Where are the men in underpants when you need them…..

john major
You know who I mean…the Superheroes who wear their underpants over their trousers, flying to the rescue in the nick of time.

So where were they yesterday, I should like to know, when I was clambering ungracefully in and out of stream beds in the pouring rain, feet slipping out of my shoes and mud plastering my shins.
A pair of underpants descending from the heavens would have been very welcome but, of course, when you don’t need men…even Supermen…they are tripping you, wanting cups of tea and wondering where you have put the screwdriver last seen in their possession.
When you do need them they are in the loo.

I had gone up to the building site to have a quiet think about what to do about the area below the pool….I would like to look down on flowering trees, but have to take their future height into account if not to damn myself to scooping out leaves for ever after.

The pink fleshed guava was dropping fruit wholesale, so I was filling my ancient Asda shopping bag when a car pulled in behind me.
It was the owner of the goat farm further down the valley, with his wife and family….they had called in to tell me that one of my sheep was loose on the road down towards their place…and that they had found her lamb in the ditch further up.
They had taken the lamb and put it just inside the gates to the house but they could not catch the mother.

As I went down the hill the heavens opened and the dogs rushed ahead to shelter only to come to an abrupt halt at the clump of poinsettia by the gate.
There was the lamb – a little tricoloured chap clearly just born – tucked in underneath, so I thought I’d best take him indoors first, putting an old towel in a cardboard carton to make a bed and shutting him in the office, safe from canine curiosity.

Now for mother.

It’s a long walk on a stony path and it feels distinctly longer in the rain, but I could see the ewe ahead searching along the stream edge and then had a horrible thought that perhaps she had had twins so started loooking out carefully as I walked on.
I was in luck…she did not move away as I reached her…so I made a fatal error…I did not get her on the move back up to the house immediately.
I found where she had escaped, and got down into the stream to see if there was any sign, any trace, of a lamb on the banks.
Wet, dirty, but satisfied that there was not I climbed back up to the path….to find that the ewe had disappeared.

Then followed a game of ‘now you see me now, you don’t’ as she emerged from the bamboos on the other side, perched on a heap of decaying wood, only to plunge back into the bamboos as I reached the summit, which, inevitably, crumbled under me.
Into the stream, out of the stream…in the bamboos, out of the bamboos….tantalisingly close but never quite in reach.

What I wanted to do was to drive her up the path…but getting her on to it was something else.

Then, a brainwave. What about my bra? If she let me get close again I could chuck it round her neck and haul her onto the path so I struggled out of a wet T shirt, removed the bra and struggled back into the T shirt.
Bra at the ready I stalked the ewe.
Into and out of the stream….in and out of the bamboos……and I got her!

She was off like a rocket….stage one (me) dropped off early in the flight. Stage two (bra) was discarded half way up the hill to be recovered as I plodded up in her wake.

I was worried that she would hare past the gates but found her waiting for me just inside, sniffing under the poinsettia….and luckily the other sheep started to call so she was willing to head for the pens.

I closed the gate and strawed up one of the pens I use for the hens, then went to fetch the lamb.
I put him down in sight of the ewe…and he bleated. High and strong.
The ewe turned and came to him straight away, her bleat low and reassuring and they were reunited. He got to his feet and made for the milk.

But where were The Men while all this was going on?
They had gone into town, and not finding me at the house on return had assumed I had taken shelter from the rain up at the building site.
Accordingly they had decided to get ahead with rounding up the poultry, so we must have been replicating a Whitehall farce with me entering the front door to fetch the lamb as they left by the back door to bang up the ducks.

The first job is always to recover the eggs which both hens and ducks lay under the perpetually broody yellow duck who lives above the door to the duck pen.
This involves mounting an old kitchen chair armed with a broom to shove her off the nest while she attacks with beak and claw…but this time Danilo had had a brainwave of his own.
He decided to use his sombrero to immobilise her while collecting the eggs which is why when I arrived with the lamb in my arms and followed by the ewe I was greeted by the sight of a sombrerod duck launching herself from the top of the pens intent on mayhem while The Men dived for cover.

Still, all’s well that ends well….and here is a rather bad photograph of mother and son displaying the usual ovine obstinacy in that he has his back to the camera and she is lying on the only bit of floor not covered with straw.



57 thoughts on “Where are the men in underpants when you need them…..”

  1. Ah! A tale with more than shade of familiarity…Except for the bra-as-leash bit.In my Animal Antics days I seldom wore one.
    And have you resolved the problem with WordPress?

