The Day I Was Led On A Wild Goose Chase By Two Bullocks
Back in the early 1960s, we had a herd of beef cattle, at Downham near Wickford, which were kept in a rented field off of Castledon Road. This field was right next to the Southend to London railway line. Two of the bullocks in the herd where a bit `wild`, and had a habit of breaking out through the hedge and fences that secured the field, and roaming on to a neighbouring farmers land, to say `Hallo`!! to all his pedigree milking herd ! Well you can imagine our surprise when we had a phone call from the police to say that these wild two, where causing havoc in a field of heifers ( young maiden cows ) at `Ramsden Bellhouse`. Three of us jumped into our cattle lorry and made a beeline for this farmers field, to try and capture these two wayward bullocks ! Well I don’t know how, but they managed to get up the railway bank and on to the rail line. Then off down the line they shot, at full speed, I would not think an express train could have beaten them. We all chased after them, and they really were out running us. The next thing we knew a large railway locomotive pulling a load of coal trucks was approaching us. I stood in the middle of the tracks and was waving like mad for the train to stop, which the driver did manage to do. I told him what had happen, and after he had given me a lecture on the dangers of standing in the middle of the track to wave him down! He ran across the track to a signal phone on the opposite track to warn the Wickford Signalman to stop any approaching trains. So after bringing all the Southend to London trains to a standstill, we managed to chase the bullocks along the line to Wickford Station. We were hoping to get them off the line at the `Wick Lane Crossing`, where a couple of pre warned railway workers were waiting to divert them onto the then unmade roads, and nearby fields. We could then get the cattle truck up there and bring them home. But Oh! no, the bullocks had other idears, they ran up the ramp and along the platform at Wickford Station and out through the main entrance like greased lighting. Then charging down Station Approach and into the High Street. There we all were, chasing these bullocks along the High Street, with people jumping out of the way, shopping being flung into the air with fright, and general chaos all around. At `Halls` corner they turned right and headed up the London Road, towards Billericay. Then these two mischievous animals turned right into Castledon Road, and crossed over the railway bridge, and then back through the hedge to rejoin the rest of our herd that they had left a few hours earlier.
And they say animals are not silly, how true this is !
© John Wernham.