Alezane's Diary Archive May 2003
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Devon VioletsThursday 1st May 2003

Phlorrie now has a new suitor, Phreddie. She calls him Phreddie the Phearless because, this morning, he had a phight with Phil. She ignored it all and just went on eating. She has been joined, these l ast few mornings by the Daw family – Jack & Jill, who always land right in front of her and start eating while they have the whole rest of the pathway to chose from.

I should explain. When HE and SHE lost the last of their chickens to that big Ark in the sky, they had some rolled oats left over and HE decided to take it up to our field shelter to store. Then HE started feeding the Robin family, then the Crows, the Rats, etc. etc. you know how it is, there’s always someone looking out for a free lunch (or in this case breakfast!). And that is how Phil and now Phlorrie came to visit.

 

My mate Harry was out in his field next door, this morning. He was wearing his raincoat and I nearly shouted out ‘big girl’s blouse’ when I remembered he has been clipped

 

 

 

 

Drainage manFriday May 2nd 2003

You wont believe this, my black feed bucket bit me during the night. I had to be fed on the floor until I got my confidence back. Jack & Jill Daw brought their relatives Back & Front along for breakfast this morning. I stood in my field shelter watching them as the rain fell down. The best thing about the rain is that it makes the dandelions grow so, no matter what sort of night I have had, my walk along the Throwliegh Road to Nine Fields is made pleasurable by snacking as we go. HE doesn’t mind ‘cos HE’s broken winded and it lets him get his puff back. What I don’t understand is how HE is always going on about how nice the Primroses, Violets and Bluebells are this year – you can’t eat one of them!

HE came to get me early tonight with the excuse that HE was working with the South Zeal Scouts making a video film, I didn’t mind as the weather was terrible – rain and wind. I hate wind, We had only been standing around in the field shelter watching the man doing the field drains. Don’t humans do some funny jobs? I prefer mine – eating!

 

 

 

 

Field shelter watchersSaturday 3rd May 2003

Today is my birthday! I am nineteen years old. Putting it another way, this is the last year of my teens, so I had better make the most of it. I keep telling them my biological clock is ticking away fast but they won't listen. Really, they can't take a hint, however hard I try. Oh well! HE was in a rotten mood this morning, when HE walked me up to Nine Fields. Apparently the web site server had slowed to a crawl and just would not publish my latest Diary entries or his few pathetic attempts to complete his part of the site. HE was so moody, HE insisted on singing 'Happy Birthday' to me for the full half a mile, and HE knows how embarrassing that is!

No drain men today so we were left alone to work. Going home was normal, in fact all was fine until late stables when the apple SHE was handing me, bit me. So hard in fact that I jumped all over the stable, just missing him, breaking my hay rack and snorting so hard that SHE had to take me out for a walk in the road, at 11 p.m. at night while HE got busy with the electric screwdriver. Well, it keeps them on their toes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alezane in her stableSunday 4th May 2003

HE’s finally done it, driven her mad. While HE was out feeding the two old boys up at Nine Fields, instead of taking me for a walk to eat the grass down the recreation ground, SHE spent her time banging my bucket against the hay rack. The theory was that it would make me less afraid of banging noises and so on. It just gave me a headache and I was glad to get out. A lovely sunny morning but then it turned wet this afternoon and I hurried home so fast that HE was winded before we made it. HE was in a better mood though as HE had got something going with his web site creation. Lot of fuss over nothing. I’ve got at least 20 spiders in my stable that do it all the time with no trouble at all.

Thought you’d like to see the red tree I can see from my stable door. It’s looking particularly good these mornings with the sun shining through it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday 5th May 2003

Red leavesIt’s a Bank Holiday, today, so I am told. I am afraid us horses never get a holiday, we have to work at grass cropping every day and even when there is no grass, we have to practise on hay.

As there’s nothing much happening today, I thought I’d give you some technical details about my Diary. Of course, I don’t key it in myself, computer keyboards are much too small and fragile for that. Anyway, as they say, what’s the point in having staff and neighing yourself? It’s all done by thought transference. I let him know what I want published and then HE does the donkey work (apologies to our cousins!). It wasn’t easy to train him, mind. The hours I’ve spent walking up the Throwliegh Road transmitting thoughts to him. At first HE just ignored me, then, when I told him to start making an effort, HE tried to understand, although often HE would get it wrong and tell me to “walk on” when I had told him I “wanted that dandelion over there”. Still, patience paid off, at last. HE only gets things wrong now and again. So, if you see a misspelling or some bad grammar, be patient. HE may not be much but, apart from her, whose duties are somewhat more refined, HE’s all I’ve got!

