I discovered today that if you mislay something and need to report it, you have to do it online via a website called “Report My Loss”. No longer can you walk into a police station (Honiton’s doesn’t have a reception anymore), nor can you call anyone to report the loss over the phone.

My problem is that I have, embarrassingly, mislaid 7 sheep. For various reasons, which I won’t bore my readers with, I am pretty sure they have not been rustled. I suspect they found a breech in the fence and have wandered off. I chatted to my fellow sheep farmer neighbours and they are all keeping a lookout among their flocks, but I still needed to report this to the police.

So I go online. The first bit was easy: name, address, contact numbers, location of loss, time of loss etc. No problem, I thought, this is going to be a doddle. But then things got complicated and, of course, you cannot progress through the report until the computer has accepted the current bit of information. Shades of the Little Britain skit with the computer saying NO.

So, the next bit of information required: DESCRIPTION OF ITEM LOST. Here I found a drop down menu with probably over 100 of apparently the most commonly mislaid items. Mobiles, jewellery, keys, horrifically overdue library books, miniature dogs of the yappy variety, petulant small children, absent-minded grandmothers and the like. No option to select SHEEP. Huh? I thought it was common practise to lose sheep – just ask Little Bo Peep. Luckily, the drop down menu had a category called OTHER. So under OTHER, I filled in 7 LIVE Sheep. This took me onto the next page and here I had to get creative because the computer won’t let you leave the squares blank: MAKE: Southdown MODEL: 1 Ewe and 6 Shearlings (I could almost hear the computer saying PARDON?). SERIAL NUMBER: AAARGGH! Now what? Well, I managed to insert my flock number and my sheep’s individual ear tag numbers without the computer noticing and throwing a hissy fit. I cannot tell you how empowered I felt!

With my report now logged online, I am now waiting with interest to hear from the police. On a scale of 1-10, how incredulous do you think the voice on my mobile will be? No matter how bemused, it certainly will be so nice to talk to a human.

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