Alezane's Diary Archive August 2003
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The day to day life of an ex-racehorse and her companions in Dartmoor UK and Mayenne France
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Right as RainFriday 1st August 2003
“It’s all a matter of how you see yourself”, I heard Wicky say to Treg as I came up from the stream to the field shelter.

“But, I know, I’m going to trip again. And what if I can’t get up? What then? I’m scared to go down by the stream again. The stones hurt my feet and I’m sure they will trip me”.

“Get a grip, Treg, you’re better than that. You may have a few miles on the clock, but you’re a big brave soldier. Don’t let a little thing like a trip make you lose your confidence”.

“That’s right, Treg” I added as I moved up to them, “you are no worse now than you were before you had your fall. You could always get about with the rest of us. Even burst into a trot, now and again, when the mood took you. What you need is some self confidence boosting. Doesn’t he Wick?”

“Aye, laddie, that’s all it is. A matter of confidence. Once you see that you can do what you did before, you’ll be as right as rain”.

 

“Is rain right, Wick? I know it makes the grass grow, but Alli always runs into the field shelter or under a tree when it starts. She can’t think it’s right”.

“It’s just a saying, Treggy”, I said. “What Wicky means is that you are a perfectly good, capable horse. You can do just what you want to do. Don’t let your worries stop you from being fit and strong again”.

“”That’s right, ma auld Treg”, added Wicky. “You are a fine, handsome and intelligent horse who can get what he wants and do what he likes. If a young filly came along now she would probably go all week at the fetlocks, at the sight of you”.

“Of course, Treg”, I added. “You really have a lot to be proud of. All those shows you won, all those fences you jumped. You’re such a clever, even brilliant horse, you can do anything you like”.

“Er, yes, you’re right. Yes, yes, I can, can’t I? I really am a very clever and handsome horse. In fact, I’m not sure what I am doing in this field shelter with the likes of you two scruffs. I think you should move over, go outside. Give me the room I deserve. I’ll let you know when to .., OUCH! That hurt. I’m only kidding. Alright. You win. I’ll go outside. Let me know when to come back in for more of my confidence boosting lesson. Really sorry! I’m last in the pecking order, I know, I’ll never do it again, I’m sorry. You two are wonderful. I know my place. What was that you were saying?”

 

the old work horsesSaturday 2nd August 2003
THEY’ve gone off to see something called ‘Living History’ at Exeter, today. I don’t know why they needed to go so far when they could have come over to Ninefields and seen Wicked and Treggy for nothing. If ever something qualified for the title ‘Living History’ it’s those two. If you add their ages together (and that’s just the ages they admit to) they would go back to the second world war. Wicky is always talking about the ‘old days’ and Treggy is living in them, I think. I overheard them, the other day, talking about how things were not as good as they used to be ‘when we were youngsters’. Children are not so polite, the tack is made of plastic not real leather, as it used to be, the food tastes like sawdust, these days not like the oats we used to get, and on and on and on.

When you think about it, we horses are a lot better off than we used to be. Nowadays, people look after us as some sort of hobby. Even those that are ridden every day, have it easy compared to the days when we were used as transport or as work engines. And the food. It really is better now than it ever was. It may not taste as we remember it when we were foals but I am sure, with all the minerals and vitamins and supplements and so on that they put in our feed these days, we are much healthier than the horses of the 1940’s who were worked in the fields or down the mines till they dropped. But try telling my two old boys that. Will they have it? No! Things were always better ‘in the old days’ for them. Well, good luck to them. Let them dream. I wonder when they invented Polo’s? That was a real turning point in history!

 

a dirty day as we preferSunday 3rd August 2003
A funny day, today. No kids! I gather they have gone off to visit some friends over near Crediton. Just when we were getting them trained, as well. The old ones are wise to our begging ways, to get an extra carrot or Polo or sugar lump. But the kids, they are real soft touches. We were just getting it down to a real fine art, going from one to the other, then on to the adults and then back to the kids, pretending that the adults hadn’t given us anything. We must have been getting through pounds of carrots and hundreds of Polo packets. It’s really been worth suffering the little extra grooming practice and the slightly inexpert handling of the toilet sponges. In fact, even that can be worked to our advantage. If we can look as if we wouldn’t mind being groomed by the youngsters, we often get away with the same sort of ‘lick and a promise’ that they prefer themselves. None of that really thorough grooming that starts to make one feel almost clean and horrible. At least this way, we can stay nearly as dirty as we prefer. Treggy was saying the other day how he will be really sorry to see Ben go and Wicked was saying much the same thing about Rachel, though in a bit gruffer tone, so you didn’t think he was getting sentimental or anything. They even spend some nights making up stories about children in the evening. Wicky talks about the human kids who were around when his ancestors roamed the Shetland hills while Treggy has been known to start going all soft about the Cornish youngsters he knew while he was a growing colt. It’s really quite amusing. I am content with my adult humans who are often quite childish enough for me!

 

I get so grumpy that I tend to kick outMonday 4th August 2003
The weather’s changed, at last. After all the weeks of miserable dark skies and rain, we now have a heat wave! Well, I know which I prefer. Autumn! The rain can be miserable and the heat brings out the flies and a damp and warm day is worst of all for the misery of the insects, flies and midges. In the autumn, you get a bit fresher weather, with a bit of wind, often nice and bright skies while it is still not cold enough for me to have to go in to my stable at night. Did I tell you how cross I get when I first have to go back in at night and leave my friends out. THEY say that they have a hole in the stable wall for each year it has happened since the stable was built. You see, I get so grumpy that I tend to kick out on that first night in. And the stable has inner wall kick boards, for that very purpose, made out of fairly soft chipboard so when I get grumpy, I make my mark.

Still, hopefully, that is a while off yet. I do really enjoy being out in the fields with my friends, however much I moan about them. We have a really nice routine of breakfast, then hanging about dozing most of the morning, often in the field shelter if the flies are bothersome. Then, after the heat of midday is over, we make our way, up to the middle fields where there is a fair bit of rather tasty grass and this passes the time until around seven when we wander down to the road field to greet THEM with our supper. After quite a bit of begging and conning treats after supper, THEY drive off and we make our leisurely way up through the middle fields to the top fields for a quiet night of stargazing, napping and munching until it is time to come down for breakfast again. The old days. You can have them. I would give up racing for retirement any day. Just occasionally, I miss the crowds and the rush. It might be fun to go to a race track again. Just to watch, of course!

 

 

 

The boys meet the kidsTuesday 5th August 2003
It’s official. Old Treg is back to normal. You notice I didn’t say, ‘better’. I didn’t say ‘fine’. But he is as bad as he used to be, and that is good news for all of us. THEY can stop worrying now. At least until the next incident happens. Wicky was also quite worried as Treggy really is his best friend. They have known each other for a long time and have shared experiences in their old Riding School that I don’t even know about. Wicky is a funny chap. I think it is something about his size (or lack of it). He is always scared to show his true feelings, preferring to be thought of as a hard man. And yet, even THEY have noticed that he is just an old cuddle underneath. Quite often when they have made it really very plain that there are NO MORE treats, Wick will just shrug and say ‘Oh, all right then’ and just let himself be cuddled and petted and he will really enjoy it. And when Treg is not well or a bit slow, Wicky will stand up for him and protect him and won’t let anyone say a bad thing about him.

