Happy New Year to all readers of The Monmouthshire Mouthpiece and particularly to those who follow the fabulous exploits of Doc Barbara so faithfully despite all.
Doc Barbara is an early riser but she does like to tune in to On The Farm on BBC 4 before getting up to one of her intrepid adventures. Last week she was - somewhat drowsily - listening to this refreshing emission when she heard the farmer say that he was about to clean his cows' teeth and the cheery presenter reply that the mixture had a delightful peppermint smell. Doc Barbara is well aware of modern methods in the countryside but had never realised that bovine dental hygiene was an aim. However, since she is in the middle of a dedicated project of teaching animals to talk, she thought that assisting in this work with neighbouring cows would bond her to the animals and help them chew the cud. [No-one better qualified for that! Ed] She leaped from her bed in mid-programme and set off our young assistant journalist.
It had to be admitted that the animals seemed to lack enthusiasm for the idea as they presented Doc Barbara with distant but unaesthetic parts of their anatomy. She appealed to Belinda Twaddle for help, quite forgetting that she is a city girl and apt to confuse flora and fauna if over-stretched in her capacities.
Rarely are our two heroines stumped in their endeavours but, on this occasion, it seemed a good idea to return home and listen again to the programme to see if there were any tips they could follow. Reluctantly packing away the electric toothbrushes, floss, paste for sensitive teeth and interdental tapes, they trudged back consoling each other with epic tales about past successes much as ancient warriors were prone to do in the Anglo-Saxon beer hall but at greater length with less alliteration and more exaggeration.
Sitting down to iPlayer with mugs of tea and large slices of ginger cake to restore morale, they were somewhat abashed when the farmer stated that his treatment helped to prevent mastitis. Doc Barbara has invested in an ear trumpet which Belinda has agreed to carry on all their next outings.