So, this bloke, this townie, says: ‘and how did you know they were your two ewes when you found them in old Sam’s flock?’ Well, you can’t say what springs to mind can you? I mean he wasn’t to know better, I suppose, and ‘how do you find your bum with both hands?’ well, it wasn’t going to help. So I just said: ‘Well each sheep is different, isn’t it? Each face? And the body and the way the tail hangs. But more than that, they didn’t look right at home in Sam’s flock – and of course when I called, they looked straight up and at me.’
Well, of course they did. My sheep.
Awkward little sods, sheep. If they do go missing it is always in vile weather – too hot, too cold, the first really wet day for months. And then they are always looking for an opportunity to die – get stuck, get tangled up, hurl themselves of a bit of rock, anything will do. And then they are always needing something – feet sorted, wool off, fed, something. Endless ruddy work.
But just call, and they will follow. My sheep just follow me. The hardest thing I need to do, each year, is to decide which animals go for cull. Each year, we breed a few more than we need. For the good of the flock, you need to pick out which are to go – to die. Sacrificed, you might say. One or two actually are, of course, sacrificed. But each one that goes, it’s a sacrifice to make the rest stronger, healthier. Poor ruddy sheep.