My Life With Sheep

A Talk by Diana Wilson


We were probably expecting to hear about the Wilson’s flock of Lincoln Longwools but they only appeared at the end of the talk. Diana told us how over 30 years ago she had gone to a spinning and weaving taster day in Eastbourne and decided to have a go at spinning (although the thing there that she most coveted there was a bead loom!). David bought her an Ashford wheel for Christmas but she didn’t know where to get some good fleece. There were overgrown  allotments right opposite the cottage where they lived and the parish council was delighted that they could be put to good use so the obvious thing was to have some sheep of her own there. What a mistake! Keeping sheep turned out to be a steep learning curve with lots of courses to attend and not a lot of time left for spinning and tapestry weaving.

The first sheep were crossbred lambs from a friend’s commercial flock, but they were interesting having Masham, Suffolk, Romney and Southdown genes. They were followed by three Jacob ewe lambs and in due course by a Jacob ram, Dante and his mad friend, a wether called Abelard.  There were various disasters but also the joy at lambing time even when it had to be in the garden! As happens, numbers increased and then a Lincoln ewe lamb was added to the flock. By now space was a problem but Hide ’n’ Seek cottage with 10 acres was for sale so they all moved back to Kent and Diana said that the story of the new venture there was for another time.