Posted by: kathandroger | January 28, 2018

13 for Rosemary and the Hunt Police.

The weather here is cold, wet and generally nasty at the moment. Ideal weather for our sheep to lamb. Accordingly, Rosemary, our old girl of six, had been “bagging up” rather nicely over the past week or so. Rosemary is the most ugly of sheep, but a wonderful mother. For the past two years she had raised triplets, and we were expecting the same this year. With her swelling udders and the prominence of those experienced nipples, the wife had been predicting birth every day this week. It finally happened last night, and we were greeted this morning by the sight of one healthy looking boy lamb.IMG_3906
We didn’t really expect a singleton, but then we noticed something behind her-the second boy, smaller and looking frail but well.IMG_3910
Both have settled well and are feeding, and have been named Dougal and Henry. We wait for Flossie to produce her second brood. Kath has worked out that Rosemary has given us thirteen lambs now, all of them sired by Hercules, the rampant ram. Actually the latter had a go at butting me again a few days ago-an event to be avoided if possible as he really can inflict some damage. He has never attacked the wife though; must be something to do with hormone recognition I guess.

I was enjoying our weekly walk with the rambling club on Monday last-the dog with us as usual. We had just come out of a path through the woods, when a uniformed chap approached me and told me to put the dog on a lead. He was a “Guarde de Chasse”. This is an official we don’t have in the UK. He is appointed by Government, under the auspices of the Environment and Agriculture ministries, and his job is to protect the Flora and Flora of the countryside. He wears a nice uniform with special badges, and drives a blue van. He was a nice chap and very polite, but was insistent that my dog was a “chien de chasse” -a hunting dog, and a danger to the surrounding wildlife, especially during the hunting season. Apparently we had been detected by a hidden camera, and he had come to intercept us! I, of course, apologized profusely, put the dog on the lead and we walked off. Until we were out of sight of course, when the little animal was given her liberty again. He did tell me that I could let the dog off the lead after February when the hunting season was over! What a load of cobblers! I am all for protection of the environment, but to say that my dog can chase deer in March but not before just is not logical. It is all to protect the hunt of course, but if a dog is under control it does seem a bit silly. The guard does have the ability to arrest me and to take the dog away if he thinks fit, and I could be imprisoned or fined if I get a bit stroppy-heaven forbid! But in general the hunt in France is very well managed, with excess animals being culled but enough left to satisfy the hunting fraternity. There are about a thousand Hunt Guards in France, so unless they all descend on our local woods one day my chances of evading capture are good. Polly, who has never caught anything in her life, and who comes to heel the second I whistle for her, will still be let off the lead to enjoy the freedom of our lovely local countryside. Sorry chaps.

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