Yesterday morning J and I braved the rainy weather to walk up the White Horse Hill again. We both need to get fit and so we made our way out of the village and up the road that leads to the hill itself. Water was coming down the road like the jungle slide on "I'm a Celebrity..." and the mud was good and slippy.
We trudged up until we were level with the chalk horse and then sheep appeared. There are always sheep on the hill but this day they were having some sort of family get together. Sheep to the left, sheep to the right, sheep in front of us and... hey, they're heading our way, making (for sheep) quite aggressive noises. We walked slowly and purposefully back down the hill.
Then I did something odd. I walked back up the hill and had a quiet word with the ringleader sheep and it's close friends. I showed my hands empty, in case they thought I'd come to feed them, then spoke a few words in an effort to convince them to go back up the hill. After my uncle died around eight years ago I went back to his house to spend a few days and get my thoughts together. On the last day I went for a walk in the Kentish fields I had grown to know so well. Over the tracks of the steam railway and deeper into the countryside. I sat down in the corner of a field to do some writing and small flock of sheep appeared. They made some non-aggressive baa-ing noises and watched me write. I had a few quiet words with them and they headed off to, I presume, pastures new. So did I.
Back on the hill, the sheep took the hint and went back up to their usual grounds. Thoughts of my family started resonating. My dad, who has always had a way with calming animals (and people), my uncle, who I still miss, and my great-grandfather, who was a Shepherd.
Bridge Street guitarist Richard got a new guitar. This is a further sign that we need to make a loud musical noise soon.