Wrong Herd

This morning we each tackled the weeding of the Shady Path from opposite directions. Jackie began in the left hand picture; I progressed in the right. We aim to meet at the bench. The Head Gardener says the last one there is a sissy.

Meanwhile the rhododendrons in the Palm Bed are filling out nicely. Please ignore the wild garlic in the second image.

Having moved the stone urn from the front of the Pond Bed, Jackie carefully planted it up after lunch.

We then took a trip to Ferndene Farm Shop to purchase eggs, salad items, and trailing petunias, after which we drove into the forest.

When we turned into Forest Road a bunch of cattle were occupying the tarmac and the verge. Jackie parked the Modus so I could follow them with my camera. As they left me trailing they rapidly began to disappear from sight. Jackie caught me up and transported me to a point ahead of them.

Most of the cattle crossed the road into woodland opposite.

One young heifer was rather left behind, and stopped for a drink, no doubt to ease its throat,

strained by its incessant efforts to imitate the Isle of Wight foghorn.

Her plaintive bellowing was ignored by the rest of the group.

Eventually, still bawling, she returned to the road and, with the usual awkward gait, walked up the hill and, stretching her neck, stood on the bend further straining her voice. Several hundred yards further on we noticed another small bovine gathering, and Jackie, probably correctly, surmised that she had become attached to the wrong herd. We assumed she would find her own family.

Some weeks ago, my friend Barrie Haynes asked me to review a book by a member of his group. This is ‘In the Dead of Night’ by Richard Allen. It is the sixth in a crime fiction series published by Amazon. I finished reading it today.

Without spoiling the story I can say that it reads rather like a film script, published last year, and, given that it is mostly written from the viewpoint of the interviewing detectives, put me in mind of the contemporary ‘Line of Duty’ series. The author brings his knowledge of police procedures gleaned from his career in the service.

It is, nevertheless, an engaging mystery. The spare prose of the short sentences is packed with precise detail, even to the extent of times being quoted to the minute, as if extracted from a policeman’s notebook. This helps move the pace along. The longer paragraphs do not always flow so well.

Author’s notes, given at the end of the book, differentiate between fact and fiction in the narrative.

My copy is not paginated which made it rather difficult to know where I was at times, and a certain amount of further proof reading would have been helpful.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s savoury rice packed with vegetables and topped with a thick omelette; Lidl rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce; and tender runner beans, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Recital Languedoc Montpeyroux 2018.


  1. Just love your garden. If one day you wake and the entire garden has been stolen, I might be the culprit…
    Languedoc now? They have improved significantly over the past 30 years. I still find them a bit strong. How was that one?

  2. I can picture that heifer’s angst at losing the herd. I have so often seen cattle bellowing, and can guess what the Isle of Wight foghorn sounds like. Tell Jackie the rhododendrons look great, and I did ignore the wild garlic per your request. πŸ˜‰

  3. I laughed at how Jackie gave you a challenge with the weeding. The cattle photos are wonderful, and so were your descriptions. I do hope the foghorn bellowing heifer found her way home.

  4. I can’t imagine either of you being a sissy, so assume that you both reached the bench at the same time.
    Jackie’s rhododendrons are absolutely wonderful – and the urn’s new geraniums, in the same flushed pink, are a perfect compliment.
    I hope the hoarse heifers do find their family. A couple of our lambs made the same mistake today, thinking Scruff the wether was mum – until they looked around and saw the correct ewe, happily munching nearby. They immediately rushed back, attaching themselves with perceptible relief!

  5. Haha the wedding competition is hilarious. You two work hard on that garden and it shows so beautifully. Those cows are taking over the streets haha.

  6. Weeding from two opposing ends reminds me of an activity taken up by me and my sister during childhood when assigned to mend the family vegetable patch. All I remember now is the strategy lent certain urgency to the rather boring activity. It curtailed us from cycling down to the town for the latest issue of favourite comic books. You two have rendered a neat job to the Shady Path which is glistening as intended. I trust Jackie has correctly diagnosed the panic of the cow emitting foghorn like distress calls. It proves us these animals are much more sentient than is ordinarily believed. Great photographs as always.

  7. My gosh, the rhododendrons is really stunning! We can’t grow them in our climate. We’re in a Zone 3 here in Edmonton. But on the west coast, southern Ontario and Quebec they’d be fine. Don’t you wish there was some way to stop weeds on rock walks? Looks like there are no wimps in your garden πŸ˜€ I’d have to do a double take if we were to see a bovine brigade just wandering. I’ve come to know this is the norm in your community, but it still seems funny to me. Cheers dears xk

  8. I love the image of the two of you weeding to the middle. That must be a great motivator. I love looking at animals. How lucky you are to be able to get so close. Your rhododendrons are stunning, Derrick. It’s nice to get the weeding done early, before heading out for errands and pics.

  9. I enjoy seeing your cattle as much as I have become attached to those wandering our neck of the woods. That baleful bellowing is a familiar sound – especially from young calves being left behind as the others move on, or even from solitary cows that have found themselves deserted. There seems to be a special call to gather the scattered herd near the end of the day – which is why we dubbed a particular cow the ‘Master Hooter’ – to which the others respond as they head towards a chosen area to chew the cud during the early part of the evening.

  10. Last one there is a sissy…HA! πŸ˜€ I wonder which of you will win!? πŸ˜‰ Let us know!
    Games and competition can make the work more fun!
    I hope that sweet cow found her family!
    How wonderful of you to take the time to review that book. You are a great book reviewer!
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

  11. Another full day! I especially enjoyed reading about the herd behavior and how cows have their own ways of doing things. Mostly we don’t get to see this because cows aren’t allowed to roam free. At least not in Maine.

  12. Your wondering animals are fascinating. It is hard to image that they just wonder free-range! Do they ever get corralled and put in barns for the winter?

  13. I so enjoy wandering with you, Derrick. The bawling cow gave me a chuckle… “strained by its incessant efforts to imitate the Isle of Wight foghorn” … with your description, I heard it loud and clear! Cows can be such characters. This one was, for sure!

  14. Kind of the donkeys to keep up the trimming. I could use them here too. Only just for a few hours, then they would need to go. My fear of animals for trimming getting out of hand keeps me from wanting any here permanently. πŸ™‚ The Shady Path already looks much much better than the last photos I saw. Last year I put a weed mat under some decorative rocks, which was a very big job and I assumed it would make my life easier this year. However, I forgot to take into account all the cedar twigs and helicopters (from Maple trees) and leaves and whatever else falling on top of the rocks. So…I need to clean the rocks this year anyway. Mother Nature usually wins in gardens. Jackie is so funny to make a competition out of weeding.

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