In a bid to find security, stability and a 'place in life', like most folks, I've tried many things. I've been a cop, musician, circus worker, cardboard box assembler, warehouse manager, gardener, office manager, and I'm sure there are other jobs I've forgotten about as I either enjoyed them no more than a week or was fired pretty quickly. Once though, I thought I had it made - I became a farmer.
With property prices the way they were in the 90's, when we sold the house in London we could have purchased a small European nation - Scotland was perfect. And so it seemed to me that I'd bought the entire county of Fife and farmland stretching as far as the eye could see. After a week or so, it was my wife who pointed out that something was missing from our farm - animals.
I had a tractor, fields, fences, outhouses and huge bales of hay and straw - to all intents and purposes it looked like a farm so who needed animals? My bank manager did.
I'm good with dogs and cats but know nothing about anything else - so I decided to start with an 'easy animal' - Goats.
I checked out every book there was about Goats from the local library and bought a herd of them from a nearby farmer. I should've realised something was wrong when I asked him how many I could buy - and he said 'All of them if you want'. So, I became a goat farmer.
What the books don't tell you is that goats are damned hard to keep happy. They also don't tell you that if there's a hole or gap in a fence anywhere they will squeeze their way through it. Then they all head into town together and like the Sons of Anarchy they destroy everything. And you get the bill.
Neither do the books tell you that goats have a mean streak. I'd walk into the fields to feed them and one large Anglo Nubian in particular would race from the pack, reach me, stand up on two legs and headbutt me before trampling all over me while I was on the ground. I got tired of this as apart from being annoying it was painful and made me look stupid. Then I reached a chapter in the book which explained everything - PACK LEADER BEHAVIOUR.
It seems goats elect a pack leader - I don't think democracy plays a role in this and going by the attitude of the pack leader I was up against the 'Attila the Hun' of goats.
'Exert your dominance' the book said - 'If the pack leader attacks you then you must wrestle it to the ground and pin it there, thus showing it and the pack, that YOU are the pack leader.'
So off I went into the field once more armed only with a bag of carrots lest I lose (My plan was to offer them to Attila as a peace gesture in return for my life).
Attila was at the far end of the field with the rest of the goats and saw me instantly. Stepping out from the herd she started to run toward me - I stood my ground, she ran faster and I could feel my stomach 'flip' but I didn't waver. About six feet from me she stood up on her hind legs and went for the headbutt - I threw myself forward, wrapped my arms around her neck, headbutted her and twisted her onto the ground. Once pinned there I sat on her and yelled angrily so the others could hear - "Don't you ever do that to me again! You think you're tough? I'm the mean son of a bitch around here so don't mess with me!" The other goats backed even further away. I stood up and Attila lay prone in shock at her defeat. I looked at the pack and walked toward the corner of the field where they cowered, once there I gave my victory speech - "People of the Goat race, I will lead you well. You have nothing to fear. Attila's reign of terror is over. You can call me Rory the Benevolent who brings carrots". I then distributed the carrots amongst those who looked most needy.
I walked back toward the farmhouse, Attila was back on her feet and I contemptuously ignored her as I strode past. In the distance behind me I swear I could hear goats chanting 'Rory! Rory!'
I like to think goats in Fife still talk about that day even now.