ONE CAN’T BUT WONDER HOW THE good veterinarian felt about the woolly little creatures after a platoon of sheep attacked him last month, badly fracturing his left leg. Dr. Alf Wight, 77, who under the pen name James Herriot wrote the 1972 best-seller (later a PBS series) All Creatures Great and Small—a warmhearted account of the life of a veterinarian in rural England—was overrun in his Yorkshire garden while defending it against an onslaught of hungry blackface ewes.
“He’s been having trouble lately with sheep in the garden,” acknowledged his son, Jim Wight, 57. “The blackface type are particularly adventurous and were munching on his flowers. He was mown down by the marauding flock and trampled.”
Jim, who practices where his father once did in their small town of Thirsk, North Yorkshire, quickly summoned an ambulance. His father was thence rushed to Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, where surgeons had to operate to repair the fracture.
The shy doctor, no doubt feeling sheepish, declined to discuss the incident or his three-week convalescence at the hospital. Suffice it to say that he was resting comfortably and was in good spirits. But any lingering memories of thundering hooves maybe brightened upon his release this week. He learned that after three years of bureaucratic bickering, a sign will soon be erected on the main road near his farm, reading, “Welcome to Thirsk, the Town of James Herriot.” Sheep, beware.