Indeed, an expression of thanks from farmer-to-farmer, and a soon-to-be-savoured gift for my family, this cross-border bird embodied so much more than just good eatin’.
So perhaps there’s some irony in the fact that now, two and a half years later, I find myself unpacking once again and settling into life in another new location —this time, in the land of the Lily whites, and Jack’s home county of Kildare.
If my two years in the field of farmer-dating have taught me anything, it’s that it’s a naive and foolish woman who would ask her farmer to choose between his lady and his land.
It was that following Monday then, that I headed off, looking forward to discovering what I reckoned could well be a hidden talent of mine. After all, given that the current Guinness world record for fastest time to shear a single sheep is held by a Donegal man, as a fellow Ulster native, I had to fancy my chances.
In the midst of our excitement at booking, we had failed to realise that our long weekend in April would fall smack bang in the middle of the busiest time on the farm. And, as we soon found out, cattle don’t subscribe to company calendars or “out of office” email reminders.