Turning the tables on a bully

High-tailing it for cover before an onslaught of indignant sheep

Foxes must be on the farm all the time. The sheep get so accustomed to seeing those trotting red shapes that they scarcely even acknowledge them. However, things are changing. The sheep on the Chayne were scanned for pregnancies last week and they are becoming noticeably more confrontational as the lambing season approaches.

Walking back to the car after an excursion to inspect a bucket of ash tree saplings on the hill, my girlfriend and I saw a big dog fox trotting through the rushes, apparently without a care in the world. Stupidly, I was unarmed, but my girlfriend began to photograph him through a long lens. He sauntered towards a small group of sheep in a purposeless attempt to push them out of the way, but was somewhat horrified to find that they stood their ground. The foremost sheep stamped her foot and the fox stopped. He took another step towards her, but she stamped again and began to jog towards him. Others joined her, and in a second it was all over. The fox had been beaten and he lolloped away into a thick patch of rushes.

The scenario would have been very different if I had had my rifle, but sometimes it is more satisfying to simply remain unseen. It reminded me of a schools publicity campaign that I once saw about how, when you stand up to a bully, they turn out to be a coward through and through.

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