The telephone rang at ten past eight. I had only just got up so I left it to the Sage, who had been up for ages, to answer. When I came downstairs, he was on the phone again, to a neighbour.
You remember that I told you, the other day, about a young bullock that got out into the lane and then broke into our field with the cows? Its owner came and fetched it back, but this time a whole lot – 14 or something – broke out and ended up in the road, so someone rang the police and they rang us to ask who the cattle belong to. The Sage told them, but said that the farmer won’t be home at this time of day, so gave directions to the farm as well.
Then he rang Ermintrude, the neighbour, and they had an enjoyable grumble together.
The farmer is a very pleasant chap and everyone likes him personally, but this sort of thing happens regularly and he is very casual about it. A couple of years ago, his cows kept breaking down our fence to get in with our cows, which had more grass – they waded through the river, which was not fenced in as it’s where they drink, and across the footpath. The fence has needed regular repairs ever since. These very young bullocks are fenced in, but they’re like any gang of little boys and will get up to mischief and it needs a good fence to hold them. The farmer – shall we call him Bartleby? – won’t give out his mobile phone number and says “that’s for me to use, not you” so you can’t tell him quickly when there’s a problem.
Anyway, the Sage, being a sensible sort of fellow and not wanting the cattle to cause an accident, has been down to keep them safe in the lane until Bartleby arrived. They put them back in the field – but Bartleby hadn’t brought a hammer or staples to mend the fence. So it’s held together with baler twine for the time being.