Biryani, April 2018

I know you shouldn’t interfere with young lambs you come across in the fields at this time of year - but just occasionally it is the right thing to do.

This particular lamb had become detached from his mum - not only that, he had succeeded in falling into a cattle grid.  This grid was between two fields which were connected by open gates and adult sheep were wandering between the fields, and ignoring the cattle grid.  Not so the hero of our story.  He was clearly intrigued by the grid and was still small enough to fall between the bars and also small enough not to be able to clamber out again.

By the point when we wandered up the path to the grid the lamb was curled up in a corner of the grid-base not paying much attention to what was going on, and there was no sign of a concerned mother anywhere about.

We did the only thing we could. We lifted him out of the grid and set him down nearby, fully expecting him to scamper off in the direction of his mum who would surely be looking for him.

No.  The lamb wasn’t interested in scampering off so I gently carried him toward the one ewe who appeared to be somewhat interested.  I put him down and walked back to where I’d left my camera bag to continue my walk.  The lamb decided that the sensible thing to do was to follow me.

So, I tried again.  A bit closer to the ewe, set down the lamb then ran back to my camera bag beside the grid.  That lamb is quicker on his feet than I’d guessed.  While we were figuring out what to try next (it’s embarrassing being outrun by a tiny lamb) the lamb came right back up to us and to the cattle grid. And promptly fell in again.

Next attempt. Again carrying the lamb (astonishingly warm, with a really strong heartbeat) even further from the grid, then setting him down and nudging him towards the largely indifferent ewe. He seemed to get the idea and headed towards her, and at last I was able to return to collect my stuff and continue the walk.

As we walked on up the hill, not daring to look back, we started to talk about what had happened.  The reality dawned.  I’d held this lamb and felt his heart beating.  There was no way I could eat lamb again.

So, to ensure that I can’t relapse, we’re now referring to the lamb as Biryani.  Next time I’m in an Indian restaurant I’ll see his name, and then order from the veg section of the menu.

Lamb Biryani and Camera Bag

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