Hairy House

Hairy House

Friday, 29 May 2015

Escape from the Madding Cows

"I think I'm a real country girl," I announced in what turned out to be a moment of much irony. We were driving home from Aylesbury after a couple of tortuous hours in the bank. Aylesbury must once have been a beautiful town, but now there is something grey and sordid about it, not helped by the half term plethora of fat food tents that have sprung up about the market square  - selling sweets by the yard - and by sat nav deciding to take me through the worst of the roundabout tangles which are meant to make life easier but don't. Coming out of the city, driving up and into the fields, all green wheat and brilliant yellow rapeseed, laced at the edges with frothing cow parsley, we all breathed a sigh of relief. "Yes, I'm definitely a country girl at heart," I said.
On arrival at home, were met by dog who had not had her midday walk and wanted to make sure we realised this. So, it was straight out into the fields for a certain country girl.
The only trouble is, that this certain country girl obviously does not know as much about country life as she would like to think.
One of the rather more wonderful things about England, is the fact that there are public footpaths everywhere, right through farmer's fields, so you can walk for miles without having to worry about trespassing on other people's property. The fact that the fields have cows in them doesn't matter does it?
Especially not when said cows are hundreds of yards of buttercupped grass away, eh?
But when the cows look up from their grazing, evil intent in their eyes, even this country girl begins to feel anxious. "But they're only cows," she thinks, though she does call her dog and put her back on the lead. It is a mere forty yards to the next field, might as well keep going till we get there, never mind that the cows, still a couple of hundred yards away, are now walking in the same direction, huffing and blowing. Hmm, okay, maybe time to cut the walk short. 
So she turns and walks in the opposite direction. And so do the cows. She speeds up - and so do the cows, though they are now coming towards her. Note, here, that she is wearing a skirt - usually she wears jeans for her walks, but this time, couldn't be bothered to change so is in skirt and sexy brown trainers which should only be worn by divers according to her sister. Cows are now mooing and trampling towards her, dumpy fat animals turned into monsters of agility and speed. Dog has ears back and is curling around her legs in fear. She starts to run - and so do the cows, though much faster than she, over the tussocky grass. Can she make it back to her stile, back to the safety of the lane? The cows are cutting her off, the dog whimpering with fear, she is hoping that nobody can see, because she would rather die, here in this field, then have a video of her being chased by cows up on YouTube. She can feel their breath now, they are on her heels, they are coming faster and faster, their heavy, flinty hooves pounding the earth, stretching their necks out mooing and shouting, twenty or so cows - she is not going to make it to the stile, she is going to be lucky to get to the fence at all - it is getting closer and closer, but so are the cows, ten yards, eight yards, five, three two - and she is over the fence into a bed of nettles six feet high, dragging dog in after her!
Five minutes of fighting with brambles and nettles, cows screaming at her form the other side of fence, she and dog are back on the path, shaking but alive. 
When she mentions it to neighbour, wondering whether she should have just stood her ground or whether she was a complete coward to go for the nettle option, she is told that a woman in the village was trampled by same cows just a couple of years ago, ending up in hospital with broken ribs and arms, lucky to escape with her life. 
So it seems that this country girl still has a lot to learn about the country.
And she is going to have steak for dinner at the weekend.

Ps. One of my delightful sisters, on hearing of my miraculous escape: "Well, I'm gld you're alive - though it would have been a very funny way to die!"

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Penny Shorts

In the last few weeks, I have been too busy to write much in the way of blog posts as I have been obsessively writing my latest Best Seller, in the optimistic conviction that I will get some paid work soon and then not have so much time to write. When I say the meantime I am thoroughly enjoying spending most of my time writing and walking the dog.The fields are full of buttercups now and we keep finding more and more beautiful spots to go walking.
So plan to write some interesting stuff soon, but just wanted to say that here is a site that people might want to check out, with various short stories on it:

It costs 50p per story, and the author gets 50% of the profits, so I'm hoping that if 5 people buy my story, I'll make one pound seventy-five! Enough to keep Juliette in salad leaves for a couple of days! But I also think it is a great idea, so do pop along and check it out if you are at all interested in that sort of thing.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


So, we have just had our first British general election in fifteen odd years. And what fun it was...
But it was interesting to compare it to the Australian elections. 
For one thing, one topic of debate here in England was whether one should actually vote or not, which is, of course, something you don't have to think about in Australia, as voting is compulsory. Personally, I think compulsory voting is a great idea, in theory, because it should make people spend at least half a second thinking about who to vote for. However, in practise, I'm not sure it makes a difference - since Tony Abbott got in last time, I can only assume that a great deal of people didn't think about it at all.
The actual act of voting is much less stressful in England. I waltzed down to my village hall, dog in tow, to find it empty except for a couple of men - one of whom cuddled Bonnie/Snoop/haven't-decided-on-a-name-yet - and the other who gave me my voting cards and explained how to write a cross in a box. (thank heaven for gentlemen, eh, don't know where I'd have been without him) I had two sheets of paper on which I could put a total of three crosses and that was it. There was none of the fighting our way to the hall through a crowd of people with placards, all trying to shove leaflets at us or sell us cup cakes. There was no giant sheet of paper with 300 parties to be crossed off in relevant order. 
However, I was just slightly cheesed off (to put it mildly) to find that we have chosen to live in the constituency over which the Speaker of the House presides. For some bizarre reason it is "tradition" - whatever that means - that none of the other major parties stand against him, which meant that there was no Labour or Liberal Democrat candidate. Or Conservative, come to that. I am sure that if there had been, the results of the whole election would have been wildly different. So our choice was down to The Speaker himself, the United Kingdom Ignorant Pig party, or Green. No prizes for guessing who I voted for.
Most fascinating to me, is the astonishing arrogance that both the British and the Australians have in common. I am not talking about rich Tory leaders here, who have no idea, or interest, in what it is like for the rest of us who have to rely on government schools and hospitals - though I could. I am not talking about a Prime Minister who thinks that an income of $185,000 a year is "not particularly high" for Sydney families - though I could. 
I am talking about the fact that so many Australians, apparently, are convinced that Julia Gillard was personally responsible for the global financial crisis, whilst, funnily enough, the British would like to claim that it was the fault of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The rest of the world had nothing to do with it, or so it seems.
I'm not going to write any more about the election, suffice to say that for the first twenty-four hours, I was so angry I was spitting chips, but now I just feel deeply, deeply sad. 
Thank the Universe for Bluebell woods, eh?