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Tales From Fitton Farm

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“All right, Gerti, stand still,” Douglas murmured to the cow he would be milking, were she not too interested in side-stepping into the wall of the milking shed. “I know. I don’t know why we do it either. An hour’s too much of a change, isn’t it, girl?” Finally she settled, and he was able to attach the equipment. “And do you know, they blame it all on us? Mmm. They say we only change the time because of farmers - nobody bothers to find out the real reason…”

Arthur suddenly popped his head around the door. “Hi chaps!”

“Chap, singular,” Douglas corrected him. “Martin’s out in the top field. Did you want us both?”

“No,” said Arthur, coming in and stroking Gerti’s nose. “I just thought you must both be here, ‘cause I could hear you talking.”

“Oh,” Douglas said, breezily, “No, I was just chatting to Gerti. She’s not happy with the milking being an hour late.”

“Wow,” Arthur said, impressed. “Can she notice the difference? That’s really clever.”

“Well, I’m not saying she can tell the time, but she definitely knows it’s been a little longer than usual,” Douglas confirmed. “So I was just commiserating with her, because the rest of the country blames farms for the fact that we even have BST, whereas actually….”

“They should blame golfers.”

Douglas was taken aback. “Oh.”

“You weren’t expecting me to know that, were you?”

“Not… Not exactly, no.”

Arthur put on his conspiratorial look. “I only know because I’m so involved with the golfing circles, you know.”

Douglas grinned, thinking of the row of crazy golf trophies that sat behind the ones Carolyn’s sheep had been winning in the Fitton Country Fair every year since 2010. “Of course.”

“William Willet,” Arthur said thoughtfully. “Which is quite a good name, really. You would think more people would have heard of him, with a name like that.” He shrugged. “But he just wanted an extra hour to play golf in. Which I could understand if it was crazy golf, but an extra hour for normal golf? It seems a bit silly.”

Douglas chuckled. “I’m not used to you being such a fount of knowledge, Arthur, but I like the way you tell it.” He disconnected the milkers from Gerti’s udders, and she ambled away, replaced quickly by Elsie, the next of their nineteen cows.

“Well, I’d better carry on to the top field,” Arthur said brightly, as he stepped out of the way for Gerti to pass. “Martin will be wanting Snoop, and she’s bound to go off rabbiting if I send her on her own.”

“Oh, Snoopadoop, what’s he saying about you?” Douglas said in a mock-horrified tone, addressing the little cockerpoo/border collie cross, who had peeped her head around the cowshed door at the sound of her name, but dared not enter while the Big Scary Cows were about. It was quite enough to let them walk past her.

Douglas nodded to Arthur. “All right, see you later then. Oh, and tell Martin I thought of another one - Kevin Bacon.”

Arthur repeated the name a couple of times so he wouldn’t forget it on the way over. He couldn’t always join in the word games, but definitely enjoyed his position as courier, on days where Martin and Douglas weren’t working in earshot of each other.

He gambolled off with Snoopadoop at his heels, and Douglas turned to Elsie.

“Sorry, old thing,” he said to her amiably. “It’s all William Willet’s fault, you see…”