I am lucky to be working from home for which I am grateful and it is only possible due to the support from my colleagues in the office.
Worldwide, people have found that home working can be more productive and cost efficient. Gone is the travelling time, Zoom meetings are short and direct, and workers tend to put in more hours. For some, however, there are family distractions. I do not have young children although I am occasionally distracted by animals.
One morning I was preparing for a Zoom meeting with my boss and a prospective client. I made sure that my background was a plain wall, hiding from screen view the organised chaos of my home office. I had to look professional so I brushed my hair and put on a bra!
At 9.30am I made tea and went to investigate a noise outside the kitchen door to find one of the cows, which graze in the back field, had pushed her way over the fence and was happily munching the overgrown grass in the ditch at the back of our house. Did you know that a cow will chew about fifty times a minute which means their jaws move around forty thousand times a day?
Cows can see almost 360 degrees but they do not see well straight in front of them, which I did not know as I stood in front of her waving my arms tentatively shooing her. She ignored me and her large horns scared me as over 500kgs of force was behind them, so I decided to leave her to do the gardening! She would no doubt leave when the farmer came to collect them at lunch time.
I could not let the dogs out so I just hoped they would not start barking and disturb my meeting.
At 9.50am I was ready. The cow mooed outside… and then she mooed some more. I shut my ‘office’ window which was directly over the cow so the client would not hear a moo and wonder what was going on.
At 9.55am I heard more mooing and looked out. All the cows and bulls in the field, over thirty of them, were ambling towards the house and mooing back at the cow in my garden. Cows are very social and do not like to be alone so clearly they were calling each other. “Hey guys this grass is much better than the dry spiky stuff you are eating,” mooed ‘my’ cow. “Yeah we’re coming,” mooed the others.
OMG 10am. I closed the window, the meeting began and I was explaining how we could help the client whilst I tried to ignore the noise. However, the mooing was relentless and I started to get the giggles. I could not start laughing during an important sales pitch but the laughter was building up inside of me as I listened to the increasingly loud synchronised mooing concert. I muted my computer when it was not my turn to talk. My boss and client seemed oblivious, but my face contortions must have looked weird as I struggled to control myself.
Then I heard hoofs on the concrete patio and started to worry. My boss was explaining about complicated tax regulations when the hoofs and mooing became so loud that I could not ignore them. I said “excuse me a second” and looked out. All the cows were coming across the now flattened wire fence. There was nothing I could do so I sat back down, my mind racing. How was I going to deal with all those cows? And by the way, there were young bulls too and the huge bull who probably fathered the entire herd!
“So Isobel, can you explain the need for us to register the company at the tax office.” said the client. “Um, yes, all companies need to be registered and…” I heard a crash.
“I am so sorry, can you excuse me a minute, I think I have an emergency,” I said, calmly getting up as my boss looked bemused and answered the question. I looked out to see the cows knocking over the large food bins we keep grain and corn in for the pig and ducks and they were eating everything. There was nothing I could do.
Listening to the cow ‘party’ outside was making me anxious. I could see my worried face on screen but luckily the meeting was nearly over so I managed to stay composed without the client suspecting anything and thankfully he agreed to become our client!
Meeting over, I telephoned the farmer. “Your cows are all over our garden and we cannot leave the house. You’ve got to do something” I pleaded.
“Ah well I am not in the area right now.” he replied.
“Ok, call the guy that looks after them then.” I said.
“He doesn’t have a phone so I can’t” ….of course he doesn’t, I forgot he was deaf.
“Well someone has to do something urgently” I said, hanging up.
Thankfully within ten minutes a man was running around our garden madly waving his arms trying to herd the cows, but there were too many interesting things to eat so all they did was slowly walk away from him to carry on eating elsewhere.
I shouted ‘bom dia’ several times but he ignored me because he could not hear so I returned to work hearing him shout “ya ya” for half an hour as the cows eventually slowly made their way back over the fence.
I went to survey the damage. Vines, grapes and animal feed were spread across the patio. The man was mending the fence and I noticed that our pig was out and she was eating the carobs. Great! ‘Ten minutes ago’ I was a professional financial consultant in an important meeting and now I am hiding from cows and trying to convince a stubborn fat pig to go back in her field.
I scooped up some ration and called “Piggy Twiggy come on”. Twiggy sauntered towards me as I threw the grains through the gate into her field and she calmly went in munching on the fallen grapes as she passed them, completely unfazed by the cow invasion. I think she just wanted to get in on the action.
I went indoors to make a much needed cup of tea and to go back to work….yes, I like working from home but sometimes I do miss going in to a quiet office.
So now you know!
By Isobel Costa
Isobel Costa works full time and lives on a farm with a variety of pet animals! In her spare time, she enjoys photography, researching and writing.