You used to sometimes see such a sign in a field - they seem to have all disappeared now. But that does not necessarily mean that all bulls are safe these days - nor cows for that matter. A cow with a young calf can be very aggressive indeed - in fact someone was killed up here in The Dales only last year in such an incident.
When I look out of my sitting room window I look out onto what is called a 'suckler herd' - that is a herd of cows with young calves at foot. This time of year there is also a bull in the field with them. He considers these mature ladies to belong to him - he keeps them in order, he looks after them, he mates with them when the time is right and he keeps his eye on his offspring. He is a big, lumbering British Blue bull and his owner has always described him as a very docile chap.
And yet two years ago he had a bit of a limp so G, the farmer, decided to get him indoors and investigate the limp before it got any worse. So far so good; that is until the moment when it was time to actually go into the shed. At this point - being separated from his ladies - he had had enough and he turned and knocked G down, pushing him into the corner. It was only the timely arrival of G's father D with a handy pitchfork that saved the situation and resulted in a lot of bruising rather than something much worse.
The moral of this story is that you can never trust a bull - or a cow - they need to be given as wide a berth as possible. I have walked on footpaths up here where bulls have actually been laying across the path and the walker has had to go round them. I have always found it scary - farmers usually say 'they won't hurt you - only dairy bulls are really nasty' - I personally take that with a pinch of salt.
The farmer has gone to a funeral. One of our local veterinary surgeons has died suddenly at the age of 84. He was greatly respected by everyone who knew him and was at one time one of the advisors to the popular TV series 'All Creatures Great and Small'.
The funeral started at 12 noon but the farmer went down into the town at 11am, knowing that there would be hundreds at the funeral and that only an early arrival would ensure a seat inside the church rather than standing outside in the rain. Funerals up here in The Dales are really important occasions. Everyone who has known the person who has died will go to pay their last respects. There will be a 'wake' afterwards at which everyone will mingle with folk they have known for years - and often only see at funerals. I hope this practice never dies out - it is surely a comfort to the families concerned and it is also a tradition that needs to live on.