He has even been known to worry about me, if I am not well, but don’t let him know that I told you. He likes everyone to think that he is a tough little mountain pony who can undergo any hardship and survive any tribulation. And, in a way, it is true. He is a tough little man. It’s just that he has a soft centre. Rather like one of those sweets he like to con off the tourists going past. They think it is ever so cute, a horse liking human sweets, not just Polo’s and sugar cubes. They should really know what Wicky will eat. HE was saying, just this morning that it was a good thing Wick didn’t eat granite or he would be through to Australia by now. I’ll say this for him. He has a bonny appetite. Ay, laddie, a bonny wee appetite, indeed!

 

A girlie momentWednesday 6th August 2003
There I was, just starting to think about supper, when, all of a sudden, up comes this strange human, acting in a very familiar way. He was, wasn’t he Wick?

“Oh, ay, lassie, very familiarrh!”

Well, as I was saying. I couldn’t help feeling that there was something about him that I knew, or that I should know, but all the same. You have to be very careful with humans. My dam always warned me to be very aware of what they might be up to. So when this strange, hairy human approached me, I took quite a long while to decide to eat his polo mints. Then, of course, I decided that he must be alright. If he had meant any harm, would he have bothered to get some of those familiar round green tubes?

“He might have Alli”

What do you mean, Treg?

“Well, he might have gone and got some of those sweets, just to entice us. That’s what my dam always told me”

I was surprised that Treg could remember so far back, but I had to secretly agree although I would never have let him know that he was right.

Well, maybe Treg. Sometimes. But I knew this was James all along, didn’t I?

“How could ye tell, lassie?”

I just sort of know these things, Wick. Superior breeding, I expect. Some of us have these powers, you understand.

Wicky looked dubious but he couldn’t find an answer to that. He has always had this inferiority complex when it comes to his pedigree and mine. Probably because… I shouldn’t say this, but, because of his …cross breeding!

“I expect you’re right Alli”, he concurred.

“Yes, Alli’s always right, isn’t she Wick?”

Good old Treg. Never questions when I say something is it, that is it. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. I took a polo off this hairy faced chap and heard his female companion call him ‘James’. That confirmed it. Mind you, that was about all I could make out of what she was saying. I think she is foreign or something. I know I was bred in France, but at least I have a decent command of the Queen’s English. This foreigner was just unintelligible. But her Polos were just as sweet as his, so in the end, I let things slide and decided that, as humans go, they weren’t so bad, after all. If they manage to keep up the treats, then I might just make the effort to remember them for another time. Another one, oh, well. If you insist!

 

VisitorsThursday 7th August 2003
“Wicky?”

“Yes, laddie?”

“Watch my ‘oot, Wick, watch my ‘oot!”

Tregony was waving his rear, near side hoof in the air, toe pointed down.

“Verra good, laddie, where d’ye learn tha?” Wicky was obviously in a rather mellow mood, this evening.

“I don’t know, Wick. It just sort of does it on its own. And if I put it down, another one comes up. But I don’t put it down much, ‘cos it hurts”

“You are a very complicated sort of person, ma auld Treg. We all try our best to keep up o’ ye but sometimes it’s no easy, you ken son?”

“I think I know what you mean, Wick. I’m what they call a colt genius? Is that it?”

“Do ye remember wha’ a colt is, ma man?”

“Oh yes, Wick, a colt is, er, I’m a col.. er ..Tell me Wicky, you are so clever, It’s just slipped my memory”

“A colt, laddie, is a horse who is just a wee bit younger than you, ma Treg. A wee bittie younger”

“Watch my … What Wick. Oh yes, a bit younger than me. I’m more of a filly, aren’t I?”

“Did they never tell ye aboot the burrds and the bees, my Treg?”

“This is getting very complicated, Wicky. Can you tell me a simpler story?”

“Well, laddie. Once upon a time there was a big, bay buffoon and a spruce wee Shetland highlander and they were sitting around, eating grass and telling stories”.

“Just like us”, interrupted Tregony, “except I’m not a highlander, more of a Welsh hillander.”

“Tregony, you are a trial to a spell checker, let alone to a kindly companion and friend.”

“What’s a spell checker, Wick? Is this going to be a story about magic and stuff?”

Tregony?”

“Yes, Wicky?”

“Watch my ‘oot, it’s going straight up your bu …!”

 

AdmirersFriday 8th August 2003
You should have heard the racket going on down in the village. You know those times when they separate the calves from their mothers and the sound of them all calling out to each other over the fields? Well, if you thought that was bad, you should hear this. We are in the middle of a heat wave at the moment and sound seems to carry very long distances. When I asked HIM who was getting tortured or who was being taken away from their mother, HE told me it was nothing like that. It is something peculiar to humans called a Foke Festeeval or something, I didn’t bother to get the exact spelling, the noise is enough. Apparently, once a year, a lot of humans get together and all sit around inside a big artificial tree, so that they can get really hot, and some of them watch others of them hitting animal skins and rubbing strips of animal gut with sticks and puffing wind into bits of twisted metal to DELIBERATELY make those noises that I was telling you about. Did you get that? They do it on purpose. I had to ask him if it was some kind of punishment or self inflicted penance for having done something wrong all the rest of the year. And , do you know what, he said no, they do it because they like it!

I don’t know how many times they have called Wicky silly for rolling in some completely lovely sheep poo and mud or how often they laugh about Tregony when he scratches himself on barbed wire. They have even been known to laugh at me, when I warn them about the spooks in the hedges. And they go and do something like this ‘because they like it!’ I can’t remember who I heard say it. I think it was some human at a race track I went to in Yorkshire somewhere. Anyway, the saying has stuck in my head ever since. “There’s nowt as queer as folk”, he said. I expect that it was an abbreviation for Foke Festeeval.

 

Saturday 9th August 2003Treg's bucket
I’m sorry to bore you all with this but it was another vet day, today. After saying how Tregony was so much better, he has been wandering off on his own and hobbling about and everyone was getting really seriously worried for him. I overheard HIM and HER talking about maybe having to do the ‘noble thing’ for him which is a sort of coded way of saying kill him without having to admit to themselves that that is what they would be doing. Of course, for the best of intentions. Tregony has been looking as if life was becoming a misery for him and nobody would want him to have to live with suffering and misery. I have been doing my best for him, waiting around for him to finish what he was doing, going with him, slowly when he hobbled about in the field. But, of course, there is only so much that I can do, physically. The humans and I have to work as a team. I look after his inner, horse self and they look after his physical self.

