Tuesday, 12 February 2013

From Shropshire to Shakespeare


I am now attacking the unruly male kiwifruit plants on the 'Orchard of Luxuriant Growth' as they have become a dense canopy of old, hard and horribly tangled vines.

Strangely enough, I enjoy a physical challenge like this in small doses and hack away with my loppers like a frenzied serial-killer on the loose. Beads of sweat fly from my forehead and I leave a thick carpet of dead canes behind me along with some fresh foliage felled from way up near the sky and that is what the sheep pounce on and devour.

Those Shropshires just don't understand the rule of giving a woman some space and that is how I came to almost kill one of them.

There I was a sweatin' and a sloggin' and about to say a string of bad words because a whole curtain of old vines refused to tumble to the ground, held in place by numerous stubborn tendrils.

In the end I whacked the top of the vines with my loppers and finally managed to dislodge them from the wires. Down crashed the vegetation.

How was I to know that a Shropshire was underneath my carpet of fallen vines and that I had donged the poor animal on the head?

He emerged from the debris looking stunned and dazed.  I stared at him in horror and checked for blood or signs of concussion.

"I am soooo sorry!", I groaned and went to cuddle him but the Shropshire jolted back from me as if I were an electric-fence, then continued to look vacant. I asked him a few questions like name, address and occupation which I learned to do at a First Aid course to ascertain if someone is concussed.

The stunned animal knew nothing, nothing at all, but just stared at me like I was a monster which I most definitely am not because guilt consumed every fibre of my being.

Does one administer CPR to a sheep, I wondered? The thought was nauseating. Do I take its pulse or just shoot it dead?  What on earth was I going to tell my boss?

"Shroppy", I said in my sweetest voice, "If you come to your senses I'll give you a Bobby-Banana".

Next minute the dazed sheep was contentedly grazing again and I was so relieved but suspicious too for how did he manage to recover so rapidly after I resorted to bribery?

I like a bit of culture in my leisure time and Cossack is equally enthralled by DVDs like 'Bleak House', 'The Life of Pi', 'Les Miserables' or  'Little House on the Prairie' with Danish sub-titles. Occasionally he expresses his appreciation by shutting his eyes and lolling his head sideways with mouth ajar with the sheer bliss of it all.

That's how I knew Cossack was ready for the Bard himself so I invited him to an outdoor performance of 'Twelfth Night' with a group of our friends at the Riverbank Ampitheatre.  I looked forward to being his literary mentor, patiently explaining  things to his bamboozled brain once the Shakespearean language started to flow.

But I didn't count on Cossack having swotted up on a googled synopsis of 'Twelfth Night' before we went to the play. Smartie-pants knew everything so when I lost the plot yet again I swallowed my pride and asked:

"Um. Coss, that man over there with the blonde ponytail - that's a woman, right?
"Yip, Bern, that is Viola slash Cesario"
"And that man over there with the blonde ponytail - that is a man?"
"Yes, Bern, that is Sebastion, Viola's twin".
" So they're identical twins, Coss?"

Cossack gronned ( a word I concocted to combine 'groan' and 'grin' when they occur simultaneously) and seemed to be scanning my head for a ponytail that just might happen to be blonde.

Such a lovely night - good friends silhouetted all around me as the sun went down and Cossack asleep on the way home after the exertions of being a cultural mega-star.