“Look at that – it’s going to break” I yelled to my husband Randy as a dozen or so cows pushed up against the single strand of barbed wire separating our cottage garden from the Cotswold meadow where the cows grazed. The barbed wire looked about to snap but the crowd of cowscontinued to jostle each other and inch forward. They had no choice as they were being pushed on by a massive curly-haired bull as he shouldered them from the back. If they broke through the cows would trample our carefully tended garden and most likely fall into the lily pond too.
Our cottage has such a lovely field view that instead of building a fence we had just a single strand of wire in order to make the most of the scenery and until now this had been no problem. On many occasions, we’d enjoyed watching the cows, as we relaxed in lawn chairs and took tea on the terrace.
The cows would often get curious and politely put their heads over the strand of barbed wire and seemed to be joining in the conversation as they contentedly chewed the cud. They had never pushed and shoved and would let us stroke their velvet noses as we fed them sticks of celery.
This time things were different. As it was May we figured the bull must have caught a particularly strong dose of Spring fever and nature was trying to take its course. Desperate measures were called for if we were to save our garden. My husband grabbed a rake and waved it in front of the cows. Normally, cows are fairly easy to intimidate unless they have a calf nearby, however this made no impression on them at all. Next, he waved the rake threateningly over the heads of the cows at the bull. Again no reaction. The cows surged forward again and the barbed wire twanged with the strain. We both yelled and waved our arms. The cows didn't blink. Randy was all for climbing over the wire and pushing the cows back once he was in the meadow.
But I stopped him and pointed out the potential danger of the bull who was looking more feisty by the second.
“But what shall I do – we’ve got to save the garden.” Randy wailed.
“I don’t know”. Suddenly a mad idea popped into my head.
"Sing to them – try that. I read about that somewhere”
“What shall I sing?” he yelled.
Remembering that my husband had performed in shows in New York I made a suggestion.
“Something loud from a Broadway Musical”
Randy took a deep breath and bellowed:
"Willkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome! Im Cabaret, Au Cabaret, To Cabaret!
Now, becoming slightly unhinged, Randy added some Fosse choreography to his rendition of the song. My husband has a lovely singing voice but a dancer he is not. With his hands opened outwards at hip level he performed a particularly spastic version of Fosse’s signature, jerky movements in double quick time to the ringing tones of;
“Meine Damen und Herren-Mes dames et Messieurs”
The effect was astonishing.
The cows and the bull froze for a second and then, as if struck by lightning, turned as one and galloped away across the meadow, their thundering hooves reminiscent of a stampede scene from a Clint Eastwood movie. I had no idea these animals could move that fast. Whew, danger averted.
Who else can say that their garden was saved from destruction by Bob Fosse?
A couple of neighbors walking by with their dog were convulsed with laughter.
“Come join the Cowbaret” we yelled and finished the song for them.
Now whenever those cows get rambunctious we have an instant remedy.It works every time.
Cabaret “cotswolds memoir” Diz White