One Man And His Dog

‘The Ladies’ have been back. Briefly.

Over on the other side of the valley there is a dairy farm. The field opposite had been pretty much deserted over the winter, receiving regular applications of fertiliser courtesy of deposits left in the barn and on the milking parlour floor. Usually when the wind was blowing our way.

The Ladies’ mooing adds much to the bucolic surroundings of the valley, but the highlight of the day comes at about 4.00 p.m. with the call for milking. And working high on the Precipitous Bank does provide the ideal opportunity to rest for a while and watch.

One day this week the farmer appeared as usual, but without his trusty ‘cowdog’. I did wonder at the time if he would regret it. Especially as The Ladies were nowhere to be seen. They do seem to favour an area right at the very bottom of the valley. It must be cooler under the shade of the trees, or perhaps the grass more lush near the river. Whatever, the farmer called and called and then eventually had to walk all the way down the hill.

Opportunities such as this are crucial to the development of our embryonic West Country vocabulary. Perfect timing too, as I deployed some of the same words only yesterday after stabbing my big toe with the garden fork. The expletives, and some mooing, went on for many minutes until the farmer, but no cows, went storming back up the hill.

It was only on his return, with Spot bouncing along at his side, that The Ladies began to move. The ‘fetch’ took in total just over an hour.

What’s worrying is that The Ladies have not reappeared. For two days.

Mike thinks they have been kept in on detention.

I just hope there is not, as we speak, a fresh consignment of burger meat on its way up the M5. It has to be said that ours are not the most energetic bovine neighbours in the land. I can only assume that milk production is satisfactorily achieved from sitting down on the grass and the chewing of cud alone, because this is what The Ladies appear to do best. Last year their milk was contracted to a certain brand of cheddar cheese which, coincidentally, is the one I order from Waitrose. So to be on the safe side I have now ticked the box: ‘substitute if not available’. To cover all eventualities.