Alezane's Diary Archive June 2003
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JaySunday 1st June 2003

This is becoming a real nature lovers diary. HE was telling me today that THEY have a pair of Jays, nesting in their garden, well, either in their garden or in the tree that overhangs it, one or the other. The reason HE is not so sure is that Jays are very wary birds and HE doesn’t want to go out and investigate too closely, in case it disturbs them. Apparently, THEY have had a few sightings over the year, but only of one bird and then, only fleetingly. It caused them to go dashing to their bird books to find out what it was. This is very important to humans somehow. If they see something, they have to be able to label it. Even if it is nothing but a feeling or a sensation, it has to have a name like ghost, or UFO, or, well anything. It must be due to the insecurity of only having two legs and being runawayably challenged (forgive me if I smirk here, I just made that up. Well, THEY would like it!). Back to the Jay. Or, more precisely, Jays. That was another thing that was remarkable, it was a pair and they were obviously nesting, for one had a twig in its beak. It says in his book that their nests are “rather crudely built and made of sticks, twigs, straw and roots”. If HE plucks up courage to go out and look, HE’ll know what to keep an eye out for.  The book is an old one but has lovely pictures by a person called Jan Solovjev, “Spotting Birds” Hamlyn 1964. The other thing that the book said was that Jays “avoid man with fantastic skill”. What do they do about carrots then?

 

 

 

Monday 2nd June 2003

Mathew and friend ride byI don’t know what the matter was with me this morning, I was just plain irritated by Wicky. He didn’t really do anything, he was just there! I got him wedged up between the fence and the gate down at the stream and something snapped. I just put my ears back and tried very hard to look really ugly. Then, I lifted my foot, as if to say “There, you little squirt, just you do anything and I’ll ….!” He knew what I meant, although I did hear him mutter under his breath and I’m sure it was an old Scottish swear word. I lifted my hind leg a few more times and then I relented. I didn’t really mean it anyway. As I said, it just came over me.

Of course, it could have been the food, if you can call it that. It’s really not worth even pretending to be pleased to see them these days. And, of course, it becomes a power thing. “You eat it all up Alli, like a good girl”. I’ll show HER. I don’t want to be a good girl, I want to be a FAT one. Or, at least, a satisfied one. I don’t notice THEM eating old bits of straw with no oats or pellets in it AND, there has been no swede for the last couple of days. It would serve them right if we just stayed right up the top field and never bothered to come down when they turn up. I asked Tregony what he thought (I never learn, do I?) and he said he didn’t notice anything unusual, he said I always behave like that to him. I said “about the food, idiot”. “Oh that, that’s nice, isn’t it Alli” said lovely old Treg. I should have known. He really is such a lovely old boy, I can’t get angry with him. Now, that little Shetland so and so… That’s different!

 

Harry looking to see what we are eating!

Tuesday 3rd June 2003

Harry's left his field next to our's and is off to South Tawton for the summer. Apparently, he goes every year. It's nice for him, I suppose, but, he tells me, it's really for the convenience of his staff, as they use his horse box for the transport of something called telephone directories. Really, you'd think that telephones didn't need directing. Maybe it's those new 'mobile' ones. If they are moving about all over the place, I can understand that a bit of directing wouldn't come amiss. Anyway, pour old Harry's gone. Just when we were getting used to him being there again. And, do you know what they have swapped him for? Half a dozen cows! Really! And, such strange ones. A couple are alright, regular black and whites and one red Devon. But the rest. They are such a mixture. I shouldn't really tell tales but one, poor dear, what a mess! She is a regular, all over nearly black BUT with a large ginger topknot. It's really a good job there is no pond in that field, for if she bent down to drink and saw herself! Poor thing. As it is, the stream that they have to drink from is too fast flowing for her to realise any reflection is her. Probably puts it down to water nymphs or something.

 

 

 

 

 

TregonyWednesday 4th June 2003
We gave THEM a real fright this morning, at least Treggy did. When THEY came with our breakfast, they looked for us lining up at the stream, as usual, but when they saw us, they could only see me and Wicky. The reason was that the old man was having a bit of a lie in. I think he had over eaten or something (I didn't keep too good an eye on him last night) and, as it was a nice morning, Treg just sort of yawned a lot and lay himself down. Well, THEY saw him at last, and THEY pretended to think that he was just having a nap, but , at the same time, HE had made a joke yesterday about Treg maybe winding down for the last time, and of course, that was in both of THEIR minds. So HE gave Wicky and me our breakfasts while SHE walk over to Treg in the next field in order to give him a check over. Treg raised his head in a casual sort of way and seeing as SHE had walked over with his feed bucket, he gave it a munch or two before deciding to close his eyes and dream about food. Anyway, reassured that Treg was just dozing, they went away. But THEY came back again, after THEY had had their breakfast, just to be on the safe side. Well, the old boy was having far too good a dream to bother to get up yet. This made them really worried and SHE went and got his head collar, walked over to him, gave him some more of his uneaten breakfast and tugged him to get up. I'll say this for Treg. He knows when he's beaten. Giving a great big sigh, he got himself up and finished off his breakfast before going to work (on the grass). It was quite a good day really, first we got them worried (it pays to keep them on their toes) and secondly, they came back a third time to check and, of course, each time was more treats all round. SHE cuts our rations down with one hand and we get treats to make up on the other. Humans, they are so gullible

 

This fox was really hungry - so he waited to eat the meat they gave him before running away!Thursday 5th June 2003

We’ve been worried for the last couple of days. No sign of Phreddie, Phil or Phlorrie. It may just be the glories of love and all that. Although why all three of them should go missing, in that case, I don’t know. But, HE told us a horrid tale today. I don’t remember if I told you about when HE was looking after a horse, some geese and a few cats for a friend, a little while back. Well, one of the geese would always bite his coat or worse his leg, if it could, and HE was always moaning about it. Anyway, HE heard today that both the geese had been allowed to stay out on one of the hot nights that we have had lately. And when their staff person checked the next day, they were both dead, killed by the fox. Now, I know , we all have to live, and if you get hungry then you have to kill to stay alive. But there was no reason (that we can see) why both of the geese had to die. The fox didn’t eat all of the first one. But then, we are not of that species, we don’t know what happened or what drives any of us to do what we do (especially Treggy). Anyway, we are now wondering where Phreddie and Phil and Phlorrie are. Hopefully she will turn up one day with a little crowd of baby pheasants. We will have to wait and see. Sad times?

