Tuesday 8 September 2009

Little Bo Peep

Last Wednesday the summer gave and it started to rain. I knew it would happen, readers of this blog would have been aware and even the French Meteorological Institute issued a forecast.

Consequently it was a surprise then that Antoine and Pierrot, enigmatic shepherd and local farmer respectively, were caught unawares.

Laurel and Hardy as they shall now be known knocked on the kitchen door, looking decidedly damp, and asked if – by chance- we had spare protective gear.

We supplied them with two heavy rubber raincoats – last used in extreme grumpiness by my teenage daughter when she went camping with her friend who is NOT her boyfriend, just a friend.

They are not very fashionable it seems.

Laurel and Hardy were happy and splashed back to the potentially exciting, if unenviable task, of laying low voltage electric fencing in preparation for a mass sheep party in our meadow.

Apparently drought has severely compromised bovine grass consumption across the valley and our tangled fields are the last hope.

Last night they were there again and Hardy explained, in detail, the routing of the cable, the sound of the electric pulse that would emanate and whether the sheep would be wearing bells.

Laurel just stood and grinned.

I was unsure why they were offering me so much information, and even more puzzled why they kept asking if it was ok.

Did I have a choice?

As far as I could see they had already set all the fence posts into the ground and the sheep were probably already massing in the woods.

The sheep duly arrived two days later, it took four hours for them to make the journey along path, track and field from their own scorched earth, accompanied on the occasion by Laurel and Hardy – of course – their wives, their friends, their friends children and their friends children’s friends.

There is nothing like a seasonal sheep moving to have an excuse for a picnic, so they set up in the meadow next to the house and opened camembert, baguette and a bottle of wine.

It was good that they were they, practical that a farmer is, because when I reversed out to take Minnie to ballet I drove into their van and took of the front section of my own car.

Krissie who is reading this in Germany, don’t panic, it was nothing that a few tipsy sheep farmers with some string couldn’t fix.

Today as I write, it is early morning – the start of what is going to be a magnificent September day, the moon looking slightly out of place in a sharp blue sky.

Below in the valley I can hear an occasional distant bleat and the tumbling sound of sheep bells sounds like cascading water on a mountain stream.


Janet Bianchini said...

We have the same here in Abruzzo called "Transhumanza" - the moving of sheep from the mountains to the lowlands every year. I know the feeling, trying to go down our dirt track "road" but being hampered by hundreds of bleating sheep, crossing the track in a leisurely fashion...without a care in the world.

popps said...

one stops - they all stop.
one moves to the left - they all move to the left.
Behaving like ....a bunch of sheep.

Vicki Hollett said...

I love the way I get transported into another world when I visit your blog

popps said...

Thank you Vicki, that's a really nice thing to say
And wierdly coincidental, as yesterday i was working with someone who is doing intensive English lessons and i was meant to do phone language.
I used my usual supports and it was too difficult for her, i finished the session feeling that i had failed.
today i was lucky to get a second bite at the cherry as i had another two hours with her.
I grabbed a book from the shelves in the office knowing that it would be perfect for her.
As i marched towards the photo copier i looked at the cover.
One of yours!
Thanks again.