Little Henry at home
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Hi. My name is Little Henry Suffolk.
I know my name is Henry because my mother told me.
But everyone calls me Little Henry. They always have. So because that is what everyone calls me, that is who I am. Little Henry.
One day, after a stretch of musing, I went to mother with the existentialist question. "Mother, who am I?"
She said "You're a Suffolk, and that is all ewe need to know."
Well, she was so huffy about it, I didn't feel like asking her about the spelling.
So, that's me. Little Henry Suffolk.
I live in a paddock
with all my family. Well, not quite all. There are aunts, but no brothers or sisters. They all grew up and moved away.
No father either. Mother says that he lives in another paddock with all the other fathers. But lots of playmates,
all cousins and all the same age as me.
What do we do every day? Well, we all eat grass. Digest it. Drink. Poop.
Pee. And play. That's the day. Loads of fun. Especially the play.
We have races up and down the road. A bunch of us lambs stand around together near the road and all of a sudden one
will take off and the rest of us skedaddle after him. Man, that's fun. We don't go too far though. Not too far from the mothers.
And no-one ever wins or loses. That's not the point.
|There is a house of humans
in their own paddock near ours. They have some lovely plants growing in their paddock, they call it a garden, but the gate is always shut
and we can never get in there.
I heard that Aunt Baalinda got into the human garden paddock once when the gate was left open. I sometimes see her stand at the gate for
minutes on end, staring in at the plants there. Sometimes she bleats, like she is asking for something, then she sheepishly looks around
to check if anyone is watching.
Our paddock is very hilly.
Sometimes it takes an age to walk from the dam at the bottom up to the top of the paddock. Then we
come to the fence. Behind that fence is The Bush. Apparently it is very like the Forbidden Forest.
It it thick, dark and goes up even higher to the top of a mountain we can't see. This is where the
wild creatures live. The kangaroo. The cunning fox. The wild bunyip. And who knows what else.
Near the top of the paddock is a rocky outcrop. This is a great place to sit, between mouthfuls of grass,
and watch the clouds and think about the world.
The world? What do I know about the world? I have not
been outside this paddock. Nor does it look likely that I ever will be.
Something very amazing happened today.
I was slow getting out of bed this morning and all the mob had moved down the hill - chewing off all the best
juicy bits of grass along the way. As I walked down past the human paddock, one of their noisy, dusty tanks
rolled out the gate. I know it is really a 1.8 litre, fuel injected Subaru Forrester, AWD automatic transmission
with independent suspension, but it seems like an army tank to some of the other kids.
Kids? Did I say that? Well, some of them act like goats at times.
Anyway, the gate was left open!
I waited. Nothing.
I looked in and all seemed very quiet. Not a peep, nor a hiss, nor a baa.
I stepped in. Strange plants, with coloured flowers. Green snakes in the grass, that sat very still. Wait,that's a hose.
Then I heard a strange scratching noise. And a humming. What could it be?
There was this little girl drawing with chalk on the concrete. A lovely looking ice-cream and a list below of flavours
like banana, strawberry, blueberry, carrot.
"Nice drawing," I said.
"Thanks," was all she said.
"What's your name?" She enquired
after she finished the nut topping.
"Little Henry. What's yours?"
"Well, if I am little, you sure are big, so you must be Big Al?"
"Sure, then. If you are Little Henry, I'll be Big Al. Pleased to
meet you," she said, starting on a price list for the ice creams.
Blueberry and nuts was the most expensive.
Clearly she was busy, so I moved off.
I trotted out of the gate again. Wait until I tell the fellas about this,
they won't believe it!
"Hey guys, I was just talking to one of the humans. She was doing
a dead cool drawing and told me her name. Maybe she can be my friend?
But they were too busy munching on a bale of hay. They just looked at
me. "You're weird Little Henry," was all they said.
I went to play with Big Al most days. One day I went to her school by
hiding in her backpack. It was dark in there, but I could see out through
one of the zippers. We went to school on a big bus, that was exciting.
And when we got there there were hundreds of kids everywhere. Standing
in lines. Working. Writing. Reading. Playing. Eating. But, no matter what
they say, mostly playing. Then back home on the bus.
