THE URBAN HERDS ON SUNDAY

These were the first two animals of one of the Urban Herds to walk past my front gate on Sunday.

Another Urban Herd temporarily blocked our way along Somerset Street later in the morning.

They ambled down African Street quite oblivious to the vehicles travelling in both directions.

Part of yet another Urban Herd had made itself at home in someone’s garden. I couldn’t help wondering if they have become adept at opening gates.

We saw these two looking bewildered at the side of the road on our way home. They both sniffed at the air and turned their heads in different directions. One mooed loudly and they seemed to be listening carefully for a response. After a few minutes they set off at a steady pace in the direction of the bridge on the main road – doubtless to join the rest of their herd which had gathered on the outskirts of the suburbs.

Having seen enough of them for one morning, we didn’t follow them.

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THE URBAN HERD AT NIGHT

The Urban Herd(s) – there are so many of them roaming around the suburbs now – look benign during the day.

This is a small section of one of them grazing in the open park below our house. Many of these beasts are attractive to look at and, as I have mentioned before, we have actually got to recognise several individuals over time. The white cow on the right, for example, we call the Bell Cow.

Usually at night the various herds fold themselves on what used to be grassy pavements or settle down on school sportsfields – where they are fine. Cattle do not spend the night sleeping though and their wanderings take them all over the town – where they pose a real danger to traffic.

Fortunately, in this case, the lead animal was white and showed up clearly in our headlights. These are only four of what proved to be several animals crossing the main street into town.

And the municipality does not appear to regard this as a problem.

A FINE WELCOME

The National Arts Festival is currently being hosted here and this welcoming committee was patiently waiting at one of the main entrances to our town.

The rest of the Urban Herd were grazing further up the hill. This particular group of cattle have been in the area for the past week. Yesterday some of them wandered into this road in the face of oncoming traffic. Festival visitors who are clearly unused to sharing main roads with farm animals merely press their hooters and swerve out of the way without slowing down. I keep hoping the animals won’t do this at night for our street lights do not always shine.

CHASING THOSE URBAN COWS

The Urban Herd (one of them) was at it again: invading a suburb and chomping anything green they could find. We came across this woman chasing a herd of about forty of them away from her home, using a floor mop!

The cows didn’t seem too perturbed. Most ambled down the street, while a smaller group broke off to munch at decorative shrubs planted outside the gates of a home. The woman persevered.

Hoping to avoid them altogether, we turned down a side road – only to meet the herd at the next corner.

This one decided to turn the tables on us and refused to budge, so we had to turn tail and drive the other way!

NOTE: Click on a photograph if you wish to see a larger view.

AND STILL THEY COME

The Urban Herd continues to expand – there seems to be no intention by the municipality to curb their intrusion into the urban area. Here a small group is peacefully chewing the cud in open land on the outskirts of the suburb I live in. While they look relaxed and comfortable in the late afternoon light, they would have wandered through the town and up the hill before settling on this temporary resting place.

These cattle have been around for so long that we have seen some calves being born and witnessed others growing up, like this one grazing on a pavement outside a house.

This one is taking a rest while its elders graze on.

They do a lot of resting … or waiting.

On some occasions we can count over 30 head of cattle moving together.

This dam they frequent is now dry.

And still they come, fanning through the suburbs to graze in public open spaces (is that why the municipality seldom mows them anymore?), along pavements, pulling at overhanging branches of trees, and feasting on any garden plants within their reach.