Thursday, October 18, 2007

Shocking News! … part 2. Thanks to Melanie and Val for their comments on Part 1; it seems I’m not the only one to accidentally shock myself with electric stock fencing. Melanie’s been advised by an electrician “that the physiological effects of a shock, a racing heart for example, are similar to the physiological effects of embarrassment and so a lot of people think they feel embarrassed when they've been shocked.” And Val has sat on an electric fence and says that also hurts! It’s probably happened to everyone who’s ever used electric fencing and so, perhaps I should run a competition for the “most stupid” shock, the “most volts” or even the “I didn’t learn last time and have just shocked myself again” award.

One of our near neighbours, an Englishman called Douglas, who has a holiday home just down the road, has previous smallholding experience and is never short of a word of advice. Urbane, is the perfect word to describe Douglas: courteous, suave, elegant and refined in manner. A perfect visual metaphor, in my opinion—and hoping rather to flatter than to offend Douglas—is the actor Leslie Phillips (see photo) … “well, hellooooo!” His advice to me, after I’d related being shocked when using the electric fence tester, was to use a blade of grass to touch the electric fence. The resistance in the grass is meant to reduce the current passed, so one can feel a tingle, APPARENTLY without the full shock, so verifying that the fence is working, without pain. ALLEGEDLY! I tried it, dtssssstdt, “OUCH!” thanks Douglas. Perhaps I’m just overly sensitive.

Last year, some friends of ours came to visit, with their lovely children. Max, aged about 9, was able to hold onto the goose fencing, pronouncing a “tingling feeling” that made him laugh. I thus assumed that, as a mere child and therefore softer, more vulnerable and sensitive to worldly stimuli, if he could touch it, then the voltage must be really low, not working properly to protect our geese and in imminent need of recharging, so I touched the fence to check myself: dtssssstdt, “OUCH!” thanks Max. As you can see from the photo, Max is just a normal boy, completely unaffected by the electricity.

Our intelligent pigs have shocked themselves several times, accompanied by a shrill piggy shriek, and learnt the limits of their domain. The blue tape carrying the charge, is supported by white plastic posts, and the first time I removed the tape, to mow underneath (the grass earths out the fence, running the battery down and reducing efficiency) the pigs refused to pass the line of white posts and needed a hefty shove from behind. I reckon they’ve shocked themselves less than I have and our pigs must therefore be more intelligent than me … whoah, spooky or what!

Stop Press!. Gabrielle has just received a loyalty card from the shop where she bought her make-up for our wedding. We howled with laughter when we saw it and thought of Gabrielle asking our neighbour for concessions: “well, hellooooo!”