And out through the bus window I saw lots of other sheep, mostly merinos,
some cows and one paddock of horses. None of them, not even the sheep,
were smiling much. I don't understand this, all of us at home seem much
happier. Maybe there is a reason for this that I can't see.
I went exploring the other day.
Out of the paddock and through the countryside. Down a very dusty road where I could see the slithery
tracks of snakes and the imprints of kangaroos coming and going for water at the dam. I came to a big mountain.
It took me ages to climb it. But the view was spectacular. I reckoned it to be 1,145mm high.
I think that must be higher than Mt Koshesko. I know they spell it 'Kosciuszko' but it is a Polish name
and the Polish pronounce it "Koshesko." So I stood to attention and called out "I hereby name this
mountain Mount Little Henry." But nobody was listening, which is usually the case on the top of mountains.
I was wondering how to get down when a breeze came up and blew me over. Luckily I landed on my head, which
is well padded, so no damage was done.
Near the mountain is a golf course. There was
one golfer there who looked like a bit of a nutter, so I went
to have a chat with him. His concentration was very good. He said the trick was to
keep your eye on the ball. I wanted to be good at this, so I kept both eyes on the ball.
This gave me a headache.
Maybe I was standing too close to the ball. I heard this is a bad thing to do after you swing.
I asked the nutter what was the greatest thing about golf. He said that the most ecstatic moment in golf
comes on the day you have a hole-in-one.
I asked him how many of those electrical moments he had had, but he pretended not to hear me.
Clearly he was concentrating.
Then he made a swing at the ball. As I was watching it closely, I knew that it hadn't moved.
"Was that a hole-in-one?" I asked.
He got ready for another swing, and I definitely must have been standing too close this time, because I felt a sharp pain around that
soft spot at the tail end and found myself flying through the air.
The trip was short and parabolic
(that means it was in a curve). Up ahead I could see I was heading for a hole that led to a short tunnel. Landed on
my head again, so it didn't hurt. I turned around and crawled out.
Just as I poked my head out of the hole, the nutter went completely nuts, doing a dance on the spot,
holding his club in the air and shouting "I got one, I got one, I got one."
I have no idea what he was talking about.
Big news from Big Al. They are going away!
She said it was to a place called California. I always thought that California was a hotel, but I looked
it up and it is bigger than that.
Not only does it have palm trees, it has bridges, cars, spaghetti junctions and lots of hotels. I like spaghetti. The book
doesn't tell me though if there are any sheep....
It would be so nice to go there.
Big Al says they are going on a plane. Not just a little one like we see above our paddock, but one that carries
more than 300 people! I asked how many sheep fit on, but she didn't know, but thought that sheep travelled
by ship and mainly to Arabia where they die from the heat. This didn't sound very nice.
Big Al said that she might have a little space in her bag.
"Well, I'm little," I said.
"So you are. So that's settled then. Just don't tell my dad, he's particular about the weight."
Yippee. Yippee. Yippee. I am off to California.
Shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone. And definitely not Big Al's dad.
I figured out what the plane looks like.
If there is no room for me inside, I might have to ride on the roof.
That will be me, cruising to California.
I hope the in-flight dinner includes some oats.
We are leaving soon, so I
might not have a chance to write for a while.
But I will be travelling with my
500MHz G3 iBook, 384MB RAM, 10GB HD, so if they have electricity in California, I should be able to keep up my weblog homepage.
I don't know, it's all go, go, go.
Speaking of which, I have to go now and pack.
A spare woolly jumper - I hear it is winter over there now even though we are in summer here.
Clippers for that little trim now and then - don't want the wool pulled down over my eyes.
A packet of grass (not that sort) - I wonder if they will have any in California?
Half a toothbrush (sheep don't have any teeth on the top).
This is Sydney airport. Man, those planes are BIG.
I think they should have plenty of room for me. Looks more comfortable than a 4 decker sheep truck anyway.
I hope we get on the right plane. I hear that a lot of these go everywhere around the world.
I hope the seats have sheepskin covers, they're real comfortable.
Wish me luck!