Multicultural dog in a manger


Sal is a Border Collie, a working dog. Thus she does seem to get a bit tetchy about other dogs. It’s as if she cannot really see the point of them. But then she’s perfectly happy playing with the older lambs if the spirit moves them, and she and the cows have an interesting relationship. She has never had to do much with cattle. So she can meander among them and they don’t take offence, merely sniffing her as she wanders past.

The other thing that fascinates her is what the cattle and sheep eat. She quite likes sheep nuts, and when anybody feeds calves she always tags along in case there is some milk spare. (By spare she really means ‘left unattended’.)
But still when I was tidying up the silage at the feed barrier, I wasn’t surprised that she joined me.

As well as silage, the cows are also getting some fodder beet and they love it Sal had been watching them eat it and may have noticed their obvious enjoyment. I’ll not attempt to analyse the thought processes but they seem to be along the lines of, “Cows like dairy cake and I like dairy cake, therefore if cows like fodder beet, I might like fodder beet.

So she wandered across to try some. The cows largely ignored her presence. It certainly wasn’t something they were willing to delay lunch for. She found a piece and chewed it, somewhat meditatively. It rather reminded me of a diner sampling an unknown curry in a new restaurant. Still Sal seemed to find this new ethnic cuisine she was sampling a little bland. Given that the average Border Collie seems to delight in such delicacies as a piece of stinking afterbirth, I can understand her finding fodder beet less toothsome.

At this point a cow noticed a piece of the beet with a small dog attached. A head two to three times the weight of Sal swung across and nudged her away from it. I don’t think Sal thought the vegetarian option was worth making a fuss about.

But anyway, not long after this, a wagon load of cake arrived. When I started in farming unloading a feed wagon involved carrying half hundredweight bags by hand and stacking them in a store, now the cake is just blown in.

The day was cold. Further inland it had been freezing and the weather forecast was for freezing rain and black ice. But whilst it was cold it hadn’t started raining. It was pretty obvious that we couldn’t get black ice, the ground was too warm, but you only need to go a couple of miles from the coast for all that to change.

Anyway with the wagon unloaded, the driver explained that she wasn’t allowed to drive for another four minutes, because of rest periods and drivers hours.

So we watched the rain roll in. The longer she sat about in our yard, the worse the weather was going to get. All she wanted was to get on, get the job done, and get home before it started snowing.

But no, she had four minutes more to wait. I’m not sure what she was expected to do in that four minutes. To put it bluntly, with wind chill it’s been so cold that you’d need more than four minutes to get enough layers off to allow you to go to the toilet!
But never mind, somebody in an office somewhere wrote down the regulations and it isn’t the role of the little people to question the pontifications of the wise. Our place is merely to hear and obey.


Still if you want to know more about what Sal gets up to, try




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42 thoughts on “Multicultural dog in a manger

  1. jenanita01 December 15, 2018 at 8:32 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on anita dawes and jaye marie.

  2. jenanita01 December 15, 2018 at 8:32 pm Reply

    never a dull moment with Sal…

    • jwebster2 December 15, 2018 at 8:57 pm Reply

      When in the presence of livestock, stories come quietly creeping out 🙂

  3. The Story Reading Ape December 15, 2018 at 9:23 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    It’s a dog’s life…

  4. jwebster2 December 15, 2018 at 9:29 pm Reply

    Glad you enjoyed it kind sir 🙂

  5. acflory December 15, 2018 at 11:11 pm Reply

    Hi Jim. I really enjoyed the story about Sal and the farming but…I’m really curious…are you the same Jim Webster who writes about Tallis Steelyard?

    • jwebster2 December 16, 2018 at 7:17 am Reply

      I am indeed 🙂

      • acflory December 16, 2018 at 7:26 am

        Ah hah! I very much enjoyed your book. Intend to leave a review on Amazon before xmas. Apologies for taking so long but this time of year is insane.

      • jwebster2 December 16, 2018 at 9:02 am

        Fear not, I read about your sink 🙂

      • acflory December 16, 2018 at 12:27 pm

        Yeah…hasn’t been a good day. Had to go out to buy a bucket to put in the sink to wash the dishes…it’s made me painfully aware of how awful life must have been in the bad old days!! No nostalgia here. 😦

      • jwebster2 December 16, 2018 at 12:34 pm

        yes due to storms and bad weather we were without electricity for six and a half days in the depths of winter a few years back. Nostalgia rarely survives contact with the reality 🙂

      • acflory December 18, 2018 at 2:54 am

        Oh my god…did you have some other kind of heating at least???

      • jwebster2 December 18, 2018 at 7:22 am

        We cook on an oil fired rayburn cooker, we had one room with an open fire. We had a tractor powered generator which kept the milking parlour and bulk tank running and it had one socket we could draw power off for the house, this kept the freezers in the house going. But we had no electric light, no other heating and I could unplug the freezers for half an hour and plug the computer in and go on line briefly (But we were on dial up )
        And of course the tractor powering the generator was under our bedroom window so when anybody wanted to sleep we had to switch it off!

