SETTLING down contentedly in my car seat with my latest library book, I watched John disappear over the horizon with his fishing rod and assorted good luck charms to try and catch a sea trout, or even two, off the coastline.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a man walking past, Labrador on lead, following the same track as John. Where we were on holiday in Shetland, we often came upon cows grazing unfenced areas of land but, I thought to myself, taking a dog into a field where cows were grazing with their calves was not something I would ever do.

Nose back in book I only looked up again as the man and dog, who were by now some distance away, but had already attracted the notice of several cows, started to shout and wave as the cows moved in to surround him. I also heard the pounding of hooves around my car as about 20 other cows suddenly appeared out of nowhere and set off in the direction of what they must have deduced was a threat to their calves.

Ah well, I thought, he must know what he is doing. And although I fleetingly wondered if John was anywhere near the herd, I didn’t worry too much as he has worked with cattle all his life. Just a few minutes later, to the sound of incensed bellowing, the cows appeared over the horizon, heading straight for my car, running after the terrified Labrador. Panting the dog shot under my car and luckily I was able to jump out, shout at the cows, get a door open and let the dog leap into the passenger seat.

Imagine a scene from an old-fashioned Western where the Indians circle Pioneer’s wagons, letting out whoops and screams. In this case moos and bellows and car in the middle of the circle. The poor dog was terrified. Trembling and virtually sitting on my lap by this time, as it must have seen me as its saviour.

Gradually the cows calmed down and it was only some minutes later that its owner appeared. The cows had got him down on the ground and sensibly, he had let the dog go. He was one lucky guy and I hope he has more sense next time and walks his dog elsewhere. Reunited with his dog he made a swift retreat. Shortly later John appeared, oblivious to all the noise and fuss, and the fact that his car could have been kicked in by a herd of enraged cows. And I never did get settled down to read my book.