Today as I prepared to leave Rock HQ to test how my training regime was working in the real world of the Black Mountains, ready for the Big Black Mountain Challenge in six or so weeks she asked me which car I intended to take. Rene of course, on account its a mans car and will be fairly full of wet muddy Berner and walkers. Rene already looking like a mobile compost heap would not mind us wallowing in mud and snow and then transferring considerable amounts of the mountain back into his interior. But, she reasoned, what if I have to go around the Bonsai Mountain to the Technohermit for an unexpected birth of a lamb that he will phone me about when you are out. I pondered the scenario for a nanosecond and dismissed it with an as if and if in the unlikely event that happens take Fifi.
So Richard, Rocky and I set off and explored the Black Mountains. It was an excellent walk, we escaped the ice swamp (below) almost intact. I managed to fall through the thin crust of ice and was plunged up to my testicles in a gigantic slush puppy (subsequent immersions were not quite so severe as A. The slush puppy was not so deep and B. My family jewels had by now sought refuge next to my tonsils)By the time we had lunch at almost sea level it had brightened up a bit so we took a slight detour to do the tourist bit and walk along to the reservoir. The inhabitants in the cottage at the dams base place an awful lot of faith in God's and Victorian stone masons ability to hold back the water.
After six and a half hours walking and 24k we got back to Rene and headed back to Rock HQ, tired and feeling very pleased with ourselves. As we drove through the gate at the end of drive ominous signs that all was not well were just ahead. The Oracles 4x4 was backed up the steep side of Bonsai Mountain and behind a car that looked suspiciously like Fifi stranded in a gully.
As we got nearer a perplexed driver bearing an uncanny resemblance to Tracey was comforting a sheep much like Springtime, one of our Ryelands, sat on the back seat with what looked like a new born lamb next to her.
Tracey didn't have to say I told you so, I already knew she had. The Technohermit had indeed called to tell her that one of our sheep had abandoned a lamb on the hill. Tracey as instructed took FiFi and did a brilliant job of a 21st century Little Bo Peep and had driven up the side of Bonsai Mountain where cars fear to tread. Unfortunately Murph was on the hill and the lane was blocked by the product of his labour, felled branches barred the way which meant Tracey had to reverse back down the hill. Gravity took over and she was deposited almost at the bottom in a deep gully.
The Oracle was trying to tow her out but lack of a fixing point hampered his efforts. Tracey was now faced by three men, Richard, The Oracle and yours truly who were all experts at vehicle from deep gully extraction and as we debated the best strategy that didn't involve cranes and or helicopters Tracey got bored and reversed out to a round of applause.
So here's Trouble, that's the lamb not the apprentice shepherd, Tracey named her as that's what she was. For a while anyway.