So I was just putting the finishing touches on my latest blog post, when I glanced up and looked out of the kitchen window. That’s funny, I thought. The garden has gone all woolly. And is moving and is…
‘Quick! Get out here! The garden is full of sheep!’
Of course, sprinting out of your front door when the garden is full of sheep basically just sends them in all directions, none of them good. The other half’s chief concern was to get them out onto the road and out of our garden, whereas mine was to find out where they had come from and find a responsible adult who might want to take control of the situation, preferably their owner. But there was nobody farmerish to be seen, and this wasn’t just a couple of stray sheep off on a jolly of their own: this was a whole flock of them, all baaing away madly as though they were auditioning for a part in the Archers.
I joined forces with our neighbours, whose grounds were also being invaded. ‘What should we do?’ I asked. ‘Drive them into the road,’ was the reply. ‘They can go to Nearest Village for all I care, as long as they’re out of the garden.’ Fortunately, among the many features of her garden is a little alleyway that ends in a handy gate onto the road, which might almost have been designed for concentrating panicked sheep and letting them out into the road. They set off, headed up another driveway further up the hill and we could see the householder there busily driving them out again. ‘It’s every one for themselves, in this situation,’ our neighbour said. Off the sheep went, disappearing over the brow of the hill while someone went to ring round the farmers to see who might be having one of those Bo Peep moments.
But then, disaster. Along came a cyclist – and in a scary yellow jacket too – coming down the road and now with the entire flock of sheep galloping along in front of him. Because, as we all know, nothing, but nothing, is as frightening to a sheep as a person on a bike. Back down the road they all came, with the light of garden destruction in their eyes. We sprinted before them to stand by our gates, ready to defend our daffodils to the death.
And then, at last, one sheep – somewhat brighter than the rest, perhaps – decided to jump over the dyke and into an empty field. And where one sheep goes, the rest follow. Once they were safely in and innocently eating grass as though they had never been off marauding, we shut the gate – somewhat redundantly, probably, given the ease with which they’d cleared the wall, but it felt like we were doing something. Hopefully they’ll soon get rounded up and placed somewhere more sheep-proof before they take it into their woolly heads to go for another wander. Or maybe another farmer will wake up tomorrow and find himself richer to the tune of about forty rather adventurous ewes.