Brian Viner: The whole thing was what you might call a baa-baa ha-ha hoo-hah

Share
Related Topics

As usual, we awoke on Tuesday morning to the sound of bleating, although it was not the "where is my rugby shirt/history homework?" kind of bleating to which we are so accustomed in the tumultuous hour between 6.30am and 7.30am. No, this was definitely ovine bleating, which was not in itself a surprise – not with the perimeter of a 1,000-acre sheep farm all of 30 yards from the marital bed. But this bleating seemed more insistent than usual, and sure enough, there were half a dozen lambs trapped on our side of the fence in what we grandly call the ha-ha, all going ballistic, in their woolly way. It was what you might call, although not after too much Herefordshire cider, a ha-ha hoo-hah. Indeed, a baa-baa ha-ha hoo-hah.

Coincidentally, just to weave off on a slight tangent, the ha-ha hoo-hah came the very day after a ping-pong ding-dong. Jane had ordered a table-tennis table online and paid an extra £50 to have it assembled, a decision born of bitter flat-pack experience. But when the table didn't materialise on the appointed day, she phoned the company she'd bought it from, who called the hauliers and rang back to say that they were terribly sorry, but it seemed to be lost in transit. Two days later it reappeared in a depot in Bristol and delivery arrangements were made again – once we had assured them that there would be someone at home to sign for it between March 2009 and November 2013, that being the narrowest estimate they could offer – and I exaggerate only slightly, as to when it might arrive.

Jane then asked whether the driver who delivered it would also assemble it, causing no end of consternation, because it turned out that the assembly service had been withdrawn a year previously, with nobody having thought to delete details of it from the website. "But you took my £50," she pointed out. "Yes, we're terribly sorry about that, too," they said, promising a refund. Anyway, one week and two small nervous breakdowns later, we finally worked out which nut was married to which bolt, and were able to play. The only faintly troubling thing is that, according to the instructions – which, incidentally, are in German – the table should make a "clack" sound when it is folded away. So far, the clack has eluded us. We haven't got the flat-pack clack knack.

And so back to Tuesday's ha-ha hoo-hah. While Jane herded the lambs in my direction, I made lacklustre attempts to pick them up, intending to haul them back over the fence. Lacklustre, because I have picked up a lamb before and suffered unfortunate consequences. There was once one lying immobile in the field, seemingly abandoned by its mother, so I carried it into our kitchen and phoned Roger, the farmer. Shortly after Roger had collected it I went to Leominster post office, and stood in the queue marvelling at the potent bucolic smell that seemed to be filling the building. I even remarked on it to the woman in front of me, who laughed nervously and edged away – which is when I noticed the lamb had defecated copiously down my trousers.

Happily, I didn't have to pick up these lambs in the end, because they found a gap under the fence and wriggled through, then scampered with relief to their mums, who had been similarly traumatised by the separation, and started frantically suckling. It was lovely to be reminded of the bond between mother and baby – all of which brings me to our friend Sian, whose daughter Eve was delivered by Caesarean section last week. Having had an epidural, Sian was conscious throughout the operation, and Jane, who gave birth to our own middle child by Caesarean but under general anaesthetic, was keen to know what that felt like. She said she'd heard there was a rummaging sensation, like someone looking for a purse in a handbag. "Purse in a handbag," exclaimed Sian. "There were about four pairs of hands in there. I felt more like the bloody bargain bin at Tesco's!"

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, UI, JMX, FIX)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, U...

Structured Finance

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...

SQL Server Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...

C#.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If children with guns are safer than their unarmed peers, then Somalia must be the safest place in the world to grow up

Mark Steel
Theresa May  

Democracy and the police: a system in crisis

Nigel Morris
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone