Sunday, 3 August 2008
As its the weekend I did plan to lie in a bit longer than our usual morning routine allows. I should have known our tribe of critters would have other plans. The Bernese alarm clock went off at around half five and then the dawn chorus of hungry goats bleating under the bedroom window put paid to any thoughts of sneaking back to my bed and grabbing another hour of much needed kip.
Never mind I thought, this will allow me to catch up with a few garden jobs and I can have a long and leisurely breakfast. Again the plan and reality differed greatly as Reba, pictured here, decided to take off over the hill forcing her hapless owner to abandon his full cooked English and find her.
The hill is currently covered in five foot high stems of bracken so making it impossible to see anything unless its the size of a small elephant. Much calling and silent swearing failed to produce the missing pooch. Swearing has to be silent as Tracey has a swear box, a pound an expletive towards her new dog. Tracey joined the search, we found out why our sheep have suddenly stopped turning up for breakfast, The Oracle has taken to feeding them as they look so cute. So our fat Ryelands have persuaded a grizzled border farmer to part with sheep nuts, as he says they are now his friends for life, or rather as long as there are sheep nuts in his bucket. After a light breakfast with him they then bother Mad Keith for bread so no its wonder we don't see them.
Tracey decided to go back to Rock HQ while I was ordered to go up to the technohermits collection of shacks to see if he had seen our dog. I don't know why but as I approached the ghost house today I felt distinctly uneasy, the sun shone through the leafy canopy of the trees as they arched over the path but it was noticeably colder. Rabbits were grazing ahead, not actually going onto the lawn of the white house in front of me. No one was home, as usual. For the first time since we have been here I let the stories of the house influence me and I turned back from the path and headed home. I didn't, just like instructed by the stories look back. Anyway with rabbits on the path it was clear my dog hadn't ventured that way.
She was on the hill, probably adding to the legends and ghost stories that abound in this area. There is for instance a huge black dog that terrorises the hills, if you come to Rock HQ you will meet three real live ones, but this legend has been around since the fifteen hundreds.
A local Lord, a nasty fellow called Black Vaughn was on the losing side at a battle and beheaded. His ghost tormented the locals until thirteen priests were summonsed and were so frightened as they tried to exorcise his ghost from the local church that they lost their minds. One did however manage to reduce the ghost to the size of a fly and catch it in a snuff box, which was then thrown into a big pond on top of the hill next to ours. Some local sap let the fly out of the box and Black Vaughn's ghost manifested as a big vicious black dog forever roaming the hills and scaring the locals, usually on their way home after they had been to the pub.
Some chap called Sir Arthur Conan Doyle heard this story and published it as The Hound Of The Baskervilles. Now you know.
Anyway our hound of the Baskervilles was found by Tracey sat in the conservatory covered in sticky bods and reeking of fox pooh. Obviously she had picked up the scent and set off to investigate rolling in every turd she found along the trail.
She was feeling very pleased with herself, not nearly as pleased as the cats were feeling after helping themselves to my unattended breakfast.