Anyway. Roger turned up again, in the sweltering heat, to have a look at the old man. Tregony himself, being not a silly as the humans thought he was, had found the best place to be, in the cool spot between the field shelter and the hedge. They had to get the head collar and with HIM pulling at the front and Roger pushing at the back, they finally got him into the field shelter where Roger was able to examine him. Well, you never would have expected the joy and celebration there was when Roger found some pus in Treg’s rear foot. You would have thought that having an infected foot was a really good thing to have. But, of course, everyone was just so relieved that dear old Tregony was not off his rocker or ready for that big paddock in the sky, just yet. There’s more poultices in the old fella yet!

Or should that be on? It hasn’t taken away the pain. The poor old boy is still having to hobble and limp everywhere. But if wishes and kisses and cuddles count for anything, he will still be around when I win my next race!

 

Sunday 10th August 2003A seat by the pool
I overheard the grandchildren, today, asking HIM how I told him my stories to put into this diary. They said maybe I whispered into his ear when he is feeding me treats, or maybe I used some sort of telepathy. Ben got nearest when he said maybe I used a sort of Morse code (whatever that is?). Actually, he was very close. But it’s not Morse code it’s HORSE CODE! I can’t tell you any more than that because it is a very closely guarded secret. Only a few humans are ever allowed to know about it. If they are not on our staff, employed to type up our stories or to communicate our needs and wishes to other humans then these ones usually call themselves horse whisperers. Of course, it is not them that do the whispering, but we allow them their little vanities and usually do not correct them. Some of them get quite famous. They listen to what we tell them in horse code and then they pretend that they have made us do the things we told them that we were going to do. See?

 

This is how it works. We are out in a show ring or paddock. We call the human over using our special code and let him know that we are going to run around in circles or we are going to roll over or whatever. He mumbles something that the other humans can’t hear, probably something like ‘ O.K. I understand, let me know when you are ready and I’ll communicate this to the other humans’. Well then, if we feel like it, that is exactly what we do, the so called ‘horse whisperer’ moves his/her body about in what they think looks like a mysterious way and then off we go, running or rolling or whatever. The rest of the humans watching seem to think that this is really a wonderful thing (although they rarely show their appreciation in the proper carroty or minty manner) and away goes the ‘whisperer’ looking really good. I’m letting you all know this because I think it is time that they were called their proper name – ‘horse listener’. There is only so much glory stealing that we horses can stand. We don’t mind so much when we win races and the jockeys jump up and down and get cups and other prizes. We don’t even mind when we go round a show jumping ring with clear rounds or win in a pony club gymkhana and the humans get cheered and feted and we just get a silly paper flower thing stuck to our tack. We do these things, first of all because we like to and secondly because we feel sorry for the pathetic bodies that the humans are saddled with (forgive my pun). But, a little more humility wouldn’t come amiss, sometimes, would it?

 

Monday 11th August 2003Alezane and Wicked by the gate
“Alli?”

“Yes, Tregony?”

“Do you remember when Wicky and I first came here, to Ninefields?”

“Of course I do, Treggy. It was one of the best days in my life. Well, apart from Wicked, of course.” I was smiling when I said that and Tregony knew that I was joking.

“You do like Wicky, really, don’t you Alli?” said Treg, a bit nervously.

“What’s not to like, Treg?. That is if you don’t mind cocky little short as.. er ..ponies, and dirt and smells and, well, you know, Wickies!”

“What are ‘Wickies’ Alli? Are they different from Shetlands and that?”

“They come from a special island that is near Shetland but not quite on it, Treg. The whole area id made up of some very low lying ground that is always a bit muddy and grimy and also is a bit fragrant. If you land there, you tend to feel as if you are getting your knees bitten all the time and everything is covered with flies.”

“Ooh dear, Alli, that doesn’t sound very nice, no wonder Wicked wanted to leave there and come here.”

“Oh yes, Treggy, the Wickies are a terrible place to be, indeed. In fact, the Wickies are a terrible thing to be, indeed, I would be very sorry for any pony that had that stigma hanging over him”.

“Are they really terrible, Alli, - Stigmas?”

“Even worse than Wickies, Treg. And if you get a Wicky with a Stigma, the foal is bound to be one of the worst things in the whole world!”

“Golly, Alli, worse than Clarrie's muck spreader?”

“Even worse than that, Treg, although the perfume is very similar, I do believe”.

“How come you are so clever, Alli? Is it being foreign or is it that pedigree stuff that you had as a filly?”

“Well, Tregony. You know what I told you before about my royal breeding and stuff. Well, it’s all about the jeans that we royalty wear when we are very young. It is the same pair that has been handed down from generation to generation. We all wear them for a little while and then we get really clever. Don’t just take my word for it. You ask Harry when he is in the field next. He has seen it when he goes to his horse shows, I expect. You can always tell the royal horses, trotting about in their jeans.”

“Well, I expect you looked lovely in them Alli, you have such a lovely bum!”

“Ah - hem, Treggy, a lady does not talk about such things. You’re right though, I do, don’t I?”

 

Tuesday 12th August 2003Rachel and Ben surfing
THEY went to the seaside today. We had our breakfast, as normal but when THEY came to bring supper, THEY were all red and glowing. Not as red as me, of course, but not bad, for humans. It brought back a lot of memories for me. Where I was brought up, in Normandy, in France, our Haras was quite near the sea and we used to go for gallops along the seashore some days, early in the morning before the rest of the world was awake. I know memory does strange things but those days were always spring or early summer with warm breezes and beautiful dawn skies. The sound of the awakening birds together with the music of our hooves as we trotted down the empty lanes to the beach is a sound I will never forget. Rather like the cries of young buzzards on a summer’s morning on Dartmoor, it was a sound that gets under your skin and always triggers memories when you hear it again.

We would move along the lane, a group of us, about seven or eight in number, always keeping to our place, although what that place was, each time we went out, varied according to which rider we had and who he or she wanted to talk to (or not) that morning. Often, we would just go along in silence, as if the humans were trying their best to be like horses and just communicate in a natural way rather then with the silly noises they make. Then we would come out of the lane, at the top of a gentle slope, and we would get our first sight of the sea. Why is that always exciting? The first glimpse of the sea? Always a surprise, always a stirring of something inside you. And then we would be off. A brief pause at the top of the slope, a moving into position and then the leading lad would call out something to the rest and we would move down onto the sand, pick up pace and then string along the edge of the waves in a gentle canter. After a few moments of holding our breath, so it would seem, while the gentle wavelets splashed under our hooves, the tension mounting, until I thought we couldn’t hold on a second longer then, like a perfectly synchronised machine, we would break into a gallop. The splashing salt water, the wind making my mane flow out almost straight from my neck and the sun breaking in fire over the water, we would hurtle along the beach until it seemed we could never stop. Those were the mornings that breakfast never tasted so sweet. It was my youth.

