YOU MAY HAVE ALREADY GUESSED, THIS WEEKS MEMOIRE IS HOMAGE TO ONE OF MY PALS GROWING UP.
As I have said previously I spent my holidays on the farm and always enjoyed being with the animals (apart from the bull) especially the sheep. So was it surprising that during one visit to the farm they had some orphan lambs that needed looking after. So when my nan told me about them I had to go to the barn and help feed them.
My uncle Bengie (one of my mothers brothers) was there at the time and I was given the chance to feed them. I did not want to leave. So it wasn’t surprising after nagging my mum and dad ( I think my dad gave in first ) that I was allowed to take a lamb home to the hotel as a pet.
So how did we get the lamb home I hear you say. In the back of the car of course on my lap with newspaper around, in case of accidents and there were some currents present and some wet newspaper but I didn’t care no sir-ee. I had a pet lamb. YES!
So the lamb was a he and we had to decide where to keep him and what to call him. In the back garden of the hotel we had an out building where he could be safe overnight. Initially we kept him inside because he needed more frequent feeding. From what I can remember, we had a dog pen and used loads of newspapers. His bottle was an old ‘blackcurrant squash’ bottle with a heavy duty black teet bought from Edwards Chemist down the road and we used baby formula milk to feed him.
So as for names for me there was only one name as he moved so fast and that was Billy after Billy whizz in the Beano magazine. He followed me everywhere and in the day he was allowed to run free in the back garden. We had dogs at the time – Chows and he got on with them really well. I think Dainty thought he was one of her pups.
One of his favourite things to do was to bounce with me on my space hopper. Quite literally on the back of my space hopper, front hooves over my shoulders and stood on his back legs. Anyone remember these? For those that don’t they looked like a Swiss exercise ball with ears see photo below. As a child you just hung on to the ears and just bounced around. Simple pleasures. This was the same for Billy; he loved to bounce around the place. We spent many happy times together and for me it was normal for me to have him as a pet.
This was until I went to my junior school one day and we started discussing our pets. So everyone had to tell our teacher Mrs Davies what pets we had. At the time for me it was a couple of dogs, a goldfish and Billy! Well of course I wasn’t believed. There was no way I had a pet lamb and I was made out to be a liar.
Things were so different then! So when I went home and told my parents they told me to ask my teacher if I could take the lamb into school. I think Mrs Davies agreed because she really thought that it was in my imagination. Until I walked in with my Dad and Billy on a lead. All my classmates loved him and took it in turn to feed him. (we brought a bottle with us). Even Mrs Davies melted and had a go at feeding him by which point he decided he needed a wee and she ended up very wet! Oops. However all was good and Billy was a thing of legend.
We kept him for quite a while but had to let him go back to the farm when he developed horns as he would butt everything! He survived for a while as a tup. So all in all he had a good life. They were wonderful times and I have lovely memories to look back on.
So this week is in homage to Billy it will not be a lamb recipe but a vegetarian one, involving milk. A little bit of Mary to save the day.
15g (1/2oz) butter, plus extra for greasing
60g (2oz) short-grain (pudding) rice
600ml (1 pint) full cream milk
30g (1oz) caster sugar
1 strip of lemon zest
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
Step one you’ll need to butter the ovenproof dish. Rinse the rice under cold running water and drain it well. Then put the rice into the dish and start to stir in the milk. Leave it for about 30 minutes to allow the rice to soften. Add the caster sugar and lemon zest to the rice mixture , stir it to a mix. “Sprinkle” the surface of the milk with the freshly grated nutmeg and dot with small knobs of butter. Finally, bake in a preheated oven at 150’C (300’F, Gas 2) for about 2 and a half hours until the skin of the pudding is brown. Serve at once.
This ones on Billy so make sure you have a little bounce around.