 

 

MeadowsweetTuesday 6th May 2003

The only interesting thing today was the drain men started filling in the holes. Well, to be quite accurate, one of the holes, while they made the biggest lot even bigger. If they had asked me I could have told them that, even in summer, that part of the field is swimming with water. HE told me that, on one of the old maps of the area, it shows a small stream there. Well, it’s still there, only now it’s underground. Oh, one other thing. When HE and SHE came to look at the drains (well, it takes all sorts), we were up in the top west field, as far as you can go. At least, I was. Old Treg was just below, in the corner next to the wall. It was such fun! HE couldn’t see Treggy and thought he had got out of the field, and HE had to climb right up to the top and get all out of breath before HE could see him in the corner. It had us laughing all afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tregony

 

Wednesday 7th May 2003

The day started out well. The sun was shining and it was warm. The drain men carried on filling in holes and we stayed quite near to watch them. Then it happened. First HE and then SHE came. We ignored them, just carried on working. Then another mote mote (I’ll explain later) turned up and, what do you think? The Dentist!

Wicky was first and they couldn’t hold him down. SHE was knocked over and the lady vet suggested that she should tranquillise him. After much struggling, they agreed that it was best to leave the job half done and try again in 3 months. Strangely no one suggested that Treg should be tranquillised. Maybe because you wouldn’t tell the difference if you did. He did make one pathetic attempt to run away at first but, as usual, when caught he just gave in and came quietly. Of course, I was the bravest and had my teeth rasped even without the gag. Mind you, I think by then, everyone had had quite enough and didn’t spend too much time on me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tregony

 

 

 

Thursday 8 th May 2003

The day started well. Nice and sunny and plenty to eat. Also, we weren't interrupted by the drain men's machines until later in the day. And then, well it just got better. Treggy and I decided we were not going to be caught by that dentist again, so we went and hid ourselves right under the lee of the field wall, way up the top. And then, this is the funny bit! HE and SHE came to spy on us, as they often do, and guess what? They thought we had got out or been stolen because they couldn't find us. HE had to climb all the way up to the top again before HE found us. Well, that kept Treg and me chuckling for the rest of the day. Wicky was the only one to let us down, as he stood right out in the open for all to see. Later, the drain men filled in all the holes, mended all the fences and walls and went away. I just hope someone comes now to re-seed the bits they dug up or we could starve to death (or, at least, that's what I tell him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raven

 

Friday 9th May 2003

Did you know that the birds have special places like the human's 'Speaker's Corner'? There are certain trees where they shout and argue and put the world to rights. The worst thing about it is, that HE whistles back at them, without any idea of what HE is saying. Sometimes HE is downright rude and the birds blame me for it. Yet another case of him embarrassing me. Oh, well!

HE’s gone and spent some of our feed money on a digital camera now, so while we waste away HE will be walking about with a thing up to his eye. Let’s hope it’s worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

Rubber boots

 

 

 

Saturday 10th May 2003

The trouble with this weather is the flies. As much as we look forward to the spring a nd summer, when the long, dark days are with us, it’s not all good news. And it’s worse for aristocratic thoroughbreds like me. Old Wicky hardly notices them because of his thick coat (also they probably don’t fly that low). As for Treggy, he probably smells so bad that even flies tend to keep their distance. Which reminds me. I haven’t told you about the time when I lived with a herd of moos. Before I came here, I was stabled at Wood, all by myself, with only a rat and some peacocks (and peahens) for company. HE & SHE used to visit morning and evening and SHE would come for a ride sometimes in the day but, as you can imagine, it was a pretty lonely life. Then some moos were put in an enclosure with an open courtyard opposite my stable and I was able to establish a bit of a relationship with them. After a while, they were put out into a field and I was invited to join them. At first, I was worried that other horses (of breeding) would see me. I mean, moos!  In the end, however, I was able to teach them proper things like getting Polos out of humans and going for a canter and such like. One, I remember very well was called Alison, then there was Alison’s mum and Big Red and Little Red and several others whose names now escape me. Sadly, I am told, they have all gone now due to the Foot and Mouth. At least that is one thing we horses don’t have to worry about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cow's meeting

 

