To pastures new

The farmer and his flock

I stepped back and felt a whip crack across the back of my legs. I yelped and hurled myself forward as much in surprise as from pain.

The electric fence looked innocuous and I cursed at having forgotten its presence. Erected to keep wild boar out of the barley, it was also efficient against absent-minded two-legged creatures. I looked down at my calves, which were still smarting, glad that I hadn’t been tempted to put shorts on. My trousers were soaked to the knees from the dew and I imagined that I was excellent conductive matter.

In a sudden bout of early morning enthusiasm I had walked up to the higher fields with my husband; the sheep following a few paces behind us, to pastures where they would spend the morning grazing. I had slipped and slithered in the mud trying to keep up as he strode ahead, puffing from the exertion of the climb; aware that if I tripped I would probably be trodden into the ground by a thousand feet.

Reaching the top on all fours, I gripped a tree root thankfully and hauled myself up into the field, moving quickly out of the way of the stampede of sheep as they ran towards the high grass. I turned and looked across the valley. The mountains opposite, an aesthetic collision of Alps and Provence, had been washed to technicolor brilliance by the storm of the previous evening. Behind me poppies grew wild. I wanted a photo and had seen the perfect specimen the other side of the electric fence…

I staggered over to my husband, laying on the agony, hoping for a bit of “kiss-it-better” treatment.  He was perched on a rock, keeping an expert eye on the flock.

“I’ve just been electrocuted” I announced. He looked round in surprise “Was it you? I thought it was the dog” he said, in a tone that suggested that the dog probably would have got more sympathy. “It’s never happened to me before” I continued with a pained expression. “Well”, he said trying to look compassionate and failing miserably “you won’t be able to say that any more will you?”

Poppies and Barley

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7 Responses to To pastures new

  1. That’s about all the sympathy I’d get from my husband too. Having grown up with horses and electric fences, I know how much that smarts! Ouch!

    Beautiful photos.

  2. I have always siad the French love dogs more than human life. I think you should have pinched your husband and barked OUCH!! 🙂

  3. tut-tut says:

    Your husband is a master of the understatement. Thanks for the wonderful photos–what a vista you have!

  4. meredith says:

    The rain has made everything so green. I love the photos.

  5. Hexe says:

    My husband would have said something similar but then the moment he is sick or injured the entire house must come to a standstill. I’m sure that sometimes it is easier to live with the sheep 🙂

    That photo pulls at my heart. Everytime I see the Alps there is a magnetic attraction and your lovely photos just remind me of my very limited time there and how much I want to return.

  6. cari says:

    Just reading these comments, I realised how similar men must be…I would have had the same/similar response…maybe it’s just farmers, hmmm. Beautiful, beautiful photos as always.

  7. Pingback: The man with the lamb « The mountain dweller

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