 

Wednesday 13th August 2003James and Tanya
Well, the days go by, one by one. James and Tanya went back home today. It almost seems as if they had only just arrived and yet a week has gone by since my first Irish polo mint. I wonder if I will see her again? I know I’ll see him because he has a sort of love for the countryside and took a delight in visiting us in our Ninefields. It’s funny how different humans react in different ways. A lot of the ramblers who pass along the Throwleigh Road try to ignore us. It is as if to stop and give a horse some attention, let alone a carrot, is a bit infra dig or something. As if they were admitting that they spend most of their time in the town or city and that a horse in a field were a novelty to them. So they just pass along with their heads in the air, looking to admire the countryside, almost in an abstract manner, something to preserve or protest about but not really to be a practical part of. And then there are the tourist families, who are genuinely a bit in awe of the fields and their contents. These are the best from our point of view for we can get endless treats out of them – Ooh, look at the nice horsey, daddy, ooh, look, he eats sweets, give him another one Elsie, Ooh, look at that little one. Oh, what’s that on his back? – and on and on, like that. But at least you can bear that as long as the sandwiches are salad ones and the sweets are nice and crunchy. Luckily we are too far from the shops for them to give us ice creams. You should hear the stories Wicks tells us about the ice cream givers.

The worst ones are the so called horse lovers, those who profess to know a bit about equine matters and wont give you anything. They disguise their meanness behind such terms as ‘laminitis’, and ‘healthy eating’ and ‘too much protein’ and other lame excuses. They forget that, after they have been out for their rides, making us trot along tarmac roads and canter over granite strewn fields, up hills and along muddy bridleways, then they go home to a big, fatty, unhealthy fried breakfast or out for a whopping great pub lunch washed down with gallons of unhealthy alcohol. No kind horse or pony to sidle up behind them and whisper ‘heart attack’ or ‘diabetes’ or other such warning phrases. If you want contradictions, go for humans. If you want a healthy, vegetarian, preferably organic diet look to the equine. But if you expect horses who have to eat grass or dried grass for most of their existence not to try and sucker the passer by now and again into giving them a nice minty treat – think again!

 

Thursday 14th August 2003Tregony wants to go to the show
Okehampton show, today. Those were the days. I used to sparkle in the local shows. I was a great jumper, too. Often used to come home with several rosettes and even sometimes a silver cup, as well. Oh, I forgot. Alli asked me to do the diary page today, as she was feeling a bit lazy in the hot weather. Wicky just laughed and told her that I would make a mess of it but he was only jealous because we made jokes about him the other day and he hoped that he would be asked to do it so he could get his own back. What was that? Oh yes, my foot. Oh, that’s a lot better now, thanks. I’ve got to have another antibiotic jab tonight, I think and then that should be that. Funny how HER nursing experience has come in handy after all this time. When she gives me an injection, it doesn’t hurt at all. Not like some of those vets! Still, that’s just me. I’ve not forgiven Roger yet for not letting me rest my weight on him, while he was seeing to my foot. Weedy human. No strength! If he were a horse we’d probably have to have him put down as a runt. Still, they have their uses, humans I mean! Vets, of course. They are very useful, at times, although I have had some complaints from the cats and dogs that I know, about where they put their thermometers. Well, maybe not so much dogs, now I come to think about it.

I was talking about the Okehampton show, wasn’t I. I used to go to the Tregony show. Didn’t know that, did you. They named a whole town after me. Tregony, near Truro in Cornwall. They were thinking of naming Truro after me, I am told, but they didn’t have enough letters so they just used the T , the R and the O. Their hard luck! Our shows then were not as big as the Okehampton one but they were more local and everyone knew everyone else and it was more like competing with your friends. I really used to love the competition and the friendliness of the other horses there. We didn’t really mind who won. We all just had a really good time. I miss being able to jump in the show ring now but I know I am really lucky to be here with Alli and my best friend Wicked. I don’t like to own up to it but I fell in love with Alli the moment I first saw her. We spent all that first day walking and eating together like two synchronised swimmers. I mustn’t write any more or she will be embarrassed but I’m glad I have had this chance to tell you now!

 

Friday 15th August 2003Sophie
Bzzz! There goes another one. Ooooh! They do annoy me. Flies. The world would be a much better place without flies. It’s bad enough that they have to fly all around you but then they have to crawl in and out of your eyes, or your nose or any other wet part of you. The tickling is enough to drive you mad and then, as if that is not enough, they bite you. Ow! On the joint or on the foot or any place where it is difficult to reach. They bite. And worse. The bot fly lands on you and lays its eggs where you can reach, just so you will try to bite them off and end up swallowing them and hatching them inside you. Ugh! Ugh!! How I hate flies. We stand all day nodding and nodding and trying, in vain, to avoid them. And out tails are swished this way and that way, with their stinging strands to cut the flies down in their tracks. And I nod and nod and the weather gets warmer and warmer and I swish and I nod and I swish and my tail is getting bigger and heavier and turning into a giant hammer and there is a fly and bang! That’s got him. Bang!! My tail is swinging right up into the air and look – there is a massive fly biting into my skin and up goes my tail and WHANG!! Down onto the fly and it is splatted into nothing and my teeth are itching to get a fly on my heel and, swift as a swallow, Crunch, my teeth sink into that fly and the relief, Oh, the relief and now I can relax and BANG! Another one falls to my tail and I am relaxing and my jaw is drooping down, doowwnn, down … Another perfect day, in the sun at Ninefields….

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday 16th August 2003Tom looks on ...
The kids’ parents were supposed to be coming yesterday but THEY got that wrong and they came today. It looks like it may soon be the end to our extra treats. But not yet. What’s that Treg? Oh yes. He say it may be the end of him being chased down to get his supper of an evening. He could be right about that. The kids turn it into a bit of a game. Getting Treg’s head collar and having to entice him down to get his food. I wouldn’t be surprised if the game part very quickly vanishes when the kids have gone home. THEY will probably go back to being their grumpy old selves again, particularly in the mornings. As if it is our fault that we can’t get our own feed. Given half a chance we would. We would know the correct amounts and what feed would be the best for us. None of this ‘Slim & Healthy’ for us. What’s wrong with ‘Fat and Lazy’? It’s got just a good a ring to it. And it tastes better! What Treg? Oh, yes, and you don’t need so much of it all at once to feel nice and comfy so think of the time you save eating. Oh, alright Wick, I know you don’t eat less, really, I’m just trying to put a point across. It doesn’t have to be strictly accurate. What? Oh, all right. And you do need to have extra large helpings of it because it helps to put on condition. That right, Wick? Yes, condition. What every horse needs a lot of. What Treg? Oh, alright, condition and carrots. Here, if you don’t think I’m doing a good enough job, write it yourself. There’s no satisfying some horses (or ponies), I’ve had enough of both of you, I’m going up the field to get a mouthful of green condition. See you!

