Ms Melancholy is very good with the little, tiny, weeny lambs who don't know how to feed. She has endless patience with them, as do the farmers in our village who we're helping out during lambing.
Funnily enough it hasn't put us off eating lamb, though we have made a family decision recently - initiated by Master Melancholy - to be much more strict about the welfare and environmental impacts of the meat, eggs and milk we buy. We'd been doing it *mostly* but now it's for real. Badger could not have ham this week because we have not yet found a source of free range ham - free range local bacon, yes, but not ham.
These two things strike me as being not unconnected to the stories in today's news about the appalling way in which our - yes OUR, we own it, we pay for it, it belongs to all of us - National Health Service fails people with learning disabilities.
Here's the thing: it is in all of our interests to make sure that people with disabilities, children and animals in our society are treated with the utmost respect and care. This is a reflection of the true measure of survival protection which our society affords. A hospital service which will only take care of you if you are able to stand up for yourself is barely worth having. When you need it most, when you are unconscious or without voice, delirious with pain or medication, or just too sick to know what is going on, it is most likely to let you down.
A society which respects the needs of the people who are least able to express them will always be in a better position to catch you when you fall. And one day we all will - it's about the only guarantee we all have in life.
Like most folk, my own survival depends largely upon a careful balance of distraction and denial. Disturbing this balance has potentially unintended consequences, such is the depth and breadth of stuff I am carefully ignoring. And something tells me it is all connected. Don't think about the conditions the chicken in your sandwich lived in, don't think about the kids who just wish they had any kind of sandwich at all (other than to justify eating this sandwich, because it would be criminal to waste it when others are hungry...), don't think about the people who are starving to death in our own hospitals because they're unable to speak up, don't think about the fact that we're all spending money on crap while our hospitals struggle and fall to pieces...
Where do we begin?
I think we begin with the little ones. And I think it has to be a concrete experience. And I think we could do worse than to get our major politicians down to the Yorkshire Dales to do a bit of lambing.