I’ve lived with a flock of sheep in a field in North Wales all weekend

I’ve got a big caravan on a farmers’ field. No toilet, no shower and no one to bother me.

 

I look out of my bedroom window onto Cardigan Bay with the cliffs at Porth Ceriad and Pwllheli in the distance.  I look out of my living room window to Mount Snowdon and the jagged mountain range of The Snowdonian national park.  I look out of my kitchen window to Cilan head, a wasteland of ragged sheep, wild horses, buzzards, seagulls, kites, starlings, sparrows, grass snakes, badgers, foxes, heather, and the sound of the sea smashing up against the rugged cliffs.  It is a heaven all of its own.

 

The farmer, who rents me the field, is the hardest man I have ever met.

Hands like hammers, a head like large boulder and a back the size of Anglesey.

He taught me how to catch fish, how to deliver lambs, the patterns of birds,

To run when a cow in labor charges and the rhythms of nature.

 

I phoned him, in Bangor, to let him know I was coming to the farm.

“Oh Shit!”  He said in his musical Welsh accent.  “I’ve just put a flock of sheep into your field to graze”

“Don’t worry about it,” I said,  “It’s not a problem”. 

Nothing is a problem here.

 

As I approached the farm, I could see my caravan in the distance and the field speckled with white and the occasional black dots. 

It looked magnificent. 

It was ten o’clock but still bright and there was  a light wind as I carried food and bags into the caravan dodging sheep shite with every step.

 

The sheep are everywhere, scattered around the field, climbing on walls,  even underneath the caravan, sheltering and chomping on grass, looking worried.

 

That night, I dreamt of sheep in the field, in the barn and flying all around the immediate sky with woolen wings, bleating and baaaaing as they flew. 

 

I woke to the sound of sheep, calling their lambs, telling them to be worried. “Be worried” one shouted.

I listened carefully to the sound they made. 

Most of them said “Maaaa” not “Baaaa” as you would have imagined. 

I asked them who their favorite guitarist was and they replied “Maaaar” so I asked “Johnny?” and they said “Maaar”

I said “Johnny” and the sheep would reply, “Maaar” and I’d shout “Johnny” and the sheep would shout back, “Maaaar” and this continued for twenty minutes till even the sheep were bored of it but I still found it funny

“Johnny”

“Maaaar”

“Johnny”

“Maaaar”

 

 They all had their own accents and voices.  Some of the sheep sounded hoarse when they called, like they had a cold and a sore throat.  I offered them a lemsip but they said

“Naaaaaa”

 

I began to look closely at them.  They all looked different, like humans, we all look the same i.e. two eyes a nose a mouth etc. but we all look different.  I wondered if a sheep had ever looked closely at a human and thought the thoughts I had thought.

 

One of the sheep only had one eye.  The farmer told me that when they are new born and on the floor still trying to figure out what is happening, crows fly down and peck their eyes out.  What a cruel introduction to the world, I thought.

 

One of the sheep hobbles everywhere.  Its front left leg is limp and slack as it moves awkwardly around the field. 

They never play chess or scrabble. 

 

Everywhere I went in the caravan I could see them.

Bedroom

Kitchen

Living room

So I decided to go to the beach to escape the sheep but it was quite windy so I went for a walk and found a dead sheep that had fallen (or dived) off the cliff and washed up on the beach.  

A crow was pecking its drowned eyes out.

 

That night I dreamt about sheep.   Not like that!

 

The next day I woke to the sound of sheep. I got up and asked them all to be quiet but they ignored me.

I screamed at them “Be Quiet” but they still ignored me.

I thought I would go out for a walk but when I went to put my coat on I noticed my woolen jumper in the wardrobe.

I made a bonfire of all my woolen clothes.  Jumpers, suits, socks and underpants.

I began to hate sheep especially the way they copied each other, like sheep.

 

By Sunday things had changed.  I was talking to one of the sheep at the gate and she convinced me that the problem was my own making and that sheep had a fundamentally important place within our civilization and if lost, a vital link in nature’s chain would be broken.

 

The car was packed with sheep on the way home. 

My children now sleep in the garage and I get Johnny Marr round every evening to serenade my sheep to sleep

 

 

 

 

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