Friday 7 September 2012

It needs a name

I realise this state of affairs occurs with monotonous regularity but Marcia is not best pleased with me again.  It isn’t as if I go out of my way to her annoy her.  I think it is because she is both female AND foreign so any possible comprehension between opposite sexes is lost in translation.  Nevertheless, I do admire her skill at picking the most effective times to buttonhole me.  Her two favourites are when I have just fallen asleep and in fevered dreams am about to climb into bed with her nieces leaving me, in my befuddled state having been rudely awoken wondering how the hell she found out while I hurriedly attempt to get my wits about me, and before I have had my morning cup of tea.  These are the only occasions when I cannot talk faster than my interlocutor can think.

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.


  1. Barbee,

    Can't do that, it would confuse the wife.

  2. On BBC Children's TV they used to have a silly glove puppet called Gordon the Gopher. Now your sweet little goatlet is of course female so I suggest a lady name beginning with G. Take your pick from:-
    Gladys the Goat
    Gabby the Goat
    Gwendoline the Goat
    Gail the Goat.
    My favourite would be Gabby. I will be overwhelmed with pride and gabbitude if you stop acting the goat and choose one of my suggestions.

  3. Brenda.

    I believe goats are not known for keen eyesight, by the way.

  4. Since she follows you around all the time, i kept thinking "Mary had a little lamb..." but Mary sounds so ordinary.

    I like Gwen or Tabitha.

    Doesn't anyone there use goat's milk?

    Or, in keeping with John's theme of alliteration, Gilly.

  5. Dear Ziegenpeter, why not name her Baerly or Schnucki, after Heidi's favourite goats?

    You are doing a grand job and what an old softie you are. You do know, of course, that once you have named an animal you will not eat it. Though I wouldn't put anything past you.

    How cute (the goat, not you).

    Greetings from the Alm,

  6. Sir Owl, I thought Getrude was for ducks? If it starts smoking, I'll call it Beryl. As to your last suggestion, if HM finds out you'll lose your Knighthood.

    John D, I have a dog called Dog and a goose called Goose. This time I would like to try to be different!

    Jan, I swung over to your very interesting blog (welcome to mine, by the way) and with the names you have given your eclectic collection of pets the best you can come up with is Brenda! Surely that is too 'normal' for you?

    Megan, there are herds of goats here, flocking loads of them but now that you mention it, I have never seen anyone milking them or making goats cheese. They seem to be bred half feral for meat. Maybe when this one grows up I'll start a milking trend. What does goat's milk taste like anyway? And don't say: milk!

    Ursula, I should have thought of that but didn't. Then again, I am a man. As such, I can't see myself in a Dirndl, no matter how much you would.

    My knickname at Sandhurst was Gobber Gowans because I was forever telling jokes and generally unable to keep my trap shut, so the top suggestion is that made by an absolute pud, Gabby it is! You have made a happy, albeit unusual couple, even happier. Gobber and Gabby Gowans send you their regards.

    Mr Pudding of God's Country, email me the address of your local post office (or post it as a comment) and I will send you care of that a small but well earned prize from Angola (and no, it is not a box of anti personnel mines which you can use to keep trespassers off your allotment, although if you want some and can get me an End User Certificate...). I think you can access my email address through my profile, if not, then it is tomgowans(at)flordita(dot)com


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