Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Sheepgate (and other stories)

Spring is now here and we are up to 25 degrees during the day. Although the nights are clear they are not too cold and so we have forgotten about heating and are beginning to look out our summer clothes (not much different to the winter clothes but just have shorter sleeves!)

Last week Ian celebrated his half century, which required me to make a few mad cakes. Here are the results.
The tractor was all they had in the gift shop that was appropriate. It is made in China!

Cup cakes with chocolate and vanilla butter icing decorated with licorice allsorts
Gremlin the naughty cattle dog is slowly calming down at times. His main difficulties (or should I say our main difficulties) are his over exitement at anything remotely different. To that end we are trying to increase his disciplined exercise and I am trying to run with him (trying because I can't keep up) whereas Ian is trying to get him used to running after the mountain bike without attacking it. We have been having some success although he still runs off unpredictably after an interesting smell or a flapping duck, taking the bike or me with him.

Yesterday Ian took him round the field and I waited on the terrace for them to return. I glanced down towards Herman's field and noticed his sheep running around in all directions. After a while I could just about make out another animal with them. Closer inspection showed a red dog, causing havoc! I concluded the worse; that Gremlin had escaped from Ian and was having a good time on his own. I put on some shoes and made to go across the field, when I saw Ian and Gremlin trotting up together.  Further investigation revealed that Herman's dog had got out of his dog house and was rounding up  the sheep in Herman's absence (only not very gently!). A rescue party was launched consisting of me, Ian and a neighbour. When we arrived we heard the dog in the distance. After calling him a few times he sheepishly appeared (punn intended) and we were able to put him away. Now to look at the damage! There were sheep all over the place; several in the stream, some in different fields, many with big bite marks in their flesh. Ian and the neighbour set about trying to drag the wet sheep from the river and tend to the wounded. It took about and hour of pulling, coaxing, lugging, calling and falling in the stream to get them all accounted for. One lamb was dead and one sheep looked close to death. Herman returned at this point and surveyed the damage. We were amazed to see this morning that all the surviving sheep were still alive and grazing in their field.

Drought is anticipated this year. We walked around the lake with Gremlin this weekend. It should be full at this time of the year but it is less than half full.

As we were walking round the lake a couple warned us that further round there was an 'incident' and we might be turned back. They thought someone may have collapsed (maybe died) as there were Gendarme all around. When we got there it was mid-day and the incident had just been cleared in time for the Gendarme to go for lunch.

Today there was a funeral in the village. I don't know who it was but there were well over 100 people there. It is the third funeral in the village that we have seen and they all have been well attended!

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