I wonder how much ‘wilder’ our town has got since people were advised to stay at home eighteen days ago. The last time I drove anywhere other than to the supermarket I saw these cows outside the funeral home:

There were only tiny spikes of grass showing through the gravel.  The cows at the corner of Lawrance Street were better off as far as both shade and grass were concerned:

Then there were three donkeys that came to visit what looks like an abandoned house – although I have seen an outside light shining there in the late afternoon:

Perhaps they were paying a courtesy call:

I imagine these cows were teaching a calf to stop at stop streets:

Meanwhile, these ones were walking purposefully towards a meeting place beyond my ken:



Among the several Urban Herds is one consisting of over forty head of cattle that we have dubbed ‘the forest cows’ that wander between the dry dam over the road of our house and the abandoned golf course – occasionally crossing the main road into town to explore the industrial area. We see them so often that many of them have names such as: the Arctic Bull, the New Year Cow and the Gate Cow. This is the Gate Cow chewing the cud – she was named after trying to enter our back garden when I opened our sliding gate to get the car out:

There is also the Brindled Dog Rubbing Bull, the Bronze Cow and the Spotted Calf now Cow. Here is the Black Bull with White Horns, for example, grazing on the lawn not far from our house:

I drove out of our driveway earlier this month to find these other members of the Urban Herd seeking shade on the pavement – the calf in the street, quite oblivious to passing traffic:

Just a little further on, this calf looked up at me as I drove past:

I was eyed by this cow when I stopped to photograph it:

While this white bull kept an eye on me too:

The considerable herds of domestic animals that now roam with abandon all over town are not confined to the suburbs. These ones have decided to visit the outfitters in High Street!


I happened upon a ‘survivor’ in our local Currie Park. This Giant Candelabra Lily had miraculously missed being chomped by the Urban Herd that have eaten most of the saplings planted there over the years to provide shade.

The background to this lovely flower shows that between the cattle and the drought there is no lawn left; a brave Vachellia is valiantly putting out new leaves from what is left of its stem; and a ‘visiting card’ has been left on the right.

A real bonus for my drought-stricken garden has been the magnificent blooming of Spekboom for the second summer in a row!


As the Urban Herd has become entrenched in our community, one can other love them or loathe them. Far better than the latter is to observe them closely so that you can recognise and even admire individual beasts in terms of their size, colouring, relationships to each other – and their horns.

Symmetry in motion:

Short, yet powerful:

Sweeping horns:

Black-tipped horns:


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.