For some reason I don’t really ever mark the summer solstice as I would like to; firstly because I always forget that June is in fact half way through the year and it isn’t July which feels as though it should be but also because this time of year is so busy.
This year I’d planned to spend a nice summer’s evening at the allotment planting out some of the things that now are taking off in their pots and seed trays and possibly, finally weeding the onion, garlic and carrot bed and sowing some more carrots. But my plans had to be abandoned for the saddest of reasons as just after I got home from work a neighbour arrived to tell us that a sheep had been shot dead just outside their house.
We arrived to find that it was Cobweb. The neighbours said that her and her lambs were grazing on the green in front of their house whilst they were outside talking, they heard a crack that sounded like some sort of shot from behind them and Cobweb wobbled and lay down. At first they thought she might have been overcome with heat as it was very hot and had been all day, and when we first arrived I thought it was possible an infection from the dog attack had taken hold but after checking her over we found a small graze and an entry hole in her side.
The rest of the evening was spent trying to catch her lambs, who are unharmed but still in a state from losing their mother, calming down another ewe, Iris, who we think was with her when it happened and now will not come near anyone and contacting the police, the secretary of the Commoners’, the body who oversee free-roaming animals in the area, and the local Animal Health office who have possibly done the most as our ‘local man’ has arranged for DEFRA to pay for and carry out a post-mortem and came and collected her himself and delivered her to their labs.
We have now lost two important members of our flock this year, with both Cobweb and Flattie being bottle fed lambs who started our flock of sheep off. They were both very tame, would come to name (even if feed was an even surer way of getting their attention) and had many happy years of life with us, that is something we can be sure of as we knew them both as well as anyone can ever know another creature.
After last time I am not for one second holding my breath that anyone will be caught, although the police have done far more than last time as we have actually received a visit from them and a phone call to follow it up. All that can be done now is to feel numb, sad and angry and carry on with the hope that maybe someone will be questioned, or even charged for their crime.
The only alternative that I can see would be to give up and I might as well live in a tower block in the middle of the nosiest, most built up, gun crime filled area but then I would be the biggest loser any way. Instead I can be happy enough with the years we lived happily with Cobweb, and the countless years spent with everyone else, and look forward to who is going to come along next.
Do not cry because I have gone, be happy that I was here – a quote I am sure I have heard somewhere