    1. WordPress…no. Comments may be going into spam….I am trying to change browsers to see if that makes a difference.

      You never know when your undergarments may come in handy…

  2. Bra-vo to you for coming to the rescue. The imagery of you in one door and the men out the other, even if figuratively speaking put the three stooges to shame. I also applaud you for helping, enduring, this great piece, and your ingenious use of clothing.

  3. We await the bra photos.

    In the meantime I’d like to point out that one gender (cough) was warm, dry and relaxed whilst the other was out in the elements, slip sliding away and facing a veritable Shawshank Redemption of ruminant intransigence. Now, which is the brighter gender?

    I rest my case.

    1. I was lucky that the goat farm owner alerted me as otherwise I wouldn’t have realised that the ewe was out – let along that she had produced a lamb – for another hour or so.

  4. Well let’s look on the bright side – if there had been men in underpants they would not also have had bras, so what would they have done then? A lovely story! I am glad it all ended well, too.

    1. You have a point…they’d probably have sent me off to fetch a rope (which I should have done in the first place but was too over confident of being able to drive the ewe home).

  5. I think I’d back the bra against the underpants every time, says she wiping tears of laughter from her eyes. 🙂 Do we have another Monty in the making?

    1. I sincerely hope not! One ovine tyrant is quite enough!
      It was my own fault for being over confident…and I really could not face climbing that hill to get a rope and come back again…the knees had not enjoyed the descent as it was!

    1. Well I certainly wouldn’t have done until then…but it was that or climb back up that hill for a rope…and there are moments when I can be glad that I am not of sylphlike proportions…

  6. Hysterical!
    When the book comes out you will be a millionaire!
    Of course you will not see it for chasing lambs, ducks, cows and neighbours while fixing roads, catching guava’s and falling off bridges!

    Mind you the laughing is doing me good!

  7. Burning our bras was never a good idea, as you have demonstrated.

    I once used mine, plus a fleece and a pair of leggings to round up three of our dogs who found themselves unexpectedly in a field of sheep, being chased by a man with a gun and a woman with an iron bar. A passing pedestrian was kind enough to give me a hand getting the dogs through the barbed wire fence, and polite enough to show no surprise that I was virtually naked in mid-winter. You really must get one of those little video cameras you wear on your head, so that we can share your adventures. 🙂

    Men, generally, I find, have limited usefulness.

    1. Ah, the British sang froid!
      What a good job you went out equipped!
      And as for men…..words might not fail me but I find them inadequate to express my views. My grandmother’s neighbour used to describe them as all mouth and trousers…

  8. I am impressed with your ingenuity. But when needs must, our initiative suddenly springs from dusty recesses and we can be proud of ourselves. In fact, it’s def one thing a Swiss Army knife couldn’t do. Now I shall never go braless again. I could use it to catch escaping dogs. If I could walk that is. Adorable soppy picture. Please don’t mention mint sauce.

    1. No mention of mint sauce.
      No, a Swiss army knife would have been of little use…
      I do hope you will be up and about sooner rather than later – it’s really no fun for you, is it.

  9. I could do with a Superhero myself on occasion, when life is throwing too many dirty tricks at me. And I don’t care if he wears a bra and lacy knickers, just as long as he can sort everything out.

  10. How I wish I had been there with a cine camera, perhaps that is what the man in underpants was doing; filming you instead of helping. Sorry but I would not have been able to stop laughing though I think you did a very heroic job without that man. Have a great week and I hope a more relaxed one. Take care both of you, Diane

  11. It must have been funny to watch – getting that soaking wet T shirt on and off was a life and death struggle as it was – lithe ewe versus lumbering woman….especially when said woman reaches the summit of a pile of dead wood only to feel it crumbling away beneath.
    Oh for a quiet week ahead!

  12. Hello Helen,

    As we knew right from the outset of this tale of overcoming adversity in the face of being bra-less and wet, you, darling Helen, are in no need of a man with or without underpants at times of stress. You are endlessly resourceful and totally task orientated. If a job needs doing then you are the woman for it, no doubt about it.

    We have read with admiration stories of your dealing with bureaucrats, barristers, bovines and half wits ( not necessarily or exclusively in that order) and realise that you are a formidable woman. Would an escapee goat or a torrential downpour be your undoing……certainly not!

    If only you lived closer…..Costa Rica is rather too far for us to send out a distress call!!

    Absolutely love the final photograph……

    1. I am sure that somewhere along the line I have met a half witted, bovine, bureaucratic barrister….there is, after all an embarrassment of choice, particularly in the upper echelons.

      I am crossing my fingers that no emergencies arise when we go to Spain…just at the moment I could do with a rest cure!

      The baby lamb has now taken to sleeping in the feeding bowl……

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