Alezane's Diary Archive September 2003
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Morning skyMonday 1st September 2003

When HE used to walk me up and down the road from my stable in Ramsley and back, HE often used to sing to me. I think it was the rhythm that my shoes make on the road, made him do it.  Although I pretended to be embarrassed and tried to look as if I wasn’t with HIM, in fact, I rather liked it. One song in particular, he sings, mainly because it has my name in it, but also because it is a very nice catchy song. I don’t know if you know it? It’s called ‘The Big Ship’. As we go along HE sings – “The big ship sails on the Alli, Alli, oh. The Alli, Alli, oh. The Alli, Alli, Oh”. And, of course, it just goes nicely with One, Two, Three, Four. One, Two, Three, Four, and so on. After HE has sung one verse, he changes it. I don’t mind. It is very pleasant and it is amazing how it makes the little, half mile walk pass in a flash. For the second verse he sings – “The big ship sails on the Treggy, Treggy, oh”. For the third verse it’s “ …on the Wicky, Wicky, oh …” and so on until, either we get to Ninefields or he runs out of the names of all my comrades and friends and has to start back on me again. Or, of course, he runs out of puff! And, what has made me remember this now? Well, it’s because the words go on “…Alli, Alli, oh, on the first day of September”. And guess what, it’s the first of September today. Mind you, when HE first started singing it to me, HE used to sing “ …. On the last day of September”. Then HE had to find some songs for that scout video, remember? And HE got hold of a recording of the song and found out HE had been singing the wrong words all along. Funny, how unimportant it is. First or last, what’s the difference? HE tells me that the song was about some nautical, historical event and therefore the date does matter. Well, maybe to HIM, but for me, it’s just a song. I expect I will be thinking about it again at the end of the month, but I hope it’s a long time before we have to walk up and down again. My stable is nice but I’ve grown quite fond of my old guys here and I’ll quite miss spending the nights with them, out under the stars. Which reminds me. I’ve not seen the new, big Mars yet that they were talking about, the other day. Well, all right,  ‘under the stars’ may have been a bit of a romantic exaggeration but ‘under the clouds’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it?

 

The apples start to swellTuesday 2nd September 2003

“Did I ever tell you the ‘Case of the Missing Farrier’?. It was a long time ago, now, but I can remember it, as if it was, er, a long time ago”.

“Yes, Treg. You did tell me. In fact, you told everyone. Many times. And is wasn’t that interesting the first time”.

“That’s the trouble with you, Wick, you don’t give credit where credit’s due”.

“Treg, with ma Scots ancestors, I just don’t give credit, full stop”.

“You know what I mean, Wick. You know, it can be a lonely job, being a member of the forces of law and order. Nobody cares as long as you get their stolen or missing humans back. After that, they don’t give you a thought. And the worst thing about it is, that there is very little reward for all that responsibility. Did you notice that I don’t get an extra carrot or a handful more of short feed than I did before I became in charge of Human Watch?”

“But, you’ve done nothing, Treg. Why should you get any more?”

“How about the log, then? Someone’s got too keep the log, you know”.

“I’ve been behind the field shelter, laddie. I’ve seen the log and I know that it keeps itself, for all the good it does”.

“And there’s the being on call all day and night. ‘Twenty four eight’ it’s called. I’m a 24/8 hossifer, that’s what I am”.

“Treg. What’s the ‘eight’? Are you sure you don’t mean seven?”

“As a lay pony, Wick, you can’t be expected to know all the responsibilities us hossifers have. But please! Don’t criticize what you don’t understand”.

“You mean you don’t know, eh Treg? Right. Well, I didn’t mean to criticise. 24/8 it is, if that’s what you say. In fact, it’s quite a good idea if you could get it applied to feed buckets, a very good idea, indeed!”

“Hum, well, of course it is. If you’ll excuse me Wick, I think I’ll just go and put that on the log. You never know when I might be expected to come up with my Very First Profound Idea number 2. See you later, son. Dum de dum de dum de dum …….”

 

Wicky after the dentistWednesday 3rd September 2003

“Whatever came over you, Wicky? I’ve not seen such terribly bad behaviour for a very long while. In fact, not since Silent Knight refused to go up to the start in the 3.15 at Newton Abbott”.

“Aw, lassie, that wasn’t bad behaviour. I may have been a little bit stubborn, but bad. Never!”

“What do you call rearing up and lashing out with both fore hooves, if that’s not bad behaviour? And throwing HIM against the wall of the field shelter, isn’t that bad?”

“We –ell, it may ha’ been a wee bit forward of me, lass, I’ll agree. But you have to admit, I was severely pushed to it.”

“There was nothing done to you that we didn’t all have to have done. And did you see me making a fuss. Come to that, even old Treg didn’t make a murmur. But you. Well, I was ashamed of you. We both were.”

“Och, come off it. Treg doesn’t know which day is Saturday let alone what is happening to him. Do you think he really would kick up a fuss about anything. By the time he’d have realised that they were sawing his legs off, he would be looking up at them from the ground, wondering why they had grown so tall, all of a sudden.”

“You’re not only badly behaved, Wick, you’re mean and spiteful, as well. Poor old Treg may be a little slow but you should show some respect for his age, at least.”

“Well, say what you like, lassie. I hate dentists! I HATE THEM! And if they think I’m going to stand still while they put a great big piece of metal round my face to keep may mouth open and then start to rasp away with that damn great file, they’ve got another think coming”.

B

“But you never used to make a fuss, Wick. It’s only these last couple of times. Why now?”

“I’ll tell you why now lassie. It’s since I learned of HUPA. It’s called ‘going private’. You know, we don’t have to suffer these indignities, having our mouths opened and teeth rasped down in public. Oh, no, lassie. With HUPA, you can go to a nice, secluded field, out of the gaze of the great unwashed, and there you can have your teeth done with cocaine or something. And with pretty young fillies cantering about to see to your every need. That’s for me, ma Alli. And, until HE pays for me to go private, I’ll make as much fuss as I like. And that’s that!”

“You were doing quite well with your argument until you got to that bit about ‘unwashed’, Wick. If anyone qualifies for that descrip ….”

“And you call me, mean and spiteful? I’m hurt now, Alli. I’m going to tell my old friend Treg of you!”

 

Alli loves? the dentistThursday 4th September 2003

Well, I know it’s Thursday, today. I can usually tell because the big rubbish lorries come down the Throwliegh Road , past our field. In fact, it’s been getting quite busy again on the Throwliegh Road . The School Bus has started going up and down. Four times a day, we see it now. He generally goes up towards Throwleigh while we are eating our breakfast and then comes back down again, full of schoolchildren, about half an hour later. Then again in the afternoon he does the trip in reverse. As well as him today, we had another noisy worry with a big cutting machine on its back. He went up towards Throwleigh cutting the banks on the far side of the road and then came back a few hours later and cut the banks on our side. He also was very kind and cut our hedge straight at the top. I’ll bet HE won’t be too pleased tomorrow morning, though,. For when HE tries to get out of giving me any more treats when I stand with HIM at the gate, HE walks off down the road and starts picking the blackberries to eat, hoping I will go away from the gate. Now when HE walks off, HE won’t be able to find any blackberries. I wonder if that means that I will get extra treats? I expect HE will just go and sit in the car until SHE comes back from spoiling Tregony. I’ll have to let him know that there are still hundreds of blackberries on the inside of the hedge. If he wants them, I will be able to follow him around and keep nudging him. I know he can’t resist that!

It certainly has been a bumper year for blackberries, this year. The whole place is full of them. The blackbirds have been doing their best to eat them all up but there are just too many. It gave HIM a bad idea, the other day. HE thought just because HE likes them that I would. He went off hiding, as usual, but then came back and offered me one of his berries. Well, I just spit it out and made a very long tongue. I think HE got the message. Carrots, mints or apples and the occasional apple biscuit ONLY, please!

 

I see the moonFriday 5th September 2003

Guess what? Treg has gone lame again. And it’s his near side fore, just was it was the first time. Poor old lad, he has been in the wars, of late. I really must make a determined effort not to make fun of him so much. It must be very hard to concentrate when you are in so much pain. And, there’s nothing worse than feet. I’ll give THEM, their due, THEY didn’t try to make him walk to the field shelter for his bucket, this evening. Not that they could have moved him, if they had tried. If your foot hurts so much to walk on it, you just don’t do it, do you? Anyway, THEY didn’t even try. They took his bucket to him and HE drove off home to get Treg’s summer rug so he wouldn’t get a chill if he had to stay out in the field, where he was, all night in the rain. It was a nice thought, although the old boy did manage to hobble up the field with Wick and I when we moved there tonight, to graze. He’s better at going up than coming down, though. Not so much weight on his front foot. One dark thought. I heard them talking about what might have to happen, if Treg’s vet bills keep mounting as they are doing. I think it was just a preliminary thought brought on by worry for the old fellow. I do hope so. I don’t know what I would do without him. As they say, he’s not much but he’s all that I’ve got. Although that isn’t true, on two counts. He’s not all that I’ve got. There’s Wicky. Ugh! And also, Treg is far from ‘not much’. He is a great deal. As a close friend, a companion, and sometimes, yes, a source of amusement, Tregony, to me, is a great deal. I hope, with all my heart, that he gets well soon.

 

 

 

 

Saturday 6th September 2003

Of course, when THEY came this morning, Tregony was up, above the field shelter with me and Wicky. And the weather had improved so he didn’t need his rug on any more. THEY still allowed him to have his bucket, where he stood and, as THEY were up with him, it meant that Wick and I got away without being groomed. On the negative side, I had to go all the way up the hill to get my Rain, rain go awaytreats. Later on, in the morning, THEY came back with Andrew. It quite gave Wicky a turn, as he thought Andrew had come back for round two of the teeth fight. However, Andrew ignored Wick and set about sorting out Treg’s foot. He got those great big pincer sort of things and gave Treg’s foot a good old squeeze. Well, you could tell he had found the right spot, straight away, as Treg jumped nearly as high as Wicky did, when he was having his teeth rasped. However, in the way that most humans can be very stupid at times, Andrew didn’t seem to think that he had found the spot and gave Treg’s foot another good old nip. You could see the concentration in Treg’s eyes, as he tried very hard not to nip Andrews bum. It is a good job, though, that humans don’t know horse swear language or they all would have been very shocked at Tregony’s appraisal of his rescuers. Having given Treg’s hoof one final pinch, Andrew finally seemed satisfied and he whipped out his knife and started hacking away at the underside of the hoof. Although he gouged out a sizable hole, he didn’t seen satisfied with this and drew out another, smaller pair of cutting pincers. To cut a long story short, he found the abscess, just short of cutting Treg down to Wicky’s size. All the human’s seemed satisfied and thankfully, Treggy got some relief, as the pus oozed out. By the evening, he was limping round quite well and all that remained was to humiliate him by making him stand his bad foot in a bucket of warm disinfectant, before leaving him with a poultice under green tape for the night.

 

 

 

 

Sunday 7th September 2003

Hello! It’s me, Tregony. Alli told me that, as I had been so poorly of late, I could write today’s diary page. An honour, indeed! Mind you, she is standing looking over my shoulder, Now, what day is white bandage?while I dictate it to HIM, in case I say anything wrong. By which she means, anything that she wouldn’t approve of. Ouch! “Alli, if you do that again, I’ll just walk away and let you do it yourself”  Where was I? Oh, yes. I was going to tell you about my medication. They are giving me stuff to get rid of my tics, although I didn’t know I had any. It’s probably because they are a special kind of tic – a bio tic. Anyway, I heard her say that what she had in her syringe, was an anti bio tic, so I suppose that’s what caused my foot to go bad. it’s funny though. Although she has this medicine in her syringe, she doesn’t seem to want to give it to me. Not like wormers. Them, they just get the syringe, stuff it down your throat and, whoosh, your dinner is spoiled for hours. No, this anti tic stuff never seems to go near my mouth. In fact, all she seems to do is wave it around and then smack me hard on the bum. It must go in by infusion, or confusion or something. Whatever, it seems to work pretty well. I’m starting to feel a whole lot better, now. And, you know what, I get a different colour bandage every day. So now, I’ll be able to tell the days apart and Wicky won’t be able to say that ‘old Treg doesn’t even know what’s Saturday’. Well, I will now. I think? Well, it’s a start, isn’t it? I don’t suppose old Einstone discovered his theory of relationtivity all at once. He probably stated with brothers and sisters, and then worked up to aunts and uncles, and so on. Big oaks from little apples grow, as they say. Well. I better be off and check up on the Human Watch log. What with my bad foot an’ all I’ve not been able to get round the back of the field shelter for a while. This is Tregony Bay , Ninefields, for Alezane’s Diary. Goodnight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunset over the BeaconMonday 8th September 2003

