Denis Lehane: Danger is averted just in nick of time

A simple bale of hay can cast a very long shadow on your day.

In my rush to get to this week’s ploughing championships, ’tis a wonder I haven’t killed or maimed half the country.

My brush with murder and mayhem occurred on Saturday when I was engaged in the business of hauling in a dozen round bales of silage. There would after all be no time to do such a thing this week, and me up to my eyeballs with ploughing.

Anyhow, the stuff was mowed and baled without incident. ’Twas with the drawing of the bales that disaster struck.

As many fellows do in times of haste, I picked a handy corner of the field in which to park my bales. Admittedly, there was a bit of a slope to the corner, but nothing in life comes without some degree of danger.

Thinking nothing of it, I carted my bales to the spot, my head too filled with dreams of Tullamore to be bothered with slopes.

Anyway I was in the middle of my job and dropping a bale with some speed, when I spotted my hoor attempting a little roll. Nothing unusual here of course, as round bales by their very nature can roll slightly when placed in position.

But then didn’t my devil roll a little more, and soon I was witnessing the thing rolling down the remains of the field. Then to my horror, like a steeplechase jumper, out over the ditch and onto the road below went my roundy hoor.

Quickly from my tractor I jumped and onto the ditch I did go, in hot pursuit of my runaway bale.

Fearing for the safety of passers-by, I was greatly relieved to find the road was as free from traffic as it usually is. But unfortunately my bale was still in the mood for travel and was rolling on down the road.

Now owing to the fact that I don’t have the proper paperwork to take my tractor onto a public road, alas I couldn’t halt my bale mechanically. All I could do was run after it waving a stick, hoping I could warn road users of the danger that was in front of me.

I was able to overtake my bale on a straight patch of road, and it was lucky too, for I soon met a slow moving car containing an elderly couple and they heading straight for the danger zone.

“Stop,” I roared at the lady peering up from under the steering wheel. “There’s a round bale on the way and ye are doomed if this car isn’t swung around quickly.”

“Oh dear Lord,” says she, before firing the car into reverse and doing a very impressive handbrake turn. The car ended up in a layby, thus ensuring that my bale could roll safely past without incident.

Very much relieved that their lives had been saved, they showered me with blessings, but I had little time for prayers for the bale was still on the move. Next I came across a man on a bicycle and he too had to be side tracked, by way of a nudge, in an effort by me to avoid his certain demise.

And finally just when I had given up hope of ever halting the bale who should appear out onto the road only a team of hungry cattle, and they after breaking out from this very farm. Well in all of my life, I never had been happier to see a bunch of escaped cattle. For the bunch not only were hungry, but had no difficulty in halting the bale and making a meal out of the whole thing.

So in the end thankfully calamity was averted by my quick footed hungry cattle.

They came to my rescue, and in doing so saved countless road users from certain death.


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