The herd of bullocks eyed us with suspicion as we leant on the metal gate surveying our route through their large field, bordered on one side by a 15 foot hedgerow.
“That one is giving me evil looks,” said Kim, who had ditched her Fonzie jacket for a bright purple fleece.
“He’s singling out the weakest in the pack, and it doesn’t help that you’re wearing a top which is in the red colour spectrum,” I replied, reassuring as ever.
“She’s right though. They don’t look friendly - these are testosterone fuelled adolescent bulls for fuck’s sake!”
“They’re only cows! They’re just curious, that’s all,” a gung-ho Lisa chivvied us on.
“Come on, we need to cross this field as the pub should be just up the lane from the other side.”
We’d been walking in the wilds of Somerset since 10ish; hungover, and with just half a packet of Starburst and a crushed KitKat to keep everyone going. Lunch was desperately wanted and much needed – although not as much as an Uber would have been right now.
As Lisa and Andrea gamely climbed over the gate and started marching through the field, Kim and I gave each other resigned looks and cautiously followed. The gate clattered as I climbed over and started to walk in the direction of Lisa and Andrea, trying to avoid the gaze of the bullocks who had also started to wander in their direction. I looked behind me to see why Kim wasn’t by my side and saw her awkwardly straddling the gate in a most unbecoming manner, with a particularly evil looking bullock eyeing her up menacingly. This was no time to hold grudges, so, with the previous night’s ‘soup-gate,’ forgotten, I retraced my steps, full of pseudo-bravado, yanked Kim over the fence by her veritable 'red rag' of a fleece, and grabbed her arm, virtually dragging her up the field as we tried to catch up with Lisa and Andrea.
“Don’t show your fear, they can smell it,” I advised, with all the confidence of a Countryfile presenter, although by this point, the bullocks had started to round us up, cornering us against the high hedgerow. There would be no escape if they were to charge us now, and in my head I had already devised a plan to use Kim as a human shield – after all, she was too vertically challenged to give me a decent start on the high hedge if I climbed on her shoulders, so throwing her in front of the trampling herd was my only option for survival.
With our hearts beating louder than bass speakers on techno night, I hissed at Kim to walk faster, which to be fair, isn’t easy when you’re suffering from post-rum indulgence and have spent the night in a toddler bed.
“They’re gaining on us. We can’t escape, we need to stick together,” said Kim, tightly gripping my arm and pulling me back slightly, her hand and voice shaking with fear – or maybe it was the DT’s kicking in, it was hard to tell. As the herd continued to close in on us, terror swooped down upon me and my survival instinct kicked in. Pushing free of Kim’s firm grip, my fast walk turned into a canter and before I knew it I was running for my life, sprinting across the field like a gazelle being hunted by lions – albeit a gazelle in cumbersome hiking boots, and ill-fitting knickers which were bunching as I ran. As I caught up with Andrea and Lisa, Andrea reached out and grabbed my arm with a vice like grip bringing me to a sudden halt and hissed; “STOP running for god’s sake or they’ll start running after us. We need to stick together and be calm.”
I took a deep breath.
I started to walk calmly.
Andrea released her grip and I seized my chance and ran for my life! Fuck sticking together; this was a fight or flight situation and I had no intention of dying in a field full of bullocks, wearing ill-fitting underwear. As I fled, I heard shrieks and cries behind me but I wasn’t stopping until I reached the far gate.
“For faaaaaaaarrrkkks sake! You could have had us all killed, Purbeck!’
A panting and puce in the face Lisa angrily glowered at me as she reached my side and we vaulted over the gate and out the field of death. There was only one thing scarier than a herd of mentalist bullocks and it was a furious and hungover Lisa. I had 2 choices; either start crying or fight her - neither of which I had the energy to do at that moment. Thankfully, fate intervened as she spotted a muddy, laminated sign on the gate.
“Warning: Bullocks are in this field. Walkers should not enter."
We all looked at each other; the enormity of our near fate slowly sinking into our post-mojito addled brains.
“There wasn’t one on the other gate. It must have fallen off,” deducted Andrea, ever the super sleuth.
“I told you! I told you we shouldn’t have crossed the field! You see! You see! I was bloody right!”
Three sweaty, hungry women stared back at me with a look in their eyes akin to the little girl in ‘The Exorcist’ just before her head does a 360 and she starts screaming obscenities at the priest. I could tell now was not the time to expect any kudos for my previous reluctance to stroll through a field full of killer bovines, but rest assured I’d mentally parked it where it would be brought up again and again at any fitting time in the future. For now, however, the pub was calling, and a hair of the dog was certainly on the menu!