Not only has HE had worms, now HIS hard disc is in imminent danger of crashing, HE tells me. Well, I thought HE had been looking rough, lately, but I had just put it down to HIS intense dislike of shaving. I hadn’t realised that HE was so near to breakdown. I know I accidentally bit his thumb, the other day but I really don’t think that, this could be the cause. What I don’t understand, is how HE knows. When I asked him, HE mumbled something about getting a message when he puts HIS boot up. I think it pretty insulting to try and fob me off, like that. It’s as if HE doesn’t trust me with the truth, so HE makes up a story about HIS wellies, just to keep me quiet. It’s bad enough, my having to look after Tregony. Now I suppose I’ll have to nurse HIM, as well. Maybe it will only be until Friday, when apparently he has someone coming to try and fix it. I bet this someone is in for a real big surprise when he is given a welly boot to fix, although I don’t suppose HE would be so insulting to him.

On another tack, there’s been a bit of a goings on, today, in our field. One of the traveller sheep, got itself stuck in the fence and just sat there and shouted it’s silly head off. You should have seen Treggy’s face. He just stood there watching and trying to puzzle out what the sheep was doing there and why it was singing. Eventually, he decided that this was an incident and needed to be recorded on his log behind the field shelter. Well! A major coup for Tregony. Big enough to get him to turn himself round and hobble, painfully down the hill to his log. The trouble was that when, finally, he made it, he had forgotten what he had gone down there for. But, being a really staunch and loyal member of the Human Watch force, he just turned himself round and painfully hobbled all the way back up again. When he got back to where he started, he was just about the try and remember what he had gone back up the hill for, when he heard this strange noise of a sheep singing. Well, you can imagine. This interesting sight was enough to completely absorb him until bucket time, when he thought to himself. “I must remember to record this on the log, after supper”. I’m not sure that he did, though!

 

Alli hates sheep!Tuesday 9th September 2003

I do like routine. There’s nothing better, I find, for a properly comfortable life. If something happens to upset routine, it usually means that I miss out on my fair share of treats. Take this morning, for example. HE went up the hill to lead Treggy down for breakfast (the norm, these days, I’m afraid) and while HE was there HE saw a silly sheep, caught up between the wire fence and the stone wall & hedge. Apparently, THEY had already seen another sheep, in Clarence’s field, next to ours, shouting its head off and laying down on the other side of the wall.

Anyway, HE had to lead old Treg down to his bucket and, while HE took his bandage and poultice off, SHE went up to try to shoo the sheep out from behind the wire mesh. The trouble is, that sheep make Treg look bright, and when SHE tried to get it to go back, it ran forward, instead, wedging itself firmly between the wire and the wall and getting tangled up in brambles as well, in the process. SHE had to leave it, to come down and redo Treg’s poultice, so HE gave me treats instead of me first going with HER to the gate for apples and sugar and then coming back to him for carrots (routine!). By the time HIS treats ran out, SHE had finished with Treggy so they both went up the hill to release that daft sheep. Because of this, of course, I lose out. Finally, after having to cut away the brambles and frighten the sheep back enough so HE could get a good grip on its back wool, the sheep was hoisted over the barbed wire and it ran away without even a ‘thank you Alli for missing your treats to let them save me’.

The next part of my routine is to try and ponce some extras out of her while she gives Treg his apple and then to run up to the Throwleigh Road gate so that I can get some mints out of him, after he puts the buckets away in the car. Can you imagine how disgusted I was when HE walked away from the car and into Clarry’s field, to go and rescue the other silly sheep. When HE got to this one, it had managed to get itself wound up in many strong thick strands of bramble. After dashing about to avoid HIM, it finally got itself free, in fright, when he put his foot down a rabbit hole and fell over, nearly on top of it. This one too, just ran away, as fast as it could. If ever I get to be TOP MARE (i.e. Grand Old Dam), I’m going to make breaking routine a serious crime. Oh, yes, and I’m going to abolish sheep!

 

The times they are a changingWednesday 10th September 2003

We were having this discussion today, Wicky, Treg and I, about the scope of the Human Watch thing. Treg was telling us how it was not just about ‘watching’ humans but much more than that. He said that is was more about watching out for humans. ‘You know how silly they can be’ he said.

By the way, did I tell you that Tregony is back to full fitness again. With a vengeance. He is even running now and not just when I bite him. SHE is giving him an antibiotic shot, every evening now. SHE says for a course of seven days. Well, if he keeps on improving as he has done these last couple of days, we won’t be able to hold him. Even his brain seems to be working better. No mean feat, that! Anyway, back to what I was saying.

Treg told us that, as Hossifer in Charge, he had a duty to ensure the safety and well being of all the humans ‘on his patch’. Well, Wicky immediately pointed out that Tregony was a full bay and had no patches, on him, anywhere. I wanted to know if this meant all resident humans or if it included those transient ones that we get such a lot of here. Did ‘his patch’ cover all the wamblers as well? At this point, Treg had to go back round the field shelter to consult his log. After quite a while, during which time, Wicky quite lost interest and started to wander off up the field, Treg came out from behind the field shelter and announced that he was sorry for being so long but that he had been sending off a hay-mail to haytch queue, to get some advice on the matter. It appears that HQ (as we will call it for short) really hadn’t thought about it. They told Treg that they would bring it up at the next generals meeting, as long as the generals could make it. That seemed to be it, so we decided to adjourn the meeting for the time being. And anyway. Wicky was quite two thirds up the hill by now, so we would not even have a kwor-rum. At least, that was what Treg told me. I have to bow to his greater knowledge of Human Watch protocol in such matters. I do think, though, that it is lovely to have the old boy back again, firing on all three cylinders. Hooray for horsepower!

 

The inner workings of Tregony's mindThursday 11th September 2003

Wicky was just standing down by the stream, shaking his head.

“Did you ever see such a thing?”