 

 

One of the White's DartmoorsFriday 6th June 2003

Good news, Phlorrie turned up at breakfast time, first all alone, and then we heard Phil, over the hedge. We’ve not seen much of him at all, lately, it’s always been Phreddie. But now, Phreddie still has not turned up. Still, it does not seem so desperate now. If the others are still around, he is probably lurking in the background somewhere.

 The other news today is that it was farrier day (no, not pharrier, Phlorrie!). We had not long had breakfast, and were just getting down to work in the road field, which THEY appear to have relented about and let us in to, when I heard a van arrive and looked up to see Mark opening the gate and driving in. Now, this is very unusual, as normally the ground is too muddy for him to drive in – his van is only a two wheel drive – so we have to queue up at the gate and, one by one, we go out to have our shoes changed in the road. Anyway, today he drove right in and up to our field (no Phlorrie, not phield!) shelter. Then THEY turned up and drove up as well. As usual, I was picked up[on to be the first and this worried me as I couldn’t see what Treg was up to, in the road field. As usual, when I am worried, my tummy goes all liquid on me and Mark, who was working on my rear shoes at the time, had to jump quickly out of the way. ‘Alli’s revenge’, that’s what SHE calls it! And he had the cheek to ask Mark if he had any good farrier (no Phlorrie!) stories to tell. “How could I have”, Mark said, “working under horses all day. That’s a joke in itself”. The laugh was on HIM, after all, as he was the one who had to clear it up!

Saturday 7th June 2003

I was working in the newly drained field, this morning, when I heard from a little way behind.

“Alli?” I looked round. I knew who it was but it was so unusual for Treg to speak before he is spoken to that I stopped to listen carefully.

“Alli?”

“Yes, Tregony” (I’m always formal when I’m trying to be serious).

“Alli?”

“Get on with it man!” (Well, you can take politeness too far, I always think)

“Alli? Isn’t it going to be the Okehampton show soon?”

“If August is soon for you, Treg. Yes, it’s going to be the Okehampton show soon”

Munch, munch, silence ….

“So?”

“So, Alli?” Munch, munch, munch, …..

“Get a grip, man”, I said to him, rather harshly, “why do you want to know?”

Wicky smiling“Are we going to enter, Alli?”

“Do we usually enter” He was getting even more tedious than usual.

“I could go in for, er, er, YOU could go in for, er, ‘The cleverest mare’!”

“I KNOW what I am, Treg, Why would I want to do that?”

“I could go, ….You could, … Well, we could sponsor Wicky, enter him!”

“As the tallest midget? The best eater? The hairiest legs? What on earth, Treggy, come on!”

Munch, munch, mun ….ch, ..

“Alli?”

“Yes, Tregony?” I put on my sweetest voice. Well under control me.

“Alli? You know, he could WIN at something. He could, really, Alli”

“Of course, Treg, I know he’s your oldest friend (NO Phlorrie!)

“I know what he could win at, Alli”

“What’s that, dear old Treg?”

“Look, Alli, look at him…” Treggy looked at me and smirked, “… how about guerning!!!”

 

Rita talking to AlliSunday 8th June 2003

I don’t know if you remember, last Tuesday, I told you about some cows that had moved into Harry’s field while he is away. In particular, I mentioned one with a red top knot. I said at the time that she was nearly black but now that I’ve had a chance to get to know her, I can see that she is an even funnier sort of blck, brown, red mixture. Anyway, for all that, she is quite a nice sweet person. Her name’s Rita, but her human staff man doesn’t know that. He just calls her ‘that one’. She has got a pond in her field and she does look in it. And, far from being upset at how odd she looks, she thinks she is the most beautiful cow in the whole world (or at least, down the Throwleigh Road). Maybe she has a point. The others are not much to look at. One poor dear, she is as round as she is tall. Any moment now, they reckon. I’m only jealous. What I wouldn’t give for a little foal again. Ah well, those days are gone for me now, I reckon. Doomed to walk the grass with my two old men. Rita’s got quite a thing for Wicky. I don’t know if she thinks of him as a little white calf or if she is after a toy boy. Compared with some of the bulls I’ve seen in Clarence’s other field, I don’t think Wick will be much competition. Still they say love is blind!

 

 

Moday 9th June 2003

The things humans eat“You know, lassie”, Wicked said to me last night, “it’s a funny thing, hay. Just a wee while ago, we couldn’t get enough o’ it. Every night, pulling it out o’ the nets and munching away all night long. And now, look at it! That same bale has been hanging there for weeks. You’d think Treggy would eat it wouldn’t you?”

Treg looked up from the thought he was trying to formulate and turned to Wicky. “You were not so backward yourself when it came to eating hay, Wicky”, he said, looking very pleased with himself for such a long sentence. “Ay man, I could put away a pound or two, I’ll admi’ that” he said, “but ma point is, why do we not want it any more, just because we have something else now? Humans don’t just eat one thing when it’s in season and they switch to something else, do they?”

“Humans”, I said, “are very peculiar things, “More to be pitied than blamed, as my old Dam used to say, but still, very peculiar”

“Humans”, said Tregony. “You’re right Alli, Humans are very ‘strodinary things. I knew one once who, er, whre was I? Who was, well, strordinary!” He put his head down in a bit of confusion. His trouble is that he is so impulsive. You’ve only got to give him an hours start and he will be off like a shot (from a catapult with very weak elastic).

“What I was saying, ma lassie, is that hay is really only dead grass. What a funny thing to eat, dead grass.”

“Well humans, eat all kinds of dead things. In fact they usually don’t eat it unless it’s dead”, I said.

“’Strordinary, that!” said Treggy, “although, I expect the grass we eat is dead, or at least not very well, by the time we have bitten it off. Eh, Alli?”

