As a teenager in the 1970s my friend Tracy Lee and I would take the bus to
Our destination would be the Manchester
where we would look at the Pre-Raphaelite collection. Then we would go into a
café and have the cheapest thing on the menu - tomato soup. I felt so
sophisticated because the soup had a dash of cream in it and came with cream
crackers and not bread. On one visit I bought this poster to put up on my newly
painted purple bedroom wall. As a teenager with a tendency to melancholia the
title, ‘Scapegoat’, by Holman Hunt appealed to me. Bingo! My mother hated it.
Was I into devil worship or something? How I sneered and laughed. Manchester
Goats do get a bad press. In fiction it’s the sheep who are the good guys. They are the ones who help children to learn to count and to go to sleep whilst it’s the goats who are the giddy ones causing all the trouble. Big trouble. It’s the sheep who sit on God’s good side and take away the sins of the world No guesses for who is on the wrong side.
The Rolling Stones didn’t make an album called Sheep’s Head Soup, did they?
Since my adolescent rebellion I hadn’t given goats much thought. They didn’t impinge upon my urban existence or the landscape of my imagination. Until now..
Thanks to the work of Raymond Werner Parker, a colleague I have worked with in education for many years supporting children with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in mainstream settings. He is now very much involved in The Old Irish Goat Society which is trying to keep this breed from becoming extinct and to raise awareness about the illegal round ups of these beautiful creatures for slaughter.
According to the website, ‘The Society has worked to preserve the breed in the wild, bring it back into domestication as an ideal smallholder’s goat; study its benefits to land management; define its phenotype and characterize its genotype; work towards gaining it official rare breed status, and thus protection, and create a herd book to preserve its existing standard as an unimproved landrace breed rather than turn it into a “standard” breed.’
Large numbers were once imported into
England and annually, being called the
‘harbingers of spring’ as the drovers arrived in each town and village. Scotland
So I think its time to rewrite the bad press about goats.
Farmers used to keep them alongside their cattle to ‘bring luck’ to a herd. Goats are very good at nibbling away at herbs that could bring disease to cattle. Horses can’t get enough of the smell of a goat. It is very soothing apparently.
I feel a goat story coming on…….