Saturday, November 12, 2005


I'm sitting here glowing with happiness. We've had a perfect day. This morning, we kicked ourselves out of bed nice and early to go for a bike ride. The sun was low when we set out, and for the first time the air was cold and crisp, like it should be in November. We pedalled past rolling pastures, out of Warwickshire and into Northamptonshire, past fields of cows and horses and over the Oxfordshire canal. On the way, we dropped into a farm shop near Cropredy. Cycling up the drive, we passed an enclosure of chickens scratching around in the grass. Perched on one of their shelters was a radio which was chattering away by itself. No-one else was around. We later found that the radio is for the chickens, and they like to listen to 5-Live. Well, that was enough to have us resolving to return with the car later for supplies. The farmer explained how their animals were kept, and what they were fed on (no GM; lots of it grown locally etc.) When we returned later, the lady who runs the shop sorted us out with some suitable cuts of beef and pork, and then led us out to see the litter of piglets. They were so cute! Pigs look so damn happy when they are in a field. When we'd cooed at the piglets, she took us to see their baby dexter calf. The tiny creature with big brown eyes was curled up in the straw of a big barn, with its mother and two very pregnant cows. They all had names. One (the mother) was christened Hazelnut by one of the owner's children, so the calf had to become Nutella.

It might seem strange that I'm delighted to meet the animals that I may eventually eat. But to me, it is wonderful to know that these animals are clearly happy and well looked after (indeed, well loved) and that I can eat meat from that shop with a clear conscience. In case anyone local reads this, the shop is Oathill Farm Supplies.


Anonymous Beth said...

It sounds like a farm like farms used to be.

I had friends with a small holding years ago. They kept rare vreed goats, and got a pig to feed the excess milk to. She was lovely. They named her "Freezer Maggie". When Maggie met her inevitable end, we were gifted with a couple of joints. They languished in the freezer for 18 months before we could eat her.

I used to order duckling from the same people. They would pick up a 3 day old chick and place it in my hands, saying "that one's yours". I tried not to develop a personal relationship :-)

Lovely day you had! I've just sat indoors and watched the rain. I think our walk tomorrow will require gaiters.

5:51 pm  
Blogger Carole said...

I think I'd struggle to eat an animal when I'd actually developed a relationship with it! It is nice to know they are looked after, though.

I hope you have a nicer day for your walk today.

9:57 am  

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