Precipice: Menaced by Manic Maternal Mutton!


It is pissing down, and damply unpleasant, today, the kind of grim, grey weather I loathe with a passion and which causes my mood to plummet like a cement-encased corpse.

So, having done a Tesco, with my canine companion lurking miserably in the Peppy Polo (my car, not a freakishly large packet of mint-flavoured crunchy holes!), I decided that a walk up parts of the Tor would do us both the world of good.

The dreary incontinence without almost persuaded me to remain in the dry but, clipping on Jumble’s lead, I approached the turn-stile type gate and, having briefly shut the dog on the other side, surveyed the scene before me.

My first comment was, ‘Oh shit!’

Truly, a double-edged curse, that one, because, before me and as far as the eye could see, was a flock, nay a flotilla, of ewes, lambs and, not to put too fine a point upon it, poo. This, of course, meant that I could not let Jumble off for a good old run – well, a slow amble, in his case – because he is a border collie and chasing sheep, rounding the buggers up and ‘encouraging’ them to slip through life’s gates is part of the breed’s DNA.

Somewhat hacked off, I started to walk over the turd-strewn sward, aiming to avoid small sheep and large faecal piles – a delicate balancing act, if you think about it.

I still, at this stage, had it in mind to stride to the top of the field and attempt at least the bottom of the Tor, but my plans were foiled in a most unexpected way.

The woolly ones were not overjoyed to see us, and many a ma pulled her cute offspring out of our way, with a melange of disgruntled looks.

I carried on regardless, until…


…enter JabberSheep!

Or, to put it another way, a particularly stroppy ovine (with a disgustingly rank posterior), took serious umbrage, skittered threateningly into the middle of the path – and, when I kept coming, first made a most sinister and gutteral hissing noise in her throat (sounded like a seriously displeased swan!) and then stamped a hoof in warning before giving a very creditable impression of a bull in imminent danger of charging mode.

Now, I could, of course, have stood my ground – but, what with the slimy conditions underfoot and, as far as I could see, no way of falling without incurring the deeply unpleasant Wrath of the Whoopsies, I couldn’t see us advancing intact a further centimetre; and, besides, I was a tad averse to being savaged by a pissed-off sheep, no matter how righteous her cause.

So, I beat a hasty retreat!


This has certainly been a week rich in nature’s tooth and claw, not to mention dung and dudgeon…