Of Sheep and Men
Since extricating myself from the sulphuric clutches of Dodgydagoland I’ve sought some purpose and meaning in my quiet, uneventful life. As I’m only in Germany for a few months, just until my December holiday and then a few weeks afterwards, establishing a truly regular routine is senseless. Through pure accident, however, I’ve found purpose and meaning in my life. I am a sheep observer.
Since returning to Hunland I’ve started bringing carrots, old bread and any other assorted fruits and vegetables that would otherwise have been binned to a flock of friendly sheep. We’ve developed a warm rapport with each other and a number of them have started to answer to the names I’ve given them. There’s Maaaggie, a black-faced ewe with a puff of sable wool on her forehead. There’s the lovely, for a sheep, Beeehtina with delicate features and a purplish grey face. Beeehrtha is among the friendliest and gregarious of ewes, but she’s prone to binge-eating and burping in my face. Sheep burps are not fragrant. They’re more pleasant than Dodgydagos, but only in relative terms.
Sheep behaviour has many eerie parallels to human behaviour, save that sheep show more frequent moments of independent thought and free will. Most days I make a point of not bringing more than three carrots with me. I enjoy feeding sheep, but do not feel responsible for supporting an entire flock. Unless I can adopt Beeehtina. I’d be very happy to have her munch away happily on the grass in my garden. I doubt me Nan would be as content to see her beloved flowers and herbs disappear into the woolly cavity of a ewe! Where was I? Oh yes, feeding sheep carrots.
Beeehrtha is a bloody pig. She’s the largest of the ewes and, unless another of the friendlier ewes is 10 yards closer, the first to greet me, poking her head through the sheep fence. Far less charming are Maaariah, a snow-white ewe and Jemimaaah, the only black sheep in the flock. Jemimaaah is the less obnoxious of the two. Maaariah is almost as aggressive as Beeehrtha in terms of demanding additional bits of carrots. As both are often some of the later sheep to arrive, they’re more likely to have to go without carrots resulting in Maaariah and Jemimaaah butting each other’s heads and bleating hysterically.
I’ve noticed that some of the ewes, especially Beeehrtha and Beeehttina, have let me pat them and stroke their wool. They’ve developed a sense of trust in me and I continue to strengthen this through ensuring that they only get the freshest carrots from the Rhineland. On rare days I have nothing to offer them and simply walk past. Beeehttina bleated at me mournfully today. I bought 2.2 pounds of carrots soon after and will make sure to secret her an additional small carrot by way of apology.