Most Europeans think of Africans as living cheek by jowl with lethal wildlife and domestic animals and some of them do. But Marcia is different so is mightily pissed off that I adopted a lost goatling. I know that in England, and other civilised countries, pet dogs get to sleep in the same bed as their owners or at least get a spot on the sofa in front of a warm and comforting fireplace but to Marcia, the idea of cultivating such affection from a food source is not only alien, it’s revolting.
Having rescued the shivering and ever so weak little tyke, force feeding her at first to keep her alive, I cannot bring myself to toss her out of the door at night and let her fend for herself among the marauding wild dogs for whom she would be a welcome snack and she, in turn, cannot when barred from her new ‘mother’ by a closed door, allow us a wink of sleep, crying like an abandoned babe with lungs the size of an obese opera singer.
So, much to Marcia’s disgust, it sleeps in our room. One of the comments on my previous post asked how I intended to house train a goat. Well, I had no idea. I have never tried to domesticate a goat before. I have seen plenty slaughtered. I served with the Ghurkhas for whom slaughtering goats with one swipe of a Kukri was a tradition, and goats form part of the staple diet here. All I know about goats is that they destroy gardens, pooh everywhere and taste great in curries.
I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, when the little goatling only peed on my floor (and then by the door) on its first night. Since then, no noxious and ill directed issue within the confines of our humble abode. Not only that, give it its final feed of the night and then take it for a walk to the spot she has, only three days old, decided is perfect for relief, she’ll sleep the whole night through and only wake me just before first light demanding a refill. Early to bed, early to rise and all that stuff, this little creature could be good for my health, wealth and happiness. I am beginning to understand why only an awful night shift can slightly dull the keen edge of John Gray’s effervescent personality.
It now follows me everywhere but I am sure her sight is impaired (a factor that may have contributed to her losing her flock). Either that or she has a rare interest in the beauty of her natural surroundings and is easily distracted for if I walk too fast and she loses sight of me, she’ll run around in circles bleating plaintively. So I have taken to whistling her as if she were a dog. Goatlings don’t just shuffle to change orientation, they hop like gambolling spring lambs. A whistle will have her a foot in the air and then landing pointing in the right direction, ears all a twitch before launching herself at me, head butting my legs.
The sight of me and my little shadow is a source of considerable amusement for the denizens of my shop. My knee, barely healed after falling off the narrow path between my room and the generator (not the straight and narrow path the priest told me I must follow when preparing me for First Holy Communion, I fell off that years ago) has taken another bashing when on the way back in the dark, having shut the generator off I tumbled over the little bleeder in the dark. It isn’t just because my clients cannot reconcile the sight of someone like me, with my previous, walking along trailing a goatling, it is because they love taking the piss. And I have to admit, it is hard not to take the piss out of a portly 53 year old white bloke who has made a pet out of his dinner.
In the meantime, it needs a name and for the life of me I cannot come up with anything. I’ll take the ribbing until it gets out of hand, then I’ll crack a few skulls. Right now though, she is bleating for her afternoon feed so I need to rinse her bottle out and warm her milk.