5 November 2018

Sheep

Let us return to Friday afternoon at Edale End Farm. Instead of crossing the farmyard, the fenced public footpath wound round the back of the farm buildings. I turned the corner and there were two hundred sheep corralled into this long confined area. It was only six or seven feet wide.

When the sheep saw me, panic ran through the flock and they squeezed up even more. I have often had this effect on women. One of the horny ones rattled the fence by butting it but there was no way out, They were trapped by The Yorkshire Pudding Monster.

Yet I had my own dilemma. To proceed with my country walk, I had to progress through this ovine blockage to the wooden stile at the end. Momentarily, I pictured myself being trampled to death by dozens of  silently hysterical sheep.
I edged closer to the flock and they squeezed up even tighter than before. There were a few "baas" but mostly it was a quiet scene. I sensed their flock mentality - thinking and acting as one - not like individuals. I hoped to stick to the fence and push my way along and then good fortune kicked in.

One of the old girls decided to make a dash for it - running past me to the empty part of the path I had just walked along. And when  she went another fifty sheep bravely followed. It was like squeezing toothpaste out of a tube.

The sheep did not speak. There were no leaders shouting, "Come on girls! Let's go!" Their escape choices were communicated telepathically. With three more of these sudden bursts, all of the flock got past me and you know - as they ran past - not one of those sheep touched me. I would have counted them but feared I might fall asleep.

Why were they there? I think the farmer had deliberately sealed them in the space pending some act  of animal husbandry. Perhaps they were about to be wormed or simply inspected but it all added a frisson of unexpected excitement to my peaceful rural ramble. And what is more - I lived to tell the tale!

24 comments:

  1. Reminds me of the time Paul disappeared when he tried to cycle through a flock of running sheep. He ended up in a nearby field. That top photo is brilliant.

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    1. He should have cycled over the top of them.

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  2. Phew! Thank your good stars that you came out of this adventure unharmed. The silent sheep are the truly dangerous ones, as everybody knows.

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    1. Forget charging rhinos, hungry lions or killer sharks - it's flocks of frightened sheep that humans should be wary of!

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  3. A fine post, Yorkie! May I use the top photo in a post of mine? I wouldn't take it without asking first. It reminded me of Psalm 100:3 -- 'Know ye that the Lord, He is God. It is He that hath made us and not we ourselves. We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture' and also in John 10:3, "He calls His sheep by name'. I know you don't believe this, but I do.

    I don't even want to think about why horny sheep would be scared of you.

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    1. I am glad you noted the horny sheep! And of course you have my full permission to use the sheep photograph - in fact I would be most honoured to allow you that privilege sir.

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  4. Who needs to go all the way to Pamplona to run the bulls when you can simply face horny sheep right where you are?

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    1. A gentleman should never turn his back on a horny sheep.

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  5. I'd like to have seen the farmer's face when he found the sheep dispersed.

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    1. They were trapped Graham with a stile at one end and a stile at the other. There was nowhere for them to go. Furthermore, the farmer was breaking the law regarding public rights of way and unhindered access.

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    2. I appreciate that YP.

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  6. I love that top photo. And now I have an answer to my question from yesterday!

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    1. I wonder how the sheep would have reacted if I had been accompanied by Olga!

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  7. How many times do I have to ram it home to ewe, Yorkie? Ewe never know when danger might strike while ewe are out and about!!!

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    1. I am like a lamb going to the slaughter of your admonishment Lee.

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  8. Who would have thought that a bunch of sheep would put a kink in the Puddings country walk?

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    1. It is not what I expected. I noticed that most of the sheep had RED marks on their backs!

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    2. Hey, I checked. those sheep really do have red marks. Cool!

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  9. The herd-like thinking of sheep can be disconcerting when you're not sure what they're going to do and they're in a confined space, because once one moves, in a second it's like an avalanche. I once had a stand-off with a sheep who appeared to be blocking my way through a gate into the next field. Only at the last minute, when she made a bolt towards me, did I realise she was actually just wanting to get past me, but was terrified in such confined quarters, and was doing her best to avoid me.

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    1. "Disconcerting" is a good word to describe such encounters with sheep. I felt sheepish on Friday afternoon.

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  10. Could ewe not have just gone over the fence and continued on your way without engaging the poor sheep is such angst?

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    1. Some farmers can be very funny if you don't stick to the designated path.

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  11. I think it would have been appropriate for you to have adopted a more sheepish tone for this post, YP :)

    Love the photos.

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    1. Baaa! Baaa! Baaa!...That's all I have to say to you today Jenny.

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