Friday, 30 October 2009

Smoke and sheep

Our moorland roads are pretty, but there are hazards.
Definitely not the place to drive in ice or snow. Even in mid-summer and autumn there are heather fires and sheep on the road. There were several plumes of smoke on the hillsides when we drove this way a week or two back, and driving through the down drift we got a lovely whiff of heather smoke.
Made me think of garden bonfires we had as a child. Now of course we live in smokeless zones. We've definitely lost something in our modern life with central heating and plain walls instead of open hearths. I still remember crouching by the fire, cheeks glowing in the heat, with a piece of bread on a toasting fork. "Is it done yet? Is it done yet? Ahhhh! it's burnt!" Nothing happened and then in a second, the toast went from white to black! a great learning experience about the way fire burned and might burn you should you be stupid enough to play with matches and fireworks.
I admire Sheep. They manage to thrive in the most inhospitable places, through howling winters, snowstorms,and rain sodden summers, all without out help or shelter; but they have no road sense. People say they come down to the road to lick the salt off, but whatever it is, it makes your heart lurch to come around a corner and find them in your way.

They don't always move aside
for cars, either. They have a particularly disdainful way of looking right through you, as if you're in their world and don't belong. Which I suppose is right. If you're a sheep.
I suppose tomorrow night I'll go into grumpy mode and snarl when the trick or treaters come knocking at the door. It is one American custom I really have no time for, and wish it had stayed in the states. Ask the kids standing at your door what it's all about, and they can't tell you. Whatever the rational behind may be, it is still across the pond.


N. Gemini Sasson said...

Jen, several years ago a friend and I rented a car in Wales and very quickly learned to watch out for the sheep. Unlike deer who sprint across the road, the sheep do tend to just stand there. We're used to fences here in the States. Don't often see livestock out roaming down the road.

And I guess I never realized you had wildfires there, since it's so damp. Wow.

Jen Black said...

Oh, they're not wildfires. The farmers set them so the heather produces new green shoots for the sheep to eat.