Readers may be aware that since my sister died I have been looking through old photos – and finding many happy and well-remembered occasions. How about a game of croquet back in 2003?
Here we have a mix of my family and my wife’s. With his back to us on the left it’s Uncle Gordon – brother of my mother in law. In the turquoise trousers we have my wife. Aunty Jean is next to her – the sister of my father in law and then we have my sister, Paula and brother in law, Bill.
Before going any further I’d like to scotch any idea that croquet is posh in my household. We are lucky enough to have a big lawn but it is rough and uneven – not at all what you might expect of a posh croquet lawn. At that stage we were using a small kit which I had picked up very cheaply in a bashed box. We’ve moved downwards now for we now use a larger kit bought at a second hand sale. I say ‘we’ play but only one of those in that photo plays (my wife). Of the others two are deceased and two are in care homes.
But the background is interesting – the sheep in the field. There appear to be some pale brown sheep there and I don’t remember them. I found some other, better photos of them.
These sheep are of the breed Manx Loaghtan. They are really quite a hardy mountain breed from the Isle of Man. Some have two horns and some have four but I should say these are all ewes. Some people tend to think that a sheep with horns is a ram.
They have clearly just arrived at this time and these arrivals are grouping together and keeping apart from other sheep in the background. I had been a sheep keeper back in the twentieth century but gave my small flock to a friend as that century ended. However, I think I recognise some of those in the background as having once been mine. My little flock included one Manx loaghtan so I know the breed but I have no memory of this lot at all.
They are lovely creatures, though and I daresay they were passing through the hands of my pal who I gave my sheep to.