The afternoon was not what I'd hoped for. I arrived home from the hairdresser to find bantams clustered around the door and, as I unlocked it, I heard the phone ringing. It was a neighbour the other side of the field saying that the two cows that were brought here this morning were out. I left a note for the Sage and went to find them.
They were in a field where some men were working, painting an old tractor and cutting some grass. I said I'd see if I could find where the cows had got out, mend it and come back to drive them back to the field. I phoned Jonny to tell him and he said that it was the second time they'd got out, he'd been over once already, so I said that I'd get them back in. The Sage wasn't home, so I asked Al to help me. They were reasonably biddable, we got them back, fastened up the wire and then chivvied them onto the Ups and Downs where, I knew, the fencing was very secure and there were no weak spots. And yet, I was mistrustful, so I went back out again - sure enough, one of the cows was about to barge down the barrier across the stream which divides the fields. I spoke sharply to her and they both moved away.
The next forty minutes was frankly not very nice at all. No. 77 was, I soon realised, the breaker-out. She was very annoyed about being thwarted and set off round the field to find a weak spot. No. 400 followed for a while, but then settled down to chew the cud. 77 came towards me, trying to go around towards the stream, but I headed her off. Every few minutes she approached again, each time getting bolder and I had to wave my arms and shout, whereas to start with just a stern word was enough. Finally, the Sage arrived home and came to find out what was going on. I said that we had to tie up the gate to make it more secure and he said he'd go for rope - at that moment, 77 ran at me. Half a ton of pregnant dairy cow coming at you is scary, I can tell you. I shouted loudly and waved my arms and she veered away and ... the Sage saw that I wasn't exaggerating when I had told him what was going on.
Anyway, he tied up the gate and we left, but she has still barged it down again. We've phoned Graham, the farmer and Jonny's dad, and he said that she's very attached to her friends and misses them. There's a very narrow bridge back towards the farm and if she dares brave that, she may arrive home of her own accord. The Sage has gone to see if he can find her, and asked me to stay by the phone. I know that he actually doesn't want to see me having another run-in with 77, I suspect it was just as scary for him to watch as it was for me, but I'm anxious about him. I've given him my phone, as I know it'll get a signal down there, in case he needs any help.
Ah. He's just got back and says he's driven her on to another field. She might find her own way home, in any case, they will find her in the morning. No. 400 seems quite relieved to have our field to herself for a while. Hopefully, they'll bring Big Pinkie tomorrow and the two of them can settle down together.