I have always had a soft spot for cows.
Taken To See Cows As A Child
I was born and raised in Brighton on the South Coast of England. Although our council estate backed on to open fields the farmer raised cereal crops. But Mum found us some cows to look at! To see them, we had to walk quite a long way to Stanmer Park. We would walk down the hillside and along the main road towards Lewes. Then walk on a path through woods that were carpeted with bluebells in spring to reach the park area. We would play in the park and sometimes have a picnic.
There was, and still is, an old donkey wheel in a knapped flint building in the grounds of Stanmer Church which sits within the park. We always stopped to look through the viewing window, my Mum picking up my young brother so he could see. Then we would walk round the corner to the sweet shop (candy store). But opposite the shop was a farm and there were always heifers in a pen and they would look over the fence and lick goo all over your hands. They were so peaceful and gentle. That’s when it happened. I developed a soft spot for cows.
Cows In The Countryside
A few years later and Mum had remarried and my new Dad’s Mum lived in a tied cottage. Her husband was a farm worker and the cottage came with the job. After he died she was allowed to stay on at the cottage. It was a very rural area, a bit of shock for a girl from a large town. But joy of joys at the end of the long garden was a field full of cows! We used to go and feed them cabbage leaves over the fence.
My stepsister and I had a holiday there once with her two cousins and we spent ages watching the cows. We gave them all names! Then one day, one of the cows gave birth and it was just magical. And my soft spot for cows became a serious love.
Aberdeen Angus Free Range Cattle
A Visit To The Barber
Fast forward to a few years ago and my Dad, who is disabled, was getting increasingly infirm. When I visited them in the UK I always took him to get his hair cut at the same barber he had been to for years. My Mum and I would sit and have a coffee at the cafe next door while he waited his turn and had his hair cut really short, naval style.
The last time we took him, it was really difficult to get him from his bedroom out to the car. He had become increasingly unsteady on his feed. At the barber’s shop it was difficult to get him from the car to a seat inside. It was clear this might be his last trip out.
Aberdeen Angus Herd
When we got back in the car I said to him, right let’s go for a drive shall we? We drove over the Sussex Downs and stopped where we had a magnificent view across the countryside and parts of Sussex. And much to our pleasure a herd of Aberdeen Angus cows were walking through the field, right in front of us. Mothers and calves, youngsters and a huge bull! My Mum and Dad loved it and I took lots of photographs. I wrote about it in my blog called ‘Cattle On The South Downs in Sussex‘.
A Visit To Falmer Pond
We then went on to sit by a pond in a place called Falmer, not far from Stamner Park where I first developed a soft spot for cows all those years ago. We sat and watched the ducks and a heron fishing.
My Dad is still alive and doing well but now completely housebound. That did turn out to be his last trip out. But it made a wonderful memory. And I look at the photographs I took of the cows that day with great fondness.
To read more about my escapades with cows, and see some of my images on face masks, click here.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!