To give you a change from my ramblings, I have asked my best friend and trusted colleague of the past 12 years to write today's blog about Saturday's sheep shearing - it's taken him till today to finish writing it as his ability to use a small laptop keyboard is slightly hampered for obvious reasons...without further ado I will hand you over to Dewi the border collie!
hEllo and thank you for having me. All spelling mistakes, typos and errors are entirely the tall ones fault for not training me properly. I knew something was up on Saturday morning when he came down much earlier than normal. I was still on my bed and hadn't even had time to place myself at the bottom of the stairs for his usual welcome. However, instead of making himself a cup of that brown water (and he moans at me for drinking from ponds) he started putting his boots on! I was up in a flash and all over him. A gabble of 'sound'(?) came out of his mouth, in typical fashion rudely speaking his own language not mine, but I managed to pick out of few key words that I have cunningly deciphered over the years - 'sheep' and 'job on' - that would do for me!
Gathering with the tall one
Befffore I knew it we were up at the shed and he was sitting on the roaring dragon. I don't know how he stays so calm around that thing. I'm a gibbering wreck til he gives me the command to jump up with him and then all is good with the world again. We set off, wind in my ears and the flock appeared in the distance. He slowed down and spoke one of the other 'key words' I have stolen from him - something to do with 'come bye'? Whatever it actually means it has a hypnotic effect over me and I set off like the wind to gather the ewes.
Me in charge of the roaring dragon
Before long they are all safely in the yard - I've got to know a few over the years and when the tall one isn't looking we exchange pleasantries and discuss politics. We hear him approaching so to make it look authentic she headbutts me and I give her a nip. The tall one snarls which is perfectly normal. He doesn't suspect a thing.
4 new people approaching. I recognise one. He makes the sheep look different every year. He gives me a pat. I want to wag my tail but am in work mode so just stare ahead (he'll get a lick off me later). The tall people are all being very relaxed, laughing and joking - weirdly standing apart from each other for some reason...they need to crack on. I've been guarding these sheep for the past 2 hours and there is mutiny afoot and talk of escape.
Looks like they are ready as we are now pushing the ewes into the shearing barn in batches. There is some reluctance by the first lot to go in. The tall ones are clapping hands and making ridiculous noises. I am silent and stealthy - how am I meant to work with these amateurs?! Ok the first lot are in. I'm not putting up with that again so I pick out one of the ringleaders and have a quiet word. She goes back to the other ewes and in exchange for 'no nipping' they propose to send the next 20 in with no fuss. I add 'no headbutting' into the bargain for my own sake and we touch snouts on it. When the time comes they honour their side of the bargain and the tall ones think they are very clever....*sighs*
Negotiations at a key stage
One more batch to go - always the troublesome ones that stay out till the end. There is no negotiating with these. I march up to the ringleader and stare hard, she stares back, I lift a paw, she is bigger and heavier than me but I'm not budging an inch. Eventually she turns and heads into the barn and her gang members follow. You're welcome!
The other tall ones giving the ewes a hair cut
My final job of the day is to move them all out of the yard back into the northern fields. I know this routine and could do it with my eyes shut but the tall one insists on coming with me. He says a few of the magic words and to make him feel better I pretend to be responding to his every command.
They are all back where they should be, clipped for another year. We head back to the house. They drink more hot brown water from 'cups' like the feral beasts they are. I guzzle from the dirty puddle on the manhole cover like a king.
They really couldn't have done any of this without me
One of my favourite days of the year is over. I am drained but happy. He keeps telling people I have 12 years or something (pretty sure I've only got 2) and everyone says 'how well i look' - I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about but I wag my tail anyway.
It's quiet now, my belly is full and its just me and the tall man again. Lying at his feet he gives my tummy a rub and I lick his hand. He'll do I suppose.
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