Tuesday 10th June 2003

Telling Treggy about writers blockI think I’m getting writer’s block. I stood here in the field, just outside the shelter and thought and thought what I should tell you about today. Do you get those days sometimes, when nothing about you is important enough to bother about. There are other days when you get full of yourself and feel all you have to say is very important and worth sharing. Then along comes a day like today, when it’s probably been raining all night and all you wanted to do was to curl up and try and stay dry and warm. And you think you will be able to use the time to think things through. To plan productively so that the next day goes along swimmingly. And what happens. Yopu doze off without thinking anything through and you wake up to a dull, cold miserable morning and you feel as low as Wicky’s back heels (but not as well fed). So, I woke up this morning with writer’s block. Like a fool, I told Tregony about it. “!Is that like mounting block, All?” he asked, I hope seriously – or then again, maybe I don’t hope that. The poor old sausage is getting worse.

“No”, I said sarcastically, “more like a salt lick block”.

“Oh, I see”, he replied, but then he frowned. “And you feel like a salt lick, Alli? Why’s that?”

I could see I was on a loser, before I even started and was greatly tempted to just walk away, but as I like the old so and so really and as I had nothing better to do, I thought I would give it one last shot.

“Listen very carefully, Tregony, I shall say this only once” (banking on my French background to impress him to at least listen to me) “When I say I have writers block, it means that I don’t have any ideas in my head. I am completely blank. Nothing there. Understand?”

Tregony looked at me with a really knowing and understanding look, as his eyes lit up and he smiled.

“Perfectly, Alli, perfectly!”

Wednesday 11th June 2003

Anoher pair of trained humansMathew is a human neighbour of ours, I think I have shown you his picture, riding past our road field quite recently. He is, what he likes to call himself, a horse trainer. Of course, we don’t disillusion him. What he really is, is a sort of training exercise for young horses, to see how quickly they can train him to do what they want. But, it works either way. As long as everyone is happy about the outcome, then who cares, who is fooling who? Anyway, quite often, in his efforts to train (or be trained) Mathew has equine guests staying with him and of course, like any good host, he has to cater for their eating requirements. Often we see him going by on his quad bike with bales of hay or bags of feed on board and it gives one a nice, warm feeling that somewhere a horse is being fed (as it should be, of course).

Well, this evening, I heard the sound of an engine coming quite a long way off and recognised it, as you do, straight away. It was not his normal time, so I took time off from my supper to raise my head and watch him approach. He was coming much faster than usual and as he drove up, I could see he was in a bit of a state. When he was level with our field, he called out to HER and asked if she had seen a big bay with a green turnout rug on. It appears that someone had gone missing from his field and he was driving about making enquiries to find out if anyone had seen anything. SHE hadn’t and neither had we.

It is very worrying when you hear something like that, what with all the stories of stolen horses and the like. Mathew, apparently, didn’t think the bay had been stolen. Probably just found a gap in the fence and wandered off in search of better grass. Still, it’s a worry. It makes you want to go out and do something about it. But really, there’s nothing to do except wait. And hope that he comes back safely. If I hear anything, I’ll let you know.#

Thursday 12th June 2003

I was a little way up the field, this morning, when I noticed Tregony and Wicked, eagerly debating something. That is so unusual in itself, that my curiosity was aroused, and I crept up behind them, to find out what they were talking about.

Tregony was adopting an almost schoolmaster stance.

Essence is the property or properties an object must have”, he was saying, “ if it is to be what it is. In addition, if being equine is the essence of Alezane, it is then a necessary truth about Alezane that she is equine.”

Wicked looked at him with one of his evil little Scottish squirt sneers, and rep[lied.

A falling out over philosophy!“That thesis, that objects have essences, makes it plausible to suppose that an object might not have had some of the properties it actually has.” He stared at Treg, to make sure he was following him. “ For example, Alezane might not have been shod by the Mark Percival last Friday; she might have been shod a few years later. However, there seems to be a limit to the properties Alezane could have failed to have while remaining Alezane.”

Treg looked a bit irritated at this, and started to push himself forward.“ Suppose one suggested that Alezane could have been a giraffe rather than an equine. At this point most horses will agree that we have simply ceased to talk about a genuine possibility for the historical Alezane.”

“Laddie”, Wicky retorted, “ the historical Alezane—that very individual—could not have been anything other than equine. Having been equine, therefore, unlike having been shod on Friday, is part of Alezane's essence.”

“But, don’t you see”, Treg went on, The essence of an object is often taken to constitute its identity, that is, what makes the object what it is. Its essence may consist in membership of a natural kind, as in the claim that Alezane is essentially equine. Alternatively, some have supposed that each object has a unique individual essence.”

In a huff, Wicked started to turn away from Treggy, but he could not resist, one last jibe.

“ A special, but controversial, case of individual essence is called a “haecceity”, which is the property an object has of being that very object. Clearly, if there are haecceities, they are properties an object could not have lacked ……..”

But too late. Treg had taken offence. He turned his back on Wicked, as if he couldn’t be bothered anymore and went back to being himself. It goes to show, doesn’t it?. It’s the quiet ones that have hidden depths.

Friday 13th June 2003

I’ve been thinking about those two all night and I’m sure they were playing a trick of some kind on me. Anyway, I’d decoded to pay them back, so when Treg was waiting around for breakfast to arrive, this morning, I said to him.

“What are you doing about NEFOD, Treg?”

National Equine Foxglove DayHe turned to look at me, as if he had not quite heard what I said.

“Sorry, Alli, I was dreaming about carrots. What did you say?”

“What are you going to do about NEFOD?” I deliberately did not add any more than that.

“Oh, NEFOD!” he replied, trying to look knowledgeable, “can’t say I’ve thought much about it, Alli. You doing much?” fishing for clues. He tried to look his most intelligent, now, which didn’t take long. I decided to keep him guessing for a while longer.

“Well, I’ve been thinking”, I said. “Shouldn’t let it go by without some sort of celebration, should we?”

“I suppose not, Alli. What had you in mind?”

“I thought you could come up with something appropriate, Treg, old son”, I said. “After all, it is one of the more colourful times, isn’t it?”

“Very, Alli. Yeah, oh very colourful indeed.” He let the sentence hang, hoping some clue would come to him, either from his old, worn out memory or better, if I would let something slip. Just then Wicked walked up and you could see a glimmer of hope dawn on Treggy's face.

