Oh we had a bit of a scare yesterday. Now if any of you are farming stock, remember not to laugh at this.
In the heat of the afternoon it has become my habit to take a nap. Sometimes it is inadvertent, as in falling asleep over the computer because I'm up at six to walk Tim while it is cool, sometimes I do actually take myself to the bedroom and lie down. It is cool there on the west side of the house, and as this terrible heat continues, that is welcome. I was woken yesterday to a crash of the door, Tim barking hysterically and DH saying ‘We’ve got a problem. The cows are in the garden and Tim's setting them off,’ before he dashed off again.
So I go and look. Sure enough, there are two very large beef cattle wandering only yards from the house and Tim is beside me at the window bouncing on his hind legs and barking insults at them. (He came inside when called, which is a good thing.)
H’mm. Unused as we are to dealing with cattle, especially very large ones with horns, I considered that they could wander around the corner and up onto the bolly and into the house. Or fall into the swimming pool and damage both it and themselves They came within ten feet of the bolly and then got interested in some long grass growing by the head of the pound and stayed there, eating. Occasionally casting us an evil look.
We were virtually trapped inside. I suppose we could have legged it in the opposite direction, but where would we have gone? We did not dare let Tim out while they were about, for the mother might have decided to protect her young bullock, or ….anyway, we kept Tim inside and phone Tom, who lives not far away. He knew the farmer to whom the cows belong and volunteered to phone him.
DH suspected the farmer would arrive with a tractor and trailer to take them away. I imagined two men and cattle dogs. DH whizzed down the drive on the little bike and unhooked the chain across the drive for him. He hadn’t got back to the house when a small Renault van came, slowed and bounced across the field to park in the shade of a walnut tree. Out got one man in tee shirt and short shorts, very tanned, very dark, a veritable Rafael Nadal lookalike but ten years older. Bonjours all round and big smiles – ours of relief to see him, naturally. I had stayed on the upstairs balcony with Tim and DH went over to greet the farmer, who raised his cap to me as gentlemen used to do in England and old gentlemen still do.
DH offered him a stick, I think and the farmer laughed and said Non. Off he went, all alone towards the end of the lake where the cattle were eating. We hung out of the window, watching his careful approach, retreat, approach and within five or ten minutes he got first the bullock and then the cow down into the stream. From there he drove them back up the river and into their own field. There was much laughter and relief when he came back to his van and promised to repair the fence. He was as good as his word, too. Twenty minutes later we heard the tap tap tap of a hammer and saw him making good the gap where the cows had simply wandered down the stream and onto the mill land – from where there was open access to the asparagus field and the road and anywhere they chose to roam.