Time flies when you are having fun. We were incredibly lucky with the weather for a whole week in North Wales. Normally, whenever we went there, it would be raining non-stop; and we stayed in pretty much every day, only to be told ‘Oh, it was glorious last week!’ or ‘Oh, it is sunny now!’ after we left. We never really believed my in-laws.
However, this holiday was perfect. The whole week we basked in the sunshine and spent hours on the beautiful beaches nearby.
I also enjoyed some countryside experience. I often refer to our commuter village as a village. But it isn’t, really. My in-laws live in a proper countryside, i.e. in the middle of nowhere. It is beautiful and peaceful. But instead of neighbours next door, they have fields full of cows and sheep.
One evening a stranger stopped by. (That was quite unusual by itself, as people don’t normally appear at my in-laws doorstep). He was cycling along the path when he saw a cow struggling to give birth. ‘I think she needs help,’ he told us. ‘The calf’s head is out but the rest is stuck inside’.
Father in law walked up the lane to warn Farmer Will. Of course, in my current condition, watching a cow giving birth might not have been the best idea in the world, but I wanted to see. I have never seen animals giving birth before. Unfortunately- or fortunately?- by the time we got down to the end of the field to have a look, the baby calf was out and lying next to the cow, still attached, still wet. I have not seen such a new calf before, it was kind of endearing. The calf was very large though, which gave me some disturbing thoughts.
But my most exciting experience was on the last morning. Waiting for my porridge, I stood outside soaking in the sunshine and admiring the views, when I noticed that the cows had a rather large and brooding looking bull with them. They came very close. Only a thin mesh fence separated them from the in-laws garden. The bull suddenly noticed me, too. He stopped chewing and stared.
I stared back. He stared a bit more. I waved with both hands. He did not seem too impressed.
Moo!!!!! I said loudly. The bull stared. I glanced at the fencing, it looked pretty thin. I was, however, standing very close to the French doors. Having quickly calculated the route of escape, should the bull decide to charge, I mooed in a more insulting way.
I wanted to know if he could eventually be challenged to break through the fencing. But he just stood there, staring, not chewing any longer.
There is something funny about cows when they are curiously watching you. But with the bull, it was not funny. To me, his expression did not look at all friendly. But then again, maybe I was stereotyping a little. Perhaps, it is like with Mike Tyson: when you look so scary, it is hard to appear friendly even if you tried.
Some time passed, the bull and I just kept studying each other.
Husband appeared in the conservatory doors. 'What are you doing? Are you trying to stare that bull down?’
Yes, I said proudly. Why should I back down?
But then, the porridge was ready and, reluctantly, I had to retreat from the battlefield. Some things in life are okay to miss out on, but my father in law’s porridge isn’t one of them.
‘He is still looking this way!’ I heard husband shout and thought that I, at least, made some impression.
'Would he actually try to break through the fencing?' I asked my in-laws. They did not think so. But, they pointed out, a farmer was killed recently by his bull, because he tried to attend to a new-born calf.
I never really considered a country life as dangerous before. Sleepy and slow, maybe. A bit quiet. Hard work, if you are a farmer. But dangerous? Hmm... I still wonder if he would have charged.