4/8/90

It was another early start and another hot day but the temperature was kept down by a cool southerly breeze. Ann left me the manuscript of a book she has written called 1700+. It is a book of old recipes and remedies along with poems and old adages. It was very impressive and I’m sure that now would be a good time to publish it with the number of people leaving the cities to live in the country. Here is one of her poems:

SHEEP’S BELLS
OVER THE HILLS OF ENGLAND FLOATS
A CHEERFUL JUMBLE OF CHANGING NOTES
AS FOR YEARS BEYOND NUMBER THEY’VE CLANKED IN TUNE
FROM HALLOWEEN TO HARVEST MOON.
TELLING THEIR NEWS OF THE FLOCKS THAT GRAZE
TO MEN WHO WERE MODERN IN ANCIENT DAYS.
FOR WHERE THERE ARE SHEPHERDS THERE’LL EVER BE BELLS,
LONG MAY THEY LIVE ON OUR HILLS AND FELLS.
MORE DEEP IN OUR HEARTS THAN WESTMINSTER CHIMES,
MARKING OUR PASSAGE FROM DISTANT TIMES.

Footnote: Ann’s book was published in 1995. Before we left England in October 199, she gave me an antique sheep’s bell, with the initials HxR and the date 1877 carved into it’s smooth timber neck. It came from a farm in Wiltshire where Ann had worked as a shepherdess during WW2 and had been worn by generations of sheep on the Wiltshire Downs.

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