Sunday 11th May 2003

I should have known this was going to turn out an unusual day, when HE didn’t fill my hay rack, as usual, when HE was sorting out my stable this morning. I just assumed that HE had let it run out and would have to go and fetch some from Robin at Tawmill during the day. Then, after HE put me out, HE went and put the padlocks on the gates, like we used to have in the winter. HE had taken them off for the drainage men, so I thought it was just because they had finished. Finally, this evening, both HE and SHE were late in bringing Treg’s & Wick’s supper, which is when they pick me up. HE staggered down the field with THREE buckets and called out to me, as HE passed where I usually stand, waiting for him to deliver the food and come back for me. Then it came to me! I was being allowed to stay out all night as well as all day, like a grown up. I was so pleased that I flattened my ears and took a mouthful of Wicked’s hair as I raced him up to the field shelter. I’m not sure Tregony looked really happy about it though, as he has got used to doing what he wants, overnight, until I turn up at Nine Fields in the morning. Well, tough!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tregony over the fence

 

 

 

 

 

Monday 12th May 2003

The down side is that it rains a lot on Cosdon. It’s a good job I’m a racehorse or I’d get really wet when those fast, heavy showers fly up over the Beacon from the west. As it is, I’d probably win a few cups for my performance back to the field shelter. Wicky, being a Shetlander (from Devon) wonders what all the fuss is about, “just because a wee bit of good weather has come at last, lassie”. I swear, if he was indoors, he would go rushing out just to be in the rain. I asked Tregony about it but he just looked me straight in the eyes and said “what rain, Alli?”. He’s loveable but I wouldn’t send him to Mole Avon for a salt block, poor old man.

 

 

 

 

Wicket eating as usual

 

 

Tuesday 13th May 2003

Things seem to be getting back to normal at Nine Fields. The old boys had had too much of their own way for too long and they had picked up some very nasty habits, I can tell you. That Wicked, for example, seemed to think that all feed buckets were his and it was just a matter of him getting round to all of them. He also got into the habit of always being first at the gates and being the one who decided when and where to go. I soon put a stop to all that. It cost me having to get a few mouthfuls of his very profuse coat but

  when you are as adept at spitting out the wrong grass and plants from a good mouthful of food as I am then really, it’s no problem. Anyway, he knows when he is beaten and now gives way to me, as is my right.

Treggy also had many bad habits but they were more due to being led astray by W than to real badness. I’m sure Treg would secretly like to be bad, if he knew what it was. But, of course, he doesn’t. Now I’m here to show him right from wrong (or more precisely, my way not Wicked’s) he will soon fall into line. Anyway, can’t stand here chatting, grass to be kept down ……

 

 

 

 

 

Four Burmese catsWednesday 14th May 2003
I’m not sure if I mentioned my little friends back at Ramsley Lane . There are four of them. PC is the eldest, a lilac Burmese and then there are the ‘Browns’, Tom, Dick and Harriet That is not in order of seniority or of longest serving, for these last three are litter siblings. No, it’s just that they always refer to them like that. It must be some sort of human thing, I expect. In terms of intelligence, Harriet is miles out in front. She watches how things are done and then either does it herself, if she is able or, if not, she organises, orders or cajoles others to do it for her. Of course, being a cat, and a female one at that, once she has got them to do it, she loses interest as if she didn’t care if it were done or not. Dick is the bravest, Whenever there is a fight to be fought, and sometimes when there isn’t, Dick is your man. Mind you, if it is a particularly hard fight, like with Aussie Tom over the road, for example, Dick is not short of calling out the reserves and all four will set upon the enemy like a pack of lions. But usually it is Dick n his own with some verbal support from PC. One of the ways to tell him apart from the others (not an easy task) is by the scars, scabs and tears he has. It can be quite disappointing when SHE has picked them all off and you are left to wonder again. Tom is, well, Tom. It’s hard to know if he is excruciatingly lazy or if he really is physically disabled. Often people think his legs have given way when he falls down in the middle of a loiter. Tom prefers to be carried everywhere or, when he is not going anywhere, to be held and stroked, just in case. Mind you, there is one thing you should know about Tom. He has what they call an A and a B mode, a sort of Jekyl and Hyde of the feline persuasion. 99.9% of the time he is Tom A, but watch out! He will infrequently turn into Tom B, the fiercest, meanest cat on the block

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AlezaneThursday 15th May 2003

I’ve started getting feedback about my column. It seems as if many of you have got it into your head that I am arrogant. Moi, far from i!. It’s just, if you were a French bred aristocrat, trained by both Martin Pipe and Barry Hills and were used to mixing with the highest class of equine, you might feel a little irritated by that little Shetland squirt and his ‘nice but dim’ companion. Of course, all horses (and even some ponies) are far superior to any human. That goes without saying. At least my human staff know their place and I’m sure they feel more secure for it.

