Whenever the happy farmer exits to the mainland I seem to get flung in at the deep end on the farm and you can guarantee that is the time when everything seems to go a little bit pear-shaped.
I set off across the fields for a run with the sheepdog, having packed the children off to school at some unearthly hour. I was happily jogging along, lost in my thoughts, the rain very refreshing and the rich vibrant colours of the landscape good for the soul, when I was abruptly brought back into the moment as I was confronted by a very large jogging partner of ginormous proportions, just over the other side of a very small dry stone dyke from me. A stocky Limousin bull was travelling alongside on the single track road going at a fair pace, obviously enjoying his freedom, as he had an excited and threatening bounce to his jogging step. Panic took over, I quickly turned, and fled, the jog becoming a sprint any long distance runner would be proud of, back down the slope and out of sight. Fumbling wildly in my pockets I found my mobile phone and sent an instant distress signal to the happy farmer on the mainland. A few seconds later and my jogging partner was identified as one bull belonging to Farmer T.
The advice given in response to my SOS message was to run back to the farmhouse, whilst being careful to avoid said bull. I took off at some pace, scaling a barbed wire fence and heading into the bracken, a bit of a big diversion, but I did not want to draw attention to myself or the sheepdog, which for some reason was pinned to my heel. Trying to sprint through bracken is quite a skilful technique, one I haven’t quite mastered yet. I could no longer see my jogging partner but as my feet kept getting tangled in the roots of the bracken I suddenly realised that the field gate I would be heading for was open, and said bull could well be making his way into the field to confront me, or at the very least our paths could cross as I had to venture across the single track road he was bounding along, to access the farmhouse.
I sensibly decided to abandon the happy farmer’s advice, after all he really could not appreciate the extreme danger I was facing, indeed he did not seem to understand what all of the fuss was about, but had dutifully promised to contact Farmer T to get him to come and claim back his prized animal. I meanwhile abandoned the field of bracken and re traced my steps heading in the opposite direction to the bull, and raced through the fields to my parents’ cottage, darting across streams and hillocks, trying to keep my balance and maintain an athlete’s pace as I avoided the track, just in case my jogging partner had decided to follow suit, cursing the country way of life as I went, wishing I was back in the concrete jungle and safety of the city.
I arrived, a sweaty, heaving blob, having abandoned the sheepdog, somewhere in the fields, to fend alone against any impending dangers.
I was greeted with a cup of coffee and a chance to regain my composure, before I headed home, having borrowed my parents’ car. I cautiously drove back up the single track road to the farmhouse hoping I was not going to have a collision with my jogging partner.
All seemed quiet. There was no sign of the bull as I ran like lightening from car to house. I ran up the stairs to get an aerial view of the farm to see if I could spy either the missing sheepdog, or the trespassing bull. No sign of the sheepdog, but to my horror, beside the trampoline, in the back garden, at a happy standstill was the bull, grazing away contentedly. Another mercy call to the happy farmer, now in a mainland city away from the perils of the country, and I was reassured that Farmer T was in fact on his way to rescue the bull from the terrorised farmer’s wife so country life could return to some kind of peace and tranquillity.
I gingerly made my way across to the cottages to warn our guests that there was a bull on the loose and that they should keep their youngsters indoors until Farmer T and his ‘pest control’ lorry had been. The cottage people informed me that they had had an entertaining morning. They relayed the joys of country living to me and remarked how lovely it had been to wake up to the sight of what they had considered to be a pet bull in our front garden first thing in the morning, munching away on the grass, and where else in the world would you wake up to such a sight. Good job I had been blissfully unaware of that as my teenagers made their way out across the farm yard to the school bus first thing then.
Sometime later, the rescue party arrived in the form of a big float, transportation for the enemy, and Farmer T with a bucket of food. The bull of course followed Farmer T into that float like a pet dog, far better behaved than missing sheepdog, and was duly transported away back to Farmer T’s pastures.
When the rain clouds gave way to sunshine later on, I was out and about again, in the happy farmers ever so big wellingtons, waterproof trousers held up by ‘hoicking’ the elastic over my shoulder, feeding hens and chasing the sheepdog back to barracks, and once again country life seemed more appealing. The happy farmer was not off the hook though, as the children and I made our way to the village store for sweets, there was a cow, on a neighbouring farm, lying at a funny angle with a calf half born, obviously in some discomfort. I stopped myself from clambering over the fence to give her a hand, as if I could, instead I sent another mayday signal to the happy farmer on the mainland who gave a call a farmer to go to the ‘poor cow’s’ rescue….you never do fully escape your work….
Luckily a mobile phone allows the happy farmer to jump regularly to his poor cow’s rescue!!
Until next time…