As event organiser at the Turnpike Showground, shepherd Bonnie Cradock is facing a doubly busy spring, thanks to one over-excited fun-loving ram
Bonnie Cradock rolls her eyes as she spots a ewe lambing out of the office window. ‘Last year I had them timed perfectly, lambing began the week after the Spring Countryside Show. But a ram got into the flock and enjoyed himself – and so here I am, unintentionally lambing in February!’
The 27-year old shepherd from Ludwell near Shaftesbury has a flock of 1,200 sheep which she shares with her brother Matt. Add to that her ‘second’ job of organising two of Dorset’s major country shows, and she keeps herself busy.
Lambing is the ‘hardest part of the job, but the most rewarding,’ she says ‘My days start at 4.30am and I arm myself with a Thermos of coffee. We rent our land so our flocks are spread around – we stretch from lambs in Bere Regis to breeding ewes in Fovant, and everything in between. It can take five hours to check on them all.
‘I’ve been working for the past few years for the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show, and I now do that almost full time. I love it; as an agricultural show team everyone’s very understanding if I turn up late for work because I’ve had an unexpected ‘sheep situation!’
The Spring Countryside Show means April is a crazy month – the early lambers will be finished shortly, and then I’ll be working flat out on the show before going straight into 10-hour lambing days. And I thought a career in the army would be hard work!’
Despite growing up on a dairy farm, Bonnie was determined the Army life was for her. Having passed officer selection with flying colours, Bonnie did her A-levels at Welbeck Sixth Form Defence College. Ironically, it was her beloved sheep which caused an end to her military career: an old shoulder injury,caused by five year-old Bonnie moving sheep with Matt, didn’t appreciate her playing rugby and polo for the army, and Bonnie was discharged.
For the past four years Bonnie has been sheep farming, working with her more experienced big brother.
A life in music
And so to Bonnie’s eight music choices, in no particular order, along with how and why they have stuck in her life:
Rockin’ All Over The World
This reminds me of too many hours spent singing and dancing to it with my dad, while either decorating a house or doing mundane cleaning jobs.
It never fails to make the tedious tasks that much easier.
Machine Gun Kelly
Don’t ask (that’s literally what we’re doing here Bonnie – Ed).
I don’t even know why I love it. But I can sing along to the whole thing and it is definitely one of my top songs (and that’s a fact – I just checked my Spotify stats!).
I have too many memories of awful dancing to this with friends when I was younger! But that’s what I love about it – every time I listen to it, it’s packed with all those memories of carefree,
awful-dancing young me.
Life is a Highway
Whenever I am feeling blue, this is the song that gets put on – and with zero apologies to anyone within earshot, it’s on repeat until I feel lifted.
Ooof. I’m not sure that anyone who has had to deal with a certain type of man needs this explained?! “Why men great ‘til they gotta be great?”. Yes.
Hooked on a Feeling
I know it’s old, but I first heard this song while watching Guardians of the Galaxy and I couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks, it just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I haven’t told my other half this, but this is the song I’d want our first dance to be to – it’s so upbeat and it’s how he makes me feel.
Maybe don’t include that bit …
(oops – Ed)
To be honest, anyone that sings a bit of country has my heart. If you haven’t heard it, give it a listen. I can’t even say how happy this song makes me. If you hear me listening to it, you know it’s been a very good day!
I Am A Cider Drinker
Would it even be a Dorset Island Discs with a young farmer if this wasn’t included?! Many, many memories of great nights (often in muddy fields) surrounded by hundreds of people all singing along to this. It’s something everyone should experience.
A book for a castaway
Anything on the Greek Gods. I am currently reading a couple of books on the history of them, and trying to follow all the story lines and keeping track of who is related to who would definitely make the time go by!
A luxury item?
A sleeping bag. I’ll be fine on the island, I could actually do with some piece and quiet. As long as I’ve got something warm to cover me I’ll be grand!
One to keep?
And if a giant wave was coming, and there was only time to snatch one record, which would Bonnie save from the water?
‘Hooked on a feeling. Obviously.’
Click here to listen to Bonnie’s list on YouTube