Sunday, 25 March 2012

You can’t have a decent conversation if there is a goat in the vicinity. They always butt in...


It’s that time of year when the sun wakes up and beams a few warm rays our way.  Everybody is deliriously happy about ‘the good weather’.  Suddenly joggers abound, their chalk white limbs poking optimistically out of shorts.  I like the warmer weather.  It means the pooch and I don’t get rained on when going for a walk.  It also signals the start of various charity runs.

Yesterday, as I was picking up my emails, Eleanor stuck her head round the study door.
            ‘It’s Sport Relief tomorrow,’ she said, ‘and I’m doing a sponsored run.’
            ‘Jolly good,’ I murmured spotting an email from Neighbourhood Watch.  HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GOAT? demanded the subject line.
            ‘Will you sponsor me?’ asked Eleanor.
            ‘Of course,’ I said clicking on the email.  There was a mug shot of a goat which had apparently broken out of some neighbouring allotments and buggered off.
            ‘I’m running three miles,’ Eleanor continued, ‘so will you give me a pound a mile?’
            I read the email’s blurb.  The heartbroken owner of the goat begged for anybody with information to get in touch via a mobile number.  ‘Anything you want,’ I said absent-mindedly.
            Eleanor’s eyes lit up.  ‘Well twenty quid would be great, thanks Mum!’
            I decided to take the pooch for a walk and keep my eyes peeled for a runaway goat.

That evening my husband took me out to dinner.  I look forward to Saturday nights as we tend to be like passing ships during the week and it gives us a chance to actually see something of each other.  As Spring heralds the time of year for me being a golf widow, Mr V likes to update me with a blow by blow account of how he fared around the green.  As there are eighteen holes on a golf course and it takes about four hours to go from start to finish, you appreciate Mr V’s recital isn’t a five minute tale.  I did lots of oohing and aahing and promptly zoned out.  My thoughts travelled to Eleanor and something about doing a run for Sport Relief on Sunday morning.  Was that this Sunday or next Sunday?  And I really must remember to go to the cash dispenser and get some money out so I could pay the maths tutor and then give Eleanor her three quid sponsor money and perhaps a little bit extra for effort.

            I zoned back into Mr V’s conversation.  ‘And the ball was stuck in the bunker but I chipped it out,’ he waggled his wrists by way of demonstration, ‘and I said to myself, “Oh yes!  Eat your heart out Tiger!”’ I privately thought that Tiger Woods might not have been in the bunker in the first place.  ‘And then...,’ my husband continued, so I promptly zoned out again.  I decided to bring up the subject of our summer holiday when the next instalment of The Rider Cup was over.  I took a sip of Bacardi and, for a moment, allowed myself to drift off to a place that strongly resembled Paradise where turquoise waves lapped white sand.  ‘So what do you make of that?’ asked Mr V.
            ‘Amazing,’ I replied.
            ‘That’s what I thought,’ said my husband.  ‘I mean, it’s not every day you see a goat trundling along the Top Dartford Road.’
            Like a rubber band, my concentration sprang back to reality.  ‘What goat?’ I asked straightening up.
            ‘I just told you,’ said Mr V, ‘there was a goat.  Trotting along.’
            ‘Didn’t you stop the car,’ I asked, ‘and grab hold of it?’
            ‘What for?’ Mr V looked at me blankly.
            ‘To catch it!’ I exclaimed.
            ‘Well, no.  I presumed it belonged to somebody,’ Mr V looked perplexed.
            ‘Didn’t it strike you as odd to see a goat happily heading towards Dartford?’ I asked incredulously.
            ‘Well yes and no,’ said Mr V, ‘I thought it was being taken for a walk.  You know,’ he shrugged, ‘like a dog.  But off the lead.’
            I stared at my husband.  ‘What, as in the owner wasn’t far away and any second now would put his fingers to his lips, let out a piercing whistle and yell, “Oi Billy!  Heel!”’
            Mr V nodded in agreement.  ‘Something like that, yes.’

            I’ve since told Neighbourhood Watch that the goat was last seen heading towards Dartford, possibly toward the A2 where it might thumb a lift to London.  Meanwhile my daughter has presented me with her invoice to be settled at the end of today:

            One train ticket to London £5
            One Sport Relief t-shirt £8
            Restaurant bill after race £15
            Sponsorship £20

            Total £48.

Where’s that goat?  I’m joining it.

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