Wellies in the wilderness…
I’ve never had much to do with sheep. My life so far has failed to equip me to deal with the problem of how to drive a car down a farm track through a field with a gate at each end to keep a flock of sheep where they’re meant to be. Opening the first gate, driving the car through then shutting it was easy enough, but by the time I got to the second gate the sheep had trotted over for a look. Leaving the car door open I flapped a hand at the woolly mass and said ‘shoo’ before opening the gate and diving back to the car. One sheep was trying to climb into the driver’s seat and the others were ambling with intent towards the open gate. I chased the sheep out of the car and revved up loudly, scattering the flock, before accelerating through the gate, swinging it shut just in time.
It’s a skill that gets better with practice. By the time I’d learned how to say ‘shoo’ more robustly to send the flock packing to the other side of the field before attempting the final gate, they’d been moved to a different field and I could bounce my Fiat punto down the muddy track with only one gate to open before finding the tarmac.
There is a connection between the sheep and my disgraceful lapse of blog posts. The boat show was three months ago, but life got in the way since then and I decided that peace and quiet in a remote cottage would be a good place to recover from a series of personal and health setbacks. Internet access here is not part of the fabric of life but an occasional luxury – and surprisingly, the sky doesn’t fall in if you don’t check your emails every five minutes. When I first arrived, I put on wellies, picked up laptop and dongle and headed into the nearest field where I was told there was sometimes a signal. The sheep came over to find out what was going on as I waved the laptop around to no avail.
I still go into the fields every day, but only to get some fresh air accompanied by the farm’s sheepdog, who finds retrieving balls far more to her taste than herding sheep. I wish I could say that not being distracted by the internet has led to a surge of creative inspiration, but it’s one of those times when I feel about as creative as a brick. I think everyone has their own journey through the wilderness at some stage in life, and you just have to believe that you won’t be lost for ever and it will all come trickling back in its own good time.
In the meantime, I’m quietly getting on with ‘Go Windsurfing’, working my way slowly through my scribbled notes and trying to get the hang of drawing people in wetsuits. Life would be dull if it always went to plan, and when things go wrong you just have to keep faith in yourself.
I’m just grateful not to be a sheep.