For over thirteen years I have worked in the same office with the same view over the same field. Each year we watch and wait with interest to see what crop will grow from the seeds the farmer has planted, we comment and rejoice and complain dependant on the results. The rape seed year is remembered with distress by all the hay fever sufferers in the building, myself included, fortunately in thirteen years this has only happened once. We all remember with delight the year the field was left to rest and wild flowers in an array of brilliant colours waved their heads at us in the breeze. If we see grains growing we know that we will all be watching the combine harvester reaping the field as the summer draws to a close.
Today we saw a sight that we had never before seen in the field we had watched through the seasons throughout the years. First a farmer walked past along the edge of the field inserting rods into the ground at regular distances, he was followed by a second farmer with three large spools of wire upon his back which he fixed at even height intervals to each rod creating a wire fence. Now for thirteen years there has been nothing but a bank of grass and a few trees between our car park and this field. Locals wander through our car park to walk their dogs on the farmers’ field. “Why was a fence now going up? What is that farmer doing in the field?” came the excited whispers from around the office.
Then several hours later, amidst whoops of excitement and every member of staff (including directors and managers) rushing to the windows to press their noses against the panes of glass and watch as, for the first time in thirteen years, livestock ambled over the crest of the hill into sight. “There’s sheep in our field!”
Much discussion was had and gleeful anticipation of lambs in the coming spring months shared, followed by the disappointed realisation that they probably wouldn’t be staying in the field. The farmers land extends over the brow of the hill and down into the valley beyond through which a river runs. With the storms across the United Kingdom and flooding through many counties we have been relatively unaffected with localised flooding during the rainfall which dissipates after and large ponds appearing in fields, however the river is high and has spilt over into the field along its bank in places and the weather forecast is for more storms over the coming days. Collectively we deduced that the fast manner in which the fence was erected and the subsequent swift arrival of the sheep was likely to be because their normal pasture was either saturated with water or flooded or the farmer was pre-empting that this would be the case with the next storm. Then, as you would expect from an office of IT nerds (who with my recent diagnoses have all accepted that they too are on the autistic spectrum as to be fair I’m not as strange as them) and autistic financial managers (that would be me), great exhilaration was experienced as we realised we were witnessing in person the ecological effect of the flooding on our local environment.
You can be sure that we will all watch the news this evening with intense interest as the stories of the floods that have dominated the headlines for days now has meaning for us. We have witnessed first-hand a consequence of the natural disaster sweeping our nation that until now held no meaning for us as we had no connection to it. And yes I know a field of sheep in no way compares to the thousands of homes with no power or people evacuated due to flooding but until there was a direct impact on my immediate ecosphere I had no real association with the daily news reports of the devastation.