Thursday, 1 April 2010


All Fool's Day 

On this ancient feast of unknown origin, the most time-honoured method of making 'April Fools' is to send them on pointless errands; and articles much in request by victims include pigeons' milk, striped paint, copies of the 'Life of Eve's Mother', hen's teeth, and a 'long stand',  Beloved remembers a boy coming into the grocer's shop asking for a tin of elbow grease.

In Germany, apprentices and children were sent to fetch tools made from glass, such as files, pestle and mortar, scissors, or they were asked to go and buy rubber hammers, or lead weights for spirit levels. I have been sent to find an egg sieve, sausage seeds and checkered wool The real cruelty was that the shopkeeper would say that he'd just run out but the next workshop or the shop down the road would probably still have some, and the poor sap would thus spend hours on his fool's errand, before he finally twigged or until it had got to midday, when the joke would end, whichever was the later.


In spite of this morning's snow, which luckily didn't last,
 and the rain following,
 I found both these in the hedgerows this afternoon:
the native primroses and pretty little jonquils.

Valley's End is surrounded by fields with
bleating lambs.

 A few facts about Sheep from a local Farmer

A ram or tup is an uncastrated male.
A wether is a castrated male.
A theave is a female lamb.
A yearling is a one year old sheep.

Sheep only have teeth in the lower jaw at the front, but have molars in the top
and bottom at the back.

A sheep's age is determined by its teeth:

Two broad teeth = one year old
Four broad teeth = two year old
Six broad teeth = three year old
Eight broad teeth = four years and over.

Ewes can only rear two lambs as they only have two teats.

Sheep have only one aim in life:
and that is to die as soon as possible.



  1. Beautiful primroses - I am looking at snow on the top of Corndon - cold, wet and dreary - so spring flowers certainly cheer me up! Happy Easter.

  2. I could actually smell primroses when I looked at that photo. I think my olfactory nerves are connected to my eyeballs...Should I see a specialist?

  3. Lovely photos of flowers and lambs - you must be surrounded by the same sort of new life that is burgeoning here.
    I dislike April Fools' Day. In fact I detest it. I've never enjoyed feeling a fool and I cringe when I see another's discomfort in being made a fool.

  4. Primroses are some of my favourites. Happy easter.
    A x

  5. The lambs are adorable.

    Your terse last lines remind me of how we were told at the Kingdom Hall that the sheep would know their shepherd's voice and become a part of his flock. Even as a little girl, I bristled, thinking I did not want to be a part of any flock and would much rather be a goat (alone on a craggy hill) doomed to destruction by not following the shepherd.

    But now you have me all confused by saying all sheep want to do is die!!! I thought they just wanted to follow the redemptive shepherd forever .... ;]

  6. Those were some amusing April fool's errands. So long as there's no real malice in it, it can be a bit of fun. I also enjoyed the sheep-related facts.

  7. So sheep have teeth but hens don't. I love the subtle themed links in your miscellanies.

  8. Love the last statement! Not unlike our possums, whose one aim in life is to find an oncoming car and hurl themselves under it.

  9. In France when I was little we did, what we called, “Poisson d’Avril” not April’s Fool but April’s Fish. We would draw a big fish and try to place it in the victim’s back without their knowing it, like your teacher or your dad. You could buy big chocolate fish in the candy shops to for eating. I don’t know if they still do that. Today was so depressing. I ordered 6 rose bushes but my husband cannot find any place in the back yard to plant them. When they built the house they must have used land fill made of clay and huge rocks. He dug 5 holes already and after about 4 inches deep he finds rocks twice the size of his head or larger and they cannot be moved. It’s like living on top of rocks. Where shall we plant our roses? I am so depressed with it all. There is no top soil – just bright red clay. You are so lucky to have a pretty garden – I guess we’ll only have weeds.

  10. Vagabonde - you must get help; a big, sturdy fellow to dig up enough stones to backfill the holes with compost, which you can surely buy in sacks. I am so sorry for you and your roses.

  11. Twiglet - thanks and a happy Easter to you. At least the snow hasn't stayed round here.

    jinksy - no, don't bother, i think you are beyond help.

    Pondside - until today, when the heavens opened to shed a new load of freezing sleet and snow. April fool's errands are very cruel to my mind.

    Wipso - We have a whole bank of them by the castle, very pretty. Happy Easter to you too.

    Bonnie - whatever way you look at them - sheep of all kinds are stupid.

    Argent - I'm not very fond of the cruel jokes played on people; I like the clever ones in clever newspapers, like the Guardian's wonderful San Serife edition of blessed memory.

    Fran - thanks Fran - anything you want to learn about sheep - there are plenty of them round here.

    Vicki Lane - so, are possums as stupid as sheep?

  12. A very thought provoking entry of yours. It was April 1st as a theme I had to write 200 words about in 45min at the Greek language exam - in the end I wrote about me life and its reality, I did pass though ;)
    A nice Good Friday for you.

  13. Love the lambs and primroses! And the facts about sheep - now I can look knowlegeable when country matters are discussed!

  14. Well, thump!! That last line was a kicker. But how do you know that, Friko??
    And here I was getting all mushy over that lovely photo of the lambs.

    German April Fool's is a bit diabolical. Quite entertaining to hear what other cultures do for April 1.

  15. Interesting blog - I remember those 'foolish' errands -although I think they were inflicted on apprentices.

    Can I add to your sheep list?

    'The first sign of ill health in sheep is usually death.'

    Happy Easter

  16. Fascinating tidbits about All Fool's Day - Must be where our Snipe's Hunt originated? We used to have a large flock of sheep residing at the end of our road but the sheepherder sold them off - Despite their death wish, I loved passing by the pasture and secretly harbored a wish to let our 3 shelties out of the car just to see what they would do...I am sure our neighbor would not have been pleased - but it might have been quite entertaining...
    Your journal entries are among my most favorite to read - I always learn something!
    Blessings to you this Easter.

  17. In my long life I have known many sheep, some of whom seemed to enjoy living to a ripe (for a sheep) old age. So I take issue with your last statement. But the info about sheep teeth I find fascinating.

    The flowers and the lambs are just lovely.

  18. I love the lines of daffodils pic and the lambs one, gorgeous.
    Interesting April 1st info too.

  19. robert - glad you passed your exams. Frohe Ostern!

    Gilly - I'm afraid that's more or less the extent of my knowledge too.

    Deborah - I know that because I've been told by those who know. How else? I also once had four borrowed sheep in my field for one winter. one of the critters died on me. For no reason.

    mountainear - thanks for the additional information. Sheep do have a terrible press.
    Happy Easter!

    Taylorsoutback - I think shelties and sheep don't go together. sheep are frightened of their own shadow and certainly three dogs in one go.
    Your neighbour would not have been pleased.

    20th century woman - Don't blame me, blame the shepherd who told me. Perhaps you came across a more intelligent brand of sheep, unless that is a contradiction in terms.

    Cait O'Connor - thank you for visiting. happy Easter!


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