Thérèse: Happy New Year at Last

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You may remember that I postponed making my New Year resolutions until February 17th aka the Chinese Year of the Sheep. If Google hadn’t published an image of a ram bashing its head on a tree today, the date could have slipped under my radar.

Knowing little about rams or why the Chinese have dedicated twelve whole months to one, I Google-searched and fell upon a WikiHow piece – How to Defend Against a Ram. You may find this useful in the year ahead.

We are advised never to turn our backs on a ram. Also, if he gives you a mean look then “there is the likelihood of an oncoming charge.” At this point, they suggest tackling the ram as you would an opponent in volleyball.

Never having played volleyball, I imagine I’d be dead at this point. I’m also really bad at reading the subtle facial expressions of sheep. The next piece of advice is to drag the ram to the gate, let yourself out, and close the gate behind you leaving him in the field. My advice would be to stay out of fields.

As you know, I am of the city, preferring the gentle hum of traffic to the dawn chorus of the birds. Nevertheless, when our kids were small, I threw myself into country living with abandon, even going so far as to grow my own vegetables.

After investing in a digger and some hoes, a pair of crocs, and a Barbour jacket, I planted out tiny shoots and seeds in neat lines and lovingly tended rows of beans, carrots, sweet corn and cabbages. Months went by with every spare moment spent tilling, watering and weeding. The supermarket was only a ten minute drive away, which was just as well as the vegetables were organic and prone to slugs. They were dwarfish in size and unrecognizable in shape, but I had the zeal of the newly converted believing that one day we would see the fruits of our labors.

Our garden was surrounded by a hundred acres of farmland, which will only seem idyllic to anyone who has never lived in a house surrounded by a hundred acres of farmland. One afternoon six enormous tractors came into the field and sprayed pesticide on all the crops, including ours, which happened to be downwind. This left us no longer organic. A little while later the rabbits celebrated Thanksgiving on our patch by eating all the carrots and cabbages. That brought an abrupt end to my Beatrix Potter phase and our foray into self-sustenance. After that I’d have happily taken a gun to the rabbits and possibly to the farmer who delighted in riding his machinery as close to the end of our property as his wheels would allow. We’d have had a more tranquil existence under the flight path at Heathrow.

Anyway I digress. This is the Year of the Ram/Sheep/ Goat depending on which Chinese Mandarin symbol you choose. I am making only one resolution. I will do my level best to avoid running into a ram.

Happy New Year.

therese

Thérèse is the author of India’s Summer and Letter from Paris. You can stay up-to-date on her blog posts at her website.

 

 

 

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On February 21, 2015
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