Market day today – broken sleep guarranteed. I dream of missing holiday flights – in fact missing holiday airport.
The routine needs reversing so Moira and the boy get dealt with before the other animals get fed. It takes too long, but finally they are out to the field and I can bring the boys up to the yard and select the three to take, shedding the younger ones.
Back down to pick up the trailer.
It’s not there.
It’s been stolen.
Phone the mart, the police –
I left it on site at the Pottery ready to load for recycling.
I’m going to be late – but nothing for it.Jump in the truck, down to the Pottery, hitch up and back again.
Reverse into the yard, adjust the gates for loading the boys – hope they co-operate.
Three of them, half a ton apiece, and me.
They have always been well treated so I don’t shout or hit them – just confine them using the gates, and, with a little encouragement they find their way into the mobile tin can that is going to ship them away from the only home they have ever known.
Driving the main road south, I control my speed while calculating just how late I am going to be. They won’t be sold at the start so I have a little leeway – fifteen minutes in should be okay – half an hour even – longer?
I might even have to turn round and take them home.
It has taken more than two years to prepare them for this day
Stirling mart is hidden at the back of an industrial estate: I don’t know the route well. I refer to a Google earth print-out after leaving the motorway.
It is wrong.
After the first roundabout I am lost. I return to pick up the route. I am still lost. I just drive on, hauling my trailer full of patient highland cattle through the byzantine traffic systems, mini roundabouts and leafy suburbs of a city I have no knowledge of. I tell myself to trust in what my mother termed a ‘bump of locality’- an instinctive sense of direction. I am supposed to have a good one.
I finally ease to a halt at a filling station. The lady at the till looks hopeless when I ask her the way to the auction mart-
‘er- the old one?’
‘O that’s first left, over the roundabout, through the traffic lights, over the next roundabout: it’s on the right between the Renault and Nissan garages.
Angels are also those with a good local knowledge. She’s right – perfectly.
Cattle sold – back up the road – job done.
The truck breaks down fifteen miles from home.
Could have been worse.
Could have been on the way down.