I’m grateful to Careth for taking up the Slow Life. She’d had a job at Barclays Bank before working for me, very successfully, as a receptionist at the Newby Bridge Hotel. And then she got an offer she couldn’t refuse, to join a friend in running the riding school at Witherslack. As well as teaching all of my children to ride, Careth has been the provider of the most precious commodity in my garden – horse manure. Her 29 horses produce mountains of it and each year I’ve been very kindly allowed to remove about 50 tons.
This year, I’ve been slow on the uptake and there were only 20 tons of well-rotted manure left when my tractor arrived at the stables. Which has meant that, for the first time ever, I’ve had to use another source and as there was some lovely-looking cow manure available, I decided to try it out. I’ve always fought shy of cow manure because of its reputation for harbouring weeds, but this stuff seems to be very rich and, unlike the horse manure, is teeming with worms. It’ll be an interesting experiment, and one I hope I won’t regret.