Whilst on the subject of origins, you might be interested in my name- Alezane. My racing name was “Always Special”, which proves humans can’t always be wrong. Before I moved here and was working (you know my real work – grass cropping - this was more like slavery) in a riding school under the name of ‘Stick’. My new humans had always put it down to an unkind comment on my lack of ‘condition’ (remind me to tell you about that word, one day) but later they found out I had been named after a character in a sort of modern fairy tale. Anyway, they didn’t like the name and were worried that my original name would make me put on airs (as if!). So. they renamed me Alezane. It’s all due to my French roots and my chestnut colouring. I was nearly named Maron (or, being female,  Maronne) as being French for chestnut until they found that the French have a word, alezane, that just means a chestnut coloured horse rather than an edible nut. So there you have it. My humans are kind but would be hard put to outstrip Treggy in the inventiveness stakes!

 

 

 

PheasantsFriday 16th May 2003

I enrolled the first member of my fan club today. When HE had been trying to register my website name, HE had tried ‘alezane.com’ only to find that it had already been taken. Out of curiosity, HE looked at that website and found it was owned by a company named Alezane, operating out of a place called Laval . HE looked in the atlas to see where Laval was and found two listed. One was in France and one in Canada . So HE sent off an e-mail to the company saying ‘who are you?’ with a photo of me. This is the reply HE received –

“Hi, Your horse is beautiful!
We are a graphic design studio. We love horses, and we felt in love with the name "ALEZANE".
We leave at Laval, ( Québec , Canada )

Suzanne Parent”

 

Now, if someone said you are beautiful, wouldn’t you think they deserved a reward? So, Suzanne gets the honour of being ‘le premiere’ member of my newly formed fan club. If you would like to join, click on the e-mail address at the top of this diary page.

The other thing I had to tell you was about Phil and Phreddie. They had a real battle this morning. It started out just the usual name calling and posturing. Then, as they got closer to Phlorrie, it turned into wing phlapping and pecking. Phinally (oh no, they’ve got me at it now) it turned into a real phight! And all the while, Phlorrie just carried on eating her breakphast as if nothing was happening!

 

 

 

Alezane calls in for breakfastSaturday 17th May 2003

 

I have been criticised for being nasty to Tregony. People have said that I put him down and talk as if he were very inferior. Well, lately SHE has been giving him a new kind of medication, putting it in his feed (he is a sensitive type, if he sees you with medicine he tends to run to the farthest corner of the field. It’s true, I’m not being nasty, really!) We all have noticed a change in him. At first, it was just that he tended to stride out better, as we went to work in the mornings. Then, he started to get down the hill as fast as the rest of us, Worse, he started to go where he wanted to go when we went up the field. And now, this morning, he attacked Phreddie (or Phil. To be honest, I have trouble telling one pheasant from another.) Yes, Treggy put down his ears and charged him. We later saw that he also started eating the rolled oats that HE puts out for them in the mornings. So, Tregony is no longer last in the pecking order. Where will it all end?

I am told that there is now a button on my website to press, if you want to join my fan club. The current one revolves but it could very well change in the future, as it slows down the loading of the whole page. I have got him looking out for a button in the shape of a horse shoe, as it should be in keeping, don’t you think? Anyway, you had better join now, while you can, as he is investigating more software which may make you answer a 35 page questionnaire to check your fitness for membership. We don’t want just anyone joining, now do we?

 

 

 

 

 

 

DrybridgeSunday 18th May 2003

Are you aware that every hedge in the land has its own conservator? You may sometimes have noticed them as you walked or drove past, standing or sitting and watching the hedge very attentively. You probably didn’t think much about it at the time, just another facet of the countryside, but, in fact, they play a really important role in the preservation of our eco structure and the balance of nature and all that. You think you are doing your tiny bit by putting out your used wine bottles or my empty feed bags for the rattle crash recycling men but, compared to these fine fellows (or queens) yours is but a polo mint in a granary. They really do ensure that the countryside retains that quality which makes rich city folk think that country dirt is clean dirt. I have known many of these fine citizens as I make my way along the lanes to Nine Fields and, what is very interesting is that quite a few of them have only three legs. All the same, they can move as swift as anything when they choose and also they have one other rare gift. They can jump into a seemingly solid hedge and disappear! I have to admire that but in terms of job satisfaction I’d rather have my work than a cat’s any day.

