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it would also assemble it, causing no end of consternation, because it turned out that the assembly service had been withdrawn a year previously, with nobody having thought to delete details of it from the website.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

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: If you are a committed Te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: There's a crackle in the Brum air

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Obama has admitted that his administration underestimated the threat posed by Isis  

Syrian air-strikes: Does the US have the foggiest idea who their enemy is?

Kim Sengupta
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style