"Just nipping down to the butcher to get a bit of meat."
"Get something tender, dear. A nice but of lamb, maybe?"
Millions of households, millions of Saturday mornings. It's the butcher, or it's the supermarket, but the story is the same; a bit of meat for lunch or supper.
We said goodbye to Fat Face the lamb, yesterday, off to the butcher's too...but from the opposite direction.
It's a difficult moment, even when you have been doing it for years. You know that the lamb has had a good life, probably better than millions of other animals, with care and affection and, in the case of Fat Face, a visit to the village to be blessed by the priest on St Anthony's day this February.
You know all of that. And yet it hurts to hand him over to the butcher.
And it should hurt. Because meat production is not some distant, automated, faceless process. The meat you bought this morning in the supermarket used to walk around enjoying the fresh grass and hay. We should treasure it, not just fry it. For those like me who do not want to be vegetarian, we should remember the animal before.
Keeping sheep makes you tender.