What was remarkable, was the sight of Tregony cantering up the field. That’s right, CANTERING! It had started like a normal, uneventful day. A bit dark and drizzly, even a bit miserable. Certainly nothing to get excited about. We moved around, grazing here and there, I would return to the field shelter if the rain got too heavy, it’s the royal breeding, you know, mustn’t get too wet or chilled. Well, the afternoon wore on and then THEY arrived, early evening, with the supper buckets, as usual. Treg was still in his new, active state, showing an interest and coming up to the field shelter without prompting, to get his supper. We all settled down to eat. It’s usually a nice relaxing meal, supper. No feet to be picked out, no top and bottom sponging, no grooming – just nice pleasant munching. HE usually sits on the hay bale between Wicky and me and burbles away. It’s nonsense, but it’s nice, reassuring nonsense and offers the promise of treats to come after buckets. Since Treg has had his last round of bad feet, SHE has had to give him his antibiotic injection, usually while he is eating, so his mind (?) is on better things. Anyway, this she did, as usual, and Treg carried on eating, also as usual. And then, suddenly, just as I was getting, deliciously, to the bottom of my bucket, Treg grunts, twirls round and blunders out of the field shelter. He pauses for a moment, deciding left or right as he reaches the entrance and then plunges off, behind the shelter, between the hedge and the shelter wall.

I could see HE was wondering what was going on and then, after calling out Treg’s name, HE picks up his half full bucket and goes round the other way to cut him off. I didn’t see what happened next but I heard HER exclaiming that Treg had avoided him and was charging along the field and up the hill. At this, I left my supper and came running out to see Treg, fast disappearing up through the middle field, up into the very top field. Bravely leaving my supper for Wicky to steal, I called out to him and galloped up to get him. When I reached him, I could see he was ‘away with the centaurs’ as we say and I tried to entice him down by cantering back to THEM. When this didn’t work, I had to go back up and guide him down. To cut a long story short, he finally got back and, after a lot of encouragement, THEY managed to get him to finish his supper by the stream. As Wicky said.

“I reckon Treg has just had his second Very First Profound Idea (VFPI)”.

Well, whatever it was, it proved he is not lame anymore!

 

I'm in love

 

 

 

Friday 12th September 2003

HE warned me. “Don’t give me too much to type, today. The guy is coming to fix my hard drive, and I will need all my time, reinstalling all my software”. Well! Is it my fault if HE’s not well and having trouble with HIS tack? You recover on your own time, I told HIM. But really, HE needn’t have bothered, anyway, as not much has happened, this last twenty four hours. What I usually do, at a time like this, is reminisce or get one of the others to tell us a story or something. But today, I’m feeling just too lazy. I’ll get HIM to look around for a nice interesting photograph or two. Really, if you look back to the beginning of this diary, in the archives, you will see that I never used to say so much, anyway. Things seem to have escalated from just a day to day listing of what had happened to a very verbose, half a page of words. Well, ‘that’s blogging for you’, as Treg would say!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Show offsSaturday 13th September 2003

“You know, Tregony, I stood here, in this corner of the field now, for a good three hours. And you’ve not said a word!”

“Umph!”

“UMPH? UMPH? What’s that supposed to mean, eh, my lad?”

“Er, er …”

“Have you lost your tongue, man? What’s the matter with you, you gone silly or something? No, I’ll re-phrase that. Have you now gone completely bonkers?”

“Dum – ti – dum – ti – dum – ti …”

“Tregony, TREGONY. Stop it, at once. Explain yourself man. What is it?”

“Oh, is that you, Wicky? Did you day something? Sorry, I must have missed it.”

“Sorry? Sorry, is it. You’re either very, very rude or you’re as deaf as a mounting block. Pull yourself together, man. Don’t you know what day it is, now that you’ve not got different coloured bandages on your foot?”

“I can see that you’re talking, Wick. But I can’t hear a word. Now I’ll have to decide whether to listen to you or to carry on with my ‘speriment. What would you do, Wick?”

“You don’t have to shout, you old fool. It’s you that’s deaf, not me.”

“There you go, you’re talking again, aren’t you? Oh well, I expect there’s nothing for it. I’ll have to cancel my ‘speriment and listen to you. The whole of the scientific world will lose out, and it will be all your fault, Wicky. And I’ll now get my nobble prize. And then where will we be? Back in Ninefields, I suppose. Oh dear, I’m rambling on. What is it Wick?”

“What on earth are you talking about, man? Science, ‘speriments? And what are you shaking your head about like that for? And banging your head on that post? Treg, old friend. Is this it? Have you really gone …”

“Wow, that’s better, I must admit. Having mud in your ears really makes you feel funny, doesn’t it Wick? Now, what was it you were wanting to say?”

“Mud in your ears? MUD. Tregony, what on earth …”

“I was just conducting a ‘speriment, Wick. I was trying to see if it was possible for a very large, handsome, bay hossifer of the law to disguise himself as a small dirty Shetland cross, so that I could work undercover, and I thought to myself ‘what does a small, dirty Shetland cross look like?’ And I looked at you and I thought ‘ well, I must start with the mud in the ears’ but when I did, everything went quiet and I forgot what I was doing.”

“Tregony?”

“Yes, Wicky?”

“Oh, never mind …!”

 

Wood open gardens daySunday 14th September 2003

THEY said that they are off to look over Wood today. That’s the big house, not a forest. I don’t know if you remember me saying that I used to be stabled at Wood? Well, it was not quite the same place, but nearly. You see, Wood was a large estate back at the start of the 1900’s. It first was a quite large Victorian ‘town house’ although situated deep in the middle of the countryside. Then this was knocked down and a very large complex of buildings was constructed, with both the mansion, lodges, a farm and buildings for the staff, farm workers and animals. Much later, estate fell into disrepair and was split up, the farm side being sold off separately from the mansion and gardens. Even the farm was no longer a fully working farm, just a few buildings and a few fields being used by a local farmer to supplement his own farm. And that was where I was stabled, for a while. THEY rented the use of one of the old stables and a field from the farmer. Anyway, this part of the estate was now called Wood Home Farm.

Apparently, after a very chequered history where the mansion was going to be a hotel and a school and a health farm for the wealthy, it has eventually been bought again, as a private residence and the new owners are endeavouring to rebuild the gardens to something like their former glory. And, today, as a goodwill gesture and to raise money for the local Church House (an historical building in need of maintenance), the new owners have opened their gardens to the public. Coincidentally, a friend of HIS, Robin, has been up in a light aeroplane and has taken some shots of the place, along with many other local areas. My stable was in facing the long line of animal stalls in the centre of the page to the right. I used to look out on those rows of stalls and see my friends, the moos, and in particular, Alison. Unfortunately, those dear girls have all gone now, in last year’s foot and mouth cull. Oh dear, sad memories. I must go now  and stand in the field alone for a bit.

 

nothing like a good shake and a roll ...Monday 15th September 2003

THEY came and went, as usual, with our buckets, this morning. No hint that anything out of the ordinary was going on. It was a bit chilly, at first, this morning, but the sky showed that it was going to be a fine day. That was the trouble. It was a fine day. Fine and warm. And that gave HER the idea, of course. Before SHE went, she closed off the two gates to our upper fields. Normally, this wouldn’t have mattered as we tend to have a bit of a doze in the field shelter, on hot days to save ourselves for the night’s hard eating. But, today, I got some idea that something was up. I went up to inspect the gates and then went back to the shelter to worry.

Along they drove, mid morning, opening the gate and driving in. That’s always a bad sign, as well. They stopped down by the stream and got out all manner of buckets and water carriers and sponges. Then came the head collars! That clinched it. BATH DAY!

They started with Tregony, as obviously, if he saw what was going on, he would be off, up the field. Strangely, once he has the head collar on, he gives in. He was as quiet as a lamb (what a silly saying, lambs are never quiet, in my experience). Then they let him go and he  ran up by the side of the field shelter to watch. My turn next. I am afraid I disgraced myself a little by making myself as tall as possible (and that’s pretty tall) when they wanted to do my mane and they waving my leg around in a threatening manner, when  HE was splashing buckets of cold water over me to rinse me off. It didn’t help, though. All I got was a smacked bum and a shouting at. Really, it was nothing, on both sides, and I got a mouthful of mints, as a reward. Wicky was last and, strangely, he didn’t make much fuss other than showing his obvious distaste for anything to do with ‘clean’.

Really, it was all over fairly quickly and painlessly and, as soon as I had had a shake and a roll, the day subsided back to normal. The sun soon dried us off and we got in a few more hours grazing before supper. Not a bad day, after all.

 

My daughter Falene (Mimms' sister) and ITuesday 16th September 2003

I hear one of my old friends has contacted HER with news of my daughter, Mimms (HE’s not sure of the spelling but her official name is Toujours Ma Reine, the Toujours after me and the royal part from her father. It would appear that Caroline (the human that my daughter lives with) is considering parting company with her, as she has to go back to work or something. You have no idea how this news has affected HER! First the silent, thinking about the ‘what if’ bit, then the softening HIM up by telling him how I would enjoy having my daughter live with me and then, the even greater softening HIM up by saying ‘but, WE couldn’t afford it’ and so on and so on.

Me, I’m not so sure. Yes, it would be nice to have someone young to play with for a change. My two old boys are very nice but they are slightly lacking when it comes to frolicking around. And it would be lovely to have someone to talk to about the old times and to catch up on all my grandchildren. But then, where would she live? There is only room for one in my stable, at home. The fields are plenty big enough but how would she be about living out all winter? And, I must admit, I would feel more than a little jealous if she were left out and I had to be brought home at nights. And talking of jealous, do I really want someone to challenge my authority in the fields? There’s a lot to think about, not only for THEM but also for me. And then, of course, there’s always the possibility that she has been re-homed already or at least, will have been before Caroline visits at the end of the week. As I said. Lots to think about. I think we all must just wait and see how things turn out. Whatever happens about my little queen, I expect THEY will be getting a lot more news and photos from the old days. If they do, I’ll get him to share them with you.

 


My daughter and grandchild, No sorry, got that wrong. It's First Pearl and Gracie!

Wednesday 17th September 2003

I shouldn’t laugh but have you seen Harry’s tail? Apparently, where he goes in his other field in the next village, the sheep nibbled his tail. Because of that it ended up so raged that his groom had to cut it straight and it is halfway up his back now. You know Harry is a very big boy, well over 17 hands, so, of course, it looks even worse. On Wicky, it would look a really good tail but on Harry? Well, as I say, I shouldn’t laugh. But, to be honest, I do!

You know what I was telling you about, yesterday? Well, you can tell how bad it has got now. SHE has been doing her sums. SHE had all her old account books out and has been reckoning how much it cost in food and vet bills to keep three horses and then, from there, working out how much extra four would cost. It’s hard to tell if HE is looking depressed and SHE is looking hopeful or if it is the other way round. You see, it could be that, if it is very expensive, that might make him look hopeful that SHE will decide against it and SHE would be looking depressed because she is thinking the same thing. Who knows? Humans are such strange creatures.

 

 

 

 

 




Wicky and Treg after their bathThursday 18th September 2003

THEY laughed at me again this morning, when I suddenly stopped and went very tall, looking out along the bridle path. THEY were just about to say that it was just old Alli seeing ghosties and fairies again, when SHE saw it too. A deer, a little doe was making her way along the path, quietly and delicately. Of course, when SHE made all that noise, shouting out to HIM about it, the little deer swiftly moved away through the hedgerow. If I remember, I told you about one that we saw, a couple of months ago. That is about the frequency that they seem to pass by here. Even when THEY are not here, I rarely see any others. They live a really nice life, roaming about free. Nobody chases them in this part of the country and they just move about grazing from place to place. The only problem with that life really, is if the winter is particularly harsh. We don’t get those kinds of winters very often here. Normally it is very wet. But not too cold or snowy. I understand, from Wicky, that this was not always the case, but I am too young to know about that. I may have said it before, but we really do see a good mixture of wild creatures here. Just in our few little acres on the side of the great hill, Cosdon. The weather has been unseasonably warm and sunny lately. I don’t know if this means we are in for a harder winter this year or if it is a sign of warmer summers to come. The main problem this year has been the lack of rainfall. Our stream is down to a trickle and the grass has dried up to a large extent. It’s sort of ironic, really, that this was the year THEY chose to get drainage put into the fields. The part of the field near the bridle path gate used to be always under water, summer and winter. Now, it is as dry as last winters Swedes and THEY don’t know if it’s the drainage or the weather that has done it. Let’s hope it goes on for a nice long time yet so the day when I have to come in at night, is far, far away!

