Yesterday afternoon two more lambs were born, which makes 7 in three days, and 9 in total – an ovine novena. Alas I only heard yesterday’s twins had arrived after dark, so after a fretful night I went out, after an earlier breakfast, through the sun-pierced fog and across crunching frost hoping for the best. And it was granted. A first time mother, Josephine, had given birth to a loud twin-set of lungs on legs. After her panic as I hoisted the lambs into the nursery pen, she followed us in and calmed down to the point of serenity. Having docked the lambs’ tails, and realised I had yet two more boys, I had a little play with the lads before they fed from mother while she wolfed down some barley (all photos should enlarge on being clicked): In light of the papal theme, it seemed apropos to name these two after the two most favoured papabili for the upcoming conclave. Our new albino boy, Angelo, declared approval: His brother, Marc, looked equally pleased, though he was forced to keep quiet by his more urgent need to lick his lips after downing a warming draught of mother’s best: When I let in the others, who were all waiting expectantly by the gate, there was a wonderful confusion of excited lambs escaping briefly the maternal leash, and of mothers frantically trying to put them back on the leash. All sorted in time: Returning this afternoon with some long-awaited mineral lick, it was lovely to see Cephas (at right) sitting near his grandmother with her boys Joseph and Benedict. The sunshine was very popular. Sunbathing was order of the day. Sonny and Cher slept through most of my visit: Joseph and Benedict showed already signs of being scallywags, trespassing on other mothers and then sampling the mineral lick when they thought no one was looking: The two eldest, Alban and Bartholomew, seemed lost in contemplation of the sun among the molehills, and I thought I might get quite close for a promo shot: But I was spotted and cast a disdainful look: Meanwhile the new boys were finding their legs and learning the art of brotherly love: In light of this preponderance of boys, 8 out of 9 lambs in total, surely there is a clear omen discernible. This is a near-certain sign that the next pope will be male. You heard it here first.