Posted by: kathandroger | June 14, 2015

The Centipede and the Slippery Sheep.

I used to do some hunting in England. Shooting pheasants and partridge, and sometimes chasing the poor fox on horseback. The latter was then legalised hooliganism, and the former became ritual slaughter because the sky was often darkened by the dense flocks of semi domesticated birds we shot down. At some shoots, big holes were dug to dispose of the corpses, as there were too many to easily dispose of-no one wanted to eat pheasant at that time. Rabbit shooting was more fun, especially at night, and as well as helping the local farmer, the meat was good to eat. And the odd trout caught on a fly and bashed on the head for eating was quite normal. But attitudes change with time. I no longer want to kill anything, and even wringing to odd chicken’s neck is definitely no pleasure. I think I may have gone too far in the other direction however.

We cleaned the gites yesterday. It has become a well organised, almost military, operation nowadays, with Kath doing the important bits and me doing the hoovering and sharing the bedmaking. Our guests are usually very clean and leave the properties in good order, but we follow the same sprucing up regime anyway. My duty is followed diligently, first cleaning out the hoover and then removing every offending speck of dust. Cobwebs are invisible to the male eye, and so are left to the boss. The odd dead moth or fly is normal, but yesterday I came across a large and very hairy centipede under one of the beds. At first I thought he was dead, but no, only a snoozing centipede, and he up and legged it across the floorboards. He didn’t make it very far though, and stopped for a breather. He may have been an asthmatic centipede, or even suffering from angina, but certainly his athletic performance did no credit to an animal with all those hairy limbs. And there lay the dilemma-to put his harmless life to a sudden end up my suction spout, or to leave the little chap alone. Don’t be so daft, I said to myself, suck him up, but then another voice, more soothing and merciful, suggested no action. I’ll do the other side of the room first, and if you haven’t buggered off, then sick or not you are for the centipede cemetery. He was still there. Oh, what dilemmas face a cleaner, and with no useful local advice either-he couldn’t be left to frighten incoming clients, and his death would be an intolerable burden for me. Salvation; a small piece of tissue paper had been left nearby, and he was happily soon enveloped in his temporary spaceship and gently launched from the upstairs window. The landing was near perfect, and he scuttled, wheezing, away to new pastures. I felt good!

We have shorn two thirds of our adult sheep. That is the ram, Hercules, and one female, Clover. The other female, Rosemary, has developed a so far infallible means of escape. I built a trap, in which I feed the animals, and then when they have their heads in the trough, I can imprison them inside. The problem is that Rosemary can sense when shearing is being prepared, and will only go into the trap when the equipment is not ready! I make sure that the shears etc are all hidden, but she has a sixth sense for shearing. She escaped completely last year, so there are two years of fleece to remove this time. I will get her this year though…..I hope. Here she is with the semi naked ram, in the trap, and laughing at me.IMG_3109


  1. No picture ? I am sure you will not be beaten by a sheep!

  2. I see the picture on the blog, if not on email! She certainly needs a trim!

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