 

 

 

 

Friday 19th September 2003

Farrier day today. I always find that interesting. And, apart from when you are having your own feet done, you can graze around while still keeping an eye on the others and watching out that no one is getting any treats that you’re not. I really quite like having Treg's new front shoesnew shoes too. After the old pair have been on for quite some time, ones feet seem to outgrow them and even start to feel a bit uncomfortable, Even more so for me, I think, because I go quite a long time between shoeing as I don’t wear mine out. You see, I don’t do much road work any more. To be honest, I don’t do much work of any kind any more. That is, apart from looking after Tregony and keeping that little Shetland cross Dartmoor hill pony in order. Mind you, that is a full time job on its own. Now he is better, Old Tregony is fired with bursts of enthusiasm, particularly in his new role in the Human Watch. I don’t get it, myself. If they can’t look after themselves, that is their hard luck. Why Treg should waste his time, trying to look out for them, is a mystery to me. But, it keeps the old boy amused.

That reminds me. You’ll never believe it. After all the problems that Treg has had with his feet. First the rear, then the fore, then the rear again. The poultices, dressings and antibiotic injections and the very frequent visitations from the vetinary profession. And then, when all was over and we were all looking forward to Mark fitting Tregony’s shoes back on again, we found out that Treg was lame on his rear again and could only have his front shoes on. It was Mark who found it. He noticed when HE was leading Tregony up the hill to be shoes by the front gate. Mark confirmed it by cutting back the old guy’s hoof and, sure enough, more pus came out. At least Mark caught it in time. And Treg is really proud of his new front shoes and is running about the fields like a thirty five year old!

 

the butterfly flowerSaturday 20th September 2003

All males are alike. They just don’t listen. SHE found it out this time, when SHE was reading the latest pages of this diary and saw what HE had written, both in the text and also as captions for my photos. First the diary itself. It was last Tuesday, when he was writing about Caroline’s impending visit and he said that Mimms’ official name was Toujours Ma Reine. Of course, I hadn’t said that at all. What I told HIM was, that if I had had my way in the naming of her, that is what I would have called her. But, as I said before, HE just didn’t listen and then when he had to get down to writing up the diary and couldn’t remember, HE just made it up. Typical. That’s men for you. Doesn’t matter whether they’re horse or human. Then. You know what else? He wanted some photos to liven up the page a bit and HE came across some that Caroline had given HIM last time she came to visit. Right enough. Same again. I’m sure she must have told HIM who was who on the pictures but he went and said that the second photo was Mimms and her daughter when, in fact it was First Pearl and Gracie. The only connection is that Gracie shares the same sire as Mimms. In fact, the only thing that HE did get right on that entry was the spelling of Mimms’ name because, although it wasn’t obvious, HE got the caption wrong for the first photo, as well. HE labelled it as ‘My daughter and I’, implying that it was Mimms, when in fact it was a photo of my sister Falene. Still, he’s pretty good at the carrots though and I do need someone to type my diary up for me, so I think I’ll keep HIM a little longer.

 

 

 

 

 






HE, me, Caroline, Treg & HERSunday 21st September 2003

Caroline came today with her son. I have to admit that I couldn’t help HIM today when HE asked me to confirm the spelling of the boy’s name. HE was being a bit funny because of what I wrote about HIM yesterday. You know, sort of ‘all right, if you think you can do it better ….’ sort of attitude. Anyway, we think the lad’s name is Tarquin, but we must wait and find out at some later stage. So, the bad news or the good news? I’m talking about the possibility of Mimms coming to stay here with me. Well, it seems that Caroline is going to keep her. Which is good news for Mimms, of course. As for me, I’ve got mixed feelings, as I told you before. I would love to have someone to lark about with but I could soon become pretty jealous if I was forced to share THEIR affections. However, Caroline came up with a suggestion which seems to be a very good solution. She said that ‘wouldn’t it be nice if Mimms could come and spend the summer here. Both SHE and HE thought that this would be a very good idea too, so much that they will propose that we give it a try next summer, There was some talk of breeding from Mimms but I’m afraid that is something that THEY would be too scared or cheapskate to do. And anyway, if there is any mothering to be done around here, I’m the one who should be mother, not grandmother!

By the way, you may see a few more photos of HIM in the coming weeks as Tarqual took quite a lot of pictures when they all came to Ninefields. It made a change from HIM being behind the camera. I gather there are one or two of us making funny faces. I just dare HIM to publish those without my permission.

 

What's troubling you now?Monday 22nd September 2003

“’ere, look at this!”

“What’s tha’ laddie? What’s the matter noo?”

“What d’you reckon on them, then?”

“My dear Tregony, I’ve no idea what you are going on about.”

“Look. LOOK! Here. On my side.”

“Oh, yes, laddie. You’ve gone and brushed up against something. You really should be more careful. Never mind, it will brush off. I expect HE will get it off for you.”

“No, Wick, you don’t get it do you?”

“I rarely do with you, my man. I always have a wee bit o’ trouble following your quick mind. Tell me. What’s troubling you now, sonny?”

“Can’t you see, Wick? Stripes. You know. Brooooom! NEE Nah NEE Na NEE Na. You know. Stripes. Go faster stripes. I’m a real fleece car now, aint I Wick?”

“Will you stop running up and down in that ridiculous fashion, Tregony. You are not, I repeat NOT a police car. You are a horse. And what’s more, a horse who is old enough to know better. If you were a little colt, I could understand it. But, at your age …?”

“That’s the trouble with you civilians. You don’t understand the true rigours of the konstabulary. If we is going to a catch those villains, then we need to be fully equipped to deal with all sorts of situatshuns. And that means going fast. … and going NEE Na NEE Na and like that.”

“Tregony, Tregony, I despair. Ever since you got that IDEA, you’ve not been the same. I know you’ve had a lot of foot trouble. I know you’ve endured an awfu’ lot of pain. But, man. You’ve been acting very strange, o’ late. I mun tell ye.”

“Don’t worry Wicky. There’s some of us as has got it, and others who just have to stand and stare, as they say. Oh. That’s good. I must remember to put that on my log. Now. Do you know that since I’ve had these stripes, I’ve …. Oh. Funny. He’s just walked off. Maybe he had to …. Oh Alli. Look Alli. Look at my side!”

“Yes, Treg. Looks like you’ve been rubbing up against that wall again. Never mind. HE’ll soon brush it off.”

