Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Leaving the country

On the flight to the Isle of Man (quietly intriguing place) I was thinking about the word "bovine" - not entirely in a good way, although I am quite fond of cows.

I had the knees of a very large young woman buttressing the back of my seat, making for quite an uncomfortable journey. At one point I turned to inform her politely that she was digging into my back, only to realise that she was simply too big for the allocated space, so to complain would have been pointless. I recognised my fellow passenger from the departure lounge where I had first perceived her inert cow-like form.

Most of my childhood was spent in Crabtree Lane, in the white house at the end, next to Mr Bomford's field. Cows and horses were our neighbours and the favoured route to most places in the village was right through the middle of them. Horses being the faster and more powerful beasts we treated with due deference, but the placid, patient, masticating cows we largely ignored. If one was approaching in a nosey way we would just stamp a foot to scare it off. But but but - every now and then you would get a rogue cow that would not be frightened off and gave you the sort of look you want to give to your parents when they have caught you out in something and where you want to brazen it out, knowing you will probably start blubbing instead.

We used to coax the horses and the cows over to our garden wall by tempting them with luscious long grass and occasionally apples. The cows had such wonderful mushy noses and hot breath, also the most beautiful trusting eyes.

All of which is a preamble. Working backwards, I drew the cartoonish cow just because I was thinking bovine and because I was dying to carry on playing with my new drawing app! Prior to that as I walked across the tarmac to board the plane, I looked at wintry England with its skeletal trees and leaden skies and thought that just three weeks ago you saw a similar scene, but your thoughts were very different as you took it all in for the last time.

And I wondered how that felt for you, with the rawness of goodbyes still stinging your insides and the final aurevoir to good old England. How long was it on that interminable journey before the aircraft window was lit with lapis lazuli in place of the dirty old pearl sky of home?

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