Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

20 September 2009

Goats On the Mule Road to Renaio

A distant clanking noise. A herd of goats is coming up the mule road behind Chiesetta. I dash for my camera and as I emerge from the green gate there they are, a foraging platoon coming over a rise in the path, hesitantly trotting forward, stopping to eat foliage, then darting forward again. The leader, an old billy with a curling beard is condemned to live his life with the clank of that black bell below his throat.

The goat herd in black baggy trousers held by a thick leather belt with an enormous brass buckle emerges through the back-lit silvery dust raised from days of aridity. He wears a striped, collarless shirt and his face is weather worn with black-tufted, rouge-pink cheeks. I hold my camera up and call out to him above the goats.


He points at the camera and himself ‘Me?’.

‘Si, si, okay?’ I ask again.

His face breaks into a gappy grin as he nods his permission. I photograph him and his goats as they approach to fill the frame, then surround me, then move beyond me towards Renaio and summer grazing on the Appenine slopes. I’ve shot 36 exposures; delighted. Now that’s something you’d never see in New Zealand.

From ‘Antipasto’ random samplings from various writings made over a few years of visits to a ‘New Zealander’s Italy’


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By Don Donovan