“Wick?”

NEFOD this Sunday“Ay laddie?”

“What d’you reckon we should do about NEFOD?”. I could see he was trying to make a big effort at casualness.

“No Fodder, laddie? Who says? Whose idea is tha’?” Wicky looked quite upset and spoiling for an ankle bite.

“No, NEFOD. You know!” Treg replied, getting his legs out of range.

Dunno wha’ your talking about , ma wee imbecile. You been at that funny grass again?”

“Tell him Alli” Treg implored, “he’ll listen to you” (and not bite your ankles, he implied).

“You know, Wick”, I said, with a wink that Treg was not meant to see, “NEFOD – National Equine Foxglove Day, this Sunday”.

“That’s it ”,Treg rushed in. “You know Wicked. Surely you’ve not forgotten. It’s one of our most colourful days.”.

Catching my half smile, Wicked went along with it. “Oh, ay, laddie. Maybe would should sell poppies, eh?”

“But it’s not NEPOD. There’s no poppies in our fields, are there Alli. You tell him. He’s just being silly now. I’ll just go away and think what would be best Alli, and then I’ll ……”

At that moment, SHE and HE turned up with breakfast. You’ve never seen a horse as happy to change the subject, as Treg was then. Serves him right, though. He admitted to me afterwards that all that stuff yesterday was something he’d read in a book left by one of those ramblers we get going past here, on their way up the Beacon. Of course he had no idea what it was all about but he though it would impress Wicked. Now he’s got something else that he knows nothing about. I expect he’ll just add it to the pile.

Saturday 14th June 2003

That warm feeling stayed with him all night ...Tregony got a lovely surprise today. He was passing from a long snooze into a gentle wondering state when he heard a car draw up along the road. It wasn’t a sound that any of us recognised and we were sure (and Treg was almost sure) that it was not supper time yet. So, Treg looked up and who do you think he saw? It was his previous favourite female senior staff member from when he used to live at Winkleigh. In fact, he told me afterwards,. She was really more than just a member of his staff, she was more like a really close friend. They used to everything together, riding jumping (yes, I know it’s hard to think of Treggy walking fast, let alone jumping. But just remember, you’ll get old one day.) and all kinds of fun.

He was so excited that he didn’t know what to do. And so, he did nothing. Just stood there and felt really good all over, remembering those happy times. I really was very pleased for him, for as much as I make fun of him sometimes and even get a bit irritated when he is too silly, he is such a lovely, gentle and good natured, willing creature that nobody could fail to like him, when they got to know him. I’m not sure if  SHE recognised him or if they had just stopped to look at the scenery. You know how it is at a leaving party with everyone promising to keep in touch and often meaning it too. But after a little while, your old life becomes just that – your old life, your past, and you have to move on. It doesn’t matter really. The warm memories that Tregony has, he will keep as part of him, come what may. But he told me that he hopes  SHE  remembers those good times as well, for her sake.

We mustn’t forget Wicky, as well. He also used to live at Winkleigh with them. It’s just that due to the problem of HER being far too tall, they never built up the same bonds as Tregony did. He doesn’t blame her, he says. Some of us are the correct height and others grow malformed. They can’t help it. The only problem, really, is that there are so many of them afflicted like that. After all, he says, you just can’t go around feeling sorry for 99% of the population, can you? They will just have to get over it and be satisfied with their lot. Secretly, I could see that he also was very pleased to see her again but his adopted brittle little personality wouldn’t let him show it. I do know that both of them had a really good night, full of warm, happy memories.

Sunday 15th June 2003

Tregony woke me this morning shouting “NEFOD day, Alli, NEFOD, hooray!”

“Shut up, you old fool”, was all I could mutter. What with the flies and Wicky’s digestion problems, I was in no mood for joking about.

Wonder if they have a poisons unit?“But, you said …” Treg looked rather hurt and instantly I was sorry. After all, it was my fault for starting all that rubbish in the first place. No I had an even bigger problem. Should I  spoil his pleasure by not being pleased at his remembering something I had told him or should I make him even more unhappy by telling it was all an invention and not true at all?

“Treg”, I said, as gently as I could. You know that bit in my diary the other day about there not being a tooth fairy? Well …”

At that point, Wicked came along, with a long green stem and bright mauve flowers hanging from it, sticking casually out of his mouth. “Hi Treg”, he mumbled, “lovely NEFOD, isn’t, ma laddie?”

Tregony looked at Wicky carefully, to see if he was playing with him or not, but reassured, he perked up and smiled back.

“Just what I was telling Alli”, re said, “very colourful. Very Colourful indeed.”

It was too much like a replay of some dreadful nightmare and worse. I realised that Foxgloves are poisonous to horses and these Wicky was with one in his mouth. There was Sid's Grey Face Dartmoornothing for it. I had to be the bad one. Wicked old, spoil sport Alli. But I couldn’t let Wicky take poison now, could I? Or, then again. Only joking.

Monday 16th June 2003
Good news! One of our network of passing horses, riding along the Throwleigh Road and up our bridle path, told us that the Bay, I mentioned a few days ago, found his human. The human appeared to be in a bit of a state but physically was in good shape (for one of them). It appears that the Bay had popped out for a mouthful or two of the grass in some adjacent fields and when he came home, he couldn’t find his human anywhere. He waited and waited and did become just a teeny bit agitated. But when he asked on the grapevine, he was told that the silly human had been seen bombing about on his quad bike all over the place and as we all know that that is one of the things they like doing best, he relaxed and got on with his hay net. We were told that a few hours later, the human turned up, a bit overheated but none the worse for that. Let’s hope he will learn a lesson from it. After all, we can’t always be around to look after them can we? Some of us have got work to do. Where do you suppose we’d be if no one kept the grass down, eh? Have you ever thought of that? I’ll tell you, either knee deep in dandelions or worse, up to our waist in sheep. Think of that. Drowned in silly grey balls of wool. If you don’t think they are silly, just look at the picture for today. It’s a Dartmoor Grey face. A shame on the name Dartmoor, if you ask me.

