I met a lady in Cookie O’Callaghan’s Saturday night who had a crow to pluck with me.
She had a complaint to make regarding some heavy breathing she had heard, while jogging past my farm.
“It came from your old overgrown ditches,” she declared, “it put the heart crossways in me.” And naturally enough, she wondered if it had been me causing a commotion in between the brambles and briars.
Well, I had to laugh, for of course it wasn’t me.
Being an upstanding gent in every way, ’twould be entirely out of character for me to be involved in such a pursuit. And I haven’t the time to scratch myself, never mind anything else.
“My dear lady,” I stressed, “you have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” For I knew the real origins of the racket.
“The heavy breathing is coming from the nostrils of a bullock of mine who has developed a nasal problem, stemming from a castration job that went wildly astray.” I said.
And I went on to explain, as delicately as I could, for Cookie’s Bar is a very respectable premises, that one day last year the vet had had an unbelievable struggle in finding one ball never mind another in this particular animal.
“Anyway with a lash of his legs, and a fart from his arse, the beast leaped from the vet’s grasp and the crush, taking half the crush bars and repair twine with him, in the process, and into a nearby bog he fled.
“So there he was, gone” says I. “Never to be seen again. Until two weeks later, when I spotted him in a neighbouring field.”
My listener entranced with my every word.
“And now, while he’s no bull, he’s no bullock either,” I said, drifting slightly off the subject, but I felt ’twas only polite to give the lady all the facts relating to the matter.
“Anyhow,” says I, “to cut a long story short, he soon developed this unnatural breathing problem.
“And we don’t know how or why it started,” I continued, “for there is no connection between the balls and the lungs, to the best of my knowledge.
“And there isn’t an expert in the whole of the planet who can figure it out.
To be fair to the woman, she took everything on board, and then expressed her wish that the animal would recover, “with the lengthening of the days and the warming of the nights.”
And I agreed with her and told her she wasn’t the first to be concerned when passing my farm. Last year, two other joggers, local ladies, Jenny and Tina, also grabbed the attention of my cattle, when two lively bull weanlings of dubious pedigree, cleared a ditch to join them on their early morning jog for a good mile and a half.
And it was only after the lasses took a swift left at Cobblers Cross that the beasts lost the scent.
I was quickly on the case that morning of course, for I’m usually fast off the mattress when my cattle take to the roads.
You might wonder why walkers, joggers, and cyclists continue to traverse the roads here. Simply put, along with heavy breathing bullocks and rambunctious weanlings, we do live in a beautiful and peaceful area, where the air is as pure as ourselves, where a new adventure can await ramblers around every corner.
It’s just one of the reasons why west Cork is the envy of the world.