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.
View from the tearooms at Shelley
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
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
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?
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?
Richard Bell, email@example.com