Monday, 14 September 2009

Dancing Sheep

Welcome to my blog. Nice to see you. If you are new, welcome, welcome, welcome. If you are a regular, great to see you again. I hope you've had a good week.

For those of you who get this emailed, I apologise for the delay. It should have been with you yesterday. However, last night over a glass of wine and a diminishing supply of crisps, I thought, why should my blog get a knackered writer's thoughts last thing on a Sunday night? Not good enough. So I've decided that from now on, the blog shall go out on a Monday instead. Can't say fairer than that.

Well, here in the Independant Republic of.. things are beginning to slow down. The water no longer has the allure it once had, and eyes turn towards the few crooked trees that brave the salt air and blustery wind. Not for us the vibrant displays of Autumn colours; the laden blackberry bushes, and dew dusted meadows. Nope, we have concrete, and cars, and bare-bottoms at the back of kite-surfer's vans.

Well, is it just me, or do all women have a gremlin in the form of a bossy great grandmother who lies in wait ready to spring out the moment you want to put your feet up? I do, and the combined forces of my star sign and said gremlin ransacked my week. Instead of relaxing with a play or two, pretending to understand The Economist, and reading about Teddy Kennedy, I cleaned the house. I scrubbed, polished, dusted, hoovered, sorted out my wardrobe and, for a bit of light relief, went foraging in the hedgerows for pudding. After making a blackberry crumble, I started the washing. Madness. By the end of the week, I could not face another duster, so gave the gremlin the heave ho and, with just the slightest twinge of guilt, set off to the Findon Sheep Fair. So incidentally, did thousands of others.

The Sheep Fair started in 1261 when Henry 111 granted a Royal Charter to the Lord of the Manor of Findon, Walter de Clifford. Today the Fair is a much smaller affair and the sheep are more of a side-show to the stalls, Fairground, and entertainments. Nevertheless there were sheep pens, a sheep competition, and a display of sheep and shearing by a charismatic New Zealand shepherd. He introduced us to the different breeds of sheep displayed on the podium; told us about maggots (deadly); sheared a sheep and sold it in a mock auction. He was very entertaining but not entertaining enough to explain the growing crowd as his performance built. Sheep are interesting, but c'mon? Then a friend enlightened me, "the sheep dance at the end. Just wait."

Now I've seen Babe and Big Barn Farm, so I know what sheep can do, but I must say I was a tad bit skeptical. I waited, and true to his word, the disco music came on and the sheep were primed. The dreadlocked sheep shook it's head and hips and the little black face did a couple of kicks. I couldn't quite see the one that did the moon-walk but I didn't need to, the shepherd did a demo. It was worth going to the Sheep Fair just to see that. If he got them to sing, he could be on the X-factor. He'd certainly be better than the lady in the duo with the dog that didn't sing.

If you want to find out more about the origin of the Sheep Fair there's a great little history at, , but for me, it's time to sign off for another week.

I hope you have a good one, and see you next Monday.

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