The day you get need not necessarily be the day that you expected when you woke up. Certainly Sal had an interesting morning. I was feeding sheep and a lamb attacked her. In this case the ‘lamb’ weighed forty kilos and is nearly a year old. It was standing a couple of yards away from her and suddenly put its head down and charged her.
Of course she wasn’t there when the lamb arrived, just body swerving to allow it to go past. So for the next ten minutes they played together, the lamb prancing and charging it, and Sal quietly avoiding it and then loitering so that the lamb was tempted to have another go. This game amused them both until I fired up the quad ready to go to feed the next bunch and Sal abandoned her playmate to come with me.
And then we had one old ewe who had a somewhat rude awaking. The next bunch we had to feed consisted of fifteen ewes and their new-born lambs. Fourteen ewes saw me (and Sal) and thundered downhill to be the first to get to the feed. The problem is there was no sign of the fifteenth. So Sal and I wandered over the crest of the hill and there was our errant ewe, fast asleep in the sun, topping up her tan. Sal wandered across, the ewe’s two lambs scurried off to one side, then stopped to watch with interest what happened next. The ewe was awakened by a Border Collie bitch sniffing her nose. She leapt to her feet and ran to join the others.
‘A good job done’, I thought to myself. She’s bound to join the others and get her share of the feed.
By the time Sal and I crossed the crest again, the bluidy auld witch had gone and panicked the others and they’d all abandoned the feed and were forming a vaguely defensive clump fifty yards from it. Fortunately when they saw Sal the clump shuffled, in a somewhat embarrassed fashion, away from her and incidentally back to the feed.
And then that done I had to nip some meat in to the local homeless centre. Basically, having seen the meat our local homeless centre could afford (It’s a charity supported by donations) I was left feeling it must be bad enough being homeless without having to eat that stuff. So to cut a long story short I had a word with a butcher I knew and just bought a full forequarter from him. (Buy a full forequarter and it’s surprising how good a deal you’ll get.) Mainly it’s mince and stewing steak, there aren’t many joints at the front end. Then I phoned and emailed friends in various churches and elsewhere and told them what I’d done and would they like to chip in. Since then we’ve been on a roll and have kept them in beef. Ironically when the horsemeat scandal broke it struck me that in this town, the Homeless were eating better meat that a lot of people who were considerably wealthy.
But anyway I tend to store the beef in a freezer here and just drop a month’s supply off at a time (it means they have freezer space ready for your donation.)
So I drove into town with the beef. As I made my way down the street to them there was a traffic warden looking with disfavour at a builder’s van parked illegally outside the centre. The manager was there and discussions were underway. I parked down the back street and carried my two bags of meat into the centre. As I passed the traffic warden I gestured back to my car and said ‘I’m just dropping off, I’ll be gone soon.’
The warden just grinned and said, “Worrying about people carrying bits of cut up dead bodies in and out of homeless centres isn’t part of my job.”
Humour from a traffic warden? I took the meat in, handed it over to the kitchen staff and made my way out. The builder was now present and manager, builder and traffic warden were in deep conversation.
The traffic warden said, “Why don’t you just stick your van down the side street where he’s parked.” With this he pointed at me. “He’s just leaving.”
Keen to seem helpful I said, “Yes, I’m just leaving.”
“Can I?” Asked the builder.
“No problem.” And with this the traffic warden started to cancel the ticket. Then conversationally the traffic warden commented, “I had my formal appraisal yesterday. I was torn off a strip for two things. Firstly I’m too lenient.” Here he paused and looked at the ticket he’d just cancelled. “And then they tore a strip off me because I’m too strict.”
The manager asked, “Would you like a cup of tea or coffee?” There was a general feeling that he probably needed one.
“I’m sorry I cannot have one whilst I’m on duty. I’m not allowed to cross the threshold.”
Without thinking I said, “But even vampires can cross the threshold if they’re invited.”
I then contemplated what I’d just said.
And the traffic warden burst out laughing, shook my hand and said he’d have to remember that one.