      • acflory December 18, 2018 at 8:34 pm

        My jaw actually dropped, reading this. I know people find workarounds for things and put up with the things they can’t workaround, but that must have been a hell of a time. :/

      • jwebster2 December 18, 2018 at 10:07 pm

        yes we get power cuts most years but this one was special. Dead of winter and everything
        It did get a bit grim to be honest
        The one advantage was because the rayburn heated our hot water you could have virtually as many baths as you wanted, but in the dark (or by candle light) 🙂

      • acflory December 19, 2018 at 12:22 am

        Must have felt like returning to a dawn-to-dusk life style. I can barely imagine it. 😦

      • jwebster2 December 19, 2018 at 7:01 am

        It does get a bit depressing to be honest. Part of that came from the fact that I was contacting the power company twice a day, getting their emergency helpline who would first tell us we had electricity and then promised to deal with it
        Finally on the 6th day the local radio had a phone in to the boss of the utility company involved and I managed to be second person on the phones to him. We got the power back next day!

      • acflory December 20, 2018 at 12:00 am

        Wow…that’s awful. So they just sat on their hands???

      • jwebster2 December 20, 2018 at 7:38 am

        you’ve prompted me to write it all up as a blog 🙂

      • acflory December 20, 2018 at 9:47 pm

        lol – good!

  6. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt December 15, 2018 at 11:18 pm Reply

    Are they monitoring where their drivers are, and whether they are moving? Otherwise, how can they tell?

    Seems a little rigid, but drivers given leeway? Heaven forbid!

    • jwebster2 December 16, 2018 at 7:18 am Reply

      All lorries have a tachograph and have done in the EU since 1985

    • jwebster2 December 16, 2018 at 7:18 am Reply

      Oh as for the tachograph, it’s this

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt December 16, 2018 at 4:46 pm

        I learn something new every day. Thanks!

      • jwebster2 December 16, 2018 at 5:21 pm

        it’s interesting how some places assume something is normal and yet in other equally civilised places they’ve never heard of it 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt December 16, 2018 at 6:56 pm

        The name was new – to me; I assume that shipping companies in the States have similar things. And the article mentioned Mexico, where I grew up – and where ANYTHING that organized surprises, but they have companies trying to make a profit, too.

        Like your sheep stories, just out of my ken.

      • jwebster2 December 16, 2018 at 7:02 pm

        I suspect they’re fitted in a lot of places

  7. Widdershins December 16, 2018 at 2:25 am Reply

    Four minutes! … some pencil-pusher had waaaay too much time on his hands.

    • jwebster2 December 16, 2018 at 7:19 am Reply

      It may be that she had longer but had managed to use the time for unloading, but there was still four minutes left and she couldn’t move until that four minutes was up!

  8. M T McGuire December 16, 2018 at 9:11 am Reply

    Love it. Break seems weird. I think the rest breaks are usually 15 minutes.

    • jwebster2 December 16, 2018 at 11:06 am Reply

      I wonder if she’d managed to fudge some of it into her unloading time, but still was stuck with the extra four minutes, spent stressing about how much worse the roads could be getting

      • M T McGuire December 17, 2018 at 11:17 am

        Could be. It’s a pity there isn’t any slack but the stories round here, of folk who are not from the UK and fall asleep at the wheel because they ignored the driving laws can make pretty grim reading so for the most part I’m in favour of this one even though I feel extremely sorry for your delivery lady having to stand there and watch the weather close in

      • jwebster2 December 17, 2018 at 2:53 pm

        The ones who fall asleep will have trucks fitted with a tacho, it’s just nobody bothers checking them until after an accident. It’s like all these things, it was introduced so that government back in 1985 could say ‘it had done something’ but isn’t actually used. If police just pulled up lorries for a tacho check like they do potential drink drivers, then it might have an effect
        The honest ones sit and watch the weather close in, the idiots ignore it and drive on 😦

      • M T McGuire December 17, 2018 at 3:23 pm

        Yep that’s very true.

  9. M T McGuire December 16, 2018 at 9:11 am Reply

    Then again that’s buses, which may be different.

    • Jen Stocks December 16, 2020 at 10:02 pm Reply

      Service buses don’t have tacho’s (in London anyway), but we have “modules” (that probably do exactly the same job), a clearly defined “duty” (route and timetable), plus 18 onboard CCTV cameras which constantly download to the servers. Coaches have tacho’s, and similar restrictions to LGVs (don’t know why the EU had to change the name in the early 90s – the entire UK population, including the Department for Transport, still refers to trucks as HGVs).

    • Jen Stocks December 16, 2020 at 11:07 pm Reply

      Service buses don’t have tacho’s, but in London (where I drove buses) we have “modules”, GPS tracking, rigidly defined “duties” and 18 onboard CCTV cameras that constantly download to the servers. Long distance and private hire coaches have tacho’s, same as trucks. There is a big difference between domestic and EU regulations and only a small percentage of organisations can run their trucks (eg some Parcelforce trucks) on domestic regs.

  10. patriciaruthsusan December 16, 2018 at 9:15 am Reply

    Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Sal seems an interesting dog, very inquisitive. A book by Jim Webster is on offer that tells more about her.

    • jwebster2 December 16, 2018 at 11:07 am Reply

      Oh she’s inquisitive, which makes it a real joy to watch her reacting with cows who’re also inquisitive 🙂

  11. Stevie Turner December 16, 2018 at 9:35 am Reply

    Too many rules and regulations these days, and too many ‘big brothers’ watching. Somebody in an office probably can tell these days if the driver hasn’t taken a break.

    • jwebster2 December 16, 2018 at 11:08 am Reply

      They can with the tachograph. 😦
      If a lorry is in an accident, even as an innocent party, it’s the first thing that gets checked

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