Friday, 16 September 2011

Dancing sheep and scary toast

September has been an interesting month.  One of the highlights has been this week with the World Sheepdog Trials on TV.  Mind you, it took me a while to realise all the whistling wasn’t aimed at me – I stared intently at B and W for the first 15 minutes to see if their lips were moving, then did a couple of tours of the house looking for the phantom shepherd before I realised where the sound was coming from.  In their usual juvenile way, they found this highly amusing of course.  I then spent the next hour glued to the screen, occasionally checking behind it when the sheep ran off into the distance.
Sheep have played a big part in my life recently. It all started when, in a sudden moment of clarity one morning, I realised that the garden fence is actually only three feet tall, so I jumped over it.  Next I jumped over the neighbours’ fence – and then, having reached maximum velocity*, cleared the five foot wall into the sheep field.   The woolly ones got quite a shock at my sudden arrival, and by the time Beard followed me over the wall in his pyjama trousers, I had them neatly pinned into one corner.  I thought he’d be impressed by this, but he was incandescent, dragged me back to the cottage and set up a complicated rope system that means I am now clipped on to a wire every time I go out of the front door.  Grrrr.
We went to the local Food and Drink Festival not long after that, which is held at a nearby farm. Due to the fantastic British summer weather, this had all the charms of the Somme, with desperate looking stall holders plying gourmet cheeses and chilli flavoured chocolate, while cagoule-clad visitors stumbled through two feet of welly-sucking mud to get to them.  I passed several toddlers spread-eagled face-down in the mud while their parents attempted to carry buggies over the mire. There were cooking demonstrations, folk musicians and even a circus tent, but the best thing of all was the sheep show.
photo: Flickr Richard Gillin

This was hosted by Craig the New Zealander, who introduced us to his collection of sheep friends. With much abuse targeted at Australians and rather too much innuendo for a morning’s family entertainment, he ended the performance brilliantly with a whole row of sheep, who were dancing ... yes dancing....  to ‘The Hustle’ by the late great Van McCoy.  Baaahrilliant.

I have also had lots of visitors – Skydiver Liz (who has now gone off to throw herself out of a plane); Pilates Susie; Andrea the Accountant; Vicar Jan (who I will love forever because she brought her empty butter container to lick) and -perhaps  most exciting of all – Friendly Pete, who brought my first ever dog visitor, Poppy the Spaniel.  In all honesty, she didn’t share my enthusiasm for intimacy on a first date but we had a good run around on the field, so all was not lost.

Finally, the downside of the month is that I have developed a morbid fear of toast.  Apparently this is a Pavlovian thing.  For some unknown reason, W routinely burns the toast.  This sets off the smoke alarm, which hurts my sensitive dog ears, so I run away.  Now I only have to sniff or clap eyes on a piece of jammy toast and I have a complete panic attack.
So, in conclusion, I love dancing sheep and I really, really hate toast.

*A fit collie can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. That’s faster than Beard’s Landrover

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