• Michelle Vernal

A Red Rag to a Bull

You’ll know the saying, ‘a red rag to a bull’ and you’ll have heard it said, that exercise is good for your health. It can be risky though when you walk the back roads of Oxford. I’ve encountered many wild country beasts on my strolls. The first being a big, and I mean big, goat. It butted me home from Queen Street to Church Street. It wasn’t my finest moment nor was it my husband’s when he got busy thwacking me across the back of the head thanks to the swarm of bees that decided they liked my shiny hair. Apparently, my choice of perfume meant they mistook me for a ginormous flower. Twice that happened, and suffice to say my bottle of Donna Karan is lasting well as I no longer use it during daylight hours. I’ve also been bitten by a dog and harassed by a wolf- whistler. The latter was an incident that had me flicking the shiny hair back until I realised the culprit was a cockatoo. Recently on our morning trot my friend and I heard bellowing. We spotted Mr Bull taking out his frustrations on a tree near the roadside, we also simultaneously spotted the gate meant to contain him was open. My normal tact is to hide behind my friend, but she was wearing her new Warehouse bought fleece in a shade of flaming red. So instead, we skulked past him with me muttering about suing the Warehouse should the big fella mistake her for a matador or me for a cow. Thankfully no court date had to be set and after some investigative journalism into the habits of bulls, I now know that they’re colour blind. So the moral of this tale is that you can safely wear red so long as you don’t get about smelling like a floral bouquet.

Previously published in the Oxford Observer

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