I am seriously thinking about buying a goat.
When I say “seriously”, I mean that the thought suddenly struck
me as I was pottering about my back garden and contemplating the fact that the grass resembles a daisy-starred meadow, rather than a trim lawn. Maybe a goat would keep the grass from growing during the Lockdown Days?
It could also supply milk, which would go a long way to resolve the ceaseless demands from Mr B for “a glass of nice, cold, milk.” Okay, he doesn’t really like goat’s milk, but I honestly don’t
think I could run to a cow. A goat could also provide me with company; I understand over 50,000 people own goats as pets. Which is a lot of goats. B refuses to entertain the idea of a cat or a dog which would have to share his living space but a goat would
mostly live outside, wouldn’t it? I could reinvent myself as a not-so-lonely goat herd. I might even learn to yodel...
As I was toiling in the garden (as
in, planting out the sunflower seedlings for the Annual Sunflower Competition and sweeping the patio) it occurred to me that my approach to gardening is exactly like my approach to housework. Haphazard is probably the best way to describe it. I confide this
thought to the Youngest of the Darling Daughters who telephones me while I am engaging in a little desultory weeding, and she says, loyally, that she is just the same. I rather doubt this - I can’t imagine she wafts about from room to room, tidying a
little bit here, rearranging the bedclothes in the next room, wiping down a windowsill in the small bedroom where the sunflower seedlings lived until I rehoused them in the back garden - before trailing downstairs to the kitchen and the discovery that last
night’s dishes are still waiting, in a state of resigned expectation, my cleaning touch. Worse still, I come across the roasting dish from the night before last night’s dinner which I had put back into the oven in one of my (many) “out of
sight, out of mind” moments.
I decide not to tell my daughter about the goat before I have carried out a bit of research - which turns out to be (I) a sensible
move and (ii) most alarming. Owning a goat is a great commitment being both expensive and time-consuming according to the RSPCA website which also chides me that a goat should never, ever, be considered a substitute gardener. In fact goats can be extremely
destructive to fencing, houses and gardens, and may call loudly which neighbours might find annoying.
Worse is to come: male goats have a strong odour and
may exhibit aggressive sexual behaviour “which many people would find unpleasant.” As a long-time reader of the “Heidi” books by Johanna Spyri, I honestly cannot remember any mention of this in those much-loved stories when Heidi and
her friend, the slightly dim Peter, took the goats up into the hills every day.
A nanny goat sounds a better option but would need to be milked twice a day,
every day. Plus goats being social animals (though Im not sure this is borne out by the previous facts supplied) one should never have a single goat but always have at least two - which would mean a whole lot of milking. The only plus point I can think of
is that it would be really so very satisfying, whenever Mr B calls out for something, to be able to answer: “Sorry! Just milking the goat....”
I have gone off the whole idea of getting a goat. I am thinking that a lawnmower would be far less trouble. It wouldn’t need milking twice a day, for a start, nor would it upset my lovely neighbours with its wanton behaviour. Our house and fencing would
be safe from Aggressive Goat Action (AGA) and, while I accept that most lawnmowers do make a certain amount of noise, this is generally considered to be just one of the many Sounds of Summer. A lawnmower could also live in the garage without any need for special
I could call it Billy...