Happy As A Lamb In Spring Time.

My farther used to farm. It was, by modern standards, a modest sized farm with half the land given over to arable and half to a beef herd. During the years when I was growing up, or perhaps I should say was supposed to be growing up, I used to lend a hand on the farm. Winter evenings after school taking care of the new calves, weekends taking care of bigger cattle as well, feeding them, putting down new straw for bedding. It was all done by hand in those days, kept a chat fit and strong and smelling of fresh manure. There was also hay-making and arable work, ploughing, harvest, that sort of thing, but what we are concerned with here, and I am comming to my point, is the cattle side of things. During the winter they would be kept inside, but come spring, when the ground dried out sufficiently that a heard of cattle was not going to ensure that the grass never grew again, we would let the animals free; and oh, how they loved it. They would come out of the barn where they had spent the winter months and they woud smell the fresh grass, they would see the blue sky and feel the softness of the ground benieth their feet, And they would run and jump and frollic… don’t let anyone tell you that animals have no emotions, because by god those dumb beasts were full of emotion, of joy and the feeling of freedom as they danced around the fields. I used to derive a great deal of pleasure each spring from seeing those animals celebrate their freedom. But what has this got to do with anything I hear you ask. Well, the last couple of days I have been feeling a little like those cattle. Following my recent fall from full fitness I now feel thoroughly back on form. The road I follow is now hillier that it has been for some weeks, no big climbs but very little flat, just rolling up and down. The temperature has just recently fallen a little as well. I feel that I have a safety valve that switches at 35º, the critical temperature is reached and as a safety precaution my whole system switches to half performance. Not surprising really, I find it astonishing what the human body can endure. Constant sweating, how ever does the body cope and replace all of the lost fluid? Day after day I am loosing a tremendous amount of fluids and yet every morning I wake with the lark feeling fresh and eager to go. I suspect that replacing lost minerals with a few bottles of beer helps to a great degree here. Anyway, as I was saying, the temperature is cooler, I am fitter, and I feel that I am frolicking my merry way across Thailand like a new born calf .
I recently crossed Peninsula Thailand at the point known as the Isthmus of Kra. For those unfamiliar with the term, an Isthmus is a narrow strip of land that joins two pieces of land thus preventing one of those pieces from being an island. Kra is a town in the region. The amusing thing about it is, and this will only tickle those readers with a familiarity of the Thai way of speaking, Kra-Isthmus is precisely how a Thai would pronounce Jesus Christ’s birthday.
Talking of Thais I feel that I am receiving more merry gestures and greetings now that I had been, not that I was not on the receiving end of much hospitality before, only now I think that people see a cyclist passing by, a man who looks like he is getting somewhere on his machine, a man who is exploring their country and Thais like this. What they were seeing before was a pathetic wretch struggling along looking for the world like he was in search of hospice where he could curl up and end his days.
This side of Thailand – the west side – I see less of the sea even though to a casual observer the road would appear on a map to follow the coast. The vegetation is thick, jungle climbs up the hills that flank the road. Palm oil is taking over as the predominant crop. I even saw one of those awful spiders yesterday. A huge savage looking thing, hanging in a web stretching from the ground to a point some meters above, it was the size of my hand and yellow and black stripes. A menacing looking sort of a thing that gave me the willies. Hope there aren’t too many of those around.






2 thoughts on “Happy As A Lamb In Spring Time.

  1. You really do have a splendid turn of phrase Mr Walker , you’ve just transported me back thirty years ….

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