The flood of e-mails to my fan club has raised the issue of the urgent need for a ‘problems page’. So, in the near future, when the staff can organise it, you can look forward to a ‘Dear Alli’ feature appearing on this web site. In anticipation, if any of you have any really pressing problems, you can get me on :

 

dear-alli@alezane.co.uk

 

dark skyMonday 19th May 2003

  Looking back at yesterday’s diary entry, have you noticed how big the skies are, these days? I love to raise my head occasionally from the grass, to watch the grey clouds chase the white clouds all over the top of the Beacon. Then, just when they appear to have escaped, a great big black storm cloud looms up from the west and they twist and turn before they are all swallowed up. It really is like a great big wonderful theatre, and it’s all free. Wicky really appreciates that last bit. We had a bit of a falling out this morning. Well, he is such an independent soul. While they may be good for humans, in herd creatures like ourselves, it is really rather regrettable. The problem is his tummy. Not that he has pains, you understand. It’s just that his is guided by it all the day long. (And, if you have seen the size of it, you will know what a problem that can be). Instead of coming up the hill, after breakfast with the rest of us, he will hang about picking up every crumb left laying on the floor. And with Tregony’s eating habits, that can be quite a lot. I went back for him a couple of times, just to be greeted with “Just a wee while longer, lassie”. In the end, Treg and I said ‘pooh bags to you, laddie’ and we went up alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheila rides her bike

 

 

Tuesday 20th May 2003

  The swallows appear to be back again. I think I mentioned before that they had turned up. Well, they went away again. Probably they were not our swallows, but just some advance party checking out the place. They have nested in our field shelter for the last two years now and last year we had two families in succession, one early and one late. I don’t mind them, in fact they are very useful as they swoop about eating up all the flies. Well, not ALL the flies, I’m afraid, but enough to make a pleasant change. One of the worse things, when the flies come back in force, is the fly spray HE or SHE put all over us. I don’t know which is worse, the flies or the smell of that stuff. Fortunately, it gets so expensive that they lose their enthusiasm towards the end of the season, so we finally get a bit a peace and quiet. I’m afraid not a lot new has happened this week. Still, a good week for standing quite still and listening to the grass growing. At least, that’s what Tregony tells me he is doing. I don’t mind. At his age he needs to have a little nap now and again. At least he is not like Wicky, rolling in the mud at every opportunity!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the rat familyWednesday 21st May 2003

  You know, I was thinking. Some animals are really unlucky when it comes to names. Horses are fine. They have really sensible names like Alezane, or Red Rum or Charlottown (a grandparent) and so on. Even Tregony is a fine name. But others? I was reminded of this when they came to bring our food this evening and SHE said “Oh, look, it’s Runny!” Well, first I thought she meant Wicky’s nose. Then, when I saw it wasn’t that (for a change), I thought she was referring to the weather, which has been a bit liquid of late. But no. SHE was speaking of Mr. Brabbit. Just at that moment he was crossing the Home Field and when he saw them coming, he got into a real state. First he ran to the field shelter, then he could see he had got himself into a corner, so he ran out again straight at HIM coming up the path with the food buckets. Well, what do you think he did. He ran straight at HIM. No wonder so many of them get run over by mote motes and brum brums. It’s living most of the time down holes what does it, I’m sure. Anyway, what kind of a name is Runny. And his wife’s no better. She hasn’t even got a name of her own – just Mrs. R. Brabbit. And it doesn’t stop there. How about their relatives – Flopsie, Mopsie and, what’s that other one? Ah, well. I suppose one shouldn’t mock the afflicted as my dam used to say.

 

 

 

skyscapeThursday 22nd May 2003

This web site thing, that HE has been spending his time on these last few weeks, is getting out of control. HE has now gone and registered me on an internet site called “Diaryland”. HE was pleased as anything when he got me my own web name. I don’t know what he thinks this one is then. I have an idea he is planning to put this diary up on there as well, a sort of syndicated diary (whatever that means, an American newspaper term, I believe?). It’s hard enough, baring your soul each day, just for my fan club, but to go world wide? Imagine. Inuit sitting outside their hole in the ice, pygmies (African Wickies) laying in the sun, Japanese, while they digest their raw fish – all reading my innermost thoughts. It takes some getting used to.

