Irish Boarding School Life compared to Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers

My much loved copies of Malory Towers

This time last year, my editor and formatter Sally Vince was putting the finishing touches to the book I had just finished, a social history of the Collegiate School Celbridge. The all-girls school had merged with the boys’ school Kilkenny  College in 1973 (where I went to secondary school in the 1980s as it happened) and past pupil, teacher and headmistress Miss Freda Yates, now in her 90s, had been looking for someone to write a book about [...]

The Joy of Ambling – for Humans and Cows

Cows ambling along an Irish country lane

Do people amble and relax and meander as much as they used to? Do we meander and daydream and stare into space as much as we should? Mobile phones are great but they mean we are never bored, not bored enough to daydream. I know that if there’s a ten-minute wait when I’m collecting my teenagers that I spend the few minutes checking twitter or sending an email or making a phone call or reading an article. If I’m waiting for them [...]

10 Reasons Why Farmers Make Great Husbands

Do Farmers Make Great Husbands_

When I started writing my first book Would You Marry a Farmer? I was genuinely surprised at the number of single women who told me they really wanted to marry a farmer. Part of the reason for my surprise was because farmers definitely weren’t seen as a good catch in the 1950s when draughty farmhouses, lack of electricity and piped water, living with your mother-in-law and hard work were the norm for many. However, in the twenty-first century, farmers are [...]

It’s always good to be alive

Tree in Ireland at Autumn

Without wanting to sound too morose and, dare I say it, a ‘stereotypically grumpy farmer’, it has been a tough year for farmers this year. Between the late, very wet, very cold spring which meant winter extended into May, and then a drought during the summer, it’s been a year that involved a lot of extra work as we were still doing winter work for weeks during the heatwave. Without even thinking about the bank balance, a lot of farmers [...]

Are Cows just Numbers or Do We Name Them?

Becky

Are Cows Just Numbers?

Every Irish bovine has a number that is individual to them. It’s called a tag number and they have to wear a bright yellow tag in each ear. Each bovine is also issued with a passport which contains details such as their sire (father), dam (mother), date of birth, breed and sex. The passport must accompany them if they are being sold or sent to the factory. Before such documentation became compulsory, many farmers gave their cows [...]