There are rules that govern the universe, that keep the cosmos intact and make sure things run smoothly. Since we began our pilgrimage to become smallholders just over two years ago, where we converted from comfortable, reasonably well off townies to broke country bumpkins, we soon realised there are rules that have to be obeyed when smallholding.

Some are simple, sacred rules passed on from generation to generation such as always shut the gate ( a rule you break at your peril) to the more obscure rules that state tools will never be where you left them, each job completed will create two more and probably the most obscure we have encountered so far, you cannot defy the laws of Physics.

Now we live on a hill, often a very wet, muddy windswept hill, and we are often reminded of this fact by gravity. This has peculiar effects on trailers that are unhitched without due care and attention, or when daughters cars are parked without the handbrake applied, or best still when we tried to move a 500 gallon water tank from the top of the hill to the bottom. Thanks to gravity in all these tasks it was'nt so much easier, just amusing if near fatal consequences. The trailer rolled free squashing the trailer owners family jewels against his 4x4, he left Rock HQ paid for his labour but with a couple of things on his mind. Beth for some reason decided to step in front of her car as it rolled away, and much like Wonder Woman stop the naughty Fiat in its tracks. Unlike Wonder Woman she made a panicked mobile phone call to her dear old Dad to tell him she had just been run over by her own car. A frantic journey home revealed Beth sat on the sofa with ice packs and bruises and me with a puzzle of how to retrieve the Fiat from the neighbours field. The water tank would have been a simple enough task had Ben, our extremely brave and butch army officer son not jumped out of the way as the plastic tank moved slowly towards him, suddenly unhindered the round black plastic tank gathered pace and crashed into the light weight Land Rover sitting quietly in the yard. Thanks to Ben's lack of effort the tank no longer holds 500 gallons, only 300 thanks to a hole caused by the bumper of the Landy.

The hilly nature of the smallholding was brought home last Wednesday, and these things follow the rule, only when you are in a hurry, when I was trying to get water up to the horses. They are in a field some 50 metres higher than the house and as I cannot afford the Osteopath every week I am loathe to carry buckets that far. Luckily we found an over flow tap on the bore hole when it was repaired a few months back. In a very Heath Robinson way a long length of plastic pipe will carry the pumped water all the way up to the horses. Its is still a two person job. You cannot see what is going on 50 metres up the slope, and if you are at the water container you cannot operate the complicated valve, tap and switch system to start the pump. As we were busy, and as we had only had 3 hours sleep caused by a combination of dogs giving birth, sheep refusing to give birth, goats cross that they had given birth and foxes, I was alone in my task of trying to water the horses. After several ascents and decents I had the water flowing into the horses drinking trough. Its not a trough really, its a childs toy boat, but it serves a new role. Anyway as the recycled toy filled I secured the pipe to the fence immediatley above the bright blue plastic ship and set off down hill once more to turn off the taps that are themselves seperated by 20 metres and the pump switch. As I turned off the second tap, and cut off the supply of water I was happy, I was ahead of schedule and had accomplished a complicated task flawlessly. I would also be on time for work, important as I was running a training day so had to be there first.

I had a sinking feeling as I saw the pool of water gathering by the first tap. I went back to investigate. The pipe feeding the toy ship 50 metres above me had detached and water was now pouring out. It didnt stop. With a heavy heart I began another ascent and found that the pipe had fallen into the makeshift trough and by the time I got back to it it had siphoned out the 100 gallons of water destined to become horse wee. I had to go through it all again. I was late again.

The second huge surprise came from our tiny horse Trevor. Now he is a very talented horse, often in the house helping himself to the contents of the fruitbowl. Until now we had not realised what a talented jumper he is. He has perhaps defied the laws of physics, certainly challenged them along with those that govern biology because yesterday he managed to jump a stock fence thats taller than he is. I have examined the fence again tonight and I still cannot see how he managed it. Have a close look at the photograph attached to see what I mean.

Life moves on here, the sheep have finally all given birth, the goats are growing bigger, our puppies are adorable and the pigs are almost ready to become pork and bacon. Lifes great, check to see how much we enjoy it here!