This is the time of year when the cows are put into the sheds for the winter. The cows dislike this. It curtails their freedom. The cowsheds are very very close to the house. The cows spend a lot of time protesting mightily at their confinement. They make a lot of noise. It sounds like they throw themselves bodily at the sides of the shed. Every so often they get lucky and manage to bust their way out. They then run riot, revelling in their freedom, kicking up their heels, mooing and bellowing, churning great hoof marks into the lawns and defecating in huge cow-patty sprays. They can be quite an intimidating herd of bovine hooligans. The ground literally shakes.
If they do this during the day time I can usually either get Farmer himself to come and round them up again or Lovely Warden will find himself a stout stick (“you can do anything if you’ve got a stick”, he informed me. “Makes you feel manly.”) and shoo them back to the shed.
Last night, however, neither were available. The tell-tale signs of cow escape (cowscepades?) were in evidence. They suddenly sounded much, much nearer. And much much louder. There was that Jurassic Park-style vibration effect, with small ripples appearing in my tea as several tons of beef made its way into the gardens. A quick peek outside confirmed the diagnosis. The cows were out.
Lovely Warden had long since gone home for the day, and, as I later discovered, Farmer was having a rare night out and had left his phone behind. It was therefore left to my husband to go and find a stout stick and persuade them to get back to the barns. I like the range of noises people find appropriate to make at cows when trying to direct them. The combination of stick swishing and “Hieee! Hooo!” did the trick, and the cows were safely contained once more.
Tonight we were in the kitchen when the doorbell rang. Farmer had brought a present to say thank you for our herdmanship. Some scouring pads, to get the mud off our boots, some carrots to help us to see better in the dark, a bottle of wine and a brace of pheasants. Fantastic! We must be sure to let the cows out next time we are stuck for something for dinner!