And while we’re on animals, here’s one who is certainly not a pussy cat:
This is Gandalf, a Herdwick ram (to state the fairly obvious), a recent addition to the National Trust’s Orford Ness Rare Breeds flock with a fairly clearly defined jd for the next year or two. Gandalf was actually at Sutton Hoo, trotting around among the burial mounds, when I took this photograph. He’s one of several sheep on the site where they have the all-important task of keeping the grass down to a reasonable height while mildly entertaining visitors who probably haven’t seen a Herdwick, or even White-faced Woodland, before. Sheep and grassy archaeological features are usually a good combination, though I noticed that the grass on the side of Mound 2 has been partly worn off – though not necessarily by the sheep alone and certainly not by the White-faced lambs who have only just arrived:
Sutton Hoo is in the last stages of a major presentational overhaul at the moment. A key addition outside is an art work – it is very important to understand that – based on the framework of the full-sized ship as found containing the famous ship-burial in 1939; but it is not a reconstruction, it is a sculpture, here in its unfinished state, a work in progress. The photograph is a poor one which I will replace asap, but is the only one I took of the sculpture at the end of my visit on what was a much duller afternoon than I appreciated. So, I’ll have to return to take a better photograph and, in yet another serendipidous connection between art and sheep, seize the moment to say ‘Hello’ to Gandalf once again.
Which is precisely what we did and here is the result (the earlier photograph has been deleted). This is an impressive and imaginative sculpture which seems almost bound to become iconographic – even before being finished it grabs the eye.
We also went to see Gandalf – of course: