dot Dot DOT


English sheep, dotting.
You know that proper dotting is a lot of work. It can’t happen accidentally. It’s too coincidental! There has to be a set of instructions! Rules! Monitoring! Nothing that looks easy is easy, you know.

I wonder what happens when one sheep stands too close to another sheep.

“Excuse me, I’m dotting here.”

“But I want to talk to you.”

“Get away from me. I’m dotting.”



Sheep dotting the ramparts of Maiden Castle in Dorset.
Maiden Castle is England’s largest Iron Age hill fort. It’s ramparts and ditches follow the contours of a hilltop.
It was another really long and interesting hike to walk the misty ramparts where you can see how such impressive earthworks would make entry difficult for opposing forces. “Maiden” is derived from the Celtic Mai Dun, which means great hill.

This is a skyview of the fort. Despite its massive concentric rings of fortification, the Romans took the fort in A.D. 43 in a huge battle. I hope they didn’t hurt any of the sheep….

Sheep dotting the field below “The Giant” in Cerne Abbas.
(Look for “The Giant” on the hillside to the right.)

The huge chalk figure carved on the hillside is thought to be a fertility figure, perhaps as old as 3000 years. This, like other chalk figures in England, has to be scoured to keep nature at bay. I got stuck in the muck trying to climb up to it. I wanted, desperately, to reach it, but the mud was too thick at the foot of the hill. I was foiled.

This is how it would appear from the sky. I noticed in a shop in the village, they were selling totebags with the image of the giant. They had little bits of cloth stuck over his anatomically-correct part. I was thinking, hmm. Do they not know that his anatomically correct part is splayed ALL OVER THE HILLSIDE OUTSIDE TOWN???? But, whew, let’s be sure to cover it up on the totebags.

Me? I brought back a shameless t-shirt and I wear “The Giant” in all his anatomically-correct splendor all the time!

What else did I bring back from this trip, you ask? I brought back my typical round of souvenirs when I go anywhere–t-shirts, coffee mugs, and fridge magnets. I also brought home a small amount of British currency to show the kids, clotted cream fudge, a rock I found on the ground at Tintagel Castle, and a pocketful of pebbles from the beach at Durdle Door. What do you usually bring home from trips?

I’m on vacation. This week, I’m republishing a series of posts from my 2006 trip to England. Enjoy! Keep up with my current trip on the Daily Farm Photo page.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on August 14, 2009  

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7 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 8-14

    You’re killing me!…and on two fronts at that.

    1) Absolutely, positively, deperately want to go live in England…if I can bring my Tex-Mex. While life in Korea is interesting, I miss being able to speak to people in English!


    2) “Excuse me, I’m dotting here”…cracked me up. I needed a good laugh today.

    Thanks so much for all the great posts,

  2. 8-14

    I don’t travel much outside the usual trip to the family cabin during the summer. I did bring back an arrowhead made from obsidian when I was a kid. It was on the beach on my dad’s property.
    I love that you are sharing your trip to England, I am learning so much!

  3. 8-14

    When you say that the chalk figures have to be scoured, do you mean they actually send a crew out to scrub them down? How archaeologically interesting……

  4. 8-14

    Funny! I spent a couple of weeks on Rarotonga and a couple other of the Cook Islands. Their local god/totem is an extremely well-endowed tiki – there are carvings in wood and stone all over the place. In the tourist shops they had little liquor bottles of the tiki for sale, but had tied little aprons on all of them. I had to have one, with apron, and of course everyone that sees it has to lift up the apron to peek.

  5. 8-15

    i went to england 4 years ago and i don’t recall any dotters, but they are good at what they do, dotting!

  6. 8-19

    I notice everyone is commenting on the dotting of sheep, but I MUST comment on the giant guy. I believe this is not a fertility figure or anything. This is simply how men think of themselves. A weapon and an erec….and life is good. It cracks me up and I love your comments on the tote bags versus the huge guy on the hillside. You have a wonderful sense of humor!

  7. 2-26

    It’s so much fun to follow the “more posts you might enjoy” links. This one for instance.

    I suppose we should all be grateful that the the tote bag shop owners are not responsible for scouring the giant. They might feel that a good covering of mud, moss, and weeds is the appropriate cover to preserve the town’s decency.

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