Looks like we’re back to normal.
That, as you may know from previous posts, is not an entirely good thing. “Normal” for the farm is a relative concept, and not at all like the “normal” that you may encounter in everyday life.
We came back to find we had an email containing all sorts of random decisions about the kitchen/cafe and followed up by arriving on the farm to find that there was a large pile of leeks and parsley outside the back door of the centre.
Worse still, the keyhole beds have been dismantled. The bricks from one have disappeared and the tyres from the other were all piled up neatly. We’re not sure what happened to the 20 strawberry plants that were planted inside the tyres but previous experience suggests they will be in the compost. We’ve rebuilt one bed, but can find no trace of the missing bricks.
That’s what happens when he gets time to think (and I use that term loosely). Though I hate to cause offence (you know how tactful I am) if you were to fancy a swim in the average farming family gene pool I imagine you’d have to be content with a paddle.
In addition we had the Mystery of the Disappearing Letter and the Case of the Hidden Bird Seed.
The former was easily solved once I’d spent 10 minutes searching.
“The person we are looking for,” I remarked sagely to my assistant between pulls on an imaginary Meerschaum, “is of medium height, slight build and pale complexion. She speaks with a slight Nottinghamshire accent, does not smoke and is in the grip of a cleaning compulsion.”
“How can you deduce all that from just looking at your desk?” asked my awestruck assistant.
I smiled condescendingly and tapped the side of my nose.
However, when you know there’s only one person around here in the grip of Compulsive Cleaning Disorder it’s easy enough to connect a missing letter to a major suspect. After a quick phone call we had a confession and the letter within ten minutes.
The hidden birdseed, which had been tucked under my desk, was found under a curtain under my desk, lest the sight of it merely pushed out of sight should upset a passing client. Don’t even ask why they make me have a curtain under the desk…
Finally we moved on to the third perplexing case of the day – The Mixed Ear Tag Mystery. Sheep need two identifying ear tags, one yellow one with a chip and one other. The other one is not chipped, and may not be yellow. It must, however, bear a matching number. Now, the mystery of this was twofold. How did they manage to get 160 tags muddled up so none of them were in pairs, and how did we get landed with the job of sorting them out?
I think I have a glimmer of an idea of how to manage some of this random activity. In years to come all those people who have previously oohed and aahed over Management by Walking About, Quality Circles and the Pursuit of Excellence (plus my favourite – The Boiling Frog) will talk in terms of awed reverence of my contribution to management science – Management by Nailing Things to Your Desk.