Tuesday 17th June 2003

brings forth June flowers...We’re all getting excited down here. It’s nearly time for Alezane’s Diary to get a brand new website. It’ll keep it’s old name and everything but instead of being a cross between a travel brochure and a bombsite it will be full of great new graphics and extra pages. There’ll be the serious side, in the form of a Horse Watch page. I know that’s what all sensible humans like to do anyway but this is something different. It’s full of sad stories of horses being stolen and happy stories of horses being recovered (I wish they wouldn’t use that word, it makes me go funny all over!) and sensible things like looking after your/our tack. There’s also a problem page where I will be sharing my wisdom with you and solving your little emotional problems and those little difficulties you have with you human staff and others. Just you e-mail me a note about what is troubling you and I will tell you how to deal with it on my ‘Dear Alli’ page. And then, you’ve guessed it, by popular demand we’ve had to give you my own Fan Club page. I’m such a generous soul that I’ve decided to share it with Wicked and Tregony (as long as they don’t get more fans than me) and again, you can get in touch by e-mail with your requests for hoof clippings or shoe prints, chewed photos and old carrot chips, dropped from Treggy’s mouth – anything that will satisfy your little cravings for a bit of our celebrity.

I told Treggy about him being on the Internet and he looked a bit worried at first.

“I’m not sure I like them, Alli” he said.

“What, Treg”, I replied, feeling benign towards him.

“Inters, Alli” he mumbled, as if he was not sure he had got it right. Of course, then I fell in. He was thinking the Internet was a form of hay net. Oh, well, Cyber-Treg is a little way off yet, I think!

 

 

The three of us go to the Beacon.

Wednesday 18th June 2003

We were standing grazing in the sunshine, yesterday. All around, the birds were twittering and the bees were buzzing in and out of the clover, and all in all, things were very warm and pleasant. Occasionally, I would find that my jaw would droop a little and I would forget to nibble for a moment. I could hear Wicky, a little behind be, with his steady munch, munch, munch and away to my right, I could just sense, rather than see, Tregony as he sort of shuffled in time with the movement in the trees. The sheep were sort of singing, away in the distance and they were accompanied by the low voices of the cattle in the next field as they munched their way along. It was a very gentle, calming sort of day.

“How’re you doing, Treg”, I called to him.

“Isn’t this nice, up here, Alli”, he replied, “I’ve always wanted to come up here and never thought that I ever would.”

 “The scenery reminds me of home, in the Shetlands” Wicky said, coming up to join us. “You certainly can see a long way from here, right over to the Bristol Channel”.

I looked over where he was looking and, sure enough, there was the bright shimmer of the sea, far off to the west. The air up here was really something as well. No flies to irritate you, just a gentle breeze and the smell of freshly growing sweet grass.

“Do you smell that?” I said to them, “isn’t it delicious? I wonder why we didn’t come up here before, it’s so lovely”.

“Do you know, Alli”, Treg said. “I think I can see where all those delicious swede slices come from. Look, over there, growing behind those dandelions”.

I looked where he indicated and saw a wonderful sight. There was a small woodland with carrot and polo trees and they were ready for picking. As I started towards them, Wicked came up beside me.

“You going over to those short feed bushes, Alli?” he sort of moaned. “This is the bestest place in the wole world, ma wee lassie. The bestest. Better than hayland, better than molasses field, really the best”.

We all walked over and looked out from the top of the Beacon. He was right. This was the very best place to be, in the whole, wide world.

Thursday 19th June 2003

this really is a different pictureOf course, I was dreaming. But what was funny was that when I went to tell Tregony and Wicked about it, they already knew. They had been there as well and they remembered it just as I did. It was really one of the best days that all three have had and Iknow we will treasure the experience always. I only wish we could have had a picture of it to remind us.

The swallows have finally got it together. They didn’t bother much with nest building, just moved in to their old nest from last year and did the minimum of repairs. They still seem to spend as much time out of the nest, skimming about, low over the stream and field and then flying in to the field shelter, round the pole and straight out again. Occasionally. One will stop and settle on the nest for a few moments. And then they’re off again. I expect they know what they are doing. They appear to. Most of the time when HE and SHE are around they fly in and out as fast as they can, avoiding the camera that HE is holding in the hope of catching them landing or taking off. I help them in this game by, whenever he is standing, holding his breath for them to come back, I go over and put my head and neck over his shoulder and jog the camera about. HE loves that!

 

 

 

 

 

Treg thinks it's 'strordinary!Friday 20th June 2003

“Humans are funny creatures, aren’t they Treg?” We were having a bit of a shelter from the sun and the flies. Wicky has got a much thicker coat and longer mane and tail, so he’s not as bothered about them as we are. He was up above the foxglove line doing what Wickys do best. “They really are perplexing and contradictory, aren’t they Tregony”. I have to keep repeating myself these days, I don’t know if the old man if getting deaf or just plain ‘cocking a deaf ‘un’. “What do you think, Treg”, I repeated again.

“Munch, munch, ‘strordinary, Alli, really ‘strordinary”

Well, at least he was awake then. I wonder if he really was listening to me or just pretending. He does that too some times. ‘Yes, Alli, No, Alli’ anything that he thinks will keep me quiet. It’s not that he is rude or nasty or anything. I think he has just settled for a quiet life and is living a life apart from the rest of us now.

“Yes, ‘strordinary” he said again, as I hadn’t followed up what I was saying and he was now getting just a little bit anxious that the might have missed something really important. Or, at least, something that I think is important, which amounts to the same thing anyway.

“You know when HE has to push past you to get to wash your eyes in the mornings. What is it he usually says? Eh, Treg?”

“’Move over’, is the usual thing, Alli. ‘strordinary that” he added, in case that was what I was expecting.

“No, after that. When he has had to squeeze right past you?”

“Oh, you mean when he says what a fat old so and so I am”. Treggy smiled. He knew he had got something right.

“Yes, Treg, but after that?” If you keep on at him long enough he usually gets there. Usually!

“He says that I smell awful, Alli. That’s what he says”.

“That’s it, Treg. You’ve got it, he says you smell!”

“I know, Alli, I just told you that”.

