Friday, 21 September 2007

Home then off again!!!

Just a fleeting visit to say that the Sheeps tale will continue after the Rugby!!!
The picture shows the first match with Fiji doing their version of the Haka to Japan, the stadium was packed, a sellout as was France v Namibia.
The first matches we saw were brilliant, the atmosphere was electric. I have never been to World Cups in any sport so it is an amazing experience. So far the organisation has been spot on with Free Parking and Shuttle buses to the Stadium. I am very impressed. Tomorrow we are off to Nantes to watch England play Samoa, a game they must win. It should be another cliff hanger.

All the travelling does take up quite a lot of time and energy so writing and blogging has to take second place for the moment. I will pop in on fellow Racers when I have the time.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Off to the Rugby World Cup

We have tickets to watch six Rugby Matches over the next month, mostly in Toulouse but also one in Nantes and a Quarter-final in Marseille, so I will be off-line on and off over the next few weeks. Will pop in on other blogs when I can, see you all soon.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The Sheepdog's Tale Part 2

As a puppy I fitted in to my new home very quickly. At the beginning I was on my own but in my first Summer another puppy arrived. I've never seen anything quite so funny. Her name was Fleur, well that was funny for a start, then there was her shape, short legs, a long body, very long ears and she always looked sad even if she wasn't and she had a very funny accent. She said she was a Basset Hound from England. I'll let her tell you about all the fun we had and the mischief she got me into!!!

Now I was growing up and was getting impatient to start work. I sometimes went with the Boss to check on the sheep but just as I would be about to go and round them up she would call me away. I didn't understand what the problem was until the day she said we were going to "school" for ME to learn to work with sheep. It wasn't me that needed lessons, it was MY SHEPHERD who didn't know what to do!!!!!

I must admit the first day was a bit scary. She gave me a pill to calm me down for the trip in the "metal box"[ I still hate them now] but I think she should have had one aswell. When we arrived at the "school" I had to wait in the "box" all morning, apparently the Shepherds were signing up for the lessons[I knew it was for them!] And talking about their dogs and their experience. There were lots of other dogs in their "boxes "but they were all those black and white collie types so I was going to stand out, but I didn't mind. I was confident but I don't think she was judging by her face when she came to fetch me!!!!!!

We went into a field to start the lessons. All the other Shepherds were males and the collies were sniggering amongst themselves. "Have you seen the size of that bitch[me] and she's so old[2 years] and her Shepherds a female, oh this is going to be fun to watch." They [the dogs and shepherds] were all waiting for us to make fools of ourselves.

The first task was the RECALL, well how simple is that, or so I thought. But only the second Collie to be tested, a male with other things on his mind and a totally ineffective Shepherd, took off and kept running. He was put on his lead when they finally caught him, how embarrassing. I had a little smile at that. Then it was our turn. I could see how nervous she was, all those males looking at her, waiting for a mistake, waiting for me to run off. But of course I didn't, I went straight to her and waited for my next command. That kept them quiet. After that we were given a bit more respect.

As the weeks passed she was really getting the hang of the commands and we had just started working with small groups of sheep. She was still a bit nervous about letting me work but I was beginning to enjoy myself, atlast I was doing what I had been born for.


Our flock of sheep where attacked by MARAUDING DOGS, and they became terrified at the sight of any dog, me included. They started running for their lives as soon as they saw me. I tried to reassure them but the trauma they had suffered was too great and they would't listen. She said I had to leave them alone until they had recovered. No more fun for me. It was a long time before she was able to let me help her again.

I think Number One is going to tell you all about those TERRIBLE DAYS as I didn't see what happenned to them.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Review of Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

As The Guardian said "the best sheep detective novel you'll read all year"
It's a very entertaining book and it's obvious to me as a Shepherd that Leonie Swann has done her homework on the ways of sheep. I particularly like how the sheep use their superior sense of smell. You may think it strange for George the Shepherd to read aloud to his flock but I regularly talk to mine and know that atleast some of them understand perfectly what I tell them!!!

The discovery of Georges body, apparently murdered, sets the sheep on the trail of the Murderer. There are some clever twists and turns, some very funny bits and good observation of the human condition. Some of the ways the sheep use to find out information are a bit contrived but hey this is fiction!! A very original take on a detective novel, and as we all know there are only a finite number of stories so finding a new angle is important if you want to be published. I also like the addition of the sheep on the bottom of each page, if you flick the pages the sheep gambol, a nice touch. All in all a good read especially for sheep lovers. And always a good sign for me I will read it again. Just wish I'd thought of it first!!!!