Heading out in a circuitous manner to check the level of the ford*, along what is probably the only footpath in the area that doesn’t lead the unwary walker straight into a bog, we found our way blocked by these:
Now, there’s nothing that makes me feel more the ignorant townie than coming across unexpected livestock. Sheep, to my London-born eyes, belong in fields or, if they’re out and about, trucks or, at the very least should be accompanied by a dog and shepherd. But these sheep seemed reasonably happy (at least until we came along) browsing on the vegetation along the track. Were they escaped sheep? Or were they supposed to be there? And how were we supposed to know the difference, our knowledge of sheep husbandry being confined to the Christmas special episodes of One Man and his Dog? So we did what all good townies do, and stood around for a while, hoping someone would come along who knew what to do. But the problem with the country – or rather, its defining characteristic – is that there never is anyone about. There was the distant sound of some machinery laying waste to something in the background, there was us, and there were the sheep.
I don’t know, what are we supposed to do in this situation? If we ignore it, and it turns out the sheep weren’t supposed to be there, then we’re just ignorant townies who don’t take responsibility for things that they see. And if we try and find someone to tell them, and the sheep are supposed to be there, then we’re just ignorant townies who don’t know how the countryside works and try and interfere all the time. So we just waited until the sheep found a field all by themselves – and who knows, it may even have been the right one – and then we continued our walk.
Anyway, if you recognise them, and you’ve lost them, let me know…
*Six inches, since you ask, such is the mysterious way of the ford