Posted by: kathandroger | May 2, 2010

Nounous and the bag of marbles.

The sheep have arrived! Kath had made all the arrangements for their delivery, but we both had some doubts as to their arrival-this is France after all, and time and promises seem sometimes to be loosely interpreted. But sure enough, bang on the allotted time, monsieur the farmer arrived with six sheep in the back of his little van. He came with his wife, and they took a long time to explain that one of the sheep had been hand reared and was very used to humans. The others were standard lambs from this year. The friendly lamb is called Nounous. We had no problems unloading and they all seemed very happy in their new abode and started mowing the grass immediately. Apart from Nounous. He is much bigger than the others, and seemed more interested in the sheepnuts that madame the farmer’s wife had kindly brought along. He also did not want to leave our side and followed us all around the field, oblivious to his fellow sheep. Worse was to follow, and having told him in both French and English to b off, we left by the upper gate and could hear him bleating in the field. He then caught sight of us walking down the road and decided to jump the fence and come and join us! Suffice to say that Nounous thinks he is a dog rather than a sheep, and I think he expected to come into the house and have a kip in his basket! To be fair the farmer did say that we may have problems, and has offered to swap him for a more mentally stable animal, but we thought it would be an interesting challenge to try and teach a sheep to be a sheep instead of a dog. I did think I had made the wrong decision yesterday when he really wouldn’t let me get away and I had to climb the fence into the wheat field next door and then double back through the wood to lose him. Boudie has met him and is really not sure either, especially when he put his head down and gave her a good butting! It is a thought, though, to continue to raise him as a dog. I would love to take him with Boudie to the Sunday market at Descartes, but I don’t think he will take to well to a lead, and certainly wouldn’t sit in the cafe as peacefully as she does. Kath has also been trying to get Nounous to sit, but with no success so far. We look forward to developments with some trepidation!

On a completely different note, my mother in law, who, post volcano, managed to get back to the UK OK – how’s that for classical English? – had noted that our Black Redstarts, which are nesting in the stone store barn, make a noise like a bag of marbles. That took me back to Henry Cavendish Primary School in Balham, a few years ago now. We used to play marbles in the playground, usually with winner-takes-all rules. One marble was placed about three or four yards away and we each had turns to try and hit it. The first to succeed took all the marbles on the pitch, and I remember very well the noise the marbles made, either in a bag or more usually in my pocket-thank you belle mere for reviving a long lost memory, and she is right, the Black Redstart does make a noise like a bag of marbles!

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