Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Sheep Shearer Shortage.
'Concerns have been raised by farmers about the impact of a block on overseas sheep shearers coming to the UK.
Last year employers had to seek work permits and there are fears they could be affected by new immigration laws.
About 500 sheep shearers come to the UK from abroad each summer to help clip the fleeces of some 14.5m animals.
Will Dickson, a sheep farmer in the Borders, told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that the industry depended on foreign shearers. Mr Dickson said: "Personally I shear about 140,000 sheep in the Borders as a shearing contractor. "Probably 70,000 of them will be shorn by New Zealanders. "If I can't get hold of New Zealand shearers I don't know how we'd manage it."
Mr Dickson said it was impossible to find enough people in the UK who wanted to do the job. "We do have a lot of good Scottish and British shearers but there just aren't enough," he said. "There just aren't enough people who want to take it up. Hard work seems to be frowned upon, no-one wants to work so hard any more." He said it was intense, physical labour and the season only lasted 10 weeks unless you were prepared to travel overseas. "You can make money if you get good at it but it takes a long time before you can shear enough in a day to make it worthwhile," he added.
He said it was vital to continue to allow foreign shearers to come into the UK - but also stressed the importance of funding to help encourage more young people to take up the profession.' (Source: BBC News, South of Scotland website).
That news item got me to thinking. I might not be young but, what the hell, I could use some extra cash. Sheep shagging, I mean, sheep shearing. Guess I would need some practice to become a sheep shearer supreme during this sheep shearer shortage. Now, I have a hunch that it might be somewhat frowned upon if I went out into some field and started clipping merrily away on some startled sheep. On, the other hand, if I was wearing big rubber boots and approached said sheep from behind, they would most likely be used too that. What the flock! So, what can I do instead? Let me mull that one over.
Now the dude above would be perfect practice. Yep, it's one of them old fat hippie freaks with silly long hair and fur growing on his front that looks remarkably like some kinda' flattened rodent. I think these hippie types are also called 'New Age Travellers', or in this case, 'Old Age Traveller'. This hippie would be a perfect candidate for a bit of clipping. Fur sure.
Here's another possibility. You may have seen one of these hairy-backed creatures posing around the pool on your holiday. They stand there, all proud and all hairy, as their gargantuan bellies flop down around their super tight 'Speedos'. You take one look at them and don't know whether you should phone the local zoo or contact the curator of the 'Neanderthal Museum' in Mettmann, Germany.
So shearing one of them dudes, would not only be good practice, but also my way of performing a public service to those who have be scared shitless by the sight of the hairy-backed beast.
No, I wouldn't really do that. Besides, shearing a hedgehog could prove to be a bit tricky. I mean the little darling is covered in prickly fur and I would be a prick to even contemplate practising on such a lovable little stuffed critter.
So there you go. I grabbed the shears and my son and the dog have made a hasty retreat. They've no need to worry. I was just writing this for the shear pleasure of trying to ram home my ideas. Then again, there's no pulling the wool over your eyes. Sorry, I'm feeling a bit sheepish now, because, this whole thing about practising on hippies, hairy-backed beasts and stuffed hedgehogs is probably a baaaahd idea.