The English can be weird

I have an American friend who is absolutely insistent that this is all the proof that anyone could need to prove that the English are entirely mad:

It was the sound of wholesome 1980s Sunday-night TV: a plaintive \”baaaa!\”, a piercing whistle, and \”Come Bye!\” ringing out across the lush hillside. At home, eight million people perched on their sofas and held their collective breath at the moment of high drama: would the sheep enter the pen?

And now the high-stakes cliffhangers return as sheepdog trialing is restored to its rightful place in the TV schedules. From Thursday, More 4 will be screening the traditional-sounding World Sheepdog Trials.

I\’ll admit that I find it difficult to disagree with him on this particular point.

10 comments on “The English can be weird

  1. But rodeos with yanks falling off cows and horses is perfectly sane and natural? Swap “will the sheep enter the pen” for “will that idiot stay on the back of that bull” represents the epitome of reason? Baaaaaa!

  2. I read this with memories of my regular Sunday pastime. A couple of dozen French speaking border collies, gathered in a rain swept field just over the hill from where Henry V’s archers got their St Swithin’s target practice, where dogs & owners get to learn to herd real sheep. Nothing beats the pride when you complete your first pen, person & pooch working in perfect harmony. Then driving home in the failing light with a car full of wet, stinking, muddy, exhausted, ecstatic, canine.

  3. Nothing quite as English as watching a well bred sheepdog using mind and paw to intimidate a bunch of sheep around a field, remotely controlled by the merest inclination of the shepherds head and the occasional ‘cum bye’.

    Not a past-time for the lager swilling footie watchers of the 21st century, more a sport of a bygone age where beer was warm and if your dog didn’t win you could take it out on every single sheep, one at a time, slowly, sensually, preferably against a cliff so that they push back better….

    BAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. as much as I’d like to agree with your American friend, the fact that the “Jersey Shore” is a thing over here means we still have the lead in crazy.

    And rodeos are awesome – I mean how hard is it to stay on the back of a sheep? The Welsh have been doing it for generations.

  5. and of course, dressing up with shoulder-pads and breast pads so we can play “football” where the ball never touches a foot is totally rational…at least as rational as US foreign policy

  6. Here in Costa Rica they do the bullfighting but the bulls remain strictly uninjured. Instead you get a bunch of pissed-up yahoos, in a free for all, taunting half a ton of mad bovine. Occasionally there’s a pretty serious injury but I can’t remember anyone being killed in recent years. It’s like lager louts crossed with For Whom the Bell Tolls.

  7. Watching a bumpkin who spends his working day looking up a dog’s backside on TV is no more or less mad than paying crotch-scratching Cubans millions and millions of dollars to play endlessly tedious games of rounders on TV.

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