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The Day Before Yesterday: 46 – In the Fresh Country Air

...Mum bought a goat in kid and tethered it so it could not wonder far. She also acquired lots of feathered friends, roaming at will in the spacious grounds. She had chooks in various stages of growth, a few ducks and two young goslings which the younger girls adopted.

They grew so tame they would run into the house if they were allowed to do so. They both had names and came expectantly looking for titbits...

Gladys Schofield continues her engaging life story. To read earlier chapters please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_day_before_yesterday/

The first of my brothers got his call-up papers. Charles had forty-eight hours to report to camp somewhere in the south of England.

Only one or two small raids had happened so far and those had been hit and miss, just to let us know they meant business.

All the little children had been evacuated from the south. Train loads had moved to the safer parts of the country. Some never found their own families again. They looked pathetic little things taken from the parents they knew and put in the care of complete strangers. Some were lucky but for others it was a terrible, experience never to be forgotten.

Gas masks were issued. We had to carry them everywhere at first, slung over one shoulder. People soon got fed up of carrying them around and felt safe with no large industries around. Why should they want to drop bombs on us?

We learned Charles had gone into the Air Force, training to be an Electrical Technician. Hopefully that would keep him in this country and I wondered about Mum and all her boys, and some were straining on the leash. Thank goodness the majority were much too young.

One thing she did do - she moved house. The large house on the edge of the Golf Links was separated into two family houses. Tenants lived in each and one was vacant. She must have liked the fresh country air when visiting our part of town. This house had a large garden with a field surrounded by woodland and a large expanse of open country where the golfers played their game, to the other side.

I knew this suited Mum. She was back in the country again but wondered about Dad. He was looking more tired. Maybe the war was getting to everyone, and he
had a longer journey to work, though a bus could take him through the built-up snow.

Mum bought a goat in kid and tethered it so it could not wonder far. She also acquired lots of feathered friends, roaming at will in the spacious grounds. She had
chooks in various stages of growth, a few ducks and two young goslings which the younger girls adopted.

They grew so tame they would run into the house if they were allowed to do so. They both had names and came expectantly looking for titbits.

My sister tripped over one, as she came from school one day. His name was Ikey Mo. He knew his name alright and darted under her feet once too often. She tripped and stood on his neck. He had a permanent bend in his neck after that, and Mum had to watch him when he was fed, as any large lumps could not be swallowed unless she massaged his throat for him.

He seemed to get used to this process each feed time, and for a while all went well. But one day she called and called "Ikey, Ikey," but there was no answering call. She found him dead, he had picked something up outside and choked without her assistance.

The goat gave birth to a male and female baby. Brenda loved the little Billy goat, so he was kept as a pet but the mother and female were passed on to someone else. Every day as soon as she got home from school, Brenda would make her way to the field where her goat was tethered, and they became firm friends. He quickly grew and she fashioned a tiny harness for him. Riding around the field they looked so comical. It’s a pity no one thought to take a photo.

She always got into trouble because Billy goats carried a certain aroma. In fact they stink. Mum could smell him as soon as my young sister came into the house. She would be ordered to the bathroom with threats that Billy would not be so manly if she didn't stay off his back.

Mum spent many hours in her lovely garden. It helped her to forget for a while, the pressures and uncertainties of the time.

My black pussy cat didn't come in one morning about a month after we had moved. It was not like him to miss breakfast so I went looking for him. He was dead at the entrance to a poultry farm just up the road above us. He had no marks on him, so had not been run over. We found out he had picked up some poisoned food, maybe meant for rats or mice. A pity, he was an excellent mouser.

The neighbours next door had a beautiful red setter. She was heavy with puppies but in disgrace after slipping out one day when she should not have, to find romance. She had certainly blotted her copybook as she stared at me with soulful eyes, probably thinking, "You too eh?"

We were there when the puppies were born, and I persuaded Cliff to let me have one. He had pulled himself off his teat long enough to look my way and give a little bark. Although he had not his mother’s lovely red coat, he turned out to have her nature. His dad must have been black with a touch of tan on his ears, because he was like that.

As soon as he was weaned we took him home, and he was a companion to me in the waiting days.

I had been quite well. We both hoped our baby would be a boy, and by the way he scored goals every night as soon as I was resting we were sure he would be.

I would go for walks with my new little friend. It took a while for him to master wearing a collar and lead and would try to race ahead and be pulled up sharp, nearly choking himself until he learned the hard way to trot at my side.

One day as I walked with the little fellow, we came to a stile. A path ran across the field to another stile at the far end. Cows quietly grazed at the far end, and we set off as usual following the path across the field.

My little dog suddenly gave a tug on the lead and pulled it from my hand and was high-tailing it as fast as his little legs could carry him, back the way we had come. I then saw the reason for this quick exit. One of the cows was heading fast our way, her head thrust forward.

I took the hint and as quickly as I could in the circumstances, retreated too, only just managing to get us both over the stile in time. I don't know what spooked the beast. Maybe she had lost a calf, or thought the puppy was a danger to her. We didn't go as far again. I didn't need shocks like that so late in my pregnancy.

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