The term “looker” for shepherd originated on Romney Marsh, next door in Kent. Romney Marsh is a fascinating place. It’s the sticky-outy bit of Kent that waggles suggestively at France.
The little building there is called a looker’s hut and they once dotted the marsh all over. They were mostly used during lambing time, when very close tabs are kept on the ewes and newborns. The typical example is one room, brick, with a chimney and maybe a window. Little cosy places appeal to me mightily. A looker’s hut would be just the thing.
When lookers keep an eye on the flocks these days, they pull up a trailer. Or drive the fields all day. The old huts are falling down, being vandalized or deliberately demolished (when no-one is looking; they’re all protected by order). I can think of a couple that have disappeared just in the years we’ve lived nearby. Very sad.
Have a good weekend, all. It’s a four-day holiday here (no separation of church ‘n’ state for the Motherland), but I promise to turn up on Monday and share the leftovers.
April 18, 2014 — 10:09 pm
They found a ewe drowned in the canal in our back garden yesterday. How they noticed one missing and went to find her is beyond me. It’s a big flock. The looker pulled her out with a rope.
In our area, a shepherd is called a looker. You might think a looker looks, but he doesn’t. He lookers. Generally, he goes out lookering in the morning and lookering again in the afternoon.
Anyway, the looker told us a ewe will suicide if she’s ill (although another looker told me a ewe wakes up every morning and thinks, “how shall I kill myself today?”).
The looker (the first looker, I mean) also told us a ewe will reject a lamb if she senses it’s wrong. He had an apparently healthy lamb this season, rejected by its mama, was feeding well on the bottle and looking robust. Found him stone dead next morning in his pen.
On the other hand, most bottle-reared lambs thrive. You can tell who in the flock was raised by humans: they run up to you happy instead of away from you scared. I think I’d feel pretty awful sending off a sheep that thought I was great.
When they fish a sheep out of the ditch, it’s called drowned mutton. Used to sell it cheaper at the butchers, so it was prized by the poor (I can’t imagine it’s legal to sell these days). I half overheard one of my neighbors tell a story about an old lady who preferred drowned mutton, so they pitched one in the pond for her every year.
April 17, 2014 — 9:11 pm
This thing baffled people for days, after some girl captured vid of it on her phone (I like the picture that goes with. “Hi, I’m Georgina Heap and this is a phone.”).
Turns out they were firing pyrotechnics with a trebuchet at nearby Warwick Castle and accidentally blew a giant smoke ring.
Wait, hang on, that’s kind of interesting after all.
April 16, 2014 — 10:27 pm
London barber posts pic of Kim Jong Un under the headline “Bad Hair Day?” gets visit from Nork embassy goons. Both sides reported to to police. Nothing will come of it.
I love the Kims. I mean, I don’t, obviously — they’re vile and horrible tyrants. But I love the way they confirm my theory that no checks and too much praise invariably turns humans into monsters.
April 15, 2014 — 9:44 pm
I was out doing a bit of weeding in the garden this afternoon, when I heard a lamb kicking up a terrific fuss. I thought perhaps one had gotten stuck in the ditch so I sidled over to check it out. Found this: newly hatched lamb struggling to take his very first step.
We don’t own the field behind, but it shares a name with this house, so they were obviously together once. It’s a long, narrow field — flat as a table — and the sun rises spectacularly at the far end of it.
A thought experiment: imagine you are a lamb in Badger House Field, born at midnight. A chill, windy midnight (last year, there was snow on the ground when the lambs were born). Yours is a world of darkness (which it has always been) and cold (this is new and not very welcome).
A few hours into your life, just when you’re getting the hang of tottering a few steps behind your mother in the dark, this THING — this great, bright sun — blazes down the field in a streak of glory.
What must that be like?
Thinking on it is darn near enough to make me religious.
April 14, 2014 — 10:17 pm
Well, Mickey Rrrrrooney copped it at last, LesterIII takes the dick! Rooney’s body has yet to be claimed. Highest paid actor of the late 30s and early 40s, he leaves an estate of $18,000. Seems one of his stepsons made off with the rest. He left the eighteen grand to another stepson. His eight children he deliberately disinherited in a will signed a few weeks ago. So nobody feels like stepping up to bury the old coot.
