Burning Hay

Things will be getting busy very soon.

The bar is gleaming. Thanks to an unexpected cargo ship we have never had higher levels of vodka and rum in our stockroom. Wine glasses are an issue. I found a crack in nearly every one. We can use tumblers if we have to.

But the planet needs a check. I cannot have guests land in fields of parnsipheads and weeds.

I will be honest. The farmers can do most of the work, and  send me a report without leaving the field. My only necessity is some spot checking and housekeeping. But before I get stuck serving drinks for the next six months, I want a trip round Buber.

The fern cart needed a refill. I know they are out of fashion, but I still love the concept. Just pop in some hay, mix in some chemicals, wait for the gas from the reaction to bubble into the engine, and off you go.

Our roads may be dirt tracks, but they are stable and well maintained. I was through the woods in twenty minutes. The farmers worked a field of wheat to my right, and an apples orchard to the left. They clicked and whirred in a field of carrots, the stems springing out the ground like a miniaturised jungle. We don’t need the crops anymore. Most of the produce gets traded, or pulped into juices for morning guests. But since the Haircut I am reluctant to cut off all homegrown foods.

You never know.

After two hours I cruise past the lake. Those cool waters are still one of my favourite views even. We used to go swimming there, and drink straight from the shore. Now who knows how many bones are at the bottom? The water we drink goes through two filters.

At last I reached the major landing sites. Deep rivets cut through the grass. Pockmarks and divots surround perfectly circular scorch marks. The remains of supply crates and fuel canisters rust half-buried the ground. I am not fussed. With a few button presses the farmers will be there by morning.

Thick bramble bushes still surround every landing site. Nature’s safety net. Under one was a absolutely battered parsniphead. All its limbs were green and spongy. A mouldy mouth still moved amongst the spikes and berries. The smallest tap took it out.

I am writing this at the bottom of the mountain, sitting in the grain cart with a duvet and pillow on the seat for a bed. The sun is setting. A few more weeks, and the crowds will be here. For now I am going to enjoy the silence.

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