Visitors – welcome and unwelcome


One of the guilty cows, back in the field. Do guilty cows look sheepish?

In keeping with the aim of making posts uplifting, on Monday we went to the interment of an aunt’s ashes. A sad occasion but at the same time it was good to see several family members I meet up with fairly infrequently.

My sister and brother-in-law brought my father (who lives with them) and he came back with us for a few days while they had a short holiday in the Cotswolds (a large, very attractive area of chalk hills near us, mainly in Gloucestershire).

It was great to have him – he’s terrific and in great shape for a man of 94. With him living in the north of the country we drive up for the day a few times a year but I don’t see him for very long.

I hope that the success of this trip means he’ll be happy to make the journey again soon – even though it does interrupt his routine somewhat (and routine is very important at that age). So is heat – he really feels the cold. If the police had used thermal imaging on the house, they would have raided us as a probable cannabis farm.

While he was a very welcome guest, on Monday night we had visitors of an entirely different type.

I was woken just after 1am by a feeling that someone or something was moving about in the small courtyard area by the back door. I got up and looked out of the window – sure enough the security lighting had come on – but it wasn’t just a fox or cat as I’d suspected, indeed it wasn’t just one moving body …. it was a small herd of cows.

By the time I dressed there was nothing to be seen. I had one of those ‘did I really see that?’ moments but I was sure I had.

I found the number of the nearest farm that I know has a herd and dialled. Nothing but an answering machine – but I left a message anyway.

I wasn’t sure what to do. I was inclined to leave it at that and go back to bed – but realised that there could be real problems if the cows wandered onto a road, so I decided to drive over to the farm and rouse the farmer, if he hadn’t been woken by my earlier call.

I was leaving the house as a car shot down the road and into the lane beyond. Guessing that had to be to do with the cows I set off on foot after it.

He wasn’t the farmer I’d phoned – it was the herdsman who had been alerted by another village resident who had also come across the cows. We tracked down the bulk of his herd and managed to get them back into the field by the light of mobile phones (ours, not the cows’) but he then announced that he was 8 short.

It dawned on me that we’d probably been hosting the missing 8. I eventually followed a trail of cow pats and tracked them to the end of our garden where they had settled for the night. We managed to herd them out of the garden and into the field behind the house.

When I say ‘we’ herded the cows, he – of course – did the real work and I just stood in the way to try to stop them turning in the wrong direction and made what I hoped were encouraging cow noises.

Back to bed some time well after 2am. I’m not sure whether Strava has a ‘cow herding’ category of activity. If it does I’ll be really upset as I didn’t think to pick up the Garmin.

They knocked quite a lot of stuff over (pots, urns, a bench, a bird bath) but surprisingly nothing broken. The lawns are a bit of a mess in one way or another …

So, lots of words here but not much in the way of cycling or running – sorry.

I reunited my father with my sister and brother-in-law on Thursday so I got on the turbo in the early evening – 16.1km in 30 minutes @32.1kph (10 miles @20mph).

I’m on my own again at the gym on Friday – my normal companion who missed out last week with a sore back now has a twisted ankle which is strapped and sore. Tough on him as he’s in good running form after a 1:47 half marathon a couple of weeks ago.

Do I run to the gym, or do I drive? Decisions, decisions ….


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