Saga of a woman old enough to know better who lets her life be governed by the ridiculous hobby of breeding and showing dogs, musing on life, the twenty first century, Cameron and his mini-me, and the occasional sheep.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Goats have always figured in my local landscape. I never kept one myself, but they have always been around, somehow.

I used to have a neighbour at the end of the road who proposed to make his fortune with a Goat Farm. (What do you say to someone who tells you that? I think you just have to be very kind to them.) He bought in goats from everywhere - goats are easy to get (sometimes they pay you to take them) - and they all brought their own diseases, which they happily transferred to the other goats, and he rapidly became the vet`s best friend, the one financing his villa in Spain. (I feel I just might have taken over that position now.)

He used to phone me and ask "Have you heard of..." and name some ailment only mentioned in my sheep manual as exceptionally rare and lethal.

One day I found him in deepest gloom. He had visited his Bank Manager to ask for a loan to finance expansion of the Goat Farm. Amazingly, he had been refused.

"How could he do that? I mean, you go in for a car loan and they just say yes. And a car depreciates in no time. But a business prospect like a Goat Farm.....!"

I had a sudden vision of the expression on the Bank Manager`s face as he heard the magic words "Goat Farm". I made consoling noises. I felt it was not quite the time to mention that neither Richard Branson nor Bill Gates had built their empires on goats. I could see Alan Sugar on "The Apprentice" saying - "today I want you go go out and set up a profitable Goat Farm" and the young business hopefuls screaming "Enough, Sir Alan - we quit! We`ll just go and work in Macdonalds!"

Eventually he left for the borders. Yes, he took all the goats. No, I haven`t heard.

There`s just one goat left there now. The old goat. As I came past yesterday she was sitting in the field looking all around.

"She`s been there all day", said her owner. "I trimmed her feet this morning and she doesn`t trust them any more. She thinks they don`t quite belong to her any more."'

She sighed.

"This happens every time now. She`ll be over it by tomorrow. I`ll give it an hour, then I`ll go and carry her in. "

Out in the field I swear I saw a goatish smirk.
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