Tuesday 25 October 2011

Have wheels, will travel (chapter three)

Bet you're all wondering if this is the final chapter...........

Sunday had seen faithful old car limp to it's final resting place. Monday morning dawned and the shepherd from out bye duly arrived to pick me up, obviously the inconvenience of coming to collect me was less than the inconvenience of not having my assistance for the day.

The night previous I had scoured the internet looking for a suitable motor and thought I'd found one, it was over a hundred miles away, a long way to travel to find it was no good and anyhow, when would I get the time to go, who would take me and would it be sold by then? Aargh!!

I guess I wasn't the brightest bunny on the Monday, sulky probably, preoccupied more than likely, grumpy even - I'll hold my hands up to all three.

I set off to gather sheep, dogs as happy as larry (there is much to be learnt from dogs!). It was a simple gather, not too much ground to cover, fenced in areas of hill ground, bike tracks to follow, fairly easy viewing of proceedings, not too much could go wrong you wouldn't think.

I had been entrusted to do a simple task, gather these sheep, pen them, tail, dose, keel etc, return them to their pastures and head home with the works landrover. Easy! The shepherd was going to meet up at the sheep pens mid morning before excusing himself for a prior engagement - fine by me.

It was an alright sort of morning, but the forecast was poor, the quicker I got on the less chance there would be of receiving a good soaking. With luck on my side all would be well.

The air turned blue - well and truly! Half way through the 'easy' gather I found the quad bikes wheels were no longer going around. For once it wasn't due to that sinking feeling, I hadn't got myself bogged as I am so prone to doing, no, I hadn't sunk into some soft boggy ground I had risen and to say the bike wheels were no longer going round was a bit unfair, they were going round they just weren't making purchase and so were taking me nowhere. Aargh!

Often, when found in this position, shifting your weight around so that you are rocking the bike from side to side will enable you to make purchase and resume your journey - that didn't work. Getting off and pushing whilst keeping pressure on the thumb throttle will often get you out of a sticky predicament - that didn't work. Physically lifting either the front end of the bike or the back end of the bike can move it far enough to 'dismount' from the offending article - that didn't work.

By this time the language wasn't fit to repeat, I was absolutely furious to say the least, temper was finding an inner strength which had me lifting the bike almost onto it's nose but to no avail. I wandered off, found a fence post, returned with my trophy and commenced trying to lift the bike from the middle of it's body to the point I thought I would end up tipping the damn thing onto it's side but all was to no avail. I was hot and bothered, in a foul fettle, had wasted at least twenty minutes and had got no where. My gathering resumed on foot.

I don't know what was worse, getting the bike stuck or having to ask the shepherd for a hand to get me out of my predicament. Small consolation was his exclamation of "quite bizarre" when he too found he couldn't move the bike and it took two of us to remove it from the bull snoot (hump) it had found itself wedged upon, on a track both of us had travelled hundreds of times before with no problems what so ever.

So there I was, on my tod for the day, at the sheep pens away from the farmhouse, in a grump, full of self pity, failing to manage a simple task, losing time, then it began to rain, the day was getting on, I hadn't carried any bait (packed lunch) as I hadn't intended the task would take as long, fed up didn't have a look in, the only positive was that I was working alone, humour such as mine wasn't fit to share with anyone, alone was the best place to be.

I had managed a 'high' moment, we all need to find something to marvel in and whilst gathering on foot I had set a snipe up, the wind was very strong and it was slow to rise and struggled to shoot off in it's zig zag flight pattern, I had time to appreciate the beauty of the bird, the brown and golden stripe patterns of the plummage on its back, the stumpy shape of it's body, the bright eye and prominant beak. A fleeting moment but one which had brought me back to earth, a moment I had appreciated.

There I was, in the sheep pens, rain getting heavier by the minute, tummy grumbling, headache keeping me company, battling on to get finished and seek shelter when a voice asked if I would like a cup of tea.

A cup of tea! God could I kill a cup of tea! I wasn't dreaming, this really was an offer of a life saving cup of tea. These sheep pens are situated at the far extremeties of the farm, where once upon a day the second shepherd lived. Nowadays there is just one shepherd on the farm and the house is a private let. The householder had realised there was activity in the sheep pens and decided to come out and offer a cuppa.

When the tea arrived the pair of us took shelter in the hayshed. For someone feeling so out of sorts with the world I was surprised to find it was good to have some human company. The weather was discussed as is so often the case, general crack all about nowt then I was asked if I knew anyone who wanted to buy a car. Did I know anyone who wanted to buy a car?Rather none commital I trotted along to view the said car, enquired what sort of price they were asking, stood, looked, thought, looked a bit more, thought again...... then found myself agreeing to buy the car.

Tea was drunk and I resumed my duties in the sheep pens, just twenty four hours from parking up my broken car I had found another car, or had it found me?

Sometimes luck is on your side. Beggars can't be choosers, I once again have wheels. Not my chosen motor, not a diesel, not the make I would have liked, but to date it goes, it also stops when asked, there is room for the dogs - it has a sunroof! it isn't a dark colour! It will see me through for the time being, I can get to work, I don't have to go ones errand and find a car right this minute and who knows, it may be economical to run, it may last a year or two. I have an open mind and will wait and see.

That Monday was quite a memorable day. Coincidences. Had I not got the bike stuck, had I not lost a lot of time I wouldn't have been around mid afternoon in the pouring rain to have been offered a cup of tea, I would not have known there was a car available to buy. Who would expect to find a car away out in the back of beyond? The day was memorable for another reason, disapointing in some respects but logical in others, I have spent much time and energy lately considering every aspect of applying for one particular full time job, I now realise that this particular job is not the one for me, not unless the quad bike has a winch fitted to it to get me out of those sticky predicaments I so frequently find myself in!


The Shepherd said...

Excellent Blog.

If you or anyone that you know would like a personalised crook or walking stick as featured on the Shepherds Delight blog please get in touch with


Who made mine


Tarset Shepherd said...

Excellent job of your sticks, quite a work of art and I'm sure there will be many who fancy having one of their own. Hopefully the 'advertising' will be succesful.

Thoroughly enjoyed your posting about Connachen - what a great opportunity to have!

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