In early September we collected the four ewes which had spent their late summer holiday with the breeders’ rams. Alas when subsequently scanned only Daphne was found to be in lamb. We have since discovered that the Schmallenberg virus has returned to the UK this year and that this is probably the reason that the ewes did not carry their lamb full term. The virus can also cause lambs to be born with defects which invariably cause their death. We were therefore concerned that Daphne’s offspring might be deformed, but to our great relief they were not. We had penned Daphne in the sheep shelter and were monitoring regularly. As it was, we went to the Carol service on Sunday afternoon, December 16th and came home to find two newly born lambs, a ewe and a ram. Both are fine and we have named the young ewe Lily, as the 16th was Lily’s birthday and the ram Arthur. In early November, having discovered that the other ewes were without lamb, we collected one of the breeder’s older rams and brought him up to Gresham and to run with the barren ewes. The ram literally left his mark, as his chest was painted with a blue dye which he left on the rump of the ewe. We won’t know for a month or so whether the ewes are in lamb, although hopefully by putting them with the ram late in the year they will not be affected by the virus this time around. Should everything go ok, these lambs will be due in early April.

During the winter we are taking the opportunity to improving the caravan site, we have put wood edging around the hard-standing pitches and made the pitches level with the grass areas. We have also enlarged the pitches and they are now at right angles to the hedge to create more space for the awning and for parking. This work should be completed in January when we will top the hard core with 30 tons of pea shingle. This will provide a hard layer to the site making it easier for the guests to manoeuver their caravans and improve the look of the CL. We are also closing the cottages for the first two weeks of the New Year to give them a thorough clean, perform maintenance, and replace and enhance the facilities provided.

That just leaves us to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.