Sunday, August 29, 2010

The poo on the hill and why Somer never sets

We've just got back from a really lovely weekend in Somerset with friends. The spud loves the countryside and he was in absolute heaven - collecting eggs from chickens, playing with dogs, swinging from apple trees; he was very sweet.

'Where are we?'


'Will we see it setting?'

'No darling, Somerset is a place, it's not going to set'

'But then it will go down and then it will be winter!'

'No dear, Somerset is a place'

'But it will be setting when we get there and then we will watch!' ... etc...

Saturday our hosts took us to a well known iron-age hill fort which I'm not naming in case English Heritage are watching. We managed to get the Spud all the way to the top under his own steam which was nothing short of a miracle and we set up a picnic under the rim of the old fort walls. A herd of mixed cows were grazing the fort and their ordure was rather everywhere, something that doesn't bother any of us in the slightest but which has some bearing on the outcome of this tale.

We found a spot. We chased off a cow. We spread our blankets. We ate our hard-boiled eggs and sandwiches. There was a Peppa Pig birthday cake for the hosts' daughter. The views were amazing and it was all suspiciously idyllic. The spud, full of lunch, started wandering over to play with the dogs and just as I was languorously contemplating a second honey sandwich the Frog nudged me and muttered 'Uh oh' under his breath in a certain tone of voice. I looked up and sure enough, the spud was doing the poo walk. Bum clenched tight, legs stiff, he was clearly touching cloth and urgent measures were required.

I'll skip to the part where, after scurrying down the outside of the hill, the spud had dropped a massive steamer into a little rabbit scrape among the thistles and I was heroically trying to clean him up with paper towels and spit.

We'd been completely alone on that bloody hill for at least half an hour but just at the point where I was crouched with my son's nearly-clean bottom a few inches from my face and the guilty evidence gleaming out from the hillside scant inches from my toes, a family peered over the edge and looked down.

I smiled grimly and they gestured for the rest of their group to catch up. I started talking very loudly at my confused son 'That was a good wee-wee wasn't it! No wee wee on your trousers, that was good! Ha! Why don't you put your trousers back on? Go on! Ha ha! Good boy!'; all the time dropping bits of grass and rabbit droppings onto his delivery in a futile attempt to disguise it.

The first group moved on and a second approached.

As my befuddled son put his trews back on, I noticed near my other foot a dried cow-pat and in a flash of brilliance, bent down, snapped a bit off and then stuck it onto the crime scene. Within seconds, and this is a tip I highly recommend if you're ever caught short in the country and don't want anyone to know what you've been up to, I had created a cow-pat mosaic with poo grouting just in time for the final onlookers to stop and gaze down at me as though I was part of the whole iron-age experience. Me and the cow pats.

The journey back to our digs with 3 sorts of shit on my hands was not my finest hour but after all, it washes off and thankfully the rest of the visit passed without incident.

We left this morning with a very happy boy in the back seat.

'I love Somerset' he said. 'Can we have our house in Somerset?'

'No sweetie, sadly not'.

'Are we leaving Somerset now?'


'But we didn't see it setting yet'


Sphinx said...

You're lucky - on picnics I remember from my childhood in England, it ALWAYS rained! And your 'viewers'? That's what we used to call 'the herding instinct'... even on a desert island I don't think you would be alone for long.
I read an (American, admittedly)article recently that said 64% of British children rarely play outside and 28% haven't been on a country walk in the last 12 months - some of them even believe that cows hibernate in winter! Glad to see that Charlie is enjoying the Great Outdoors.

Sparx said...

Sphinx - you're right, it does usually rain! I do try to get him out into the country as much as possible; apart from the fact it's 'good for him' he has a fantastic time every time...

J.J. said...

Whenever I have to have a 'comfort stop' when out walking, even though I scan the horizon for oncoming hikers, I always expect one (or its dog) to appear from nowhere at the most inopportune moment!

DJ Kirkby said...

You. Are. Hilarious. Fact!

Anonymous said...

HaHAAAAA, that was brilliant! Paper towels and spit! Cow-pat mosaics! Sorry you had to go through this, but very enjoyble reading indeed!

Sparx said...

J.J. - and that's because they absolutely do show up, exactly when you least need it...

DJ - thanks hon!

Jennie - it was one of those moments, as I crumped up the hill feeling bitter and put-upon, when I thought 'well at least this will make a good blog post'... always a silver lining!

There are Cuckoos in my Nest said...

Oh I did laugh!
Why is it a call of nature while in the wild always attracts an audience?
Even in the middle of absolutely nowhere in Africa, trying to have a subtle pee behind a thorn bush every little herds boy and his goats within the vicinity magically appear out of nowhere. There is an art to avoiding a thorn somewhere delicate and at the same time ignoring your goggling audience, whilst pretending to maintain some semblance of dignity.
Love the strategic placing of the pat!

Sparx said...

There are Cuckoos - firstly, love your name! And secondly - I did leave out the part where he sat on a thistle and I had to suspend him manually above the ground... TMI, I thought. I've also stung my bottom on nettles; more like the 'maul' of the wild if you ask me...