Scientists say that sheep can recognise faces – or was that in the Wool Street Journal?
When she started giving me the daggers, I had a quiet word with my dad. So Dolly had the honour of becoming the first of the flock to become chops in the freezer. I could have told those scientists that sheep recognise people
To look at them, you would think they are very dozy and stupid and only interested in eating and drinking. You assume there is nothing going on in their sad lives but following each other around and being herded around to do what their masters please. No, I am not talking about members of parliament. How dare you? I would never say such a thing about our wonderful and hard-working elected representatives. No, I am talking about sheep.
If a Blackface sheep looks at you funny, be careful. A weird news items the other day claimed sheep are not as dumb as we think and that they can recognise human beings. What did I think? I knew that all along. Since that sheep Dolly with the white eye kept staring at me when I was 10, I knew there was something odd going on between those horns. Maybe I had roughly punctured her ear with the tag machine or slashed her with a badly-wielded pair of shears in a fank. Whatever, there was something on her mind.
And there was something on my mind. When she started giving me the daggers, I had a quiet word with my dad. So Dolly had the honour of becoming the first of the flock to become chops in the freezer. I could have told those scientists that sheep recognise people – not just celebrities like Barack Obama and the newsreader Fiona Bruce. And I could have told them that sometimes you have to do what it takes to stop the staring from the sheep pen. Don’t mess with me, Me-aggs.
I could have also told you that having two airlines serving the Western Isles will bring down prices. It has. Now that we have both Flybe and Loganair in a tussle to get us up their steps, they are deadly rivals. Glasgow-based Loganair has rebranded from deadly dull fuselages and uniforms to vibrant red tartan to emphasise its Scottishness. Exeter-based Flybe, well, hasn’t. The important difference is the fares though. However, sometimes Loganair seems to be cheaper and then at other times you are better going with poor old FlyMaybe.
The big selling point that Loganair had was the free luggage allowance. That could make all the difference to the final cost. So much so that last week the Scottish airline claimed it was grinding its big competitor into the dust. Within hours, Flybe was rejigging its prices again – and also began offering free luggage. It’s war. It’s bananas. It’s great. At this rate it won’t be long until they start paying us to fly.
Not everyone is delighted. There are many people in the islands who are too scared to fly. Many is the time I have been on the flight when it has hit turbulence, I have heard someone in the seat behind me putting up a not-so-silent prayer. It is really disconcerting. You feel very confident that it is just a temporary wibblywobbliness until you hear the cove behind you promising the Almighty he will renounce the bevvy and all his bits on the side if only He can get the Saab 340 down safely in Melbost. As my old neighbour once said: “If God had meant man to fly, He would never have given us Caledonian MacBrayne.”
And another thing – the cabin service on flights is not as good nowadays. You don’t get a wee dram when you go to Glasgow any more. Although I did last year when Mrs X and I flew down to London on the Shuttle. That service used to be pretty good but the service has slipped a bit. Halfway through the flight, the attendant came up and asked: “Would you like dinner?”. As I pulled down the tray and slipped my hankie into my collar I asked: “So, what are the choices today?” The prissy one snapped back: “Yes or no.”
The choice to have sheep is a big undertaking. A crofter was tending his flock when he saw a man drinking with a cupped hand from a stream. He shouted over in Gaelic: “Don’t drink the water. There’s sheep poo in it.” The man at the stream lifted his head and carried on drinking. Realising the man couldn’t hear him, the farmer moved closer and shouted in Gaelic again. But still the man couldn’t hear him. Finally the crofter walked right up to him and repeated his warning.
The man replied: “Dreadfully sorry, my good man. I can’t understand the Gaelic. I’m English, you see.
“Ah right,” said the crofter. “I was just saying if you use both hands you can get more in.”