 

 

 

 

Sunday 17th August 2003Rachel, HER, Treg and Ben
The parents have taken the grandchildren to something called a pop concert tonight. I expect they all eat as much as they can until they go ‘pop’ or something. It sounds a really sensible thing to do. But try telling THEM that. They were in a bad enough mood as it was. Apparently it was the open day for an organisation that rescues and looks after ponies in the South West. THEY went off to visit the place but after driving all around Dartmoor, they couldn’t find it and came home all grumpy. I could have told them that there were two horses and a pony that they could have rescued much nearer to home and all the treats and expense that they wanted to lavish on those other ponies could have found a good home right here in Ninefields. Apparently HE found the home of the lady who runs the rescue but she was not in. There was a sign saying ‘Dogs Running Loose’ but when he knocked at the house next door (having received no reply at the first house) he came across a dog running loose who only wanted to play football. It was a Collie, of course. Much too much of a nutter to be a house guard dog.

We’ve not done much today, ourselves. The extreme heat has gone but it is still a bit warm when you have a high internal temperature, as we have. While the days are still warm, we remain nocturnal animals. Dozing most of the day and walking up the hill and eating most of the night. A bit of a breeze overnight and a small shower gives some inkling of the autumn to come. But not yet. I’m going to stay out as long as I can this autumn. Tell them it’s to save on hay bills. That should have them agreeing. Hooves crossed!

 

 

 

Monday 18th August 2003They didn't go pop then?
“They didn’t go pop then?”

“What was that, Wicky?”

“I said, Alli, they didn’t go pop. The children. They were going to …”

“Yes, Wicky, I know where they were going. You’re just being silly, now, aren’t you?”

“Alli?”

“Yes Tregony?”

“Who didn’t go pop and what is pop, Alli? Where do you get pop from and wh…”

“Stop, stop, stop, will you Treg. And don’t you smile, Wicked, you stated this. Now look what you’ve done. He’ll go off up the field to his little place and think about this all day now.”

“Lassie, dinna worrit yersel’. It’s guid for the auld fella to hae something tae think aboot!”

“And you can lose that fake pseudo Scots accent, Wicky. If you must use dialect, at least use your native Devonian.”

“Alli?”

“Treg?”

“What’s a devonibum?”

“No, Treg. Oh! I give up. What with the flies, the gnats and now these two, I’m going off to somewhere quiet. You talk to him Wicky, he’s your friend too!”

“Wicky?”

“Aye laddie?”

“Where’s Alli gone, Wick?”

“I think she’s just gone pop, Tregony.”

“Oh, that’s where it is, Wicky, just over by the two gates. No, the children definitely didn’t go pop last night. I would have seen them!”

 

Open Day histlesTuesday 19th August 2003
“You know what I’m going to do, Treg?”

“What are you going to do, Wicky?”

“I’m going to .., no, WE are going to have an Open Day!”

“Oh good, Wicky, an Open Day, eh? That’s a good idea. Isn’t it?”

“Do you know what an Open Day is, Treg?”

“Me? An Open Day? Of course I .. er.. well, now you mention it, I’m not too terribly sure what kind of Open Day you mean, Wick.”

“What do you mean ‘what kind of Open Day’? How many kinds do you know Treg?”

“I’ve sort of forgotten, just now, Wicky. Tell me about your, I mean, our one.”

“We get everyone to come and visit us here in Ninefields, Treg.”

“But they do, don’t they Wick. We never go and visit them. So they have to, don’t they?”

“No, laddie. I mean everyone. Lots of people. People we don’t even know. Crowds and crowds. All coming to visit us.”

“But won’t that get crowded, Wicky? Our field shelter is not very big. The three of us only just fit in now and that’s when I stand outside.”

“They’re not coming into our field shelter, you moron, they are coming to visit our environment, to see where we live and that.”

“But I know where I live, Wicky. Why do I want anyone strange coming here to tell me that?”

“You’re just not getting this, are you old son. They are all coming here to visit us. And what do humans usually do when they come to visit us?”

“Shout at me? I don’t think I would like that very much, Wicky. You and Alli might like it but I get very confused when a lot of people shout at me. Or even when two people do. Or one!”

“No, you great big baboon. They bring treats. Carrots, and apples and minty sweets and everything.”

“Oh. Oh oh oh. OH! I get it now, Wick. It’s sort of short for an Open Mouth Day. That’s it, isn’t it, Wick.”

“Aye laddie, if you say so. Alli. Alli. What do you think. Should we hold an Open Mouth Day? Tregony thinks that would be a good idea.”

“No, Wicky. Treg. Let’s do something different, for a change.”

 

Wednesday 20th August 2003Th top of Ninefields
Well, just when the children have gone home and HE has mended the T.V. and got his internet connection repaired, HE goes and gets his old ulcer trouble back and has had to delay typing my diary up again for a couple of days. Mind you, nothing has really happened here at Ninefields lately. The best thing is old Treg is really getting better and better. He is still not really his old self but if I remember, the last time he had his shoes off, he didn’t like it. He is happy to walk about on the grass as much as you like but as soon as he has to walk over bare earth or ground with stones in (and where hasn’t on Dartmoor?) and he is walking so very carefully and waving his feet in the air as if he was very badly lame again. I’ve heard THEM talking saying that they will have him shod again, next time the farrier comes, as long as his upper hooves can hold the nails. (I think they said shod!)

The other thing I heard, is that they are going to see Michelle, where Treg and Wicked used to live in the riding school , on Friday. Apparently she phoned and has put together some old photos and maybe a few stories about the old boys, before they came here. That should be interesting to see and will probably be a bit of a boost to old Treg’s confidence, for people to see him when he was young (hmm, younger) and cantering around and jumping over fences. He has asked me to keep this short as he still has a bit of tummy trouble. I’ll probably have more for you when we have all seen what Michelle has collected.

 

Thursday 21st August 2003
“You did what, Treg?”

“I signed up for my own blog.”

“Your blog? What’s a blog, Treggy?.”

“You know, Wick, a kind of Alli’s Diary for non Allis.”

You did what, Treg?“And where did you hear of this, my friend?”

“Well, HE was installing a new Google Tool Bar to his explorer and …”

“Whoa, Treg. Hang on old son. What’s a google?”

“I er, I er, well, I’m not really sure Wick. I think it’s some kind of fancy French dog. Alli would know. She’s French.”
”And why would a French fancy dog have a tool bar? Tell me that, old son.”

“Well, maybe they need fixing or something. Or maybe they are like that other great big dog what has a barrel of brandy round its neck, a Saint Bernstein or something. It could be like that. You know, that sort of bar, where you have a drink but need a tool to open it or something, like in hotels..”
”Well thought out, Treg, ya great loon, whatever will you make up next?”

“Well it was to his explorer, Wick. Explorer’s need a drink now and then, don’t they?”

“Let’s get back to this blob, Treg. What are you going to do with it?”

“It’s a blog, not a blob, Wicky. You are silly, you know.”

“A blog, then! What does it do, this blog?”

