Saturday, 17 July 2010

Sepia Saturday: Hanging On To Goat Tales

My maternal grandmother, Hilda May, had a passion for animals. She'd often call cows from the adjoining fields, to her garden hedge. Likewise, horses. She had a soft spot for them, and would tell tales of when, in her teens, she rode bareback on a Cob that belonged to her own grandmother. Her love for them was enduring, despite having taken a fall that left her with a damaged hip for the rest of her life.

She couldn't stand by and watch when animals were ill-treated. My mother recalls how Hilda would chase gypsies through the village on her bicycle if she ever caught them whipping their horses, chastising them all the way.

No surprise then, to learn that one of her dogs was rescued from the back of a gypsy caravan. 'Little Sally' was an affectionate mongrel who arrived wearing a heavy collar and carrying a heavy heart. For the remainder of her days she had the run of almost an acre of garden and was never tied up or collared.

'Little Sally'

In the first photograph, we can see Hilda taking delivery of two goats. Actually, I can't remember these characters staying in residence for long. I can, however, remember a pair of goats called Matilda and History - sadly no photos. Poor Matilda was a sad looking specimen - another of Hilda's rescue stories, no doubt - and History was so sleek….for a goat. If History was a model for Goat Couture, Matilda was the ideal portable clothes rack.

They stayed long enough for us to form an attachment. We drank the milk and took them for walks along the lane, where they tore into the vegetation with gusto. Hilda also used to bring them with her to meet me from the school bus. This might turn a few heads today but, back then, people didn't appear too surprised at anything where my grandmother was involved.

More Sepia Saturday posts HERE

© 2010, copyright Martin T. Hodges


  1. Good Day Martin, I love the photo of Hilda May and the goats. As a child, my best friend loved animals and they were drawn to her just like your Grandmother. I can just imagine your Grandmother chasing the gypsies on her bike! Little Sally was very lucky to spend her latter days running free and soaking up the love and attention of your Grandmother. Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

  2. Another fascinating Sepia post, thanks Martin. Why on earth was one of the goats called "History"?

  3. To answer Alan, I am guessing it was named History because goats can be difficult and they called it History because he might not of been expected to be around for long.

    Your grandmother sounds like someone I would of liked to be friends with.

  4. Oh Martin, I loved that story about your GM. I have not had too much experience with goats but we used to take the rutty calves on the farm and nurse them and occasionally we would get one to make it to market. That is the kids took care of the calves. Thanks for dropping by. Blessings

  5. Your grandmother was a woman after my own heart! Hurrah for her!

  6. I was just going to say "a woman after my own heart" and then I see that Vicki beat me to it. She's a woman with at least two hearts after her and probably many more. I also love Little Sally.

  7. Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful person, & I really enjoyed her story & the photos--Little Sally looks quite happy in that pic. But I'm with Alan--why "History"--I did see Rhonda's guess, but that doesn't sound like your grandmother as you described her.

  8. She sounds like quite the character and determined too! I can see her chastising gypsies! Tha must have been a sight! Nice photo with the goats too!

  9. I love your grandmother already, without even knowing her. A lady who took such are of animals surely had a heart of gold. Were you thrilled to see the goats from the school bus window? Thanks for introducing your grandmother to us.

  10. What a great post. I love all the different ways she could get to the animals.

  11. kindness & Care in a person either exists in them,or it doesnt.
    Observe a person's treatment of an animal,& you can tell a lot about them.
    Bless Hilda & A Shame you have no photos of her on her bike chasing the Gypsies!

  12. What a lovely post - such wonderul memroies and images. Thanks for sharing this, Martin.

  13. Thanks everyone. Hilda May was quite a character, a woman of many good qualities, and she is sorely missed.

    In answer to why one of the goats was called 'History', as far as I know, that's the name she came with. It always struck me as an odd choice. Perhaps Rhonda's guess is close to the mark, and that's why the owners sold her to my grandmother.

  14. possibly the most endearing story i've read today, possibly as i also have much affection for animals.
    totally unexpected.

  15. How wonderful! My mother's brother used to rescue stray animals and take them home.

  16. jabblog - I think my grandmother and your uncle would definitely have been friends. Thanks for dropping by. I appreciate it.

  17. Oh I did enjoy reading about Hilda. A woman after my own heart! Lovely photos too.

    You might not know that we have three horses, two rescued pigs, three dogs, four cats and a variable amount of chickens. They sometimes feature in my posts. The pigs (Nufnuf and Tumtum) are very popular with my mad bunch of readers.
    Not all of our animals are rescued, but I like to think that we give them such a good home that we've rescued them from possible worse ones.
    Thanks for sending me the link. And thanks for adding yourself to my followers list ;-)


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