Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Our hay meadows

I'm never quite sure if I should be embarrassed or proud of our hay meadows. In fact it's probably true to say that I used to be embarrassed, but I'm getting increasingly proud.

You see, there's not a lot of grass here. Not in June anyway when other farmers are mowing fields of silage or hay. We don't have grass at this time of year and yes we have worried in previous years that there won't be enough to make hay with and the weather won't be right and, well, etc.

We've got flowers. Oodles of flowers. White clover, red clover, yellow rattle, eyebright, whorled caraway, ribwort plantain, sorrel, bluebells, buttercups, orchids...

and lots of bees of all sizes, moths, butterflies, beetles...

There are more orchids every year.

Who needs grass? Actually we do, and this field and it's similar neighbour produced 35 big bales of lovely hay last September, which is more than enough for our needs. It's an absolute privilege to be able to allow the fields to be proper hay meadows, and the tapestry of colour in June is, quite simply, wonderful.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Why 5SOS are better than U2

H13 and I went to see Aussie band Five Seconds of Summer on Sunday night in Cardiff. Now 5SOS have a special place in our hearts for many reasons but even so I wasn't expecting too much of the evening.

I thought it was going to be a nice little night out in Cardiff, with the annoyance of a two hour drive there and back on a school night. I thought there'd be lots of noise and screaming teenage girls and then a possibly mediocre concert and huge bad-tempered queue out of the car park and then a tired drive home.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. So wrong. Because 5SOS were bloody good. They can play, they can sing, they're good-looking in a wholesome Aussie boy-next-door sort-of way and it wasn't some pappy boyband nonsense it was rock, loud rock.

My phone's camera couldn't really cope with all the excitement.
There was a little enthusiastic screaming, when Michael or Calum or Luke spoke or smiled, or Ashton grinned into his camera in between beating the hell out of his drum kit, but there was a lot of listening and singing along (and Cardiff 5SOS fans can really sing too). It was fun, light-hearted, good-natured rock music.

It's different going to a rock concert as a mum not a fan, I didn't really know how to behave for one. At least I didn't get into trouble with the security guards for getting up out of my seat and dancing as I did at a Frankie Goes to Hollywood gig in the 1980s (why weren't we allowed to dance? Good grief). I didn't have to sit next to a big fat sweaty rocker like I did at Meatloaf or put up with the drunken ravings of an idiot in the row in front of me (U2) or abuse from Irish fans (different U2 concert). There was no politics (U2) or posing (Duran Duran) and they weren't up themselves (U2, Coldplay, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Duran Duran, Frankie) and they weren't boring (Billy Joel). They were every bit as fun as The Darkness (but I could have done with a sit down at that gig - I'm too old for standing all night!)

It was really happy and it was good and I was so glad that this was the first rock concert that H13 got to go to, And no, we couldn't really afford to go but we did anyway because 5SOS were there for H13 when she was in hospital. One of their albums or EPs came out at 5am during the sleepless night we had in the University Hospital of Wales before she faced an operation that included the risk she could be paralysed afterwards. They were (by way of iPod) allowed to stay with her in the High Dependency Unit when I was sent away because she needed nurses not Mum. And they were with her during the dark days of recovery when she couldn't walk and then had to relearn how to and when all she wanted to do was go home.

All of these feelings are tied up within the lyrics of 5SOS songs, so when they announced their tour while H13 was still recovering we couldn't afford tickets, but we raided piggy banks and bought them anyway.

And we both enjoyed it, H13 jumping up and down waving her green glow sticks with all 19 of her titanium screws and the rod and the rail that hold her spine straight(ish). But I couldn't look at her during the songs because it's been hard as a parent to watch my child having to be so brave this past year and I couldn't believe we were finally there at the concert. It hit me during the first song that she'd made it (and hell, it's been so tough for her this year) and I really had to fight the tears because a) that would have been so embarrassing for both of us and b) I was worried that if I started crying I didn't know how I was going to stop.

So 5SOS mean a lot to us and it was nice to go to Cardiff without hospitals being involved, although that's on the horizon again with a visit to the consultant looming around the anniversary of her surgery at the end of this month. But now that journey will be full of memories of a particularly good concert. Junction 33 of the M4 now means 5SOS not just Llandough hospital and that's a good thing for both of us.

What I really need now though, 5SOS, if you're listening, is for you to do an exercise tape. Pilates and yoga with 5SOS please for H13 and all your other fans (there must be others, it's about 1 in every 1,000) who have scoliosis. I think it'd be a hit!