the day I found cows in my garden (14/April/18)

the day I found cows in my garden was quite a long time ago now… back in the days of yore perhaps, or back in the day, as they say, either way was truly bizarre and most unexpected, a sight to behold and a moment of disbelief… I didn’t even know they liked gardening… if you asked a cow for their top five likes and dislikes I can’t imagine gardening would be one of the former, nor even one of the latter, though I imagine liking salt would be a like, as would be rubbing their rumps against rusty wire fences, as would drooling, or salivating to give it its more respectable name……. and I surely never planted any cows in my garden and suddenly they experienced a surge of growth overnight like snowdrops can do… nor was it cows of the parsley kind, nor cows of the slip kind, although some one I noticed was slipping and sliding in attempts to clamber the slate steps to the patio but, even though cows have legs, they aren’t that adept at going up stairs, a bit like Daleks, finding themselves at a bit of a loss and disadvantage…… so there they were, munching away, poaching the ground, leaning on shrubs, nibbling leaves, or tongue wrapping and tearing them anyway… I didn’t count them, I didn’t have time too, take my word there were plenty and plenty more cows than anyone might want in their garden… perhaps they had a memory when they were roaming woodlands as originally they would have been and on the continent still habitually do in the domesticated herds, as my garden is part-orchard so plenty of trees, and bounded by a hedge full of outgrown trees…… it’s quite a wake-up call pulling open your curtains to be faced by a cow, or in fact several staring back looking undoubtedly as surprised as I did… where did that human come from?.. where did those cows come from?…… needless to say I rushed out, barefooted as it happened, after pulling myself out of momentary shock and awe on first seeing, to which they, also barefooted, or probably bare-hooved as they would be being cows and all, hot-footed (or –hooved) it out of there like a gang of naughty children who knew they’d done a bad thing, all the time wondering where they got in from the field next door as I knew they couldn’t have just landed there, parachuted in, as I saw no parachutes which I find is a sure sign no such thing happened…… it didn’t take me long to discover their secret entrance of incursion as they all to a cow scuttled skiddingly on the now poached grass headed straight for it to escape this pink-hued, barefooted creature alarmingly waving and flailing its arms in their direction and making noises in a language a cow clearly wouldn’t understand as it wasn’t in cow-speak…. they’d broken through, or sauntered through, a hole in the hedge where clearly I didn’t know there was such a hole but a hole there was, a hole now big enough to squeeze a cow through, in fact a whole herd, and as cows have a habit of following the herd it seemed that it was the most natural thing for them to do…… I never found the ring-leader, tricky identifying the top-dog among a herd as they weren’t dogs, they were cows, cows in my garden…. so that was the day quite long ago now I woke to find cows in my garden.

© 2018 robert greig

the village wakes (22/March/18)

spring is coming…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…
I can smell it, hear it, see it…… fresh slurry courtesy of the tractor-fueled muck-chuckers… birdsong, some tuneful, some not, some ill-thought through, some half—remembered… lengthening or longing, days, early light earlier, anxious buds impatiently bud hoping they don’t peak too soon before the last frost, which may have come and gone, but on the other hand… the village awakes… or wakes…

….there is a community council here, for what it’s worth, not unexpectedly peopled by the self-important and self-interested pretending authority and wielding faux-influence over those they don’t even know and don’t know them… an unwritten pointlessness prevails… a well-defined two-way street…… though there are no streets here, just roads, not many: one runs through it in one way and out the other while two more spur off to other somewhere from it while another cuts down into another corner of the village and two Close, of the cul de sac kind, sit uncomfortable amidst this quiet shambles…… but no streets… there are even pavements, though not on every road, and streetlights… but no streets…… it’s a village of two-halves, or two sides of the same defunct coin, divided by the railway that cuts almost unseen through the cutting: there’s this side and there’s that side, and which side came first, who knows and were they always one, who knows… gaps were filled and some are still gaps… the streets where no one knows your name, though there aren’t any streets….

… it’s a place where houses live… and people exist… though many rarely seen, some seemingly never though they are there, or must be… curtains open and close, come-and-go cars come and go…… the myth that everyone knows everyone and all their business with it is just that here, myth…… clearly there’s been no masterplan, this is no chocolate box village, more a cheap tin of plain biscuits, photo opportunities being few and far, very far, between…… there’s a rectory that isn’t, a church house that isn’t, there’s a posts office that isn’t now called the old post office for that very reason, there’s a pub that isn’t, a church that is but only part time, a Chapel that just about is except when it isn’t though blink and you’d miss being, being Chapel tends to be dour and grey and conspicuously unadorned, a graveyard that is most definitely what it is, a garden nursery that isn’t, a garage that is so at least we all can keep our come-and-go cars on the road, and there is a shop that is, almost, just about, kind of, though resembles more of a scrap metal dealer in a permanent state of disorderly conduct considering all the abandoned vehicles, trailer, unidentifiable piles decorating the frontage… hardly chocolate-box…… there is a village hall, which was rebranded the community hall a while back and has now undergone yet again another, now hailed the grandiose Community Hub… to instil some sense of pride or identity in somewhere that doesn’t have it, perhaps?…… ‘hub’ being a buzz-word these days……

… actually, I’m selling the place short, there’s also a doctors surgery… well, sort of, part time, as-and-when for the come-and-go’s…… a juggle of mismatched structures, largely with a few exceptions a banality of old and new and some half-built perched negligently on the side of the each road, some set back skulking behind hedgerows, others exposed try their best too look like they belong… and behind it all yawning out into the middle distance, fields of fields and muck-chuckers feeding them slurry of a distinctly, once smelled never forgot aromatic kind…. so not all bad then……

© 2018 robert greig

‘lowing free (23/Jan/18)

the wind was blowing, the cattle were lowing

I was just about to go to sleep, opened the window as I do most nights (I need that connection with the outside, even when I sleep), there was a breeze building into something stronger though as it turned out not that much… I laid down, tucked in, wrapped up in duvet to hear the lowing of cows… the first this year… probably the wind, perhaps from a particular direction makes them prone to it, and the fact that there was cattle in fields that didn’t have cattle in them before and these fields were closer although not that close: they were a garden, a stream, a field, a hedge, across a road down to the village, over another hedge, another field, past some farm sheds, around a newly-baled plastic mountain of silage, through a metal gate away and there they were… lowing… which is almost onomatopoeic (itself a tricky word to spell in ensuring all the vowels are where they should be)… or maybe they were highing… surely if they can low they can high…… anyway, I felt compelled to write it down and make a note as it may be important at a later date, as I have just done so now dear reader to you…… this is how my thinking went anyway, whether it makes any sense or not is beside the point and not sure why this particular lowing of those particular cattle on this particular night but who am I to argue with the gut, after all it always knows when I want breakfast…… maybe they were singing, it could be that this is how-now-brown-cows sing, though I can’t be sure they were brown, it was night time after all and they were a garden, a stream, a field, a hedge, across a road down to the village, over another hedge, another field, past some farm sheds, around a newly-baled plastic mountain of silage, through a metal gate away……

anyway, note duly made and moment duly added to my archive of rememberings under the subheading of “for a later date”… not that I’d date a cow, all that lowing would drive me mad……

© 2018 robert greig