Thursday, 26 September 2013

Illumination of the Sleeping Hound

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Disturbed slumber of the conversing sheep...

Well alright, Byron didn't actually mention anything whatsoever to do with 

'conversing sheep" but my previous excursion to a pre dawn Houndtor certainly provided me
 with that very scenario.Picture the scene, the air was still and black, a damp and clammy 
aura shrouded the sleeping granite asI made my way slowly towards the summit 
within the small dim arc of light which emanated from
my slight and woefully inappropriate torch. The unnatural stillness was apparent

 on reaching the top of the rise which was now being slightly illuminated from the bright 
orange strip of light which had appeared along the border of the eastern horizon.
I placed my tripod expectantly on the cold grass which bubbled up freezing dew around the 
feet wetting the rubber tips. Similarly my own feet were now soaking up the moisture as 
I shifted uncomfortably from one leg to the other and fumbled with the camera to place it into
the quick release plate. Once happy with the relevant settings to grab an image of the new 

day I placed one eye to the viewfinder to set the composition.
"Achoo" came the sound somewhere off in the blackness behind me. I stood immediately 

bolt upright and stared off into the darkness. Was I not alone?
I switched on my now struggling torch and waved it in the direction of the sound. Before
me the eyes of dozens of sheep were lit up from my beam, dazed and surprised as they
awoke from their evening 's slumber. "Oh.....sheep!" I whispered to myself and hurriedly 

returned to my task at hand. Replacing my eye to the viewfinder there was in interesting 
development, "achoooo............bless you!" 
This time I span round so quickly it almost sent my camera crashing into cold
sodden earth. My torch again cast its beam amongst my wooly neighbours, but this time
I couldn't believe what I was witnessing.
The hundred or so sheep were standing...standing upright on TWO LEGS. As I strained 

my eyes to seeI noticed that most of them were holding cups and saucers, obviously very 
fine bone china cups and saucers. A large black and grey sheep was walking 
amongst them with quite literally the largest teapot that I have ever seen, a teapot with a 
picture of blue and orange flowers on the side. "One lump or two.?..two?...there we go, the 
crumpets shall be here shortly, I bid you good lump or two?"
I stood open mouthed not believing the sight which was unfolding before me when all
of a sudden....complete blackness descended, my torch had given up the fight.
What seemed like an eternity passed when the blackness was replaced with a warm 

glowing light, the black and grey sheep was now holding a large red plastic torch and
was walking in my direction. "Pound shop?" he enquired...."eh?" came my feeble reply.
"Pound shop" he nodded towards my torch "batteries, usually a false economy
I might add, I normally buy good quality full strength ones as it saved an
unnecessary trip into town every five minutes......tea?"

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth was a dream.