In the bleak winter of 2001, to let in the New Year, I drove down to the Peak District with some good friends, where we’d hired a big farmhouse. As intended, we all got suitably trashed, the night filled with much merriment, song, laughter and bad behaviour. Fast forward to lunchtime, New Year’s Day, and I was experiencing the most intense hangover ever, and twenty odd years later, this personal record still stands.

To avoid the strong temptation of deep cleaning and repairing the house, I grabbed a couple of alka-seltzer tablets and wandered outside. After gallantly pushing through the inital shock of the freezing cold air, I found myself at a fence overlooking a field of lovely Jersey cows. As I leaned on the fence, hoping the cold air would start to suppress the pains in my head, the cows looked over from the distance, saw that I wasn’t very interesting at all, and carried on with their all day lunch.

Alka Seltza

But then the moment I reached into my pocket and pulled out the alka-seltzer, the cows, about thirty of them, hoofed it over towards me. It was quite unnerving as they all gravitated towards me and for a moment I considered running back to the house. But then running was definitely not one of my New Year Resolutions, certainly not in the midst of a hangover. So I stood my ground and so did the cows. They formed a line like a scene from Braveheart and then there was silence. I stood holding an alka-seltzer while thirty cows stared, seemingly hypnotized by this little white tablet.
I found myself in a kind of trance, where many mysteries of the world became clear to me, some of my old demons packed their bags and moved out,  nagging doubts in my head became solid affirmations and this profound feeling  seemed to last for about 30-40 minutes. Nobody moved and nobody made a sound. It was like some kind of bovine intervention. There was ultimate peace and tranquility and best of all, my hangover was gone.

Now in the world of sensationalist clickbait and shameless misinformation, this may seem like a really boring story, but for me, for 30 minutes, this seemed like some kind of epiphany.

Hoofed and Dangerous

A few months later I was walking the dog down the river bank, near to where I live. I walked past a field with a large herd of unfriendly looking cows, carried on for about a mile, then turned around and came back. By now the angry cows had spilled out of the field and were milling around the river bank. I went to turn around but a subgroup cow squad had flanked me. I was trapped.

I had to focus on the largest gap, which seemed to be the communal cow toilet, and run through it, hoping the dog would run with me. It turns out the dog did not want to run with me and so we stood there petrified, stuck in a pile of manure, like quicksand as the braying mob started to charge. We were about to be trampled to death.

At the last moment, the dog made an executive decision and shot into life like a bullet, dragging me along. The herd ran after us and I started to hear the words of David Attenborough narrating the scene in which I was about to be flattened into a muddy, manure filled pattie.

Heifer / Effervescent

I realised that day two things; 1. that I’m a fast runner and 2. that cows are not all tranquil, peace loving animals. The polarity of these two near death experiences (death by hangover and death by trampling) was stuck in mind for most of the year. It was also during this year, that I started to write for a personal music project, after being a couple of bands, years earlier, and I had no idea what to call it. Out of the two cow experiences I chose the more positive one and thought about the cows focusing my effervescent tablets.

Heifer / Effervescent … didn’t really need to think this through any further, that would be it. In 2002, in the early years of the internet, yes there were search engines, but searching for the word heifervescent, resulted in absolutely nothing. I would therefore claim the word for my own selfish use. Today you will find a few new definitions, not particularly the way I thought about it in 2002; Urban Dictionary for example described heifervescent as “a person’s seemingly natural non-desirable personality trait” or “a state of being that can be brought about via someone or circumstance that gets on your nerves.” Well, each to their own, I’m sure I can fit into the non-desirable bracket and get on plenty people’s nerves, but for now I’ll just hold onto the good old vibes of those Jersey cows.