In which we take a walk and have a close encounter with a 1500 pound grumpy cow
It is my daily habit to take a brisk walk down the hillside and, almost as briskly, to walk back up again. I generally spend the time this involves admiring the scenery, talking to myself and chatting to the assorted wildlife as I go. This morning as I rounded the bend which leads by a rambler’s footpath to our neighbour’s cognac property on the opposite hillside, I noticed the local farmer’s tractor wending its’ way around the path with something following behind it and the farmer’s white van following behind the ‘something’. Carrying on my way I assumed they were bringing a few more loads of bailer twine, old vines or unwanted mattresses to add to the attractive bonfire heap they’ve been creating these last few weeks at the side of the track. (They’re nice people these farmers but they don’t have too much idea of eco tourism and how good it would be to keep the path presentable for the summer visitors).
I arrived at the foot of the hill and having said my ‘Hellos’ to the cows at the bottom, turned to commence my march back to the summit. Oopla! The tractor was well down the hillside by now and fast – OK, slowly – approaching with a very large and grumpy looking cow attached by her horns to the digger bucket at the back, the white van guarding her rear so to speak. I thought about walking on past the cow but I must be honest, the path is very narrow and I realised how absolutely HUGE this gentle beast actually is when viewed from the same side of the fence, a small Mini or a Fiat 500 perhaps? She was certainly not a very happy cow at this point, pulling and swaying angrily at the ropes tying her to the tractor, appearing larger by the minute and more like a bull at charging point than a simple chunky heifer. I decided not to risk a chance meeting with the points of those horns and stayed put to watch.
The tractor and entourage finally arrived at the field gate and Monsieur B the farmer got out to open it, revealing as he did, that the cow had been out for an impromptu walk, presumably with her calf who now emerged from the back of the white van, a little reminiscent of Steve McQueen being returned to camp in The Great Escape. It would appear that the Limousin cow is very independantly minded and is quite capable of jumping a fence in a bid for freedom and that nice juicy grass which is always to be found on the other side. “Jumping a fence? You’re joking!” I thought as I hiked back up the hill still watching the cow. All 1500 pounds of her was now skipping and running as daintily as a ballroom dancer doing a foxtrot, to rejoin her sisters in the next field. With moves as light that, a simple bit of fence jumping suddenly seemed no problem at all. I must keep my eyes open on my walks in future, that would make one heck of a photo…….!