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  • Writer's pictureSally Urwin

Mabel the (enormous) pet lamb and the McDonald's drive through.

Apologies for the radio silence, but it's been a bit busy on the farm lately, with the end of lambing and various book related shenanigans across the country.

It all culminated last weekend in a visit to Ripon to the Little Ripon book shop to do a signing. Back in April, they asked me to bring Mabel the lamb. "Of course!", I said, forgetting that by the end of May she wouldn't be a cute, tiny lamb that you could fit into your pocket, but a massive woolly boffer that I could barely push into the car.

I couldn't drive AND manage Mabel, as she won't sit on her seat, even when her harness is clipped to the seat belt. She'll only settle if she sits on my lap so she can burp lovingly into my face. She's very heavy and very HOT.

So we drove to Ripon with Steve, the two kids, me and Mabel all squeezed into the car. I also had to take two massive bottles of milk, hay, lamb feed and a play pen to corral her in the bookshop.

Mabel likes to get up and down in the back of the car, demands neck scratches and chews on everything in sight, including my handbag and the car seats.

She's not house trained, and I haven't got the slightest idea how to even start teaching her, so she wears Pampers Night Time Pull Ups in size 8. It's all a bit embarrassing as they have Tinkerbelle on the front, and they keep slipping off as she waggles her tail. By the end of the signing, we'd gone through three Tinkerbelle nappies, a bottle of milk and managed to wee on the bookshop floor.

On the way home everyone was starving, but I can't just drag a nappy wearing sheep into a cafe, so we decided to go through a McDonald's drive through. The staff came out for a photo, and Mabel shared a McDonald's grilled chicken salad: I ate the chicken and she scarfed the tomatoes.

Mabel thought it was all great, and loved sitting on my lap in the car and having two whole hours of one-to-one love and being hand fed bits of McDonald's lettuce. She liked the book shop too as she has a taste for paper, so we spend a lot of time removing her jaws from the latest bestsellers on the shelves.

By the time we got home the whole inside of the car was covered in a thin layer of lamb poo, lanolin, wisps of wool and McDonald's mayonnaise.

The next book signing (with Mabel) is in The Guisborough Bookshop on 22nd June. By then Mabel will be almost full grown and absolutely massive. . I might have to put her in the trailer, but I can imagine the tantrums we'll have if she can't sit on my lap on the drive down.

In other news, I'll be at the Northumberland County Show on Monday (sans Mabel) in the Indoor Shopping Marquee at 1.15pm, signing copies of #AFarmersDiary on the Forum Books stand. Come and see me. (I'm hopefully sat next to

Wheelbirks Parlour or the Northumberland Cheese Company for easy to reach snacks)

This is Mabel the lamb in mid April. She's about three times the size now. She's demonstrating her favourite "Sit on Mum" pose.

Mabel looking very sweet. She lives in a barn during the day with 8 of her pet lamb friends, and has just learnt how to jump over the gate so she can join me in the farmyard.

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