Minxie my pet sheep was born as a triplet in May 2016. Her mother was a Swaledale and her father a Bluefaced Leicester so she is a mule. Minxie the mule.
It was nearing the end of lambing time and I certainly did not want another pet lamb I already had 14 and one of those was blind and required a lot of attention and time. But Minxie’s sisters were much bigger and Minxie was tiny so she wouldn’t have managed to compete with them for her mother’s milk. So minutes after being born I had to remove her and begin feeding her by hand.
*the videos may take a moment to play
Mule’s, unlike cute white Texels, are often born with a long nose bone throwing back to their father’s genes. Funny that though because that is also true for me.
My nose, like Minxie’s is exactly like my father’s; long, bulbous and not at all neat. Having been estranged from my dad for most of my life I hate my nose. I am not quite as critical of myself as I used to be but I would go as far as to say I was body dysmorphic about it at one point in my life. I would stand looking in the mirror moulding it and holding it as if I had had plastic surgery. Making it look like I’d cut the end off it and shaped it into a neat Cameron Diaz type of nose. I looked at Barbara Streisand, Lisa Stansfield and other famous people who I thought had succeeded in life even though they had large or usual noses. So shallow and very ridiculous I know but these are the sorts of things I wasted my time worrying about in the past. I don’t find this regrettable now because it is a sign of how far I have come in learning to like myself, even love myself, be kinder to myself and make the most of who I am and what I was given instead of looking at what’s on the outside of me in a superficial shallow way.
I was called big nose by a couple of boys at school and even my brother in law said I looked like I had a ball stuck on the end of it when I first met Keith. It hurt, I took it to heart and I felt inadequate. But back then I didn’t realise that there was no point worrying about the things I couldn’t change. I also didn’t realise until I had my own boys, that lads are lads and they are always looking to take an opportunity to put people down as a sort of joke. Also people will judge whatever but that’s not what really does the damage it’s actually the personal critic inside that makes all the emotional scars never heal. Those comments were in the past but the negative Lorraine that lives inside of me relives them over and over until it’s the voice of negative Lorraine that tells her, her nose is too big. Too big for what? Too big to smell?
It made me laugh to see that written down but it reassures me about all the other body parts that aren’t quite right. They all have a function and a purpose. The purpose of our nose is to clean the air that enters our body and sniff out danger and a bonus to that is pleasure. All the wonderful smells my nose has smelled and all the negative smells that have helped me identify danger. My nose might be big but it’s powerful. It’s my nose in our house that smells if milk is off, or if a cow’s foot needs looking at it or if the toast is going to burn. And my nose transported the unforgettable smell of all three of my newborn babies to my heart from their head, the distinct smell of Keith’s aftershave and the perfumes that I have worn through my years with Keith: Aqua Gio (honeymoon) Sunflowers (university) and Eternity, Clinique, Lancome and many others remind me of times in my life with Keith. My very first perfume was Opium.
And Minxie, just like a baby I brought her to my face and smelled her. I am in no doubt other women who rear an animal from birth will have done this because it creates a bond between yourself and the orphan, I am sure the maternal hormones are released in the lamb and experienced probably more than a newborn baby can.
Minxie managed to suck the bottle straight away, tiny little feeds hourly at first because she was so small gradually making a routine of feeding and before long she was making herself known in the porch with a loud party blower bleat.
At this stage Minxie had no name but she had gradually progressed from #arklidsclu into the kitchen and became a regular feature on my Instagram. Watching television, dancing round the kitchen, sitting by the shoe rack, raiding the fridge and going upstairs and leaving lamb droppings on the landing!
I began taking her for walks on a lead with Pippa and gradually she followed me without the lead.
Like myself, she grew into her nose she is beautiful and sometimes I see that in myself too. I try to see myself as a mother would her daughter, like I see my daughter. That no matter what you look like it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Your personality and the expression of your soul.