et al.

I appear to have gone on about my hens an awful lot lately, and in the interests of parity I feel I should introduce the remaining trio of the Hairy Farmer family.

Maddie is John’s Collie dog, and our resident neurotic. A tough, affectionate dog, with a low tolerance to interference (grooming, ear inspection, bump & scratch damage exploration) and terror of sharp noises. Greyhound and cheetah seem to feature prominently in her 90%-leg genetic make-up. She lives; ergo, she farms. A day not spent trit-trotting unendingly up and down the yard pens is a day wasted. A dog with an inner Purpose. She is occasionally given the opportunity to embarrass John by proving how enthusiastically clueless she is at rounding up sheep. He is often obliged to run as far as she does. On this occasion the sheep, just about discernable from the dog (and a running Hubby), are supposed to be going downhill and left.

(Deleted Youtube video.)

Tebbit is my English Springer Spaniel. Named tongue in cheek after a Tory Peer, Tebba is neutered, fat, unkempt, lazy and a blatant attention-seeker. If there is action of any sort, Tebbit demands shamelessly to be at the centre of it. A people-person, if John is lay flat on the yard fettling a machine, then Tebbit will have his nose firmly into the problem as well. An accident-prone dog, particularly on Bank Holiday weekends when Vets are at their priciest, he recently cost thousands of pounds to mend following a serious fall from a straw-stack. He is now minus a femoral head and will be lame for the rest of his life. Howls absurdly in sympathy with loud noises.

The pack dynamic is rather odd, in that it alters depending on location. Here at home, Tebbit is an undisputed bully, and Mads is allowed nothing to call her own; he lies with every bone and dog-toy in the house piled between his front paws, and a triumphant expression. Madda submits sadly, with no hint of rebellion. Down at the farm or out on a walk, however, Mads knocks seven shades of hell out of Tebba, who is bowled over, bitten, and altogether paid-back. I was stood a long way away from this particular biting-in-the-balls-he-doesn’t-have event, hence the grainy shot, but it does illustrate my point nicely.

The final member of the clan is our baby tortoise, Marina. Bought by me as a wedding gift for John (he got me a banjo) she could outlive us both and possibly Harry as well, providing she is well looked after and not permitted to escape. (After uploading this link to YouTube for your viewing boredom, I see that it is proudly linked to a significantly more exciting one from the legendary Eden Marriott Kennedy of Fussy fame.) She is a comically bad judge of distance, (just to make clear: we’re back discussing Marina now) and can often be seen standing an inch or so short of her chosen leaf taking wild yet futile bites. She enjoys a nice ripe cherry tomato or a chunk of banana as a treat, and, after peeing out of all proportion to her size, manages to look slightly guilty.

 So, there you have us. 3 geese, 1 hen, 1 cockerel, 1 tortoise, 2 dogs, 1 baby, 1 farmer and 1 Me. Oh, and 3 goldfish. Old Uncle Tom Cobley will be along shortly, no doubt.

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