In May I had been to collect James, Nigel's father, from hospital, and on my arrival he had been in the middle of having lunch. Sit down, he'd said....
Can you keep a secret?....... Yes I replied........ Ah... Well, I've bought you a present he said....and he meant, me not Nigel. ..... 6 Poll Dorsets from the man in the next bed!!!..
Only James could be ill in hospital, and still be wheeling and dealing sheep from his hospital bed!!....... You like them don't you? he asked....... Poll Dorset sheep are a very large, and old English hornless breed, they are woolly like our Ryelands, have rather pink/beige faces, and are incredibly docile......... and I really like them!
They also have another somewhat curious capability, in that they can have 3 sets of lambs in 2 years.... and these 6 would be pedigree and already be in lamb.
He gave me a card with a name and telephone number and told me to give them a call very soon.... which I did the following day, reporting back that we would be able to collect them at the end of July.
After moving James and Joan into Sycamore Hall at the beginning of July, we were really excited about collecting the new girls, and arranged to visit with a trailer on the last Sunday of the month. They had hundreds, and had collected about 60 in a pen so that we could choose my new flock... we chose 6 who are 2 or 3 sheers...... half are expecting lambs on 27th November and the others two weeks later.
We had hoped that James would be able to come with us to choose them, but unfortunately he had been taken back into hospital a week before. Nigel visited him that evening, and he was so pleased that we had collected them and that we had them happily grazing with the others in Home field.
I am so upset to report that James never saw my new sheep,..... he sadly passed away last Saturday. But has left me with the most fantastic legacy, which I will treasure....... and I will report on my early lambing before Christmas instead of the usual New Year... I'm I cannot thank James enough...... What an incredible last gift.