I was half awake this morning when I heard lots of thumping noises. I knew Mrs Next Door was due to go on holiday tomorrow, and assumed she was engaged in Noisy Preparations. But then I had second thoughts; the noise wasn’t coming from her side, but from under my bedroom window. I got up and had a look.
‘Shit! Cows! Again!!’
I got dressed and went downstairs, just in time to hear a knocking on the door.
‘There are cows in the garden,’ said my neighbour.
‘Pretty, aren’t they?’
I envy women in being able to see ‘pretty’ first, and ‘bloody nuisance’ second. I’m the other way round.
Five young heifers were wandering around the paved area at the side of my house. They looked at me in that way cows do when they’re wondering why you’re walking on two legs. I shooed them around to the front and onto my neighbour’s lawn, which is badly overgrown (courtesy of the landlord’s agent who keeps saying he’ll send a contractor to take down the excessive growth, but hasn’t got around to it yet.)
‘Do something useful,’ I told them. ‘Eat that.’
They didn’t. As soon as my back was turned they wandered through the main part of my herbaceous border, and then went and trampled all over the vegetable beds. I decided it was better to leave them to find their way out of the garden themselves, since chasing them around would probably have resulted in the damage being more extensive. Cows are no respecters of things which humans consider important.
So then I rang the police because my neighbour said the rest of the herd were making their way to the main Ashbourne road, which isn’t good. It seemed somebody must have known whose cows they were, though. Five minutes later a farmhand turned up on a quad bike and strung a line across the entrance to my path.
‘We’ve got some cows on the loose. We’re just going to round them up.’
‘I know,’ I said with ill-disguised irritation. ‘They’ve been in my garden and done some damage.’
‘Oh, sorry about that,’ he said, and rode off.
I decided to be philosophical. This sort of thing is part of the price you pay for living in a rural area, and I wouldn’t change that. And the cows left me a gift in recompense for the damage they’d caused – loads of cow dung all over the place. Free fertiliser (even though I slipped on it a couple of times because I didn’t expect it to BE there!)
And then I thought of all those people around the world who live in places where they have tornadoes, and hurricanes, and tidal waves, and earthquakes, and devastating floods... And the whole business slipped nicely into perspective.