A difficult phone call and escapee goats (536)

by Max Akroyd

Growing up is a long trudge towards truth (parents are not gods, there’s no wealth without health, goats shouldn’t fall in love with horses – see below ). Unfortunately this means truth in its absolute form – arrival – probably equates with oblivion. I’m about to get another freezing cold shower of reality because I’ve just booked one of our meat pigs to be killed next week. The call has been made. The previously open link for me between eating meat and the killing of a big, loveable mammal is about to be closed, before my eyes. 

Recently I was walking with our children in the forest and watching all the leaves streaming off the trees in the autumn breeze. I realised then that avoiding this sort of thing would be like trying to stick all those millions of brown, dead leaves back on the trees. So although his impending death stings me, I’ll leave the tears to celebrity chefs: my family’s need for this food in the weeks ahead is authentic.

The goats almost got themselves on the butcher’s hitlist this morning. Normally they follow me to their trough to have their breakfast. Not today. Lena, the older goat who is in a hormonal frenzy at present, headed straight for the exit before I could slam the door and somehow Handa (the younger one) joined her. They were off. Maddeningly, I could get within a few inches of grabbing Lena but she always skittled off at the last second. Now I know why shepherds have crooks!

It got worse. They burst through a hedge and onto the lane which runs up the hill adjacent to our house and ultimately on to the main road. If they got that far it would’ve been catastrophic! Up they went, with me in an oxymoronic tentative pursuit, not wanting to scare them but desperate to catch them. With each contour of ascent my embarassment grew. How do you explain to a neighbour who only speaks Breton that you’re in his garden failing to retrieve your oversexed goats? After a prolonged and agonising game of cat and mouse, eventually Lena’s purpose became clear.

She had an appointment of the heart with a perplexed and frankly pretty angry horse belonging to a distant neighbour. Poor Lena (I wasn’t saying that at the time) was eventually convinced of the impossibility of  any union and this allowed me to collar her at last. Exhausted, we plodded off down the hill, both of us that bit older and wiser.

So a wasted morning, a salutary lesson, some unusually aerobic exercise for me and two goats lucky not to be curried.