Friday, July 30, 2004

30 July 2004: Sheep

One of the fun things about growing up in the country was the large number of cattle grids on the roads around the village. These are grills in the road designed to stop grazing animals wandering across from the common grazing land of Dartmoor into the village and, in particular, our pretty Devon gardens. Driving across a cattle grid was always a great deal of fun, a tame version of a fairground ride. Cycling across such a grid was yet more invigorating. But it seems, perhaps, that the days of the hoof-proof cattle grid are numbered.

The BBC today reports that sheep have the whole system figured out. They can't walk across the grid, so they've learned to roll across eight-foot-wide grids in Marsden, near Huddersfield in Yorkshire. Apparently they're also hurdling five-foot-high fences. No pictures of these events, I'm sorry to say (for goodness' sake, BBC - even UFO stories usually have some kind of photo, however fuzzy), so it may all be a load of droppings. Still, I can't help thinking there should be some kind of Olympics for sheep featuring such events. Maybe the sheep-centred theme park 'The Big Sheep' (tagline: ewetopia) in north Devon could take up the idea?

Meantime, Blogger's spell-checker continues to educate, inform and entertain. For the above paragraph, it suggested 'marketing' for 'Marsden', 'HUFF' (in capital letters) for 'UFO' and 'Ethiopia' for 'ewetopia'. A tagline I'm sure the people at 'The Big Sheep' considered carefully.

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