“You write in it, Wick. I’m supposed to put down my most profound thoughts for all the world wide web to see.”

“Just a small blob, then. Eh, Treg? You won’t take up a lot of the cider space with that, will you?”

“I didn’t know you were so, er, without it, Wick. It’s not cider space it’s cyber space and I’ll tell you again it’s a blog. Short for, er, egg blob or something.”

“Well, where are you going to get the eggs from, laddie?”

“I can see that this is a bit advanced for you, Wicky. I’d love to stay around and educate you into the high tick world but I’ve got to go now and prepare my next thought ready for the Intervet.”

“I think you’ll find that’s net not vet, Treg. Oh he’s going. Come back laddie, I’d like to chat with you some more. Oh bother, too late. There he goes….”

………

“…….I’m Trog the Blog, diddle diddle diddle dum

with the extra log, diddle diddle diddle dum ……”

 

“Well, at least he’s happy, the poor wee soul!”

 

Friday 22nd August 2003big sky
It was the middle of the night, and Wicky and I were up in the small, right, middle field while Tregony, who said he wanted to be alone to think some really profound thoughts for his Blog, was in his usual corner in the field next to Michaels. We were all doing what all sensible horses should do (to the grass) when suddenly there was a very loud crash, from over by the Throwleigh Road. Our three heads shot up but for a moment we could see nothing. Then, with a whoosh, a sheet of flame shot up into the night sky, singeing all the leaves on the hedge next to the bridle path entrance. Then there was a general conflagration behind our road hedge and I could see, in the dancing shadows, a human silhouette, jumping about and the outline of the kind of mote-mote that usually has the job of transporting maniac collies around the countryside. Wicky and I started down the hill and I could sense that Treg was heading in our direction as well. Of course, we were not going to go anywhere near it but we did need to get a better vantage point, in order to keep informed of the potential danger level, in case we needed to make a run for it.

Above the field shelter seemed to be the best location from all points of view. We had an unimpeded exit, if we so needed it whilst, at the same time, we had a grand view of the burning metal and shattering glass and the fleeing humans. There was a worry, for a time, that our hedge might burn but being behind a good stout Dartmoor granite wall, it suffered no more than a singeing of its extremities. After a while, the flames died down and we all realised that we had been wasting valuable eating time on this rather pathetic event and so we prepared to remedy the situation. Treggy went away grumbling that not only had he missed his fodder but the excitement had quite put his latent profound thought, right out of his head. Wicky looked at me and winked and we both ambled off humming “diddle, diddle, dum…” under our breath. Mind you, I think the irony was lost on our old mate who was last seen with his head on one side looking a trifle puzzled.

 

Saturday 23rd August 2003Meadowsweet
SHE is going to do a piece on Meadowsweet soon, so SHE sent HIM off to get some photos of her. Good old Meadowsweet. I have to hand it to her. She nipped his nipple! HE says it was because he passed the packet of Polos to Annabelle, so that he could get some better camera angles. I know better. It was because she was feeling playful. Sometimes I am envious of other horses and ponies because they can get away with things that I would never dare to do. I would love to give him a nip, like I do to Treg or Wicky. But, I just don’t dare. Most of the time, he is as good and sweet as can be. But sometimes, he can be a real old grump bum and, if I just have a little bit of fun, he shouts at me! I HATE to be shouted at. (I told him to put that in capitals!) When we first got to know one another, HE used to come into my field, at Wood, and jump about and run around, to invite me for a game. And then, when I charged at him, in fun, you should have seen the colour that his face changed! You see, he didn’t know I can stop or turn on a Polo mint and I would never have bumped into him or hurt him in any way. But there, accidents can always happen. He keeps reminding me of the time I trod on his foot. I mean, I have trodden on his foot lots of times but this once must have caught him badly, for he thought I had broken it. Apparently, when the pain wore off, he tested his foot and could find nothing wrong, but now, a couple of years later, he has one toe which refuses to lay straight and which must have been broken and set itself crooked. Well, it’ll be one way of identifying the body if it ever comes to it!

Getting back to Meadowsweet. He ended up with quite a few new pictures so SHE is happy, HE is happy and Meadowsweet ended up with the remainder of the packet of Polos, so, as long as Annabelle doesn’t eat them or give them to Eric to get him to do jobs around the house, she will be happy too.

 

Sunday 24th August 2003two rescues
They went off to see the pony rescue place today. SWEP, it’s called. He says it’s for South West Equine Protection but I’ve heard of it as something THEY mix with alcohol so I wonder if HE was mixing it up with the what he had for lunch? Anyway, he tells me it was over the far side of Dartmoor and they passed loads and loads of mares with foals just roaming about over the moor. I was so jealous, I could hardly contain myself. After all. I’m a wild Dartmoor horse now so why can’t I have foals like them. I long sometimes for a youngster to play with and frolic about. The old boys are good company most of the time but, let’s face it, they are not big on frolic, are they? Colic, maybe. Frolic, never! The nearest old Treg gets to a frolic is when he tries to remember who he is, when he wakes up. You can see his eyes frolicking about in his head like mad, until it comes to him. And Wicky? A mad dash for the feed bucket and that’s him for the day, or at least, until another feed bucket appears.

So, what was at SWEP. You’ve guessed it. Mares and foals! Even the rescues either come with foals or they are pregnant and then deliver at SWEP. God knows what their morals must be like, on the moor, (lucky devils). It would appear that one of the main problems is that most moorland ponies are like Wicky. Not to look at. Or, at least, not all of them. No, it is their habit of getting food out of tourists, by begging on the roadside. This encourages the humans to feed them (which is, of course, the whole point of being lovely and cuddly and all) and this attracts more ponies by the roadside, etc. etc. Nothing wrong in that, you say. Humans get all warm and squashy feelings and ponies get treats and everyone’s happy, right? Wrong! The problem is that the humans don’t live on the moors, and they have to get there, from where they live and where their treat shops are. And that is a bit too far for their poor little weak legs to take them, so they use their mote-motes. And, so as not to be late for feeding their pony friends they drive a bit fast and can’t stop when their pony friends come out onto the road to greet them. Which is where SWEP comes in. Sometimes it is just to take in the orphans after their mothers have been knocked down and killed and, at other times, it is to hold down the suffering pony while it is shot to put it out of it’s misery.

I gather there are two answers. Either for humans to drive very slowly or to fence the roads off. The problem is, half the humans say fences won’t look as pretty as the miles and miles of granite walls and the other half say they can’t slow down, as they will be a few minutes late for where they started off going to, a few minutes too late. And so, in true human style, nothing at all is done. Well then, if you humans won’t do anything to stop the slaughter then at least you should send a large donation of money to SWEP, so that they can continue picking up the pieces for you.

