I hope that all is well with you and yours.
We were walking home with the dogs in the rain early one morning last week when we were confronted by a strange sight. By the gate of the house opposite Thierry’s farm at the top of our road stood a plastic cow.
“Look” said Mark my husband, “A plastic cow.”
Not much happens in these parts, we get a bit excited at the prospect of something a little out of the ordinary. Though to tell the truth, it isn’t particularly unusual to see a plastic cow round here. People say of my little village “142 people and 1000 cows”, some of which are plastic, though not that many, normally just 6 plastic cows on the roundabout where there are four roads going their separate ways at the top of the hill that leads to the village church.
But then the plastic cow lifted its head up and looked at us with an air of mild curiosity. It was in fact a real cow, a very young one and it was munching away on the flowers in Madame Monique’s front garden.
“I think it might be Mr and Mrs Pepperpot’s cow” I said, I knew they had got a new little girl cow recently as I’d been to see it.
And I dashed off to get Mr Pepperpot (that isn’t his real name, but we call this couple the Pepperpots as they are very petite), who rather reluctantly pulled on his rubber boots and a raincoat as by now the heavens had opened.
“Zut alors” he said when we arrived at the corner where Mark stood drenched in the rain, “that’s my cow!”
Well the cow was a very skittish creature and ran off into Thierry the farmer’s field where the road turns so that there are two ways out. It was followed by Mr Pepperpot calling it names and waving his arms about and sliding in the now sodden mud left by the recent harvesting of maize. Mr Pepperpot instructed Mark to stand in the middle of the road on one side, and me in the middle of the road on the other side, ready to stop the cow running off. I did wonder if perhaps I ought to have a lassoo but Mr Pepperpot had a tight grip on a piece of rope and he wasn’t letting go of it.
We stood there for ages as Mr Pepperpot attempted to cajole, and eventually yell at top of his voice for the cow to get out of the field. Meanwhile neighbours had come out to watch the shenanigans, when all of a sudden the cow came dashing out and headed straight towards Mark who ran about waving his arms. The animal changed its course and came charging towards me – I flapped my arms like I was trying to lift off the ground. The cow decided a flying woman in the road was too much to deal with and clip-clopped its way into Thierry’s courtyard where “Villaine” the Labrador awoke with a start from her bed in a shed and started barking. We all ran into the courtyard and Thierry came out to see what the normally very lazy Villaine was getting in a tizzy about. The little cow jumped over a trough of flowers and skidded to a halt in front of Thierry’s barn load of big cows which moo’d in surprise at all this unusual action and made her come to a confused standstill. Mr Pepperpot swiftly put the rope around her neck and wandered home. You can lead a cow to water, but you can’t make her think!
Bisous from my little corner of rural northern France,
Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream, My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life and Toujours la France: Living the Dream in Rural France all available as ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online.
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