The cattle corpse was still warm, but skinless, when it whacked the back of my head. I quickly moved before the next swinging carcase emerged from the horror around the corner.
Ten minutes later the door of a chill room clunked shut and I shivered in the company of 120 rapidly cooling animals and a man in a white coat.
They’re not the opening sentences of my new novel; just a recent day in the life of a rural broadcaster.
I’ll spare you pictorial evidence of my outing to the abattoir. It wasn’t my first one, and certainly not the goriest. That was in Brazil where our cameraman got lost in the “slaughter room” and reappeared a few minutes later dripping blood from head to foot. At least it wasn’t his own.
But the last few weeks haven’t all been about meat plants. There have been gentler commissions which saw me strolling through colourful wildflower meadows, interviewing a farmer about harvesting the seeds of 200 different flowers and grasses. I learned that the random wildflowers we see on roadside verges and roundabouts aren’t there by chance after all; they’re grown commercially then packed and sown in specific variety mixes. On another day I crawled around a harvest field getting sounds of a combine, and on Monday I’m meeting the animals dubbed the “cutest sheep in the world”.
We “media people” lead such terribly glamorous lives.