Unnerving ~ Being Judged By A Sheep

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It had never occurred to me until last week that sheep might have opinions. Being brought up within the purlieus of a Cheshire farm and on a picture book diet that included many iterations of Little Bo Beep, I knew they could be wayward. Also a close confrontation with a lamb in my formative years was the source of one of my first big life lessons: disillusionment.

That is to say, it was the moment when I found out for myself that things aren’t always what they seem. This revelation was unexpectedly visited upon me around the age of two. I had tottered determinedly across the field near our house, intent on grabbing a lamb. I had not encountered one at close quarters before, and I was spurred on by a sense of eager expectation that I still recall. Capturing one took a little time, but oh, woe. Where was the warm, cuddly creature I had imagined it to be? What was this clammy, rubbery thing I had grasped so firmly by the neck ? I was not impressed, and quickly abandoned the enterprise, feeling very let down. There was also some inkling, for which I had no words at the time, that I had been somehow  set up by my parents. Didn’t they know how lambs actually felt?

Then last Wednesday, after a good tramp around the Wenlock countryside the tables were turned: I found myself the object of ovine scrutiny.  I stared back, fully expecting the sheep to shy away as they usually do, but no, it went on giving me ‘the look’. In fact it gave me the distinct impression it was not impressed by what it saw. I felt quite self-conscious. Hmph, I muttered. Who’d’ve thought it, being made to feel sheepish by a sheep; clearly more to them than meets the eye. And so followed another important, if belated life lesson, and one of the hardest to grasp: do not be quick to judge. Or even better, Mrs. Farrell: do not judge at all, lest the boot ends up on the other foot.

On the other hand, perhaps the Wenlock sheep somehow divined a closet lamb strangler when it saw one.

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copyright 2017 Tish Farrell

38 thoughts on “Unnerving ~ Being Judged By A Sheep

  1. Hoho, a closet lamb strangler in our midst! This gave ma a good smile or three, and had me thinking back to my earliest memory…I would have been three

      1. Yes, I can remember being in my pram and push chair. Photos can of course help, prompting memories of the circumstances that surrounded the photos being taken, including things that my parents would not have known at the time. .

      2. I have one vague memory of being in my prom, and I remember being in my pushchair, too…but my strongest memory is a little later than that, on the drive of our house. And I have early school memories from age 4…triggered by opening a pot of penicillin V tablets in the pharmacy – the smell was that of the paint used on some wooden playing blocks, all those years before!

  2. EXCELLENT, Madame Farrell… ❤
    * * *
    sounds great in French: être jugé par une brebis ou un mouton… 🙂
    * * *
    @"do not judge at all, lest the boot ends up on the other foot." – universal and realistic saying… 😉

  3. Gosh, what a captivating story and heartmelting photos, Tish! Lovely work.
    Best regards from much too warm Norway,
    wishing you a great weekend.

    1. Thank you for those very kind comments, Dina. But you say you have too much warmth in Norway? Please post some across the North Sea at once. We’ve been perishing in Shropshire 🙂

  4. Enjoyed your memory. Sheep are not fluffy and fun – mostly they are smelly (although lanolin can smell ok sometimes) and silly. They can certainly have “a look” about them, it’s the eye shape I think, like goats, just doesn’t look friendly.

  5. oh those old photos are precious – and the last one – you can feel the “clammy, rubbery” maybe going through your mind.

    and you know how sometimes they say our perceptions are off? where we misread because of where our mind is at that day and the filters we have in place….’
    so what if this sheep was actually impressed and his staying around was a sign of comfort – and his body language was letting you know that you have been coming to the countryside so much – he feels that comfort

    or….

    he remembered when you grabbed his uncle’s neck way back when and was still pissed….

  6. Oh what a gem this one is…I simply love the pictures of you with the lambs:) Like you, I was most surprised the first time I held a lamb to find that they were not all soft and cuddly like a cat…..however, I still adore them….Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend…janet:)

  7. Animals are often referred as being “dumb” but, I have to say, I think my parrot sits in judgement of me. There’s more going on in her little head than just “Where’s my next treat?” I’m glad she’s caged — although she has figured out how to open the cage door … 🙂

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