One of the very many things that I enjoy about sharing my life with Bert is his endless capacity to entertain me.
Unlike the Boy Scouts, and he was once one of their number, Bert is rarely prepared for anything. His attitude is always, ‘Sure it will be alright’. And sometimes it is, and too often it isn’t. Take today - we were expecting a visit from Henry the Eighth, the AI man. Bert danders into the kitchen and enquires, “Are ye ready to shift a ween o’ cattle?” I agreed that I was. We had the usual discussion about where I should kep. The long lane or the short lane. It seems to me that the long lane is the better choice for if they gallop down that it’s a longer distance to catch them. Bert, for some reason, prefers the short lane to be kepped. Maybe because it is very boggy and he is usually wearing unsuitable footwear?
I kepped the long lane and he called them out. Most of them obeyed except for the Quiet Cow and her calf and Edna’s calf who took fear when Ziggy looked at him. Four dogs about this place and not one a damn bit of use with cattle. At least Roy is a good pig dog.
I had some useful advice for Bert on our return to the house.
Perhaps we could leave Ziggy inside?
A bit of an ash plant mightn’t be a bad idea. Help to chivvy them in the preferred direction.
Boots instead of Crocs. Better for running in.
He agreed with every suggestion although I know that he’ll not pay a blind bit of attention to any of them.
Henry the Eighth duly arrived, did the necessary business then settled down to have a long conversation with Bert about bees for he and his brother Prince Arthur come from a long line of bee keepers. I think they might be fourth generation.
Henry left and Bert came in all excited,
You know what he’s at now?
Artificially inseminating bees!
Next thing I see him heading out to the hives wearing bee jacket and gloves.
Twenty minutes later he’s back in, swearing and stamping his feet on the ground.
Bloody bastards! They have me stung useless. Fuck! One just got me on the heel.
He runs out again, peeling of the bee jacket which is full of angry bees. I am convulsed with silent laughter.
When he calms down I give him some wise advice.
You need your trousers tucked into wellies and a belt round the bottom of your jacket. You know they are angry bees so you have to prepare yourself properly.
I know. Henry said that when the bee man from the Ministry came round to inspect his hives, he’s got twenty y’know, the bee man was amazed at how quiet Henry’s were. Mine are complete bastards.
He shakes all the dead bees out of his jacket and heads out again.
Then back again in less than five minutes, stamping, swearing, almost in tears. Bees had gone straight up his trouser legs and stung him perilously close to a very sensitive area.
Did you go out just the same as before?
Aye. I only had to close the box up but they were straight on to me.
It was Albert Einstein who is supposed to have defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I must remember to tell Bertram that.
Dander - stroll
Ween - few
Kep - act of standing in a gap or opening waving arms or stick about to prevent cattle from running everywhere.