Living with change.

We were happy to welcome two new lives to our place recently. Our 8-year-old goat Willow kidded at 147 days with a healthy male kid Mark named Thelonius Monk because of his hood, and a female whom I named Courante for the third movement of a Bach suite. Two days later, when we went to get Willow a pick-me-up as she was taking a long time to recover, she died, being on her last breath when we returned. It seems to have been a heart problem, her twin sister having died from that at 3 years old, and Willow’s first daughter at just over a year old.

That meant a dash back another hour round trip to buy goat’s milk to feed the kids. I was lucky that they had already been asked for by a goat-keeper on the other side of the island, who took them and Stewie, who could not have coped alone, ¬†just a few days later. The new owners also bought a lot of our equipment, and took our last chicken with them too. They are experienced goat-keepers with some other young stock already, goats, sheep, pigs, turkeys, ducks, chickens, emus, horses and a parrot too.

Apart from the year renting when we moved here, we’ve not been without animals ever: cats, chickens, and guinea pigs in London, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, a beef steer and orphaned badger cubs in Wales, and goats and ducks followed by chickens here. It’s odd to not have any animals to feed and care for.

Kimberly already wrote a pensive on writing about loss and grief, so I choose to suggest you write about the positive influence animals have had on your writing life: I recall sitting in the conservatory in Wales with a cat beside me, writing in the early morning so my step-granddaughter would have a new chapter to read when she got up each day; writing a story about an injured goose overwintering on an Orkney farm; so many tales with an integral animal.

Write about an animal that you have had that has influenced you, or the relationship between a person and an animal, or write from the point of view of an animal, or use one of my photos to inspire you.


  1. So sorry to hear about you being bereft of animals so abruptly Gill. I shall try to write something in in response to this in the private forum.

  2. Thank you John, it was a bit of an unexpected and sudden change, but we are intending to visit some of the outer isles we’ve not been able to see before and take advantage of more free time.

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