 

Monday 25th August 2003resued ponies run like the wind
Well, I never thought I’d see the day, but here it was, old Treg, laughing out loud. It all started when I happened to be talking to him about what HE had been getting up to lately. HE often tells me about his day while I am telling him what to write for my diary and this morning, HE told me about the continued troubles HE has been having with his computer. I think it is just an excuse for when HE is late typing it up. I’ve noticed that he seems to be updating my diary every three days now and not every day, as I have repeatedly told him to do. First he came up with the excuse that he had to reload his windows or something. Well, I said, if he didn’t bother with them in the first place, he’d be far better off. We just have this great big entrance way to our field shelter and that seems to do fine for looking out and everything. No need at all for windows. Oh well, that’s humans for you. Real softies. Then he excused himself by saying that he couldn’t get onto the net. Well, at first, like Treg, I thought HE said vet and wondered why HE would need a vet to mend his windows. But no, he did say net. So then I reckoned it must be something to do with his feed. Probably the sheep had bitten a hole in his net, like they do to ours, just to get at our hay. Anyway, he got someone to mend the hole and now his net is working fine. So why is he not updating my diary every day? He tells me, listen to this, he’s got worms! Well. That was when old Treg burst out laughing. Then he got this sort of evil glint in his eye and he spluttered that we should get a syringe filled up with that sort of mud slurry down near the stream, creep up behind HIM and pump it all down HIS throat! Worms! That was the excuse HE used for doing it to us. Worms! Well, do you believe it? No, neither do I. Treggy was all for finding out where HE keeps his feed bucket and putting some worm powder in that. See if HE really couldn’t taste the difference, as HE says we can’t. You could see the thoughts and ideas just bubbling up in old Treg’s head as he wandered away, tears streaming down his face. He may have got a good laugh about it but, with runny eyes, the flies got the last laugh, as they always do!

 

Tuesday 26th August 2003reproduction
Was it only Saturday that I wrote “I would never hurt HIM in any way”? Well, maybe I was a bit hasty. Let me start at the beginning.

Guess what’s happened now? No sooner has Treg got back to something like normal (for him) than Wicky has gone lame. Yes, THEY couldn’t believe it last night when they brought the supper feed buckets and Wicky was standing in the Throwleigh Road field as usual but he didn’t come to greet them. Even when the bucket passed right under his nose, he didn’t charge off down to the field shelter like he usually does, to try to get to supper first. Instead he turned in apparent great pain and limped his way down very slowly. Well, we all know what that means, don’t we. ‘Wait and see what it’s like in the morning’, in the hope that it’s only a knock, but if it’s no better, a phone call to the vets is the order of the day. Of course, we could have told them straight away that it was his usual abscess problem but they still refuse to learn horse, like most arrogant humans, so they had to see for themselves this morning.

About midday, THEY turned up and found us all up the hill in the first middle field. HE tried to get Wicky down to the field shelter, first with bribes and then with the head collar. Have you ever tried to get a stubborn little pony to do something that it doesn’t want to (in Wicky’s case, mostly because of the pain)? Well, luckily the vet drove up, a new chap we’ve not seen before, called John, I believe, and he called up to leave Wick there (as if HE had a choice) and that he would come up to him. As chief supervisor, I had gone down to stand next to HIM to make sure everything was O.K. when , all of a sudden, this strange guy appeared, carrying a plastic box, from the hidden entrance, through the gateway up the hill. Of course, I bolted, naturally. Always better safe than sorry. Except this time HE was sorry for I cracked my head against his cheek as I ran and like the puny creatures that humans are, HE nearly passed out. Of course I came back to see what the problem was, as soon as I had made sure that this new person was harmless but, ungrateful creature that HE is, I wasn’t even thanked for this! He didn’t shout at me but I could see that it was in the back of his mind, so I contented myself with supervising from a distance. I’m glad to report that the new vet seems to know what he is doing so I won’t need to teach him too much. As for old grumpy drawers, he’ll just have to get over it by breakfast tomorrow.

 

evening over the BeaconWednesday 27th August 2003
Our field has been invaded by Travellers again! This seems to happen on a fairly regular basis in the summer months. We very rarely see them in the winter, when I expect they are tucked up in a much warmer spot. But in the summer, it is a normal occurrence. They don’t all come at once. Usually just one or two appear, scouting out the territory, I expect. I have to be honest, we never are quite sure how they manage to get in unless it is over the walls, and that would seem hardly likely. Probably these advance scouts find a gap in the defences, a hole in the hedge or even, sometimes, an open gateway. However they do it, pretty soon after the advance scouts have arrived, the main group appear. They travel in families, not too many males but each female has one or two youngsters with her although many of them are strapping great things and you can only tell their age by their childish behaviour. And dirty? They make Wicky look clean! If their coats ever had any colour, that is long submerged under an overlying, filthy grime. I don’t want you to think we are snobbish or anything but there are such things as standards. And their morals leave a lot to be desired, as well. They will take any food that they find without so much as a ‘can I?’ or a ‘thank you’. Right from under ones nose, as well.

Of course, being travellers, they can’t sit still for long, either. Not content with squatting in one of our fields, they will range all over the whole nine, stealing as they go. But finally, they move on. At first, not far, probably just next door into Clarence’s field. I notice they do not tend to go into Michael’s field much. It’s probably because of his dogs. For, if there is one thing that will put wandering sheep in order, it’s a collie. Just go to prove how daft they are, for if there is one thing that is even crazier than old Treg, on a good day, that is also a collie. So what does that say for sheep?

 

 

 

The Human Watch logoThursday 28th August 2003
Tregony has been very frustrated, today. You see, after days, hours, minutes of the deepest, intellectual Treggy concentration, he has come up with a profound thought. And after all that effort, what do you think has happened? He has forgotten how to get back on to his Blog Spot web page in order to give this profound thought to the world! When I came upon him, in the corner of the far field, I could tell he was boiling with frustration, a sort of pent up volcano, just waiting to erupt. When I asked him what was the matter, he was so frustrated, he had trouble getting the words out. How could I tell the difference, you ask? Well, years and years of maternal experience teaches one something, but that’s another story.

Finally, after much patient coaching, I managed to find out what the problem was. Whilst I could sympathise, there was not much I could tell him about getting back on his Blog Spot, as I wasn’t involved with the setting up of it, in the first place. However, I did the next best thing. I offered to let him expound his very first profound thought in the pages of this diary. After much haggling about copyright and carrot royalties and the like, Treg could see that if his VFPT (well we can’t just go on repeating ‘very first profound thought’ can we?) was ever going to see the light of day, as it were, he had better accept my offer gracefully. I can see that I have titillated your imaginations enough, haven’t I? Admit it, you are all agog, waiting to hear this pearl of wisdom. Well, here it is, Treg’s VFPT.

He is going to set up an organisation called “Human Watch”!

There. I bet you didn’t expect that, did you? You want more? Well, this organisation is going to be concerned with, wait for it, concerned with – watching humans! There.

