Nov 102009
“If you put a silk dress on a goat .... well, ...

Image by turtlemom4bacon via Flickr

Halloween is supposed to be scary. Goblins, ghouls and horrible little monsters looking for trick-or-treat goodies come with the territory. Goats… not so much.

But let’s rewind a little.

We’d been out to tackle the "spooky" Halloween Trail at Lisselan Estate just outside Clonakilty. The girls had a great time tearing around the gardens solving solving the riddles on their age-tailored clue-sheets. It was a fiver each for the children to take part in the Halloween Trail, which included a lucky-dip prize and a trick-or-treat goody bag each on completion. For once things were as they should be… refreshingly, Lisselan had opted not to charge anything for the accompanying adults.

Why is it that so many places insist on charging top whack for parents to get in to what are patently child orientated attractions? The attractions usually have zero appeal for adults, and if all you’re there for is to keep an eye on the kids, who have paid for their tickets, then I don’t really see why you should have to pay for the privilege.

After a thoroughly enjoyable romp around Lisselan we headed for the shops to stock up on some of the aforementioned trick-or-treat goodies to appease the inevitable onslaught of horrible little monsters as evening descended. It was dark by the time we pulled into the driveway. We live out in the sticks, which is to say that dark here is properly dark… not the softly-lit parody of darkness that passes for night in the city. The monsters would be coming soon, I thought.

As we got out of the car the girls noticed what looked like sheep poo on the driveway in the glow from the outside light. They headed off into the murk looking for the perpetrators, expecting to find a few sheep grazing the back lawn. Moments later they ran shrieking out of the night. A dark, menacing shape loomed out of the darkness behind them. It was a big, black billy goat, and he looked none too pleased.

The girls and their mum ran inside. I decided to stay outside and show this goat who was boss. He was having none of it, and stood his ground. This was like the billy-goats-gruff story, and I was feeling more troll-like by the second. The goat lowered his head, which had been up around chest height to begin with, and pushed me hard in the stomach. Backwards I went.

Luckily someone had cut back his horns, and he didn’t have a run-up, so there was no real damage done, but this was one strong animal. Before I knew what was happening all 16 stone of me had been pushed through the front door into the hall. In the confined space the stench of amorous goat was overwhelming. We now had a disgruntled, powerful and very smelly billy-goat inside the house. Not good!

Thinking quickly I backed out of the front door again, trying to coax the goat to follow me. Grudgingly it did, and as soon as it was outside I doubled back, closing the door behind me. I breathed a sigh of relief… and then the handle started to move. The goat was trying to let himself back in! I turned the key in the lock. The goat, which the girls had by now christened Jasper, disappeared around the house. I made my way to the back door and there was Jasper, giving that handle a try too. This animal was well and truly possessed!

We were safe… for now, but the shopping, including that night’s dinner, was still in the car, the girls were all geared up to go trick-or-treating and we were due at the school Halloween Disco in less than an hour. The goat would have to go! I eyed the hatchet next to the range… but no, I’d have to think of something else. I started ringing around the neighbours to see if anyone knew who owned the wayward beast. No joy.

As I hung up I looked up to find a horse staring at me through the window. This was getting ridiculous. Luckily, unlike Jasper,  the horse came with an owner in tow, who rounded him up and escorted him back out onto the road… followed by the inquisitive billy goat. I ran out and closed the gates behind them. Whatever else Halloween might bring, it surely couldn’t get weirder than this.

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