Have you ever walked past a field of cattle and felt hungry? Nice piece of steak or a Beef Wellington perhaps?
Well I was hungry that day earlier this week when I came across a field full of handsome black bullocks but before I could have such an evil thought, they saw me and charged over in my direction. Maybe they wanted me for lunch I thought.
I was thinking that it was fortunate that a sturdy gate stood between me and these imposing beasts when the group that were coming my way just stopped and stared.
I met their gaze and for a moment we all stood around in a circle of mutual fascination.
It is something to do with their big doleful eyes with those surprizingly fluttery eyelashes that draw me to cattle and when I was a vegetarian, some years ago now, I was happy that my diet meant that I could look these fine creatures straight in the eye without any feelings of guilt.
I dismissed this thought and was about to carry on on my way when Bullock 200842 changed my mind.
He pushed his way past the others and, braver than they, came right up to me as I stood there at the gate watching them.
Call me sentimental and soft if you will but 200842 had made contact, our eyes met and something made me put out my hand to stroke his nose which was being pushed in my direction.
He was soft and warm, we don’t like to think that normally about bulls, and he almost purred when I touched him. Then out came that extraordinary tongue and I was taken unaware and was instantly smitten.
I realized of course that his name 200842 meant that even though he was big he was only one year old and that apparently endless tongue giving him away as still being a bit of a baby.
Whatever it was that I tasted of, salt maybe, 200842 liked it and soon my hand was dripping with bovine saliva.
It felt good and disgusting at the same time, that long leathery tongue, warm on my hand, making contact across that apparently giant leap that separates us from farm animals.
Bullock 200842 was suddenly my friend but I tried in vain to read meaning into that large mournful eye. What was he thinking? What did he want me to do?
What could I do but to carry on on my way knowing perfectly well what fate awaited 200842. I hope he didn’t realize too but I wish he hadn’t hollered so plaintively as I moved away.
Goodbye 200842, I shall remember you. I just wish you hadn’t been so darned sweet.
I'm pretty much at peace with my position in the food chain, but nonetheless I think I'll have meatless pasta tonight.
I reacted much the same way Anatole – like all sensitive souls I waited a couple of days until last night before venturing back to meat with a particularly good belly of pork in a fine old Devon pub. Here's hoping no pigs try to make friends any time soon.
Oh and the watercress soup and chocolate fondant was good too
Just to say the previous nessage was from me and not from my friends here on the Alpaca farm in Devon.
Their views on red meat are totally uncompromising and untroubled by any of my sentimental wobblings.