Saturday, 7 May 2016

By hook or by crook - Sepia Saturday

They tell me shepherds once used a crook in their work I wonder how many shepherds there were about when the megaliths were put up at Almendres Cromlech in Portugal. 

Inverted shepherd's crook
Apparently the crook was a common motif on the local megaliths.

A shepherd in Croatia needed a dog and a crook to keep his flock under control in the snow near Jagodnjak.

Croatian shepherd with his flock
The Hungarian village of Ricse commemorated its shepherd in a statute but he just carried a stout staff and apparently had no dog.

Shepherd Well
In the early 1950s I had close encounters with sheep - well, with their fleeces at least. As a school holiday job with the Stamford firm of Central Wool Growers, initially at their Wothorpe plant and later in the new premises on Uffington Road.

Fleeces delivered from farms were examined and graded for quality by a Yorkshire man named Ben Waterhouse. He threw them into bins according to their breeds. Our gang of school boys then had to put them into bales and stamp them down with our feet.

Back then, my hands were the softest they have ever been due the effect of the lanolin in the wool.

A less pleasant job however was the baling of dags - the wool clippings from around a sheep's back end. My trouser legs had a very interesting smell - lanolin, and a ranker aroma which would keep any dogs away.

Now the nearest I get to sheep and lambs are those in a local field.

A Spring 'creche'
Seems a shame that soon it will be time for mint sauce.

Perhaps their mum will provide some protection - 

before it's time for lamb chops.

Don't feel sheepish, please visit Sepia-Saturday-329. for alternative views - any black sheep out there I wonder?

  • Inverted shepherd's crook; 26 May 2006 by Xyz11234, Public Domain
  • Croation shepherd, 3 May 2009 by Ljabornir Damjanovic, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Shepherd Well, Ricse; 4 August 2007 by Ramirez Hun, Public Domain


Titania Staeheli said...

Shepherding has been a global occupation, probably still is prominent in certain parts of the world. Interesting that rock with the carving of a shepherds's crook. Your working experience must have been paramount in your decision not to become a shepherd!!

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

All shepherds should have a dog. Just saying.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob - just love the shepherd's crook in the megalith .. who would have thought - what a delightful piece of information - love it! Lamb chops - a good roast and it's Sunday ... wonderful thought - 'cept tis early! Cheers and enjoy that roast or chops when they come along .. Hilary

Deb Gould said...

In the statue of the shepherd, it looks like he's using the hooked end to lift that lamb upright (although I don't know why). I, too, have worked with fleeces, and it's true...your hands get VERY soft from all the lanolin!

JP A Quiet Corner said...

Interesting, heart-warming, Bob (except for the lamb chops & mint sauce, of course!)...:)JP

Little Nell said...

I know what you mean about lanolin. As a student I worked in Boots factory at Beeston, and one of the products made there was lanolin cream for veterinary use; accidents on the conveyor belt left us all with very soft hands.

La Nightingail said...

On the way to town I used to pass - on one side of the road in a particular place - sheep with cavorting lambs in season, and on the other side of the road, cows with calves romping around. So little. So cute. So now I can eat neither lamb or veal. Actually, abstaining from lamb is no problem as I don't like the taste anyway. The veal was a little harder to give up, but then I'd see those cute little calves leaping joyfully around and I just couldn't do it. Ah well.

North County Film Club said...

I notice one of your photos has branded sheep as mine did in my post. I wonder why they have to brand them? Are there a lot of sheep rustlers out there?
Barbara Finwall

Jo Featherston said...

Nice photographs and accompanying story. Easy to become vegetarian if you think about those cute lambs too much. My daughter and her husband had 3 steers that they raised from calves for meat, and they named them Rump, Porterhouse and Fillet so they wouldn't get too attached to them in the meantime.

Bob Scotney said...

Barbara - the lambs have the same numbers on them as their mothers. I don't think it helps them - just the shepherds on tractors when they are sorting them out in the fields. I'm sure the lambs can't read.

Barbara Fisher said...

Hello Bob, I love that last photo of the sheep! I gave up eating lamb several years ago. I can’t ooh and ah over them in the fields and then eat them. It really is a sacrifice because lamb is delicious with mint sauce and new potatoes, you've got me fancying it now – but it’s not going to happen!
Your reply to Barbara Finwall made me laugh. How do you know they can't read? Stranger things have happened. The (other) Barbara (Fisher).