“What I’m getting at, Treg, is how inconsistent humans are. Fancy saying you smell.”

“But I do, Alli, I know I do. You tell me I do. And so does Wicky”.

“And when HE is cleaning out Wicky’s feet, in the mornings and Wick has one of his gas attacks. What does HE say then, Treg? What does HE always say then?”

“Do you say this diary of yours is read by people all over the world, Alli?”

“Yes, Treg, people on the Internet, all over the world, but what….?”

“And didn’t you say that all ages read it, Alli. Grown ups and foals and all?”

“What’s that got to do with what I asked you, Treg?” I was getting a bit irritated now that he wasn’t letting me make my point.

“Well, if little foals, all over the world are reading this, Alli, I cant repeat what HE says when Wicky does that right in his face. It wouldn’t be right now, would it. It’s not suitable for tender little ears.”

“Well said, Treg”. I counted to 4 a couple of times. “What I’m trying to get to, is that HE says that Wicky smells horrible, doesn’t he?”

“That’s right, Alli, horrible. That’s a good way of putting it”.

“Then, Tregony. Why does Clarence come and spread all that stinking cow pooh all over the nice grass in the field next door? It doesn’t make sense, does it Treg. Humans are just plain inconsistent, aren’t they?”

Treg thought for a moment and then looked up at me.

“’strordinary, Alli. ‘strordinary!”

Saturday 21st June 2003

I was standing in the field shelter to get away from the flies, watching the chaffinches which seem to have adopted us of late. I was thinking that it is strange how our visitors seem to come in and go out of fashion. Phlorrie only comes now and again, Phil only stands around in the distance but doesn’t come to eat any more and Phreddie hasn’t been seen for weeks. I’ve not seen the wagtail or the pigeons for months. There was a time when you couldn’t move for robins under your hooves and Jack & Jill Daw would always come to finish up after the pheasants. Now it’s the turn of the chaffinches. The sparrows are always about but, its odd that they don’t seem to have any distinct personality like the others. It’s almost impossible to talk of one sparrow, always sparrows.

Coming up roses ...Anyway, I was standing, flicking my tail and watching the birds, when Wicky came up to me in a , for him, rather hesitant manner.

“Lassie”, he said, “could I have a word?”

It worries me when folk do that to you. When they don’t want anything or when it’s not of any importance, they just barge up and talk, like you do. They only ask if they CAN talk to you if they think you won’t like it or something. And that generally means you won’t.

“Ay, laddie”, I replied, in his way of speaking, to try and soften whatever it was he wanted to say, Ay, laddie, o’ course ye can”.

“There, you see, I’m right. You taking the mickey out o’ me now, ”he said, in a hurt sort of tone.

“Wicky, Wicky, Wick. I’m only trying to be friendly”.

“That’s it, you see”, he said, “you have to try”.

“Come on Wicked”, I said. “What is the matter? What do you want to talk to me about?”

He looked kind of sheepish (if that’s not an insult to an equine) and stepped back a pace.

“Don’t you like me Alli? I’d like to know if you dislike me?”

“What on earth makes you think that?” I said to him. “You’re my favourite pony. Treg’s my favourite horse and you are my best pony, you know that”.

“Then why do you keep biting my bum?”

Well, there’s really no answer to that. At least in one day’s diary page!

Sunday 22nd June 2003

Treg is off up the middle field somewhere and I was attempting some mutual grooming with Wicked. I say attempting because you have got to be some kind of masochist to enjoy being groomed  round the knees for any length of time. But, I considered it my duty after what Wicky had asked me yesterday. Yes, I was feeling sorry for the little blighter. At least I have got a horse my own size to groom and get along with. Poor little Wick has to get along with the rest of us, in all the pushing and shoving that we horses do to get along without language. But that was, as I told him, what was so admirable about him. We both liked him so much that we never thought of him as anything other than just another equine being. The fact that we pushed and shoved him about as we did to each other proves that we do.

this is the site where we developed the new alezane.co.uk

Mind you, he’s no saint or a pushover either, and he knows it. I may bite his bum but he does bite Treggy on any part he can reach. Mind you, so do I. It’s all part of herd living and knowing ones place in that herd. That gives one a wonderful sense of security. It’s not how high your place is but fitting in at whatever level that is important. Imagine Tregony finding himself having to lead our group (except in retreat).

I do worry what has caused Wicky to feel picked upon. Usually, he doesn’t give a carrot. He just pushes/bites/nudges back as appropriate. I think it is just some days we all feel a little vulnerable, a little insecure. Especially if our aches and pains start catching up with us. Speaking of which, I have been a bit worried about Treg, these last few days. He has been very stiff and slow. But this evening the weather changed. We had a nice drop of rain and the air cleared and Treg has been moving a lot better. Either it’s the weather or it’s that medicine SHE secretly puts in his feed. Don’t tell him, you know how he is about medicine, but, I think that is doing him some good.

Anyway, back to Wicky. I’m going to have to stop being nice to him now. There is only so much hair you can enjoy getting in your mouth when you are grooming and Wick’s coat is just too much!

Monday 23rd June 2003

I was dreaming about this place last nightCelebration time today! My new web site replaces the old original one today. For those of you reading this on alezane.co.uk, you already know this as you will have seen my new front page when you logged on. Those who just read my diary(without pictures) on alezane.diaryland.com will not have seen the old site anyway. Anyway, the new site has lots more features. There is my Diary, of course, and a Diary Archive where you can read up on any bits you have missed, but also there is our Fan Club, a Problem Page where you can tell us about your humans, a Notice Board that you can add things to, a Scrap Book and a Photo Album (where you can add pictures of yourselves and your humans). And, what’s more, there are a lot of nice, novelty graphics, fun things and a page devoted to Horse Watch (about stolen horses, tack and stuff).

I hope you like it. It is meant to involve you a lot more, rather than just reading about us three, interesting though we are. You can even let your humans, young and mature, join in if they want to. We have changed the name from Alezane’s Diary to Alezane’s Web as it reflects the more all round coverage and the techie stuff on it.

That’s about it for today. Treggy and Wicky and I are off up the top field for a bit of forage and we’ll leave you to enjoy browsing round the new site. If you like it, please tell your friends about it. If you hate it, tell us!

