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How a Sheep Saved a Nation

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The words 'Wales' and 'sheep' go together like bread and butter.

Down in Wales, which has for the last few days been blanketed under thick snow and ice, a certain weather-forecasting sheep (yes, you did read that correctly) has been keeping the nation informed of the latest weather reports by email, and on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. His weather forecasts are succinct and to the point: "Shitloads of snow. Get down to Tesco now for milk, bread and horse-burgers." and "It's going to absolutely piss down." He has kept a nation informed. And probably saved lives.

Enter Derek the Weathersheep. International celebrity weather personality. In Wales anyway.

No-one seems to know his real identity but he does seem to know his stuff. But more than that, he keeps the nation entertained with stories of what's happening down on his farm in Brecon. He has a girlfriend (Dolly), with whom they have a son together (Spartacus). Dolly is expecting her second this spring - which they are going to call Ison should it turn out to be a boy. Ison means "son of weathersheep" in Welsh. Apparently. Then there's Brenda. She's Dolly's best friend, who sometimes joins the celebrity couple for a spot of 'sheep love'. And they all live on a farm, looked after by Farmer Rex Honey and his wife.

It all seems a bit odd and 'out there', but somehow his popularity has gone through the barn roof, especially since the cold snap took its grip over Wales in recent days. As well as the snow updates, he's even updated people on bread availability in the country (although his advice to panic buy does seem a little irresponsible, even if it was tongue in cheek).

"I would have been up Shit Street if it wasn't for Nimble Watch!" says weathersheep fan, Teresa Clanfield. Leza Jack W says "I plan my day everyday according to Derek's forecast, without them I wouldn't be able to leave the house for fear of unknown weather."

In between forecasting the weather, Derek has even managed to write his own autobiography (A Woolly Yarn) and two books in his popular Fifteen Grades of Hay trilogy (sheep-based erotica). His autobiography tells the tale of his abandonment as a lamb by his mother, and his rise to fame as a weather-forecasting sheep. There's the tale of how he saved Mrs Honey's washing by forecasting rain (a skill he now uses now to advise people on when to get their washing in, saving them water and money - and probably the environment) and also the tale of meeting and falling in love with Dolly.

Bizarre? Yes. Massively popular in a nation of sheep? Yes.

It seems that Derek the Weathersheep is writing his place into Welsh history.

His 4,000 friends on Facebook seem to agree.

You can find Derek's weather page at www.weathersheep.com

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