The historical/fantasy novel I have been working on these past weeks is proving problematic and I have put it on one side for the moment to mull over. Instead I’ve turned to a second book that is also a work in progress.
It’s a collection of tales about an idiot who thought she would abandon a comfortable home, all mod cons and a generous monthly salary to go and live off the land in the Yorkshire Dales.
Here’s a snippet from the first chapter of the draft.
The ram’s long bluish-tinged ears waggled furiously as I chastised him.
‘Right you blue-faced beggar, I’ll cap you. I’m sick of your roaming. If these ladies aren’t good enough for you, you can go back where you came from.’
All week I had chased this beast back and forth; out of my neighbour’s fields and back into my own. The problem was that the great numb creature just did not fancy my ‘old ladies’, thirty curly-horned Swaledale ewes. No, this mating season he had taken a fancy to my neighbour’s, admittedly younger and more stylish, sheep. Today was the fifth and definitely the final time that I was going to fetch him away from forbidden fruit. I grabbed the dog collar that I had put around his thick neck.
‘Ungrateful brute’ I chuntered, ‘you’ve plenty of grub, plenty of talent, but is it enough?’ I paused, rummaging through my pockets for a length of baler band. ‘Oh no, you’re never satisfied.’ The ram snorted as I fastened the baler band to the collar. He shifted uneasily; to be led from the only source of nookie for a twelve-month, it was too much for him to bear. He threw back his great head and propelled himself down the fields at the double.
Somehow, the length of baler band wrapped itself tightly around my left Wellington boot and as the ram took the piece of band to its full length, it tautened and upended me, all 140 lbs of too, too solid flesh. I crashed on my back, cracking my head and sending my specs flying whilst a whole galaxy of blue and yellow stars shot across my orbit.
The villain of the piece, now thoroughly frightened by the weight he was towing some ten feet behind him, bolted down the field, heading for the wall at the bottom. It was a frosty morning with the ground iron-hard. I wriggled like a fish on a long-line trying to free myself. I squealed as the skin on my back and arms scraped off. The brute reached the lower boundary wall and took it like a Grand National winner at which point my left wellington boot detached itself from my foot and I was left a gibbering, sobbing wreck in the wall bottom. The miscreant, continued his gallop with a flying green wellie bouncing behind him.
It took me some time to collect the remnants of my wits together and even longer to scour the fields groping for my specs, without which I am the proverbially blind bat. I limped home. In the bathroom I inspected the damage. It was both colourful and painful. Maggot-white face; back, arms, legs, shoulders a raw red and every shade of purple and blue in between. I left Frankenstein’s monster an also-ran in a beauty contest that morning.
‘What am I doing here?’ I whimpered, ribs aching with every breath and sigh.
What happened next? That’s another good question and one that will have to wait until spring when the book is published.
Have a great week and watch out for flying wellies.
Lovely story, Sheila. Good to see you’ve kept your sense-of-humour – I was meant to smile, wasn’t I, now that the bruises have faded (I presume)?
Indeed you were. The bruises are long gone but the memory remains.:)