Tuesday 24th June 2003

“Alli?”

“Yes, Treg.”

“You got any hobbies, Alli?”

“Any what?”

“Hobbies, you know?”

“I do, do you, Treg?”

A stile over the wallEr, well …”

“Why d’ you ask, Treg, old son?”

“I heard some ramblers talking, as they went by up the bridle path. And. It sounded really interesting. I thought. I thought. Well maybe I should get some of them. But, Alli, I don’t know where you get them from. Is there a hobby shop anywhere, Alli?”

“Is that where they come from, Treg?”

“I don’t know, Alli. You see, I’m too busy with all my little interests, that I do when I’m not working, that I’ve not had the time to find out.”

 “What little interests are these, Treg?”

“Well, I spend a lot of time watching the birds and trying to identify which is which. And I get interested in where they come from and what their nesting habits are and things like that, Alli.”

“Twitching Treg?”

“Yeah, I know Alli, it’s all these flies. Drive you mad, don’t they?”

“I meant bird watching, it’s called twitching, silly.”

“Oh?”

What else do you do when you’re not working, Treg?”

“I make things, Alli.”

“What do you make, Treg?”

“Well, Alli, I gather together all the flowers, put them on the ground and then roll on them.”

“And what does that make, Treg?”

“The flowers get all lovely and flat and you can keep little collections of them in the corner of the stable. And it makes everything look really pretty, especially your back if they stick to you.”

“Pressing, Treg”

“Yeah, I thought so, Alli, very impressing. Eh, Alli?”

“Well, Treg, I should forget all about what you heard those ramblers say. You’re far too busy to get any hobbies.”

“Oh, all right, Alli!”

A sudden change of sky

Wednesday 25th June 2003

It changed to this in momentsI am proud to announce that we have baby swallow chicks. I say we, as everyone sort of feels involved, HE, SHE, Wick, Treg and me, we’ve all been watching and waiting for at least the last week now. It’s hard to say how you tell the difference at first. The swallows have been flying in and out and round the post that stands in the middle of the field shelter entrance. Then they fly in but, instead of flying straight out, they hover, usually in front of the nest. Finally they decide that they will sit on the nest. I say they, because I honestly don’t know who is Mr. and who is Mrs. Swallow. And they don’t talk to us. Just fly in and out. But today, one could sense a change in their behaviour. They flew in, as usual, but instead of going and settling on the nest, they stood outside and started to feed the chicks. They must be very tiny for they do not make a noise yet, at least one we can hear. Judging from last year, this is the easy bit for them. When the chicks get older, they get very demanding and it is all the two of them can do, flying continuously in and out, catching flies and insects on the wing, to keep the chicks fed. I know I get broody sometimes, but the thought of all that work and attention that the young need makes me feel that it’s O.K. to be a granny, after all!

 

 

 

 

Thursday 26th June 2003

I miss the Browns, being out here in the field all the time. When I am in my stable in the village, they often come in and see me. They love to sleep in my hay. I know because, although I cant see them there (there is a wall between the stable and the tack room where it is stored) but I can hear them when they are making themselves comfortable or when they have one of those re-arranging moments that a group of cats, sleeping together, have. One stretches, the other wakes up and feels it needs to stand and stretch, while it’s up another rolls into its place and they all sort of settle again like blobs of soft melting jelly into a heap again. The other way that I know is that they smell of hay, lovely and warm and sweet and delicious, when they climb over the wall to come and see me. They all have their special way of greeting me. Dick is the loudest. itchy BumHe shouts and shouts. Whether it is to let you know he is coming I’m not sure because he does have a bad habit of jumping down on ones back and holding on with his claws. He is not spiteful, just careful and likes to hold on. Now Thomas, he is slow and lazy. He really would rather HE came along and carried him if he has to move. He does come and see me, but often just stands on the ledge above the stable and never jumps down. Too much effort. He is quite happy to stand there and talk with you for ages, while he waits for someone to come for him. Harriet. She’s the quiet one. Likes to look and learn. She really is very clever, knows hopw to do almost everything. The trouble is that she does not have the strength or the physical make up to do most of the things she knows. She can quote the combination of the lock that they put on the tack room but, of course, cannot undo it. She knows how the water timer on my stable cleaning system works, she has explained it to me a couple of times but it really is not the kind of thing that interests me. She is fascinated by all that kind of stuff. Actually, she is doing quite well now. There was a time when everyone was quite worried about her as she kept losing her hair underneath and all along her legs. Anyway, somehow, she has now got better and the only way you can tell her from the others is that she is of a more petite build. Uncle PC comes to see me too. He is not really a ‘brown’ as he is officially a ‘lilac’ Burmese, but they are all just like one big family, so we do think of him as a Brown too, just a senior one.

Oh, there’s my supper coming, I’ll have to stop rambling on now and get down to the hard task of eating again. Still, it was nice remembering my old friends again. I expect it wont be long before summer comes to an end and I see them again. Let’s hope it’s not quite yet!

 

 

Friday 27th June 2003

“Listen to this, Treg.” I said, reading out loud to him.

While I was young I lived upon my mother's milk, as I could not eat grass.

In the daytime I ran by her side, and at night I lay down close by her.

When it was hot we used to stand by the pond in the shade of the trees,

and when it was cold we had a nice warm shed near the grove.

As soon as I was old enough to eat grass my mother used to go out to work

in the daytime, and come back in the evening.

Riders“That’s lovely, Alli”, Treggy said, “makes me feel all warm and cuddly. Makes me remember my mum an’ when I was little”

“Ah, lassie, read it agin, will ye..” I didn’t know Wicked had been listening too, at the back of the field shelter. “Ah remember tha’ story from a verra long time agae, when ma mam used to tell it to me. It’s a true story, I think.”

“Is it true, Alli? Is it really true?”

“No, I’m sorry boys but it’s a made up story by a human called Anna Sewell.”

“But she must have know those horses, don’t you think, Alli?”

“I think she must have done, Treg. They probably told her the story and got her to write it down.”

“From what I remember, lass, it’s nae so happy in places, tha story,” said Wick, “It’s amazing how cruel some humans can be to horses.”

