The Robotic Sheep


Running Hill shadows 2.13On another fine sunny day I soon found myself chasing shadows as I walked down Running Hill, up Seamans Lane to London Minstead, and along the back lanes to Football Green. Shadow across pool 2.13Pony and shadow 2.13Wooden house shadow 2.13 Here are some of those I caught.  I returned along the road through the village.  Cattle lowed; birds sang; a cock crowed; a donkey brayed.  Blackbirds scavenged in the hedgerows and ditches.  Smaller birds flitted from tree to tree.  A robin redbreast perched on a rusty gate.  The birds, unfortunately, unlike the ponies, who will pose perfectly still for hours, are most camera shy.

Curtle Cottage at Seamans Corner provided an apt backcloth for the white pony which, during the ninety minutes or so between my trips past him, had travelled less than twenty metres. Curtle Cottage and white pony 2.13 Tim Cordy, a neighbour in Newark, bought himself a robotic sheep to save him the effort of walking up and down with a lawn mower.  I have no knowledge of whether these machines are still in production, but Tim’s, sometime in the ’90s, was one of the earliest.  The area to be mown was bounded by a wire.  The robot was set off.  Tim could walk away and leave it to its own devices. It would creep up and down the lawn, turning at the touch of the wire.  Perhaps he could have achieved a similar result with a pony, but it would probably have been slower.  Mind you, a pony hoovers up its own fuel, recycles it, and drops it on the lawn.  The sheep probably had to be fed with some bought from a garage, didn’t recycle it, and didn’t drop it anywhere.  Maybe it had to be emptied, though I am not sure.  Certainly not quite like the way Matthew empties his dog.

Jackie produced a wonderful lamb curry this evening; her own pilau rice; popadums, paratas, and vegetable samosas from various outlets; and her own chopped-up onion salad for the samosas.  She drank Hoegaarden, whilst I finished a bottle of Carta Roja gran reserva 2005 that had been open about five days but was still drinkable.


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