Thursday 6 December 2012

100 sheep and a cow

Some years ago, one of the subjects up for debate at the WI AGM was the introduction of compulsory identity cards.  I was on the committee of the local branch at the time and I said 'My mum will tell the story of the sheep and the policeman."  And so she did.

I should explain that societies discuss the motions chosen for debate, vote and their delegates go to the AGM, which I think are held in the Albert Hall, but if I'm wrong someone will correct me.  It takes up the whole of the May meeting, so we don't have a lecture or whatever that day.  I say 'we' but I haven't been a member for several years, though I'll start going again some time, I daresay.

To set the scene - it was high summer and a blistering hot day.  Jane had to move a flock of sheep from one field to another some way down the road.  The sheepdog rounded them up and they set off.  Along came PC Jobsworth, wanting to see her identity card.  She was wearing - well, I don't know, but it can't have been her breeches, must have been a skirt because she didn't have pockets and so she couldn't produce her card.  It was the local copper, he knew her and, as she said, even the most determined spy wouldn't be likely to round up 100 sheep with a dog and drive them down the road.  But he wouldn't listen, and bent her ear for a considerable time, while she had to watch the sheep wandering in all directions.

The point was, of course, that the person most inconvenience by id cards is the honest citizen.

She was good with animals.  I've already mentioned the horses and that she took particular, justified pride in driving a cartload of hay through a gateway where any error would mean disaster.  The cows liked being milked by her too.  Hand-milking, of course.  She was gentle and knew the personality of each cow.  One was knows as a kicker though, timing her kick to when the pail was nearly full for maximum disaster.  And it was inevitable, Jane was caught one day.  Over went the pail and over went Jane, flat on her back.  "You sod!" she exclaimed - which went all over the neighbourhood, no one had ever heard her swear before.


Unknown said...

I've still got my identity card. My late grandmother had a clear out when I was fifty, and gave me my identity card and ration book. Possibly because she felt I was now ready for such responsibility.

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mig said...

There are always people who use a system to indulge themselves. But it makes a good story.

janerowena said...

Hello! I have recently found your blog and have started to read it from the beginning, it would make a wonderful book (or five). Your life (and mine on occasion)reminds me of EM Delafield's The Diary of a Provincial Lady, but without the servants!

Zig said...

I was so taken with the comment from Annon that I've forgotten what it was I meant to say except 'coach on sale'.

Z said...

i trust you've used them wisely, Mike.

It was extraordinarily spiteful, Mig, he must have seen the sheep scattering.

Hello, JaneRowena, thank you very much. That's nearly seven years, surely you won't read every post?

Coach on sale - shall we buy a few, Zig? I wonder how that got past the spam filter. Of course, now you've remarked on it and so have I, I'll have to leave it there or people will think we're barking.

janerowena said...

Z, reading your blog is like finding a very good free book - of course I am going to read it all! I'm currently in June 2007. Well, I'm actually in a little village called Barnham. Having just got back from singing in a concert. With a large glass of red in hand.

Z said...

That's a lovely thing to say, JaneR, thank you very much. I've never re-read my own blog, I think of it as quite ephemeral and rarely look back. You're not that far from here, about 35 miles? Hope to meet you sometime.