The swallows are still dithering about, flying high in the air, playing tag and catching insects. But still not getting down to the serious business of nest building. SHE says it is just that they are building up their strength first before embarking on a family. Just give me the chance! I wouldn’t mess around, I’d go straight for it. I overheard THEM talking to Annie the other day about a mare foaling at age nineteen. If you ask me, just the perfect age – like me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oriental poppyFriday 23rd May 2003

Disaster! I’ve been secretly dreading it for the last few weeks now. Finally it’s happened. SHE brought the weigh tape along with her this breakfast time. SHE started on Tregony and when she finally managed to get the tape round him, I heard what I had been dreading. “He’s much too fat! I’ll have to CUT DOWN HIS FOOD!”. Next she turned to me. It was no use HIM saying that it was just that SHE had put the tape round the wrong way or that Treg was puffing out as he was eating. She made such a fuss about my measurement that it quite (well almost) put me off my food. Hasn’t she heard of condition? I have been getting well into condition since they put me out into Nine Fields and the rain brought the grass on. Well, surprise, surprise. Wicky was the only one who didn’t get moaned at, and he spends most of his time, at breakfast and tea, mopping up  the crumbs that Treggy and I leave on the field shelter floor. I don’t know how you can tell with Wick anyway. His belly is always round, he’s like an oil barrel on stumps.

And what do you think the result of all this weeping and gnashing of teeth is going to be? Diet food! We’ve had it before, rotten muck. ‘Slim & Healthy’ it’s called. More like Weak & Weedy? Last time SHE tried that on me, I just threw it on the floor and left it. In the end, I got HER so worried that she went out and changed it for some proper food. I thought at first that it might just be that HE was upset by getting the bill for the field drainage and so was trying to save money. But it’s no cheaper. HE should have known that. Only the other day HE was moaning that a tub of his low fat, cholesterol reducing butter substitute cost about five times as much as real butter. We’re in for hard times!

 

 

 

 

Cow looking backwardsSaturday 24th May 2003

Well, not as bad as I thought. Breakfast was normal and supper appeared to be O.K. although I did detect a lot of extra bits of straw in Wicky’s bucket (but then, there are always funny things in his bucket, I don’t know what he does, it’s always full of slobber. Ugh! It could be that I can’t detect what SHE has done to my feed as I always throw it out of the bucket and all over the floor. It’s a good feeling that. Like making a statement. What about, I don’t know, but it’s a powerful statement for all that. There is, as always, a down side. Wick’s hair is usually all over the floor and it is not really a lot of fun trying to pick your way though your tea and getting mouthfuls of disgustingly dirty (and smelly) old grey hair. That’s maybe why I’ve not noticed too much of a change. I just skim the nice succulents off the top and leave the rest of the chaff. My old dam always told me to think of the poor starving foals on the Steppes. Well, they are welcome to my left overs if they can get off their steps quick enough to beat Wicky to it.

Harry was out, in the field next door, today. I worry about him sometimes, great big gollump that he is. He doesn’t always seem to enjoy being out in the field, hangs about near his gate a lot waiting for his staff to come and collect him. And when he’s not waiting then he wastes good eating time by prancing about, belting up and down his field as if the phantom pharrier (that’s living with the pheasants – buggers up your spelling) was after him. He’s a real nice lad though. Nice size to him. Make some mare a lovely mate if his staff hadn’t gone and taken him to the wrong vet. Really. Not many of them are to be trusted. Vets! You’ve no idea how familiar some have been with me. But that’s another story.

 

 

 

 

 

bluesSunday 25th May 2003

I knew, but didn’t dare tell Treggy. And Wicky wouldn’t care anyway. I had half been expecting it, but then you forget, as it’s not really that important anyway. Not to me, that is. SHE seems to think that it is one of life’s essentials, without which the planet would cease to exist, or something. SHE does have a thing about it. I expect it comes from her early career as a nurse. Anyway, as I was saying. I had forgotten until this morning when, instead of putting Wicky’s bucket down first (remind me to do something about that) and then mine, leaving old Treg to last, as it should be, HE gave Wicked Squirt his first and then by-passed me and gave the old man his next. Well, I was so taken aback, I had to go and push Wick out of the way and make a start on breakfast with his bucket. Then HE came back and, instead of putting my bucket down in its rubber ring (an old mote mote tyre really) so that I could put my nose in it, tip it out and hurl it all over the floor, as usual, HE stands there and holds my bucket, so I have to eat out of it properly. That aroused my suspicions even more. When HE stood holding it until I had eaten all the good bits and was down to the old chaff rubbish they put into it to bulk it out (thinking we don’t notice) and HE still didn’t give up and treat me with a polo or two, that’s when I fell in.. HE even scooped out the last little drop of the stuff for me to eat before the treats came rolling in. HE obviously was very interested in my eating ALL of my breakfast and that can only mean one thing. Medicine, or to be more precise, WORMERS! Don’t tell Treg though, promise. If Treggy knows there’s a wormer about he just goes into steamroller mode and charges, unstoppably, to the very farthest corner of the field and stands with his back to you and his eyes tight shut until the threat goes away. I wonder what terrible thing happened to him in his past. I wonder?