Think of this next time family gets on your last nerve ending: at least you aren’t the kid of a Hollywood star.
0. Rule Zero (AKA Steve’s Rule): your pick has to be living when picked. Also, nobody whose execution date is circled on the calendar. Also, please don’t kill anybody.
1. Pick a celebrity. Any celebrity — though I reserve the right to nix picks I never heard of (I don’t generally follow the Dead Pool threads carefully, so if you’re unsure of your pick, call it to my attention).
2. We start from scratch every time. No matter who you had last time, or who you may have called between rounds, you have to turn up on this very thread and stake your claim.
3. Poaching and other dirty tricks positively encouraged.
4. Your first choice sticks. Don’t just blurt something out, m’kay? Also, make sure you have a correct spelling of your choice somewhere in your comment. These threads get longish and I use search to figure out if we have a winner.
5. It’s up to you to search the thread and make sure your choice is unique. I’m waayyyy too lazy to catch the dupes. Popular picks go fast.
6. The pool stays open until somebody on the list dies. Feel free to jump in any time. Noobs, strangers, drive-bys and one-comment-wonders — all are welcome.
7. If you want your fabulous prize, you have to entrust me with a mailing address. If you’ve won before, send me your address again. I don’t keep good records.
8. The new DeadPool will begin 6pm WBT (Weasel’s Blog Time) the Friday after the last round is concluded.
The winner, if the winner chooses to entrust me with a mailing address, will receive an Official Certificate of Dick Winning and a small original drawing on paper suffused with elephant shit particles. Because I didn’t have any dinosaur shit particles.
April 11, 2014 — 6:00 pm
In case you missed it, yesterday’s routine Windows update totally boogered my computer. It booted, looked normal, but none of the icons worked. Eventually, it would throw up a series of error messages and fall right over.
“No problem,” thinks the intrepid weasel, “I’ll just do a system restore.” There were no previous states to restore to.
See, it’s supposed to do a little backup file before it installs updates, so you can step back if there’s a problem. I worked out later why it hasn’t been (all these years, apparently): backups were somehow allocated 0% disk space. Thanks for the error message, Bill.
So I had to sort it the old fashioned way, with a hammer and brute ignorance. I’m not absolutely convinced everything is totally back to normal, but I can run Photoshop and a video game at the same time, so it’s got to be good enough.
Meanwhile, tomorrow’s Dead Pool was never in any doubt. I got internets in all kinds of places these days. See y’all back here tomorrow, 6WBT.
April 10, 2014 — 8:44 pm
Though, honestly, if the Reverend Al really was ratting out mobsters in the Eighties, that’s the most praiseworthy thing on his resume. Why are we mad at him?
April 8, 2014 — 9:34 pm
We’ve had hectic day today; Mad Jack went in for the snip-snip this morning. He’s come back to us…a little loopy. Unsteady, pupils the size of saucers. He’s obsessed with getting out, going from door to window to back door and scratching at the woodwork and meeping. They told us to keep him in for 24 hours, so he’s out of luck, but it’s a trial.
Have you ever had an animal come back from general anesthesia a little wrong in the head? I sure hope he’s back to himself tomorrow.
Right! LesterIII takes the dick with Mickey Rooney! After all that drama, and all the times he was picked, the old coot was only 93? I expected a more impressive number.
That means Dead Pool Round 62 queues up on Friday. If anyone was thinking of picking Peaches Geldof, I’ve got some bad news for you.
I leave you with this moving tribute I made for Damien, my last kitty to have a snip ‘n’ chip back in 2006. Damian vanished two years later, probably looking for something he was missing.
April 7, 2014 — 8:15 pm
Lambs 2014, here at last. We’ve seen them in other parts of the county, but these are the first in our village.
This field — the one visible from my kitchen window — always has rams in it, so it’s a treat to have ewes and lambs to look at.
Not so cool to have ewes and lambs to listen to. They mehhhh at each other all night long.
Good weekend and happy lambing, all!
April 4, 2014 — 10:55 pm