I know absolutely nothing about the whats, whys and wherefores of this whole process, so I'm going to ask my daughters some questions.
Me: What is a fank?
Girls: A 'fank' is a number of pens joined together, where the owners work on the sheep - there's a place for shearing, for dipping, for dozing....
Me: Uuuh - they snooze whilst working on the sheep???
Girls: (loudly and clearly) d-o-s-i-n-g. The giving of medicines.
Me: So a 'fank' is a 'thing', a 'place'? But I hear them saying things like, 'There's a fank on Saturday' ??
Girls: Yes, because the word is also used for the events that take place in the fank. So, when the men of the village gather their sheep for dipping, or dosing (remember, medicines - not sleeping), or shearing, on a specific day, they call that a 'fank day'.
Me: How often do the sheep get a dipping? Get dipped? (Not sure of terminology, but too scared to admit that!)
Girls: Once a year.
Me: What's it all about?
Girls: It's their bath. To clean them up.
Me: But the 'stuff' they're dipped into isn't as gentle as bubble bath, is it?
Girls: No. It's poisonous to us. Very dangerous. That's why our menfolk are clad in waterproofs, and our kids are kept at a safe distance.
The men push the sheep into the dipping 'bath.
Notice the 'man' in the middle here. It's my boy. My boy! I need to have a word with Big Brother.
The sheep are allowed to swim for a couple of minutes whilst they regain their breath. They're then pushed right under to make sure they've washed behind the ears.
Here they are.......somewhere?!
I believe this is them getting dunked. No goggles, no nose peg. Such cruelty.
And the escape. Phew!
They may be clean, but I bet they're traumatised.