Another lovely place we holiday’d in England during my early/mid 20’s was at a friends farm in Sussex. It was a beautiful old farmhouse, a good few hundred years old, with a gravel drive, a barn and an aga. (Early inspiration that unknowingly got stored in my brain). They had a couple of horses, some ducks, 2 dogs and a ram named Hamish. Ram’s are not known to be the friendliest of creatures and my father was definitely not an animal whisperer, but every day he would go out to the field and Hamish would be there, we liked to think waiting for Martin. Together they would stand, calm and facing the same direction just staring out, Martin rubbing the top of Hamish’s head.
This very fond memory of mine was rekindled as I walked through Trilogy in Three Oaks last weekend and spied the chalk ram. It didn’t take a second for my mind to go right back to the English countryside, the smell of old stone and firewood, of grass and animals, the sound of a wooden gate opening on an old iron hinge scraping across gravel and the relaxed, engaged and loving company of my parents.
It seems lately I’ve been seeking out an arsenal of protectors. I have the heron with the phoenix and now, on the mantle, we have the ram. Is this my menagerie of symbolic protectors? Shall this menagerie grow? Do I need a warm furry head to stand in the field with and stare off into the distance. Shall we call it Hamish?