Ceci n’est pas un agneau

Saturday, October 24, 2015 6 Permalink 0

We had a sheep visited upon us. We are still recovering.

I say visited upon us, in that plague-like way, because despite the fluffy imagination of a lamb, all cloudlike and angelic, a fullgrown 100kg sheep is a curse from hell, not a blessing. Unless you get to either shear or eat it, and we got neither.

She – it – mowed down all our front pots and half the dahlias, dented furniture, etc.

At one point M. said, “Grab it! Let’s catch it!” Like we were going to eat it, at least.

Now, that seemed about as sensical at the time as grabbing a fullgrown steer by the frontside. The thing had hooves like anvils, it was agitated, and it was downright mean.

This malevolent visitation coincided with some very bad times with the renovations. This is how it happened:

What we did not know, coming home from the vendange in Gaillac to our newly re-plumbed home, was that a plastic cap had been forgotten in a very large septic pipe leading to the second floor. Consequently we were greeted that Saturday evening with a wave of nauseating thick septic stench at the door.

It was the weekend, and France takes weekends quite seriously, so there’s no getting help. Not even for full-septic-tank invasion. It’s not even polite to ask.

I put on my galoshes and stomped angrily toward the cave, to investigate myself. This is not easy currently, even if it were not post-vendange, as one side of the provisional trail is the well, which had to be dug out recently, and the other side is the cliff leading down to the river. It’s jagged, slippery and narrow. A fall in either direction could prove quite dire. You need to be a goat to get down there anymore.

Only later did this seem a clue.

I got to the bottom and plomped into the cave and started my search for the source of the smell, flashlight waving wildy, whereupon shortly a huge white sheep emerged from the black darkness, charging, angry, luminous and ghostly blue-white as a Petronus from Harry Potter. I did not know what to think! I stood aside, and let it gallop past.

It climbed up the hill quite a bit more easily than I did, right after it. The dog was out, and what ensued was not less than Benny-Hill-Monty-Python worthy. At one point I was running across an open field with chartreuse and pink pool-noodles extended from each arm flapping like a techno-pterodactyl, chasing the sheep back toward a corral.

One of us, huffing and panicked, read online that they like marshmallows. That is when the picture was taken, when the sheep was in the hangar by the weight bench.

I will not even go into where this led, only that it was not successful, and I still have sticky keys on my PC and can’t work out in the hangar. French sheep apparently do not like marshmallows, neither swallowed nor thrown.

In the end not only didn’t we catch it, but even after calling around looking for neighbors with sheep (marked with purple paint and wearing an eartag, if we could get so close), the sheep downright disappeared.

I had her – it – cornered between a large lilac and the riverbank, and the sheep… disappeared. I came around the bush and it was gone. It could not have gone far. One could see in all directions, including up and down, and yet there was no sheep.

This thing is 100kg and bright white with purple spraypaint spots on both sides and a neon-yellow eartag. But she – it – was gone.

Later the concerned roofers confided gravely that it was the spirit of the house trying to push us out.

I realize they may be biased, but I’m inclined to believe them, and yet I would add that she rather jumped off the cliff into the Tarn rather than put up with more chasing.

So… Have we won?