 

Standing stone

 

Monday 26th May 2003

It’s THEIR wedding anniversary today, so perhaps it will be a good day with lots of treats. I prefer polos, Treg is mad about swede and Wicky just eats anything, as long as you give him time (his poor old teeth are not so good any more (if they ever were?). On the other hand, I’ve not known them to make much celebration about it in the past, more often as not, they forget all about it. Still, one lives in hopes as all noble animals do who have to rely on human staff.

I overheard him, today, talking about suicide bombers and was not quite sure if he was talking about those wabbits again or the birds that fly right in front of his mote mote and dare it to hit them. There was a squirrel, only the other day that dashed out in front of it, only to have a quick change of plan and dash back into Pete Watson’s garden. A grey, of course. I think all the red squirrels must have been more successful at suicide and wiped themselves out. The trouble is, it’s catching. Yesterday he told me of the badger he had seen, lying on the side of the old A30 (what a shame it must be, when someone comes along and builds a new road, gives it your name and never bother to tell everyone what your new name is, so they go on calling you ‘the old ….‘ forever). I must admit, he wasn’t really sure if the badger committed suicide or if he was just a bit distracted as he crossed the street, you know what muddled old creatures they are. I mean, what do badgers care about that strongly anyway. It’s enough that humans are always trying to kill them off, they don’t need to join in so enthusiastically. It does give rise to a thought, though. There must come a day when, like the red squirrel, all the world’s suicide bombers will make themselves extinct. I’m not making a political statement here, just thinking out loud. And is there room in heaven for all of them? Come to that, would you want to go there if it’s full of such fanatics?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tree on skylineTuesday 27th May 2003

I saw something I’ve not seen for a long while yesterday, a young doe came over Ramsley common, crossed the Throwleigh Road and then ran down into Clarence’s field, next to ours. I was going to call out to her, but then I remembered how shy they are, so I just watched her. She was all alone, as far as I could see. Strange that, for I thought that, like us, they were herd animals. Still, there she was, all by herself. Made me realise how little I know about deer. Must be because they are such secretive creatures. Not really secretive I suppose. But careful. Very careful. I asked Treggy what he thought. He looked at me for a moment. I think he thought it was a kind of test or something. “What about, Alli” he said, looking very pleased with himself that he had caught up with the rest of us (well almost!) “About the deer, Idiot”, I said. “Oh, the deer” he replied. “The deer, oh deer, deer”. And he sort of grinned up at me. I sometimes wonder about Treg. Well that’s not strictly true. I always wonder about Treg, it’s just that sometimes it’s not worth the aggravation.

 

 

Inquisitive cowsWednesday 28th May 2003

The cows are giving school

lessons every morning these days. You can hear them moving about all night, the proud mothers and their little calves. They sort of mumble to each other, for comfort or something I suppose. And then, in the morning, hey all settle down in a big circle. Only one or two walk about, the rest lay down and sort of watch and nod in agreement. The calves mostly sit down as well, although some nod off, tired after all that moving around at night. Worse some get up and want to run about and play, but they are soon squashed and made to behave. I’ve not managed to work out exactly what the schooling is all about but I reckon it must be learning how best to be a cow. I should think a week would do it, even if there is a lot of fidgeting. The ones moving about are especially on the look out for that. That and cheating I think. Invigilators, I think they are called. Anyway, it goes something like this. One cow sayWhoooo, knooows whaaat a cooow haaas tooo dooo?” and fortunately, no one else says anything. They all stare at the youngsters and wait for an answer. Rarely they get a rely. I’ve heard a kid or two say “nooooo!” or even “yooooo!”  but usually it is just a lot of chewing and nodding. It doesn’t seem to matter . Somehow most of the calves grow up and do become cows, so they must have learned from it after all.

