• Lush Places

The Good Life: Call the cops!

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

A bad egg is accused of stealing a bad egg. By Michele Hewitson.

A terrible thing has happened here at Lush Places: Elizabeth Jane, my sheep, has been rustled!

Thankfully, I have spent the last 20 years of my otherwise aimless life reading crime novels, a career which has finally paid off. I can spot a perpetrator of a dastardly deed from a country mile away. Also, the prime suspect has form for this sort of thing. He is always pinching our sheep; he appears to believe they are actually his sheep. Also, I once heard him call my sheep, Elizabeth Jane, in a stage whisper: “Fatso”. On another occasion, he pretended to hit her with a stick. I usually ignore these pranks, but this time he has gone too far.

“He” is one Miles the sheep farmer, who continues to insist that the rustling of Elizabeth Jane was a mere accident: she got in with a mob he was moving back to his farm for what I call "boostering", and he calls drenching. I am of the belief that this is balderdash. Elizabeth Jane does not require boostering. She is as plump as a plum pudding. She may be a bit of a Fatso. What I believe is that Miles regards Elizabeth Jane as a thoroughly bad egg, and has long been plotting to remove her bad influence from the flock.

There are always a couple of really bad eggs. Nipper is a bad egg. She nips, hence her name, and she jumps up on you. The misnamed Flower is a really bad egg. She has a perennially snotty nose which she insists on sticking in my pocket looking for cashew nuts; she also pulls my pants down, which, in the winter, in the middle of a frosty paddock, is a less-than-welcome prank, I can tell you.

Elizabeth Jane is a good egg, despite what Miles thinks. I will admit she has one flaw. She is supposed to be one of the leader sheep. The job of a leader sheep is to head the flock — by following me in my role as sheep dog — when we are moving the sheep to fresh pastures. She doesn’t do this. She stands by the fence calling to me for sheep nuts, thus holding up proceedings.

Ergo, I conclude, the rustler is an adherent to that old adage: remove the sheep, remove the problem.

I keep asking when Elizabeth Jane will be returned, and Miles keeps replying, soothingly, “soon”. Soon, in Miles’ world means sometime in the fairly distant future; it is the equivalent of the country mile.


We went up the road to the detention centre, otherwise known as Miles’ farm, after negotiating visiting rights. I took a bucket of sheep nuts and stuffed my pockets with biscuits and cashew nuts. The reunion, I predicted to anyone within ear shot (Miles and Greg) would be just like the documentary, A Lion Called Christian.

Christian was the lion cub two crazy geezers bought at Harrods, and raised in their London pad (it was the 1960s, man). Christian was eventually released into the wild, in a Kenyan reserve, where he thrived.

Years later, the crazy geezers went to Kenya to see if they could find him. They called his name, and he eventually came, jumping into their arms. Nobody could watch this and fail to weep.

That, I said, would be exactly what happened when Elizabeth Jane saw me.

I called her name. She trotted over. She stuck her head in the bucket of sheep nuts, inhaled them; she had a cashew or two. Then she wandered off, nonchalantly. She may be a bit of a bad egg.