So, a few days after my misadventure with the sheep, I headed back to the scene of the crime: only this time, I took reinforcements, in the shape of Terry and Rubin.
By this point, I had found out a bit more about my woolly friends, and had discovered that I had not, as I’d thought at the time, broken some important countryside law by getting up close and not-particularly-personal with them. No, it turns out this is part of a visitor centre where people can take their kids to learn about farming, and farmyard animals, and stuff like that. It’s known locally as “The Farm”, and, you know, you can say what you like about the place I live, but there’s no shortage of imagination here, there really isn’t.
Of course, as soon as I found out I was actually ALLOWED to be in a field with sheep, I wanted to go back. And I wanted to take Terry and Rubin with me. (Don’t worry: Rubin was kept tightly leashed at all times, and we made sure that dogs were allowed in the area before talking him there. They are, but even if they weren’t, I’m pretty sure the biggest danger would’ve been the sheep mistaking him for One of Their Own and trying to reclaim him. Anyway!) So, off we set, and soon we arrived at a pen containing four sheep (only some of the animals are allowed to wander free, the rest are in enclosures): three white ones and one black sheep. “I know how you feel, mate” I quipped, hilariously, stopping to have a look at them.
As soon as I stopped, however, the black sheep and I locked eyes:
And I’m guessing I must have been a sheep in a former life (which is TOTALLY the kind of thing that would happen to me, incidentally. Why couldn’t I have been a princess or something?), because the next thing I knew, that sheep was trotting towards me, and thrusting its head through the fence to be petted. Well, who was I to resist? I don’t remember ever petting a sheep before (although, again, it seems like exactly the kind of thing I would do), so I patted its head for a minute, and then headed off to join Terry and Rubin, who were standing some distance away, looking bored. (And, in Rubin’s case, looking like a sheep.)
The sheep came with me.
I broke into a jog. So did the sheep.
When I reached the end of its enclosure, my sheep friend was forced to stop, but it clearly wasn’t happy about it, because it stood there with its woolly body pressed against the fence, staring balefully after me. “Would you look at that!” I said to Terry. “Sheep love me! I’m a Sheep Whisperer!”
And you know what? I totally AM a sheep whisperer. Because a few days later? I went back, during my morning run. And this time I managed to “whisper” two more sheep. Here is one of them:
The fourth sheep, however, remains elusive. I think it’s playing hard to get:
I’ll get it, though. I will draw it to me with my, um, animal magnetism. (Do you see what I did there?) The Sheep Whisperer will not fail! I will collect the full set! And once I have collected the full set I will…well, actually, I have no idea what happens then. Maybe they give you a free set of mugs, or a special badge or something?
Now that I’ve gone all Dr Doolittle, I visit the sheep every so often, during the course of my run. I think of them as my friends. (THIS IS WHY I DON’T GOT NO HUMAN FRIENDS!) I also no longer eat lamb.
Oh yeah: and I write about sheep now. This is what it’s come to. THIS is how bad my summer was. God, I need a break.
(Also: I haven’t even BEGUN to tell you about the cows…)