 

Looking in or looking out?Tuesday 23rd September 2003

It’s started to turn quite cool now. We had our first frost, this morning. Not a hard one. But enough to remind us of the ways of Autumn and then Winter to come. Actually, we prefer it. Our body temperature is much higher than humans and the heat of Summer always brings the misery of the flies. When it gets cooler, we are not bothered by the temperature and neither are we molested by flies and midges. In the Summer, we have to spend most of the day snoozing in the filed shelter (or under a tree if we don’t have a shelter). Then we live a nocturnal life. It works out quite well, really, because now the grass is much harder to get, we can spend all day and night, grazing, to make up for it.

I’ve said before, how I won’t like it when I have to come in to my stable at night and leave my two friends  out here at Ninefields. Really, I don’t see much difference between being in the field shelter and being in the stable. In fact, the only difference is that Wicky and Tregony are not with me. THEY are very nice but it’s not like being with your own. On the other hand, although the stable  is just a field shelter with a half door, it is lower down in the valley and much more sheltered than in the open field. And then, I do get THEIR undivided attention when I am there, not like in the field, where I have to share all the treats and cuddles with the other two. I do get a bit upset when I first come in. You can see the kick marks in the boards round the stable walls. But that is just to let THEM know that I like to do what I want to do, when I want to do it! After the first few nights, I soon get used to it and sometimes look forwards to our walks, up and down the Throwleigh Road . At least it gives me a bit more time to tell HIM what to write in the diary. Sometimes I swear HE is getting bored and starting to write what HE wants. Won’t be long now. I’ll soon bring him into line.

 

Tregony keeps watch!Wednesday 24th September 2003

“Alli. Alli, I fear Treg has gone completely off his rocker, lassie.”

“No, Wick. He’s not gone anywhere. He’s always been there. At least he is happy now he has his role as a Human Watch Hossifer. Have you noticed how he goes charging off these days? Doesn’t wait for me to tell him what to do?”

“Well, if you ask me, ma girl, I think he is just goin’ senile. There never is any reports of missing humans. No wonder really. Who would be silly enough to steal them. What good are they?”

“Oh, I don’t know, Wick. Haven’t you seen young Harry, over there, eying up our pair, when they come to bring our buckets? Don’t you think it hasn’t crossed his mind to humannap them, some day?”

“Ay, there is tha’ I’ll grant you. They can be of use at times. As long as they’re not trying to file your teeth down .”

“Coming back to our friend. I don’t think it hurts for him to have an interest. I will admit running around the field going NEE Na NEE Na all the time is a bit childish. But, at least, he is running. Far better than when we all thought he had given up for good.”

“And, he’s a bit o’ fun as well, I suppose. Well, as long as he doesnae get in the way o’ ma eating, I guess I’ll now say any more about it. Wouldn’t it be fun though, if a human was stolen and they asked Treg to carry out an investigation? I bet he’d go all serious on us.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he solved the mystery, as well. Cobs can be really stubborn when they want to be. You know, the other day, old Treg said to me. Alli, he said, Alli, I’ve half a mind …”

“Well, lassie. At least he recognises the fact, so it cannae be all bad!”

 

The Dartmoor fun rideThursday 25th September 2003

Hossifer’s Log : Thursday the ..er.. something of September. Early a.m.

Saw a very suspicious character cantering along the Throwleigh Road this morning. Wasn’t even a proper colour. Female, Connemarean. Black with large white blobs. Strong legs with elegant feathers. Turned off the road and up the bridle path. Could be a suspek. Maybe out that early in the morning in search of straying humans. I, as Hossifer in Charge, watched the said suspek all along the path until she was out of site (or should that be off site?). Whatever.

Thursday the .. er.. same of September. A bit later…

I was patrolling my beat, at approximately a bit after before, when all of a sudden, from the deep dark distance behind me, I appraised in the offing, the sounds of a vagrant equine who may have been concealing a human about their person. Recognising that person as none other than one Mathew, of Up the Road, Turn Right and In Those Stables, I made it my business to call out, in an arresting tone. Ho there, you varmit, come here and be apprehended. But no, the equine in question just carried on, although he did look the other way, in a sort of embarrassed fashion as if he didn’t know me. I have considered and pondered on these faks for a considerable time or two. In the light of my experience, I have concluded that this time, the suspek was not a suspek but a law aboding citizen. However. I hereby let it be known that his card is marked and if anything like that happens again, I will come down on him with the full wait of the law.

End of Entry. Tregony Bay . Hossifer in Charge.

 

Loyal CompanionsFriday 26th September 2003

Some weeks seem to be very quiet, don’t they. The dawn breaks, the sun comes up and you go down to the stream to wait for your breakfast bucket. You work through your treats, seeing if you can possibly get in one or two more, not because you want them but just for the fun of doing it. Then, it’s back to the field shelter for a little doze before going out up the hill for a day’s grazing. Nothing new happens, no one goes by apart from a few lorries and vans, no tractors or hay deliveries go past, no strange horses and you don’t meet a deer or stray sheep or anything – even the rabbits seem to have deserted us. It’s all very pleasant and relaxing, although Treg does complain that his log is getting awfully empty and he is worried that he might lose his hossifership unless something really exciting or criminal happens. I doubt if Wicky has even noticed. One day seems much like another to him. I expect when you only have half a set of teeth then you do have to concentrate on eating a bit more than the rest of us. Anyway, he was never much of a social creature, was Wicked. Pleasant enough when he doesn’t get on your nerves but not the kind to go out and win friends, shall we say. Funnily enough, he is more friendly to humans than to horses. He is a loyal companion to Tregony, I must say and probably a good foil for Treggy’s particular set of brain wave patterns. But still, not the kind of chap you’d invite out for a party.

Here am I going on and I almost forgot that what I had to say was that I had really very little or nothing to say today. Some days are like that, aren’t they?

 

Fish, Alli, talk about fish!Saturday 27th September 2003

I decided, this morning to have a word with HIM to see if he could come up with any ideas for some topics to talk about, as my life in Ninefields has been so uneventful.

“Fish”, HE said.

“What?”, I replied, thinking he had shut his hand in the gate, or something.

“Fish, Alli, talk about fish. Some people find them very interesting”.

I’ve always found it a matter of great wonder, the things that humans find interesting. This is mainly because I have no idea what these things are. And fish are no exception. I often see mote-motes driving along the Throwleigh Road . Similarly, big worries, brmm brmms and cycles. I even have got to know the School Bus (its proper name, I gather, not one of those childish things HE makes up, because he thinks I’m stupid!) and various other conveyances that go past my field.

