Back in my late teens, some friends and I decided to do the hippy thing and travel round Europe in an ancient car, busking and finding work as we went to keep us in luxuries such as food and alcohol.
We started off from France and wended our way through the back roads via Southern Germany and Austria, until we ended up near the French border again, somewhere in Italy.
It was a wonderful summer's day and we decided to spoil ourselves and buy all sorts of delicious goodies from a market, and go have a picnic at a beautiful place we'd spotted en route.
The spot was miles from anywhere and we scampered up a rather steep hill until we reached a field on a plateau, filled with wild flowers and surrounded by pine trees, the only sign of civilization being a ranshackled cabin at the far end of the field nestling in the start of the forest.
We unpacked our meal and settled back in the lush grass to feast in the sunshine and silence. Once our appetites were sated we decided to have a nice long rest from travelling, and grabbing a blanket, book and bottle of wine, I wombled off to do some sunbathing.
As there were no signs of human life around (other than my friends) I decided to strip down to bikini bottoms, and as the warm summer breeze played on my skin, I nestled down for a nap, the only sounds being the buzz of insects, chirping of crickets, and the lull of my friends chatting and playing guitars.
All was good and beautiful in the world.
Until the cows appeared.
From where they appeared we were unsure, but next we knew, there they were. About twenty of the beasts, standing at the far end of the field by the cabin, staring at us as they chewed the cud, and probably thinking up plans for world domination and the annihilation of all humans.
"Do you reckon they're safe?" asked one of my friends.
"Of course they are, they're just cows" replied the other.
"But I've heard that cows have been known to attack sometimes" said the worried one.
"Don't be daft, that's bulls you're thinking of" came the reply.
There were a few minutes of silence from my friends and the cows until the first friend asked another question.
"So how can you tell the difference between cows and bulls then?"
I tried not to laugh at that point.
"Cows have udders, bulls don't. Also, bulls have horns and are larger than cows generally" came the reply.
"Oh. So does that mean that that cow that's getting closer to us is a bull then?"
It was at then that I decided to have a look for myself.
It was most definitely a bull, and a
"What do you think we should do?" the first friend asked as the bull started to stamp it's hooves and lower it's head.
"Should we just lie down and play dead, or what...?"
"Erm... no..." came the reply. "I think we should leg it as fast as we can back to the car..."
I had just enough time to throw my clothes and so back into the blanket and pick it up before the bastard charged.
All of us ran as fast as we could after a large meal and rather a lot of vino, which given that we were being chased by something that wanted to stamp on us and/or gore us to death, was pretty damn quick.
We reached the slope of the hill again, and half ran, half tumbled down in our efforts to get away.
Very fortunately the bull decided we weren't worth the effort of running down a steep slope after us, but momentum and terror carried us down to the bottom and back to the road.
My friends were slightly in the lead and made it back to the sanctuary of the car, but as I got to the roadside - still nearly naked and barefoot, clutching only a blanket for modesty, the only car to go along that road that day, chose that precise moment to go past.
I stood there, trying to cover as much of me as possible, as the car carrying a family with young children and an astonished set of parents slowed down and gawped at me.
All I could think of to say was 'Hi, nice weather, huh?' as one of my friends was sick inna shrub, and the other laughed.
We decided not to go back for the remains of the picnic, just in case.