Lit­tle Bo Peep with a Star Wars lightsaber

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - FOOD - WITH BRIAN HEN­DER­SON

MANY years ago when I was a cal­low youth, a young lady who hailed from south of the Bor­der asked me if there were any horse events in my area.

Poor in­no­cent that I was, I said my neck of the woods was pretty un­con­tam­i­nated by horses, and as far as I knew there wasn’t much of a horsey cul­ture in the area.

How­ever, as the young lady who went on to be­come Mrs Hen­der­son later found out, you can hardly move round here with­out walk­ing straight into one sort of equine event or an­other – and while it wasn’t any sort of se­cret so­ci­ety, I sim­ply moved in dif­fer­ent cir­cles and was bliss­fully un­aware of them.

I men­tion this be­cause, hav­ing started try­ing to track down some in­for­ma­tion on the elec­tronic ear tag read­ers which might save me los­ing my eye­sight and san­ity read­ing the 14-digit num­bers on each and every sheep’s ear tag, I’m be­gin­ning to won­der if I’m miss­ing a sim­i­lar par­al­lel uni­verse on this front.

I’ve tried all the usual sus­pects I can think of to get an id­iot’s guide to what to look for when buy­ing one of these hand-held read­ers – which look a bit like Darth Vader’s lightsaber.

I sus­pect that there are dozens of peo­ple out there who would be will­ing to talk me through the many op­tions for read­ing these elec­tronic tags, some of which are rea­son­ably cheap, some very ex­pen­sive.

My fam­ily of­ten crit­i­cises me for spend­ing weeks re­search­ing things to death be­fore I fi­nally take the plunge and buy some­thing, but I just don’t want to buy the wrong thing.

Es­pe­cially so when any­one ex­hibit­ing Lit­tle Bo Peep ten­den­cies these days tends to end up with a large fine for fail­ing to keep the re­quired an­i­mal move­ment records.

It would be easy to buy some­thing which doesn’t do half of what I would want it to do. And it would be just as easy to buy some­thing ex­pen­sive which does way too much – and which would also prob­a­bly be too com­pli­cated for me to use.

As any­one who has ever stood be­hind me in the su­per­mar­ket queue knows to their cost, the old KISS (Keep It Sim­ple, Stupid) cer­tainly ap­plies to me when it comes to scan­ning.

You see, when­ever I use the self-scan check­out I in­evitably spend more time with the poor staff mem­ber who has the over­ride key than I would with some­one putting the shop­ping through a nor­mal till.

Some­how I don’t think the sheep would have as much pa­tience!

■ Ear tags are a ne­ces­sity, but so dif­fi­cult to read.

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