As Russell's crow goes cockadoodle-doo across the valley, trying to outdo the one belonging to the Lady with the Bright Red Hair, we are still no nearer to unmasking the bacon thief. Gypsy Rose has not been seen for a while now, and suspicion falls on anyone looking slightly bigger than they did when they last went in the shop. The village is obsessed with eating and food so the thief could be anyone.
Next to Russell's crow's pen, where he struts around with his hen and chick friends, is a field full of lambs. These are new ones, we have not got to know them very well, unlike the orphan lambs we grew to love in the summer. We loved them so much that when they were slaughtered, they were cut up and distributed to various freezers in the village. Our neighbour, who lives on her own, shared half a lamb with her townie friends up the road. For weeks these people ran their freezers down, emptying them of things that lurked in the corners without labels. Hoorah, the lamb was coming and it was coming their way. When the lamb was finally dispatched and delivered, our neighbour and her friends waited with bated breath. Their disappointment was palpable, even on this side of the road, and we were away on holiday at the time. Suddenly, half a half of lamb was actually not very much at all. As they fought over the best bits, a few chops here, half a pound of mince and a shoulder, the townie neighbour asked why, if they had half a lamb between them didn't they have two legs? Weren't lambs usually of the four-legged variety, or was this the famous three-legged Dorset lamb which hides out with unicorns and dragons? Our neighbour turned to them and said, 'you haven't lived in the countryside very long, have you?' It took her some time to explain that the leg and the shoulder were actually it, as far as their half was concerned. After sorting out their booty, there was a knock on the door from the person who had delivered it. 'Just to let you know, that was Sooty. Enjoy!'.
Similarly, when I tracked my half of lamb down to a freezer somewhere in the village - after being taken in while we were on holiday - I had not needed to take my car after all. It didn't need to go in the boot, I could have carried it in a jiffy bag. Baa! Maybe this is why it was necessary for the bacon thief to take the bacon in the first place, to supplement the meagre portions yielded up by these sad little lambs. However, quantity is not everything, it's the quality that counts. And they were very tasty indeed.
Pheasants are also on the menu now it is the shooting season. Every other Saturday, we go to a small farm shoot where the birds that are shot are taken home and eaten, unlike at the obscene large shoots where the surplus of birds is buried in holes while the ridiculously dressed guns go home in their posh cars, running over the odd beater or two. As well as a brace of rather nice pheasants, this weekend I also managed to find an unusual Esso oil bottle, with Art Deco-style stepping on the neck and 1950s lettering on the label. I can't eat it but it will look pretty on the sideboard.
That's about it,
Love Maddie x
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