In Green Pastures

Friday, 19th August 2005

sheepTaking the mums out for the morning, we try out the tearooms and ice cream parlour at at a farm at Shelley. It's the sort of place you expect to come across on holiday - a real country tearooms - but this is just 20 minutes drive from home.

farm, Shelley

View from the tearooms at Shelley

sketches of a sheep


On our way back, we call at Thorncliffe Farm Shop at Emley. While the mums and Barbara browse the produce on offer, I sit by the wall in the car park and start drawing the clouds (above). Then I think, well, I could draw clouds at home, so I cross the road and sit on a drystone wall and start drawing this sheep.

It looks up with at me and I think it - I should say 'she' - is going to trot off down the slope and join the loosely scattered herd.


sheepBut no, she doesn't think I'm much of a threat and she stays sitting there, chewing, looking relaxed and ruminative and turns back to survey, through half-closed eyes, the green pastures and distant woods and the other members of her social group quietly grazing.

Really, it doesn't seem such a bad life. Wish I could acheive such ovine centring and be at peace with wherever I find myself in space and time.

Come to think of it, I do feel that when I'm involved in drawing, as I am now.

Can it be that sheep are the only animal that some economist hasn't worked out a way of rearing in an intensively controlled shed somewhere?


sheepsheepI could easily become vegetarian but if every one decided to do the same, sheep would just die of old age. If I could believe that every sheep could have as contented a life as this one, then I wouldn't mind eating a lamb casserole, in fact I do eat lamb casserole, that's one of my signature dishes out of a very limited repetoire.


Mutton is largely a natural product. I'm sure there are various nasty chemicals involved in keeping them pest free (a farmer's wife once told me that every sheep you buy should be supplied with a free spade because they have a habit of keeling over and dying) but basically all a sheep consists of is converted grass, and all the grass is made from is the elements available for free on this hillside: water, air, sunlight and elements from the soil. So there's a real relationship between the flock of contented fleecy cumulus clouds, trundling slowly from west to east in the sky above . . .

. . . and the contented, fleecy sheep lying below in her green pasture.

I wonder what sheep dream about? Next Page

Richard Bell,