Today was the day that my three weeks of annual leave came to a resounding halt.
I have been up every morning before 6am over the past three weeks so that I could let the mad labs out and check on the alpacas. Our first two births this summer were at 6 and 6.30am, they're not catching me out again. This morning I was again up before 6 but this time there were other things to do. Of course the first thing I did was the same, let woolly woofs out, check alpacas and release the chickens.
However, instead of putting the kettle on and taking a cuppa up to the lovely Mrs S I had other jobs to do. Polish my boots, make my lunch, mix up a flask of coffee, shower, shave and select crisply ironed shirt and immaculately creased trousers from my dressing room (the wardrobe) and make myself some breakfast.
Then at 6.40am I was out of the door and on my way to the great metropolis for a day dealing with criminals. At this point folks lets just weigh that up; criminals v alpacas, mmmm ................................ let me think, that's a toughie.
Anyway for the next 5 years it is a necessity and that's that so I will be quiet now.
When I got to work I was greeted throughout the day by good people asking me how my holiday was (fantastic), saying how nicely tanned I looked (cross between Greek God and Buddah) and where had I gone.
That was the one that stumped most of them. Home? What, you spent three weeks holiday at home?
The thing is most of them live in the city or in towns or on housing estates. They are pretty much mostly what I call 'townies'. Most of the population are and there's nothing wrong with that if you are happy. I have always lived in the countryside, always. I love it out here.
It was when I was travelling home this evening that I realised once again just how lucky I am. How lucky Sue and Angus are. How lucky we are as a family to live where we do and to have the 'second job' that we have. We love it, just love it.
I spent most of the last three weeks at home playing with Angus, teaching him things, basically having a great time together, father and son strengthening the bond that we have. When Sue wasn't working we enjoyed things as a family. Mostly Sue splitting up her boys, 'He started it' being a well used phrase by both of us. Well he did! Mostly.
There was also a lot of time spent with the alpacas, sorry, with the mighty Patou herd. We did all the things we were supposed to do and sheared all but the heavily pregnant girls and walked amongst them and just watched them a lot from near and from far. They are magnificent.
In five years, in the south west of France that will be what we do.
So folks, I have seen the future and the future, for the Steele family and the mighty Patou herd is going to be just fine.