Mrs Down's Diary February 4 2009

"I'VE left my boiler suit in front of the washing machine" John said "It's just covered in clarts from chasing that cow that's just calved round the yard."

It is of course a known physical and mental impossibility for men to make that link that opening the washing machine door, putting in the garment, adding the washing powder and turning a dial produces a clean garment with little effort.

He needs to attend a class for 'the fundamental differences between the laundry hamper and the floor' along with 'dinner dishes '“ can they levitate and fly into the kitchen sink"; "the toilet paper roll- does it change itself'; 'the oven '“ what it is and how it is used'; and finally 'how to be the ideal shopping companion- relaxation exercises, meditation and breathing techniques'. I'm not holding my breath over this last one.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

The cow in question has lost her ear tag just prior to calving. The new calf also has to be tagged but the number on the mother's ear tag has to be recorded for a cattle passport to be issued for the new calf. She, the cow has two tags, but the one still in her lug was covered in the aforesaid clarts and anyway printed in numbers so small as to be impossible to read unless in close proximity to the cow. Which she was not permitting.

John had earlier asked if I would help him walk the cow into the crush so he could confine her and read the number off the remaining tag with the pair of binoculars he refers to as his glasses. He was a late convert to wearing reading specs.

Gradually I noticed that whatever he was reading was being stretched further and further way from his face .At the end, his arms were outstretched with whatever he wanted to read as far away as possible. This is in contrast to me, who can read anything close up like books, papers, labels etc., but has never appreciated there were leaves on the trees until I had glasses.

For many years however I have worn contact lenses, and as I only wear one in one eye, I can both read without strain and drive without danger of hitting other cars on the road. For the most part.

Back to Mrs. Cow. Who was refusing to cooperate. She led us a merry dance around the fold yard, which, especially near the silage face, is a slippery, slidey place to chase an errant cow. John therefore sought to bring in his lassoing skills. Which are impressive I may add. He slipped a halter around her neck, but then the chase turned from pursuit to drag.

I shouldn't laugh but it was funny. John, who had failed to keep on his feet at all times, finally managed to get her near to a gate and then wrapped the halter around the gate. Cunning eh? We were then able to get the number read off and all of DEFRA's formalities completed. Traceability, has a lot to answer for. Wonder when they'll start demanding an ear tag for famers?