Hot again today. It seems to be normal and expected now – Hermaphroditey knows what will become of us when the deluge arrives, as it surely must.
But to get back to the hot goats. Jay had returned from the village with the fruit – two very ripe mangoes and some black grapes. I’d already picked a few blackberries and prepared myself for my mission of mercy. As an afterthought I attached a small bunch of grapes to my hair like the lady on the card (at least I think she’s wearing grapes, although they could be purple flowers, but no matter).
I hadn’t seen Heth for two days, so went to look for him. I found him in the garden at the back of the house, lying under an apple tree on a broken sun lounger in a pair of white Speedos. I couldn’t help noticing that he is almost as hairy as the Devil on the card – in fact the resemblance was even more striking than I expected, as the farmer’s tan (face, neck and forearms) not being present on those parts usually covered, was unable to protect the rest of his exposed skin, which had turned a painful shade of red.
‘What the Hell…?’ he muttered as I closed the gate behind me, taking care not to tip the fruit out of the bowl. I almost laughed at his expression when I told him I’d come to feed him fruit.
‘Fruit?’ he said, ‘What fruit?’ I held the bowl out so he could take what he fancied but he was still staring at my left nipple and didn’t seem to notice.
‘Listen, Heth,’ I said. ‘The lady on the card may have got down on her knees but that’s where I draw the line. I’m ethical now. We’re both keeping cool as best we can but those poor goats are suffering. Let me take the scissors to them or I’ll remove the spotty apron!’ (Jay had brought this back from the village with the fruit and insisted I wear it. He said he had to draw the line somewhere.)
A funny sort of look came into his eyes then, but my will was stronger and in a minute or so he looked away. ‘OK’, he said. ‘You’re a good goat lass and raspberry picker and I wouldn’t want to lose you. Two conditions though. Mind you just use the scissors, and don’t skin the beasts as they need a bit o’ protection from the sun and God knows it might turn cold agin the morrow.’ He was quiet for bit them and I waited. The silence went on so long that I began to wonder if I’d have to take off the spotty apron after all. At last he spoke.
‘I gave up with the shearing when the old girl died. She used to do all the spinning like, and weaving and knitting too. We only kept the few of em cos she liked to be busy and make warm kit for the winter. We niver sold the wool, see, she wouldn’t of liked that. So if you wants to cool the beasts you’ll ave to take up the spinning and knitting too. Annie’s old wheel’s in the barn but it needs a drop of oil I reckons.’
I thanked him and reversed out of the garden (the apron is a bit deficient in the rear area).
Jay and I set to work as soon as I got back, Jay with the scissors while I fed the creatures pieces of fruit to keep them calm. All MuMu’s lovely plaits have gone now, but she and the others seemed much happier and dashed away to the field as soon as the job was done. They’ll never know how the tarot helped to cool them down.
As for moi, I took off the spotty apron and got back into my blue gingham with much relief that things had gone so well. Then I made a feline for the barn.