 

 

 

 

hoofprintThursday 29th May 2003

She came again, this morning. The deer. I nodded and smiled ‘good morning’ and she gave a pretty little smile back and then she was gone. Didn’t even get to ask her name. Next time I see her! I was going to tell you today about my breeding. Not the posh bits, just the funny things about our names that the staff think up. Take my dad. His name was ‘Final Straw’. Now just where do you get a name like that. See, I can understand my real name ‘Always Special’. ‘Cos I am, so it fits, you see. But ‘Final Straw’? It sounds at first as if they were exasperated with him. But they couldn’t have been, could they, not when they named him. He was too young. Well, if you look back in his pedigree, you will see that his sire was called ‘Thatch’ and his dam was ‘Last Call’. Get it? Last = Final and Thatch = Straw. Quite cute really. My dam was called ‘Silk and Satin’ and her dad was ‘Charlottown’ while her mum (we only use sire and dam when we are showing off) was called ‘Loose Cover’. Not so obvious that, is it? Although you can see a connection between the Loose Cover and silk and satin material. It gets worse. ‘Loose Cover’ had a father called ‘Venture’ and a mother call ‘Nymphet’. If you associate  a nymphet with loose behaviour and if you know what the term ‘cover’ means in horse circles. Well, she was no better than she should be, I’ll bet. One final bit of gossip, although don’t tell Wicky, as I have led him to believe what a well brought up lady I am, requiring his respect, at all times. Anyway, Back four generations on my mothers side is a horse called Nasrullah. There is an asterisk beside his name on the papers that came from the American Jockey club. If you look carefully back on my dads side, you will find, four generations ago, guess who? That’s it. Nasrullah. I’m afraid the asterisk says ‘Inbreeding’. I’ll say this for him. He got about a bit, didn’t he. Maybe that’s where I get my sexy nature from?

 

 

 

Tregony and AlezaneFriday 30th May 2003

They talk about the quiet of the countryside, you should hear the sheep and their lambs, these days. “BAA, BAA, BAA”, they go. “baa, baa, baa” they lambs reply. Cute, you say. “BAA, BAA, BAA, baa, baa, baa” they go. Over and over and over. Nearly as bad as Phreddie, when he eats. Was obviously never taught to keep quiet when you have a mouth full. He should take lessons from Wicked. Along comes the bucket, down goes his head and you don’t get anything out of him until he is completely finished. Highly intelligent, sheep are, according to Wicky. They don’t waste much time on inessentials, just get on with eating all day long. Mind you, I heard today of someone who told the Clarence that their sheep were worrying his dog. I don’t know what the thing had to worry about. I expect it was a collie. They worry all the time. About nothing, mostly. In fact, They had a collie, called Pepper, who really could see nothings. They would catch one, out of the sky, with a loud clap, and then they would throw it to each other. Pepper would go absolutely mad, watching these nothings so intently that you would think his eyes would pop out and he would jump out of his coat with excitement. Even when one of them, getting bored, would catch the nothing and eat it to finish the game, Pepper was not fooled. He would just sit, all; a quiver, waiting for another nothing to appear. It’s true. You ask Ben and Rachel. They’ve seen it. And they say sheep are silly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

treehouseSaturday 31st May 2003

It all seems to be about animals these days, doesn’t it? Can’t help it. It’s what happens to me. I just tell it. Anyway. I saw some thing this evening, I’ve not seen before. You know we have pheasants, rats, robins, jackdaws, swallows, sheep and whirly birds. Well, this evening, just as we were settling down to supper (remind me to tell you about that!), Phreddie was busy eating and cooing, as he does, when Phlorrie jumps up through the hedge and runs down the pooh pile to join him. I must say, I am not too sure about her faithfulness to Phil. Anyway, there they are eating, when all of a sudden, from behind the field shelter, comes this tiny little fox cub running, or more like waddling, down the path, straight after Phlorrie. She jumped a mile and Phreddie leapt up and down squawking and phlapping his wings. But the cub just carried on, down the hill, almost as if he couldn’t stop. A bit shakily, a bit wiggly waggly, past the complaining birds until he reached the stream where he made a diversion to the hedge and disappeared into Clarence’s field. I don’t know where he went after that but we could hear Phil squawking as well, so he must have seen him. It was a funny old sight. It looked almost as if the youngster was running away from home or something. No signs of any parents though.

I was going to tell you about supper. Nothing much really. I just think my hormones are rising again though. I stopped eating my supper before it was all gone. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with it just that I got all confused. Wicky seized his chance and rushed at my bucket, I got told off so I went back and bit Wicky, he run away and kicked his bucket over and went to push Treggy off his bucket. He got told off and it all got terribly mixed up. I was speaking to Treg about it afterwards and he said “What Alli?” He’s such a love!

 

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