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w/e 2021-08-22

On Wednesday afternoon I looked out of the window at the sunny field over the road, in which I could see the farmer baling up the rows of hay, while another local farmer drove a tractor and trailer onto which our neighbour and a friend were loading the hay bales. Given three of the four were, I think, in their 70s, and I didn’t have much else to do, I couldn’t let them carry on without offering to help.

A photo of a field with a tractor and hay baler passing in front of a large oak tree

And so I spent the rest of the afternoon and into the evening helping load the bales onto trailers and then unload some into a shed for the winter. Like many manual tasks a white collar worker might try once, it was hard work, fun and satisfying… but, of course, not something I’d prefer to be doing every day.

The tractor and hay baler are decades old, and the latter is much like the toy yellow Britains one I had as a kid, clanking along, dropping cuboid bales from its rear, rather than the modern giant “loo roll” bales or the giant cuboid bales I’ve started noticing in some fields, piled into towers. The bales are heavy but it’s possible to swing them up onto a trailer that’s already a few bales high. We got through around 400 bales apparently.

A photo of a farmer driving an old red tractor towing a trailer stacked with hay bales, in the evening sunlight

The next day I was a little achey all over but, other than scratches all over my arms and legs, and some slightly numb fingers from lifting the bales by their twine, I hadn’t “done my back in” or anything more serious. It had been lovely to be working out in the sunshine with people I haven’t had much chance to chat to since we moved here, what with all this.


§ My sister was staying with us this week so we had a few trips out and about, including a brief visit to Hay-on-Wye’s bookshops, which I hadn’t been to since The Before (my only purchase: Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon).

The town was busier than I expected for a rainy day, but maybe because it was holding a World War II re-enactment event. We saw lots of people walking around the town in period costume (all as the goodies, of course), and I don’t think it had occurred to me before how similar these events are, in some ways, to cosplay. And yet I’d be surprised if there’s much crossover between the two demographics, and I imagine re-enactors think that dressing as a British Army general (or whatever) is much more serious and worthy than dressing as a Marvel superhero or anime character.


§ Not much telly this week: we watched half of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. I’m starting to think that maybe I could bear to go into a cinema again, but only so long as I could guarantee it would be mostly empty.


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