“If anyone was cruel to you, Wick, or you Alli, I’d get ‘em and I’d ……”

“Thank you Treg dear, I know you would, you’re a very brave and courageous soul. Thank you.”

“I’d bite their ankles if they tried anything with me,” said Wicky, with a grin.

“I should just grin like that at them, Wick, that would be punishment enough!”

.Wicky smiled this time, he knew I didn’t mean it. We all settled back for a bit more of the story. That was a lovely evening with ‘Black Beauty’, I’d forgotten how nice it was.

 

eating our grassSaturday 28th June 2003
We had just finished supper, and SHE had gone up to the road field while HE gave me and Wick the last of our carrot treats for the evening, when we all heard Michael, the farmer, shout “Get back!” to one of his dogs. HE mentioned something to HER and they started discussing how many dogs Michael has. No one is quite sure. We’ve all been up to the farm, when we’ve had the farrier and it’s raining and it is too muddy for him to get his van up to the field shelter. Then we go in convoy, SHE leads me and HE does his best leading both Treg and Wicky. The trouble is that you have to have Wicky on a long lead for he likes to follow on behind Treg rather than walking beside him and, as their legs are not what you might call of equal proportions, it always gets in a bit of a muddle. Where was I? Oh, yes. The farm. And the dogs. Well, next we hear the sound of Michael’s quad bike. I know that well as he still has the fields above us (he was the one who sold Nine Fields to us) and he often drives his quads with one or two of the dogs riding or in hot pursuit, up the bridle path to get to his fields. Now we heard the sound of a lot of silly sheep voices and, just as SHE got to the road gate to go out, up comes Michael, running. “They’re coming”, he yelled and SHE started to open the gate up wide. The next thing I saw (I was still down by the stream) was a crowd of at least fifty assorted sheep, lambs and rams, running, jumping, shouting and crying, heading straight down from the road gate towards me at the stream. ’Well, there goes all our good grass’, I thought, but I couldn’t really be cross as I like sheep, really. They will be interesting company and amusing too. They’re a bit daft but then, I do already share a field (and a life) with Tregony, so that shouldn’t make a lot of difference. I think Treg got the sulks ‘cos he just went back into the field shelter instead of coming up the hill with me. He’ll get over it. Wicky was so busy cleaning up all the stuff I throw out of my feed bucket that I’m not sure he even noticed.

 

 

Off to the OlympicsSunday 29th June 2003

I was on my way back to the field shelter this morning, as the flies were being a real nuisance and I’ve found that it is far better to lead a nocturnal life, this time of the year, when across my path ran a small, young rabbit. This is not unusual in our field as there are loads of them, all over the place. But not like this. This one was wearing running shorts!

“Hey, young feller”, I yelled at him, “what are you doing, running about in those ridiculous shorts?”

“Oh, hello Alli”. I don’t know how he knew my name, word gets around, I suppose. “Haven’t you heard, Rabbit Olympics coming up next month”.

“Rabbit Olympics? What’s that?” I asked, a bit crossly, as I like to know all that is going on in my fields.

“It’s all running and jumping and chasing about the field. And all that”, he panted, jumping up and down on the spot like a collie waiting for it’s next command.

“Oh, nothing different then, just carrying on as usual for you rabbits. Always running and jumping and chasing around, aren’t you?”

Er, well, if you put it like that. You could say…. I never really thought about it. I suppose it is a bit samey. Maybe that’s why we all thought it was such a good idea when he suggested it!”

“Who suggested it?” I asked, a bit curious as to who could have come up with such a hare brained (pardon the pun) scheme.

“You know, that large sheep with the Scottish accent who lives with you. He came along to one of our meetings the other day and asked if we wanted something to do. Never listen to McBaa!Of course, we thought if it was good enough for a sheep, them being such large creatures an’ that, it must be good for us. And it sounded just the kind of thing we would like. But now, you come to mention it ….”

“There aren’t any Scots sheep in this field, only good old Dartmoor ones. Which one was it. If they have been going around pre …. Oh! You don’t mean him”, I said, as Wicky came round the corner. The bunny looked up.

“That’s him,” he said, excitedly, “said his name was McBaa, the flock’s sports trainer. Said he had taught them how to run away when anyone came near them. And, they are good at that, aren’t they?”

But I’d lost interest in the little bunny, now. A bit of discipline was needed. Looking down at him, I said.

“Run along now, sonny. Don’t want to catch a chill, do we? Better finish off your training for today and go home for a nice long lick”.

As he started off, jogging up the hill, I turned back to the field shelter.

“Wicky”, I yelled, “I want a word with you!”

A little bird told me ...Monday 30 June 2003

There are some days that just don’t start out right. I’ve been heading for this for a while now, I think. It happens every year, I get an infection in my eye. It’s the flies. You’ve only got to get a bit watery in an eye and the flies will pick on it and you know what dirty devils they are. Carry infection all over the place and then drop it in your eye. Anyway, SHE saw it and, I’ll swear SHE carries a whole medicine chest in her pockets, for she produces this tube of ointment and spreads it all in my eye. In it and over it and all round it. I was very good, stood there quite still while SHE did it. Well, I’ve found it pays off in the end. If you mess about SHE still does it and you get shouted at, as well. If there’s one thing that really upsets me, it’s being shoutedMouths to feed at. I always try to please them. It’s the best way to get multiple doses of carrots that I know, but sometimes I do something HE or SHE don’t like and them they SHOUT at me.

Well today, I was good and got ointment in my eye. The trouble was it made everything go all smeary and I had trouble finding my way to the nearest polo once it got out of smelling range. I’m hoping that it clears up by tomorrow – not my vision, the infection. It’s bad enough having to go about half he morning with a swimmy eye but having to listen to Treggy moan about missing his fair share of swede because her hand smelled of medicine (“and SHE knows I can’t stand the look, smell or taste or even idea of medicine”) and on and on and on. I just knew it wasn’t going to be a good day. Still, I did give Wicky a good hard nip for fibbing to those poor bunnies the other day. Mind you, thinking about it, it was a good bit of fun, after all. As they say, better than a smack in the eye, or in my case, ointment!

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