Think the song is supposed to continue with ‘always take the weather’. Thinking crofting-wise, I always take baler twine everywhere I go (or at least that’s what it feels like). Although, the penknife follows suit at a close second, and then third place is ear plugs (tractors, brush cutters, lawnmowers can all be fairly noisy, although if you do wear ear plugs, the local postie can sneak up behind you without you knowing).
However, a recent excursion was to go to Edinburgh for two ‘treats’. Treats that did not require baler twine or ear plugs.
First, an all day trip to the Royal Highland Show (including going along to the Women in Agriculture Breakfast). The second, a trip to Cheyenne’s York Place to get a hair cut from Joe. Yes, Joe. Yes, the guy who was cutting my hair when I left the big sticks eight years ago. But if you want not just a cut, but someone who can look at your hair and take in your lifestyle: ‘I have two kids under 3, 12 cows and 11 sheep; I want stylish but I don’t spend much time sorting hair’ without going, ‘this woman doesn’t need a hair cut, she needs a psychiatrists’, is a good find! This is the guy who just seems to understand hair. Now, I’m sure there are other hair stylists at the same place who equally cut hair well. But, well, when you have a pro do a job well, you really don’t want to go anywhere else. So you go back. And don’t deviate (although I was introduced to Joe by a hairdresser called Kipps, a man who headed off to London after finally convincing me that hairdressers do not have to be on par with the dentist. A dentist usually means you come out worse than going in, which was my understanding of hairdressers).
If only I could offer our flock the same standards. I have no qualification in sheep shearing, my experience is fairly limited, and I have never been shown blade shearing. I think if any hair stylist looked at Chunky and Skyver, they would be horrified. Chunky is a Cheviot; Skyver is a Blackface. Two different types of wool (and different personalities too as Skyver tried to skyve the shearing, Chunky placidly lies there for you). Working on them and with them was very different. I still have all the Jacob and Shetland sheep to do. Hopefully I’ll improve as I want to try and use the Jacob wool in spinning. And because of that, am looking for ways to improve. Not to learn how to have a one way conversation with a sheep; ‘have you any holidays coming up, what are you going at the weekend, and the usual haircut questions. But, in the handling of them, so I get less bruises on my legs and I don’t feel like I’m trying to give the sheep a Mohican.
So along comes networking. One contact has led to another and I am hoping to go meet another woman who can show me a different way of shearing. I’m leaving the rest of the sheep until I get back. Will then need a ‘Croft got talent’ show and a panel of judges to give card marks.
P.S. Just like I need a hair cut, so too do the sheep. I have seen comments by people thinking we kill sheep to get wool! No one has yet told me I should stop going to the hairdressers because I won’t come out alive. And its better for my health to get my hair cut. Same for sheep. So if anyone wants to know more about what we do and why, feel free to get in touch (about sheep, if you want hair advise, go see Joe).
P.P.S. Joe, if you’re reading this, apologies for the photo. I appear to be much better at taking farming pictures than inside pictures.