He says he got the idea when he watched me lift my head and prick my ears and tense my body, ready to run, when HE brought two great big white plastic bags into the field, the other morning. It dawned on him that what I was doing was ‘human watching’. Then he remembered Wicky, the other day, keeping an eye on some ladies who were loitering about our hedges and going off with small, white plastic bags, full of blackberries. Another case of ‘human watching’. Slowly, over the hours and days, other instances came to him until he arrived at his VFPT – let’s have an organisation for this activity. He even has produced a logo by drawing it in the mud with his log, sorry foot. (He tells me that is why they are called log o’s). I expect we shall be hearing more of this later, as the concept becomes reality (his words, not mine!). For now, go away and ponder the thought that Treg has decided that he should lead this organisation and that the title of Detective Inspector Sergeant Tregony of the Cantering Squad would be a good one to adopt. Watch this space!

 

Harry thinks that Roy has been stolenFriday 29th August 2003
(Thursday Evening)

TREGGY?

Yes, Harry, can I help you?

OH, YES, TREG. I HEARD THAT YOU ARE RUNNING A HUMAN WATCH OPERATION? IS THAT RIGHT?

You don’t have to shout, Harry, I can hear you perfectly well.

I ALWAYS SPEAK LIKE THIS, TREG. I CAN’T HELP IT IF I AM A BIG BOY, IT’S JUST HOW I GREW. MY DAM MUST HAVE BEEN ON VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS OR SOMETHING, DON’T YOU THINK?

I’m afraid I don’t know anything about that, Harry. Now, if there is anything else I can help you with, I would be obliged if you would whisper, so I don’t get ruptured ear drums.

OH ALL,.. SORRY, all right, Treg. Is this better?

Very nearly, Harry. Actually, much better. Maybe now we can talk in a civilised fashion. What seems to be the problem, Harry. Apart from your size and your voice and all that?

WELL, S..orry, I heard that you were high up in this new organisation …

I am, Harry. I’m not only the founder member, I am, at present, the only member. But I am, as you say, high up in it. I am the Detective Inspector, Sergeant Tregony of the Cantering Squad, currently Officer in Charge, Human Watch, Throwleigh Road Branch, Ramsley end, on the Right, coming from Dry Bridge.

GOSH, I mean gosh, Treggy, that sounds very important.

Well you know, Harry, some of us is just born to greatness, I think.

LIKE I was born to bigness, you mean?

Now then, now then, let’s not cloud the issue, youngster. Now, what is it that I can be doing for you, in my capacity as Detective Insp…..

RIGHT, Right, Treg. OK, OK. Look. It’s my man Roy. He’s gone missing. Stolen, I think. I’ve been waiting here for AGES, sorry, ages for my tea, and he’s not turned up. You’ve all had your buckets and your staff have been dismissed for the evening, but my ROY has gone missing and I’m worried, not to say starving.

I will just go and get my notebook, Harry. Oh, silly me. Of course, I don’t have a notebook do I. Tell you what, I’ll go back to my field shelter, er… Station, and enter it in the log.

HAVe you got a log, Treg?

There’s one in the hedge just behind the field shelter, Harry. Now, don’t you worry, it’s in good hooves now. I’ll be off now and see what’s to be done.

 

(Friday Morning)

Harry?

YES, TREGGY?

Ow! There you go again. I was just going to update you on the progress of the case what we have been investigating of, on your behalf.

OH, DON’T WORRY ABOUT THAT. ROY TURNED UP A BIT LATE LAST NIGHT, THAT WAS ALL. APPEARS HE WAS HELD UP.

What, held up you say, held up. And you say don’t worry? This is just the kind of crime that human watch was set up for. I can’t stay here chatting with you, sonny Jim. I’m off to enter this on my log.

silly old blighter, what? I said IT’S GETTING A BIT BRIGHTER, TREG. BY-EYE!

 

Post Office "Smiler" stampSaturday 30th August 2003
HE asked me if this diary entry can be a bit shorter, as HE is running out of space on the page. Apparently, having made the arbitrary choice to fit seven days on a page, HE has to juggle the amount of writing and the size of the pictures, so that HE keeps within the allotted space. It is a technical thing, I gather, although why my artistic genius should be constrained by such matters is beyond me, That’s the trouble with humans, always nit picking and getting bossy about all sorts of immaterial things and then they let you down over important things like carrots and mint sweets and FOALS! (I hope they heard that!)

Well, HE will get HIS way today, as really, nothing much happened. The heron turned up and Michael has put some more sheep into our fields. The chaffinches are getting later and later. Oh! And we had quite a heavy rainfall, the first in a long while. It has started to get darker a bit earlier and these last couple of nights have been quite cool, a really pleasant change. In fact, summer is over and autumn has arrived. In a couple of days it will be September, then the kids will be back at school, and not too long after that I will have to go back to my stable at nights. Doesn’t autumn make you melancholy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ali inspets the new haySunday 31st August 2003

A really good day today. It started off like a normal day, THEY came along with breakfast and we underwent the minimum of wash and brush up etc. And then, HE did a funny thing. HE had already behaved strangely, the other day, when HE emptied out the storage part of our field shelter, cleaned up all the old hay and debris, put down a couple of rows of wooden pallets and then wetted the whole thing down with some vile smelling fluid – something to do with Jays, although why birds would get mixed up with such stuff, I really don’t know. Unless it is Jays droppings mixed up in water? Anyway, after HE did this, HE just left it and fortunately, as it dried up, the smell started to recede (although you can still tell that HE did it, even now!) Well, this morning, while we were eating breakfast, HE opened up the gate and took out the front row of pallets, rather as if HE had changed his mind. Then, after the usual round of too few treats, THEY went away and that appeared to be that.

I was just grazing in the Throwleigh Road field, mid morning (the old boys insisted in hanging around the field shelter) when up HE drives, opens the gate, and drives right into the field and gets out. HE came over to me and kept pointing towards the road but I couldn’t see anything, although I did wonder why HE had left the gate open. And then, up drives Robin in his tractor with a load of the sweetest smelling hay that you can imagine. Up past me he drove, over the stream and right up to the field shelter. Well, it was a close run thing who got there first, Wicky or me. While Robin got up on top and threw the bales down, HE waited below and started to stack them away on the pallets and Wicky and I helped as best as we could by eating great mouthfuls to make the bales lighter. After a while Robin had finished and HE went back up to the road to open the gate for the tractor to get out. But Wicky and I didn’t slacken. HE still had to pile the hay, six bales high so, of course, the lighter we could make them for HIM, the easier HIS job would be! It was very hard work for us, but someone had to do it. Tregony just stood back and watched, so HE took him over some of the loose hay and Treg ate that although what help that was, I just don’t know. I’m afraid to say that Wicky and I had to stop before HE was finished. The sun got very hot and we were both feeling a trifle bloated, so we both moved into the field shelter, in the shade, for a doze. This afternoon, Treg did help us out, as we all leaned over the gate for a further snack and this did rearrange the bales a little bit.

When HE came back this evening, with supper, I am afraid he covered all the bales behind a plastic sheet. I wonder how he knew we were still keen to help?

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