I can't believe I'm back with the Shropshire sheep with their evil marble-eyes. They follow me around the orchard like I'm a pied-piper and devour the small, hard and horrible kiwifruit I fling to the ground in this process called thinning which definitely does not require a university degree or even a diploma.
This is how my day went:
I got out of bed and organised chilly-bin, thermos, coffee, sandwiches, two bobby-bananas and three 'Tim Tam' biscuits for my lunch and snacks.
Then I got dressed in my scruffiest clothes and baseball cap.
Then I put sunscreen on my face, neck and arms.
Then I ate muesli and yoghurt.
Then I went to the orchard and opened the gate and closed the gate and worked for a few hours and then sat on my camel for a rest. My camel is an old antique foot-stool with a leather cushion from Egypt but its head wobbled off years ago and is somewhere in our shed staring at nothing in particular - certainly not pyramids.
Then I pondered on my life and came to the conclusion that this decapitated camel I sit astride on while sipping a 'Moccona' under the vines may well be the nearest I will get to exotic for some time to come.
"Abdul", I asked, "Do you believe that I can reach for higher stars?"
My camel didn't reply, probably because his ears are on his head and his head is in the shed.
I poked my tongue out at a newly-shorn Shropshire who just stared at me like I had no right to ask lofty questions.
Then I got back to thinning, thinning, thinning... and wondering where another talent may be hiding and would it be flamboyant or significant enough to nurture should I stumble upon it?
Then I sat on Abdul again for another coffee and felt sheer contentment in my here and now.
I then (see, I do variety!) tossed Abdul upside down into the back-seat of the car, four wooden legs stuck up like he's dead and I suppose he is. Most of us need a head to be alive.
Then I got back to work and listened to my radio while thinning, thinning, thinning...
Then I opened the gate and closed the gate and drove home.
Then I sat on our back porch and spent ten minutes pulling all the grass-seeds from my socks before putting them to soak in a bucket. The evening was beautiful and some of my sunflowers are about to open - maybe tomorrow.
Cossack was at the outside tap washing out his brushes after a day of painting one side of our little house.
"Coss! I like thinning!", I announced when he came in to fry the steaks while I arranged salad on our plates and drank half a cool berry-cider.
"It's so peaceful out there, Coss, and the pine-tree shelter-belts have been trimmed and the orchard has this beautiful smell - just like the Christmas trees our family had when I was a kid."