Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Friday, April 18 – Black Friday
I slept well last night, despite Neil’s concerns over the field and when I woke I felt full of optimism that Martin will soon be back, full of stories about his adventures. So I was humming while I boiled water first thing and scrambled eggs to eat with flatbread made with almost the last of our acorn flour.
Then Neil knocked on the door and I could see straight away that his face was grim. They didn’t get them, he said. The lambs run like whippets, but one of the ewes miscarried because they used a dog. I told him to sit down and have some breakfast, but he wouldn’t. He said he had to get back out and count the lambs again, just to be sure.
So when Stephen and the girls came down I wasn’t quite as cheerful as I’d hoped I would be. Then Jane said she’d been looking at her college diary and realised that it was Easter and I felt even worse, as today is Good Friday and I would have liked to go to church. At that point I went out in the garden for quiet reflection. I’ll go to church on Sunday, which will make me feel better.
This is so different to the kind of Easter we used to have. There would be a turkey some years and sugar coated speckled eggs in chocolate nests, Easter egg hunts when the children were small and one year a little grey rabbit joined our menagerie of pets. I have made no preparations at all this year and have no chance of making any either.
Then I made myself go out in the garden to weed the beds and tried to cheer myself up by noting the changes in the flower beds. But at that point I saw a strange disturbance in the bed where the tree peony grows. At first I thought it was a mole hill, left over from when the moles had wrecked my borders several weeks ago. There were tufts of black fluff and I wondered if a cat had found a mole and eaten it. But when I touched it, the black was wooly, not the velvet of a mole’s coat. And one tuft was hard with horn. It was the tiniest lamb’s hoof and I realised with horror that this was where a fox had devoured a newborn lamb.
I don’t believe in omens, but this has really disturbed me. I am trying to concentrate on the good things about today, the five eggs from the hens, the fine weather, Anna’s health, but it is very hard.

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