In the field, I have met rabbits, squirrels, deer, pheasants, rats, foxes, badgers and various named (magpies, rooks, crows, ravens, finches, robins, sparrows, pigeons) and other sundry birds.

But fish? What is a fish? Whatever they are, they are not the everyday topic of conversation amongst equines. Come to that, not even the exceptional topic, either.

“You’re being silly!”, I told him.

HE just looked at me and smiled, in a superior sort of way.

“You may be faster than me, you may eat faster than me, you are certainly bigger than me”, HE said, “but, Alli, if you don’t know what fish are, I am certainly smarter than you, my girl”.

I stopped nudging HIM for another mint, for a moment, walked around HIM, stood very tall and looked down at HIM and whispered in his poor little ear. “Do YOU know what the wind is telling me? Can YOU taste what the weather is going to do tomorrow? Have YOU smelled the grass growing and heard that horse that has just gone under Dry Bridge , half a mile away?”

I didn’t wait for HIS pathetic reply. Taking the last mouthful of treats from HIS puny grasp, I just walked gracefully away. It doesn’t pay to let THEM get above themselves, ever!

 

Thomas repairs his 2CVSunday 28th September 2003

Well, HE had some news last night, when THEY came with our evening buckets. Apparently, just as THEY were preparing our meal, a friend, Doreen, phoned them from Australia . Now, you might ask, how does a horse, who has never heard of fish, know about Australia ? You forget, I used to be in the racing game and the jockeys and trainers travelled about quite a bit. Anyway, HE didn’t have time to talk to Doreen then as HE had his priorities right and had to feed us horses. (You notice how I allow Wicked to be included in the term ‘horse’, short though he is?) It then went from bad to worse, however, for he had promised Doreen a long e-mail, in lieu of the phone conversation, when he got back from Ninefields. HE told me this morning that HE had typed a page on his laptop when the program shut down on him with an error and hadn’t saved it. Undaunted, HE started again, and this time lost half a page. HE then decided to reinstall the word processor only to have it ‘bomb out’ on HIM (HIS phrase!) The second time HE tried, it worked and HE was just about to start on the e-mail again when the phone rang. It was HIS son in law, Steve, saying that Thomas (one of HIS grandsons) had broken down in his mote mo..(no, I will use the correct word!) .. his CAR about 16 miles away and could THEY put Thomas up for the night? Of course, the answer was yes, and that put paid to Doreen’s long e-mail, as HE had to get a room ready and wait to direct Thomas to the house.

Apparently, Thomas got the car ‘jump started’ whatever that is and managed to get there and put his battery on charge over night. I wonder if it is something like when the humans in America (something else I’ve heard the jockeys talk about) run up behind the wild horses and just jump onto their backs, which, of course, never fails to get them started?

I never got to see Thomas, as he had to get home early this morning to fix the car properly before going back to work, tomorrow. HE did show me this picture, though, of Thomas putting the battery back in.

 

 

 

 

A handsome young ShireMonday 29th September 2003

HE is doing a good job of telling me things to put in my diary although it is a bit funny because I then have to dictate them back to him to type up for me. I know that is all a bit complicated for you to understand. Just accept it as a sort of equine diarist sort of thing and leave it at that. Apparently HE went to something called ‘Vintage Farming Day’ yesterday. It was in two fields not to far from here and it consisted of a lot of enthusiastic chaps with an assortment of ancient farming equipment, mainly tractors but also some small engines performing various useful tasks like pumping water or generating electricity and the like. There were also some very large engines used for threshing including a couple of steam ones. But, while they were probably very interesting to the humans – ‘boy’s toys’ SHE called them, I got much more excited over the young Shire horse that HE showed me a picture of. A very handsome grey, well built and feathered. A real playmate he would be if we could have him at Ninefields. But, alas! It appears that while all the tractors were rushing up and down the fields in rows in some sort of ploughing competition, the handsome young shire had nothing to do but stand around and look pretty. I’m sure I could have found him something more interesting to do. Oh well!

I asked Tregony about fish, last evening as we were walking up the hill for our night’s grazing. I’ll give him his due, he turned not a hair but said, yes, he had heard about them when he was in Cornwall but it was so long ago that he would need to go away into the corner of the field and have a good long think about it. I don’t know if it is something to do with the physical make up of equines but they are not really built for holding their breath. A good job really, thinking about it!

 

More Supermarket dogsTuesday 30th September 2003

The end of the month. The end of summer. The end of the warm weather. Really, it has been a good summer, this year. I am feeling really fit and healthy and in ‘condition’ as SHE would say. The trouble is, SHE came along with that tape of HERs. You know, the one that somehow tells HER that we are too thin or too fat. Only, it never does say we are too thin. It’s biased that way. Just another excuse to cut down our food or reduce our treats. I wonder who runs that tape around THEIR tummies. I expect THEY have one that always says that THEY must have more!

HE has been in a funny mood. A bit distant, as if he is thinking of something else. I know what it is. He has told me. It’s the re-launch of HIS web site. Something to do with the fact that no one is looking at it so HE has decided to change it, to try and make it more interesting. Maybe it’s not true that nobody is looking at it but those that do are not from about here. You see, HE made it to look good for the tourists, so that they would want to come here. Full of pretty pictures of the place and some of the historical background. HE reckons the trouble was, that if locals wanted to see how nice it was around here, they have only to look out of their windows. What they didn’t need was to go and switch on a computer. So, HE’s come up with this idea of a local monthly journal within the site, with a correspondent from each of the four villages involved doing a write up together with a few news pages of things around the area. And the first edition is due to be launched tomorrow, the first of October.

The reason HE has been a bit distant is that one of HIS expected village correspondents pulled out at the last minute, so HE has had to cover that page. Then, the correspondent from another village has gone away on holiday, so HE has had to cover that page. And, finally, to cap it all, HIS computer is playing up again (after having it mended just two weeks ago) so that HE is unable to put up the proper Photo Album that he had planned, and instead has had to include the single page of photos that he had in the previous site. Poor dear. Still as we say, HE’s made a crop for HIS own quarters. I don’t know why HE can’t just come up the hill and graze with us instead of sitting at that keyboard all day. That is, after HE has typed up my diary!

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