Barbara the Sheep

  • Baa-aaa-aa

  • Barbara? It is you, isn't it? (Or is it ewe?)

  • Of course it is, Buzz - and don't you make that old joke about how all sheep look the same!

  • Wouldn't dream of it, Barbara, my old friend. Actually, I was going to say you look different today.

  • Oh. You noticed! It's my new look for Summer. ... Like it? I feel so-o coo-ool now without my heavy winter fleece. All my heft were rounded up last week for shearing.

  • Heft. Another of your special sheep-words, Barbara? What's it mean?

  • It means myself and all the others in my flock, Buzz. It's our heft that prefers this part of the Hills.

  • So do you sheep just stay in one place? Not very adventurous.

  • Well, you buzzards have your own territory as well! Anyway, it makes sense. We know our way round this valley, it's where we were born and grew up.

  • What's that blue mark on you back? Another fashion statement?

  • Ha-aa ha-aa. Very funny. It's so the humans can tell which of us belongs to which Commoner. All the Quantock sheep belong to someone.

  • I thought you looked after yourselves, like we do. You seem tough enough.

  • Yes, we're good at surviving up here in the hills. But twice a year, the Commoners round us up and count us. Then they take some of us to market.

  • Market. Poor you. I'm glad I don't belong to anyone! ... Barbara - what's up? You look scared stiff.

  • It's that dog over there. It's off its lead! We sheep all hate loose dogs. They remind us of wolves! And we can't fly out of reach, unlike some. The other day some dog chased my poor sister into a fence! I definitely don't like loose dogs, Buzz! And I don't like fast cars! And I don't like ticks!

  • Ticks?

  • Those nasty parasite things that attach themselves to our skin and suck our blood. We get loads of them. Yuk. Almost as irritating as some buzzard-interviewers I could mention. Fortunately our commoners give us special medication to protect us. From ticks, that is.

  • You know, Barbara, when I'm soaring high in the sky I see you sheep all over the Quantocks. But you don't seem to do much, wandering around with your heft, just eating grass.

  • Just eating gra-aass!! You ignorant bird, don't you realize how important sheep are to these hills and the people who live here! We've grazed these hills for hundreds of years, keeping down the grass and scrub. If we didn't, the heath would get overgrown and the Quantocks wouldn't be the Quantocks any more! Then where would your habitat be?

  • OK, OK! I'm sorry!

  • And there's our wool, our special wool - haven't you heard of the Quantock Weavers? That's all because of us, too! Just eating grass, indeed!! Now, buzz off, Buzz, and leave us in peace!