Poppy making sure she gets a good coating of the latest offering from the fox.
A good day at Rock HQ despite a frighteningly early start. Famous last words last night as my head hit the pillow were along the lines of not having to get up early. Tracey, who is so organised quietly reminded me that The Stable Sprites white chariot is kaput, broken sump meant the engine melted so I had remembered I had volunteered mine and Rene's services to get his lambs to the slaughterhouse.
The first of December was heralded by a severe frost and it took as long to defrost Rene as it did to drive over and collect the sheep. Seeing the sun rise in spectacular technicolour over our hill from Stable Sprites kingdom almost made up for getting kicked where real men should never be kicked four times in quick succession by an ungrateful Welsh Cross sheep that I was carrying to its freedom from the trailer, Stable Sprite having spared its life as it was "pretty". It does get lonely up in these hills but hearing him describe a potential food source as pretty was a mite disconcerting.
The abattoir was its usual chaotic cheerfulness of surly smallholders eagerly pushing in the queue and dropping off their pride and joys to be transformed from the wife's pets to choice cutlets. For some reason whenever we are there the rest of the world assumes mine and Stable Sprites role is to guide trailers to the pens, unload the live cargo's and move the nervous smallholder away from the pens sobbing as wickle fwuffy wamb skips off to buy the celestial pasture.
I also intervened in a fracas between Steve (uncanny) who has to be the tallest slaughter man ever and Steve (really) who was a very irate smallholder who's sheep were not given permission to unload as they were too scruffy. All the other pens had nice clean sheep who looked like they had been to the salon for a wash and blow dry. His looked like, well, sheep. The type that you see in a field, especially in winter. However, these are not the sheep abattoirs accept, oh no, they have to be the cut and blow dried types or the slaughter men get cross as the mud clashes with the blood on their aprons. Steve, who had not thought to take his sheep to the salon was sent off by Steve who incidentally had a huge knife and its a golden rule of mine that you always side with the one carrying weapons.
As Stable Sprite reversed his trailer in I was interrogated as to the cleanliness of the beasts therein. I was sure they were clean and tidy, might not have the neat trimmed backsides and tummies of the others awaiting their fates but Stable Sprite looks after his animals well. He had also put them in a nice straw lined trailer overnight. We all held our breath (men, sprites and sheep, the sheep especially at the sudden appearance a giant armed with a razor sharp blade) as the tall knife wielding sheep inspector applied his mark one wet n muddy detector, a hand (his own, he was strange but not that strange), and judged that the sheep were OK. Cold but OK. We breathed a sigh of relief, except the sheep who realised a bit too late that in their case cleanliness really was going to be next to Godliness.
We left them with the knife man. Tomorrow they will be very cold. But soon warmed up in the Rayburn.