As some of you know,
I am Irish.
Many of you picture a land of hills, pubs,
and possibly thatched cottages.
But I was born in Dublin!
Not a thatched cottage in sight.
The story I am leading up to,
took place when I was about ten years old.
We were staying with my grandparents,
for our Summer holidays,
as we did every year.
I cannot begin to let you all know,
what a magical time this was each year.
My brother was a year younger than I,
and together we spent many hours,
Walking, playing in streams,
and just aimlessly roaming.
It would be important to note,
that my younger brother
was and still is,
very prone to courting disaster.
He fell in every river,
and landed ass first in every cow pat!
One of the activities we really enjoyed,
was “helping” a local lady,
drive her cows from one field,
at the bottom of the village,
to another field,
at the other end of the village.
She did this every evening after milking,
and if we were around we joined her.
We imagined ourselves like real locals.
sticks in hand,
ready to whack any cow who strayed.
One day she asked us if we would drive the cows without her.
Now a bit of perspective here.
My mother came from this village.
We were accepted like locals.
In this area it was not uncommon,
for kids not much older than us to be driving tractors.
Driving cows would have been regarded,
as a fairly basic task!
My brother was not too sure,
but I loved to pretend to be authentic country stock.
So “no problem” was my answer.
We headed off, sticks at the ready.
We had done this many evenings,
and the cows knew the route.
Well for goodness sake you would think that wouldn’t you?
Not too long into our journey,we realized these cows were onto us.
“City slickers” was possibly what they were mooing to each other.
I sent my brother up to control the leader,
but he seemed to cause mayhem,
and in no time at all,
we had at least three cows,
who were jostling for top cow position.
It also became obvious,
despite walking this route regularly,
these cows had no clue where they were going!
I decided it was necessary to demote my brother,
and I moved to the top of the herd,
whacking every cow on my way.
Sadly by the time we had completed the changeover,
the cows were now totally out of our control.
To my horror they began to run!
We had never seen cows run before,
Every evening this exercise,
had always been a nice orderly stroll!
I took off after them,
roaring “hup hup”,
words I had heard used before to address cows.
Then I froze.
I could see that the three fastest cows,
were now galloping along,
leading the others after them,
in through the back gates
of the HOTEL!
I raced to the entrance,
standing in their path,
“Hupping” for all I was worth,
as the entire herd ran past me!
We were left alone.
In the distance we could hear the mooing,
and were conscious of the odd crashing noise.
I looked at my brother.
No words could we speak.
What would we do?
How could we catch them without witnesses?
I cannot begin to describe,
the next hour.
We sat in our bedroom,
and lived the horror or what we imagined,
was happening up the lane of the Hotel.
All those cows,
and the mess they create!
A while later my Grandad came in.
He used to put shoes on the horses,
owned by the hotel.
Whilst winking in our direction,
he told us, and the rest of our family,
about the visit of the cows.
Thankfully he had done what we could not,
and safely driven all the cows to the correct field!
Nothing was ever said to us,
about what happened.
We gave the cow owning lady,
a wide berth for a few days.
We did continue to “help” her,
but surprise, surprise,
we were never again given the job
of driving her cows alone!
photo credit: theirhistory via photopin cc
photo credit: Lotus Carroll via photopin cc
© Copyright Corinna Schleiffer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
© Copyright P L Chadwick and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence