Counting Sheep

“I want a lamb” I told the Englishman as we drove with his family toward Blackpool. I peered at the countryside dotted with fluffy white cotton balls that had legs. I had never seen so many sheep and they covered the fields. At the top of Blackpool Tower, I could see for miles but just rooftops, boardwalks and beach.

“I want a lamb” I told the Englishman as we approached Stonehenge. A patchwork of greens, browns, and bright yellow blanketed the hills as the sheep and lambs gently grazed. In the gift shop I bought a scarf to help ward off the bitter wind. The sheep seemed unbothered in their wooly coats.

“I want a lamb” I told the Englishman as he navigated the narrow road climbing Westbury Hill. As I walked along the rocky path that led to the Bratton White Horse, the view was breathtaking. I peered past the three-hundred year old horse and studied the sheep gathered far below.
“I want a lamb” I told the Englishman as we headed toward Devon. I cringed as he navigated the rental car through the narrow roads lined with thick hedges and was glad the car was fully insured as branches scraped the sides. I couldn’t see the sheep behind the high hedges but I knew they were there. When we arrived at his brother’s house in Slapton, the English Family gathered in the back garden. Their chocolate lab stared longingly at the sheep through the fence and I didn’t feel the urge to flip his ears from their inside-out position. He was dreaming of lambs, too.

“I want a lamb” I told the Englishman as we drove into Wales. We were headed to Conwy Castle and I watched the road signs with unreadable Welsh words. “I want a red one…no a blue one!” I declared and I pondered the streaks of colored spray paint on the sides of the sheep.

“I want a lamb” I told the Englishman as we wove through the picturesque countryside of the Lake District. Hedgerows had been replaced by stone walls and I feared for our car. We pulled the car off the road at the Castlerigg Stone Circle in Keswick. I purchased an ice cream and stood near the fence to a field. A tiny lamb wobbled over curiously under the careful watch of its mother. I looked at the Englishman and told him, “I’ll take that one, please.”

“I want a lamb” I told the Englishman as we wandered into an art gallery in Ambleside. I purchased a Peter Brook framed print called “Cornered”. It featured three sheep and one dog. We visited Grasmere and purchased gingerbread from Sarah Nelson’s famous store and stopped in a churchyard to see William Wordsworth’s grave. I pointed out that the grave to the right of it had a lamb carved into the headstone.

“I want a lamb” I told the Englishman as we struggled to follow the GPS to Lowther Castle in Penrith.  He glared at me as I paid 16 pounds for us to wander the unfinished gardens as access to the castle that was under restoration was strictly forbidden.  After exploring the grounds for an hour, we left to explore an old cemetery and I found sheep and lambs on the other side of a low wall.  The mothers gave a few low bleats and the lambs retreated from my offering of dandelions.

“I want a lamb” I told the Englishman as we strolled along the mile-long promenade in Grange-Over-Sands. The path was sandwiched between the railroad tracks and grazing fields. Beyond the fields I could see the salty water of the bay. The sheep had beach front property! I promptly found a bench so I could watch them. Signs warned of quicksand and after the Englishman spoke with a local woman about the dangers, it was decided to leave the sheep alone. I watched as sheep with streaks of colored spray-paint graffiti led their babies from one patch of grass to the next.

“I want a lamb” I told the Englishman as we sat outside the Swan Hotel in Newby Bridge. The Englishman looked up from his menu. “You can have a lamb. It’s on the menu,” he told me as he proceeded to order deviled lamb kidneys on toast. I was not amused.

“I want a lamb” I told the Englishman as we boarded our plane for the United States.  I dreamed of lambs during the long flight home.  As I unpacked my suitcase and organized my photos from my vacation, I realized that I went to England for two weeks and all I saw were lambs.