The Windrush Babies

The Windrush Babies is a new book written under the pen-name CB – and yes, it does ring a bell! The Empire Windrush was that boat that brought the first Caribbean immigrants to the UK in 1948 – you’ve seen it on newsreel clips.

I discovered it when I sat next to CB on a long distance bus recently – National Express is a marvellous institution for broadening one’s experience, unlike trains, people talk on buses!

We talked all the way to Birmingham (pity the man behind, trying to sleep) – what an interesting young person (not the man behind). Just before getting off, for the connection to Chester, CB mentioned the book – “it was in my head and I just had to write it – but it’s written now and I’ve put it up on Kindle and we’ll just have to see what happens!”

No launches, real or virtual. No interviews on local radio, no Facebook campaign but it’s out there – on Kindle, which is much easier than I thought – it seemed to be free but I don’t have a Kindle but it didn’t seem to matter – I paid my money (£7) and got a link to the Kindle Cloud on which I clicked and it took me to the right page and I read – simple!

And it’s a simple story, The Windrush Babies, but with a complex and powerful emotional punch. It’s anecdotal, light, amusing but builds to an awful truth. It’s a child’s view, a study of the human cost of migration and never has it been more relevant. Don’t be sniffy about the odd formatting idiosyncrasy or stray comma – feel the narrative.

It is full of contrasts – written with Jamaican dialogue and a scholarly vocabulary. There is blind selfishness rubbing shoulders with the ultimate in self-sacrifice. It is a celebration of family and of mother-love, riddled with foreboding – you really should read it. I would hate it to go un-noticed!



Thanks to UlyssesThirtyOne for the header image entitled ‘When the World is Against You’. (CC BY 2.0)
Medical, Sheep

The Mystery of the Missing Ears

Our friend Tony told me about the flock of sheep fed on oil-seed rape, when it first became a popular crop in Britain. (It might have been in 1976 that famously hot dry summer.) The sheep gained weight like never before but lost their ears! It was a mystery.

oil seed rape field

Oil seed rape field curtesy of Bayer Crop Science UK  CC BY 2.0


Photo-toxicity is something I learned about in another life when a lady gardener showed me the livid, blistered scalds on her arms, as if she had been whipped with a red hot flail. In fact she had been lightly brushed by the cut, sappy ends of giant hog weed, angelica and cow parsley that had taken root and flourished amongst her parsnips that hot summer and which she had been cutting down.

Phototoxic chemicals, which occur in all these plants, increase the reactivity of the skin to ultra-violet and sometimes visible light – they are the opposite of sun screen and can produce the most bizarre patterns of sunburn. You can get them onto your skin directly, like the sap, or be effected by eating them, as with the light sensitivity that can occur with certain drugs.

Bergamot oil is another phototoxic agent, giving a puzzling blistered burn on the neck of a very smart but distressed lady who did no more than spray herself with expensive perfume on a sunny day.

I think that the sheep with the missing ears got such bad sunburn on their ears (their least woolly part) after eating or brushing through oil seed rape that they ultimately lost the tips of their ears– like our lamb here.

SONY DSCTwo of our triplets this year seem to be effected. They are the small ones who have had less milk and, early on, foraged more widely, nibbling in the hedgerow and tasting all sorts of plants at an earlier age than usual, when their hair was thin and their skin sensitive. The bigger one has gained weight but has lost his ears!


The little one has done better, now we have worked it out, and she has had treatment and gets my sun screen (factor 20) liberally applied on sunny days!


Twts (they never have names!) She’s better with antibiotic, steroid and sun-screen

Whatever next?

Doggy, Hill Farming, Humour

Pedro’s Summer (do)Glog!


The sheep are sheared and drenched, the lambs are all injected and sprayed for blow fly and lice, and Maa’s been done for horse fly and midgy (she tastes most peculiar) and she’s finished the paperwork (boring), so we’re off out — it must be Summer.


Keeping Cool!SONY DSC

Posing in the sunshine!


Walks now limited by bovine population explosion.


So we’re going to dig another pond with Alan’s new little helper…



Who is quieter and less temperamental than the old one who had to be taken away.  Driven onto the lorry with much slipping, sliding, huffing and puffing of blue smoke — Alan was sad.


But the topper has broken so, while Alan mends it, Maa and I have got to cut all the thistles by hand — that’s why I’ve got to do the blog — Maa’s too stiff!.

Cheers all!

043Ped closeup