William. Thank you Gill, David and the hens.
William’s collecting eggs….
…. and feeding the hens.
Late one afternoon, William and I went for a walk in the woods and saw rabbits, a dozen or more, grazing the grass on the other side of the fence.
I wonder if it was one of them who left the chocolate eggs that William found in the garden when he went hunting for them on Easter Sunday?