James Herriot has now settled down in the country with his wife, Helen, and his two children, Jimmy and Rosie, at Skeldale House in Yorkshire dales. This book tells of his adventures in his everyday veterinarian work.
In the first story, James recalls a time when he visited a Mr. Ripley to nip some calves. James agrees, and drives down to Mr. Ripley's home. Upon arriving at the farm, James works to old gates to get at the actual farm. He finally reaches the last gate, one which he describes as "a malignant entity with a personality of its own". Apparently, the difficulty was, apart from its wobbly, loosely nailed eccentricity, it had only one string hinge, halfway down. This allowed it to pivot on its frail axis with deadly effect.
James slowly approaches the gate, and carefully unfasten the binder twine. As soon as the string comes loose, the bottom rail swung in and rapped him hard on the shins.
After James has finished fighting the gate, and has reaching the house, James perceives that Mr. Ripley has been watching him this whole time, taking no action to come to his aid! Mr. Ripley acts as if nothing happened, and leads James to the "calves". As James soon sees, these are no calves; these are strapping yearlings! You soon find out that Mr. Ripley has repeatedly allowed his bulls to grow too old to be nipped and then asks Herriot to come and nip them for him. James then goes on to explain that he almost ruptured himself trying to close the nippers, and that Herriot has asked Mr. Ripley in the past, not to let the bulls get this old . Mr. Ripley quite agrees, but insists that James goes on and nip the "calves" anyway. Seeing that Mr. Ripley is insistent, James attempts to do this.
This report prepared by A for Anonymous