Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Silence of the Lambs

The weather had been well behaved all day, so we carried on for a bit longer than normal. After a very relaxing day long cruise on the Leeds to Liverpool canal, we arrived at Bank Newton Locks. The flight of six locks are closed and secured overnight because of the need for water conservation. We decided to stop for the day as we would not clear the flight before closing time. We knew from previous trips, its a bit noisy at Bank Newton. Especially with the occasional aircraft passing overhead on low level training flights. But by evening we knew that the sounds of the countryside would be the only distraction. I enjoy mooring the boat away from conurbations because I find the sounds of the countryside to be very soporific. Or that’s what we would have hoped for. As the evening drew near and the countryside seems to enter that clear sky period of indigo velvet nightfall – and it was slowly growing quieter and quieter.

It was shortly after nightfall, that we began to notice the persistent bleating of sheep and lambs in the nearby fields. As it got ever darker, so the plaintive sound of the woolly flock was carried across the fields on the breeze to our moorings. It was not the occasional bleat, now it was a continuous wall of bleating with no gaps. As I lay in my berth, the sound seemed to get even louder. I think is was due to more and more sheep and lambs joining in the cacophony. I sometimes snore and Mag's has taken to wearing earplugs to enjoy a good nights sleep. It was time for my version of earplugs, the ear buds that I use for listening to my iPod. Plugging in my iPod I started to listen to a half hour long, BBC radio four podcast. With the sound of the podcast and the softening of external noise by the ear buds. I quickly dropped off to sleep long before the podcast ended.

This morning, at first light the dogs were quite restless. They were moving around in the boat which in turn woke me up. As I removed the ear buds, I was surprised to find that the noise of the sheep and lambs continued. I could only assume it must have been going on all night. Then as I stood on the back deck, with a cup of hot coffee in hand, watching the dogs snuffling round in the grass. As if by magic, the sound of the countryside started to increase. Rooks were calling, from nearby trees. A cock Pheasant was calling. But all were competing with the bleating sheep and lambs. Then the sheep and lambs suddenly all stopped bleating. It was suddenly quiet, almost in an instant. It was as if someone had thrown a switch and turned them off. Now, I find that the 'silence of the lambs' is somehow deafening.

I have this urge for mint sauce.


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