Jorvik was so small that they didn’t have a proper pier. Well, apparently there was one in Jorvik City but no one really used it as it wasn’t kept in the best condition. Back home, whenever we’d been on a boat we had been able to drive on and off, but on Captain Brus’s ship (the fact that we knew the name of the captain said a lot) there were no cars allowed and to get off, we had to all take it in turns, 4 at a time, to go into a little rowing boat.
With eight kids, I guess Mum and Dad had always had it difficult. Back in Cardiff, we had a three bedroom flat to try and accommodate us all. Take my word for it, it was a squash. So when the lawyer knocked on our door saying Mum had come into inherit a farm? Wow, we partied all night.
I say we but I do not include Poppy and Ashton. Ashton (NEVER call him Ash) is only two and Poppy is only four, so neither of them seemed to understand that our life would be changing forever. For me, no more nice local sixth form down the road. Instead, homeschooling was on the menu. What a joy.
Strangely, none of the others seemed to see the problem with us inheriting our family’s farm. Wren was excited to be able to go fishing in the local river (despite the fact he had only ever seen fishing on the TV). Renee was so happy that she couldn’t stop pretending to be a pig. Leo just couldn’t wait to decorate the farm (he was the only one that had inherited Dad’s artistic trait). Bailey was excited to go exploring in the mountains near our house. Even Aden, who I thought might be with me on this, was excited to be able to go riding at the near by Silverglade Equestrian centre.
So yes, it felt like the world was against me.
I opted to take the last ride in the boat to the shore, waiting behind with Aden. The land appeared to be an orangey gold tone and the houses were old and ramshackle, but had this rustic vibe coming with them. The smell of salt, and fish, littered the air, assaulting your senses with their aroma.
“It was very nice of Great-Grandma Dew to leave us her farm, Rachel,” Aden tried to plead with me.
I gave him the fierce big-sister stare, “Giving up college with my mates to fix up some abandoned farm somewhere away from civilisation and don’t try to tell me otherwise, because it is. Our address even includes the words ‘Forgotten Fields’.”
Before Aden could reply, however, the small boat appeared to row us to shore.
Over the short journey to the long wooden walk where the rest of the family (Mum, Dad, Ashton, Poppy, Wren, Renee, Leo and Bailey) waited (holding far too many bags and suitcases), Aden made conversation with the sailer about the different stables around Jorvik and which one would be best for him to learn to ride.
Finally, we arrived at the jetty where Mum helped me out onto the slippery wooden surface (which seemed to be missing a plank every few metres).
“Well,” she said, “We better get walking.”
“Excuse me, walking?” I knew I sounded shocked - I was. What did she mean walking? We were literally trying to carry our whole livelihood with us.
Dad jumped on the opportunity to get in Mum’s good books, “Yes, the farm is only a kilometre from here. We will be there soon!”
And with that, off we marched to our new home. What joy.