Alezane's Diary Archive October 2004
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Friday 1st October 2004
Tregony getting oldWick was still limping badly this morning, and it wasn't from any nips or kicks Treg may have given him as a ‘start of the month' joke. When THEY felt his feet, there was obviously heat there, so it looked like it was another abscess after all. I heard THEM talking as THEY went away, after breakfast, saying that it would mean another call out for the vet. Wick didn't show any sign of wanting to move around much so we didn't go up the hill, just hung about in the lower paddock. Then, midday , the weather turned and we had a few heavy showers so Treg and I moved into the field shelter (actually, Treg stood just outside, as he always does. Wicky might be lame but he was still his old hardy self. ‘What d'you want to go hiding away in there for?', he asked and he continued to graze in the home paddock completely ignoring the pouring rain. ‘Quite a fine day', he announced, as Treg and I looked fairly gloomily up at the dark cloudy sky. ‘A wee bit o' rain never hurt anyhorse', he mumbled with his mouth full of grass. Treg and I were just starting to nod off and have a good old doze when I heard the sound of THEIR green car draw up and drive on into the field. A little later, SHE arrived and made straight for our head collars. Not a mint, not a carrot – loads of fine words but no buttered parsnips, as we say. SHE ties all three of us up and just stands there with us in the field shelter. I wasn't at all sure that I wanted to be so close to Wicky and I am sure the feeling was mutual. But, there was nothing we could do about. I could see Tregony starting to worry at this unusual happening. Treg may appear placid but he is not one of life's optimists. If it is something that he is not familiar with then it must be something bad. However, this just standing and being talked to went on for quite a long time with nothing else happening and I think we all started to become a bit drowsy. I know I yawned out load a few times.
Then I heard a sound that was becoming familiar. It was the vet's car being driven in to the top field. Pretty soon He turned up with the vet and HE took over holding Wick while SHE kept hold of Treggy and my lead reins. THEY talked about how poorly little4 Wick had been and Donna (the vet) had a feel of his foot. Then she started getting nasty. Out came the knife and off came chunks of Wicky's hoof. HE held Wick (and I could swear that HE kept giving him mints) while she dug and dug. Eventually she hit blood, with no sign of the abscess and had to stop. Towards the end, lame as he was. poor old Wick gave a couple of lunging rear ups but there was no escape and I think he knew that THEY were trying to help him, it was just that a jolt of pain made him jump. Now Donna had found no abscess, there was a discussion as to what it might be and what Wicks treatment would be. And, I'm sad to say, it was the very worst thing that could happen. Even now, Treg and I don't dare tell Wick what is coming – it's too horrible. Yes, you've guessed. THEY are going to CUT DOWN HIS FOOD! Donna feels it must be a form of laminitis and, of course, the treatment for that is less rich food. Donna put a poultice on both to keep the wound clean and in the hope that it might still draw an abscess and she gave Wick a pain killer jab. But I'm afraid there is no drug that will cure Wick's pain when he sees his new reduced rations. Look out for some pretty bad moods in the days to come.

Saturday 2nd October 2004
view from NinefieldsDo you ever get the feeling that you're losing control? That's how I feel at the moment. It's really terribly worrying with Wicked not being well. I know THEY are doing all THEY can but when you watch the poor little chap in so much pain, just trying to turn let alone walk and there is nothing you can do about it, it is just so frustrating. And then there's Tregony starting to get above himself. I shooed him away from the gate tonight when the buckets arrived. And what did he do? He didn't disobey, he walked off with me behind him and then he goes and turns in a circle and goes back to HIM to get his carrot treat. And what was worse, I couldn't do anything about that either. If I had gone along and given him a nip while he was standing next to HIM, I would have been in big trouble. All I could do was watch and grind my teeth. My whole herd leadership is falling apart. Treg won't do as he is told and Wicky can't. It really is a big worry. And the weather doesn't help, either. What with being dark and cloudy and miserable for most of the day, it has now turned to quite heavy rain and THEIR friends the weather forecasters are telling them that we are in for gales and rain tomorrow. I just can't take much more. I think what I am going to have to do is just stand in the field shelter with my eyes firmly shut and try and force myself to sleep through it. And I will make myself dream that Wicky is his old naughty self again and Treg is silly but obedient and I am looking after them both very well and we are all happy and well.
And, when I wake up, I want to see dear old Harry, standing as he always does in the corner of his field, waiting for his mum or dad to come and fetch him home!

 



Sunday 3rd October 2004
I promised myself I wouldn't be all doomsignpost to Tregony and gloom today. Leys write something funny and light hearted, I thought to myself. Well, how about this. Wicky left half of his breakfast this morning. If that doesn't make you laugh, I don't know what will. Actually, I'm afraid, it wasn't all that funny. The poor little chap had a very bad night and this morning he was so sore that THEY fed him where he stood in the field. The bit about leaving his breakfast was due, I do believe, because SHE bought him some strange new stuff to eat called ‘Happy Hoof'. It is especially for laminitis sufferers. Not only does it not contain molasses or corn or stuff but I think they got it made up by some continental chef because it reeks of garlic. THEY tell me it says all kinds of nice things on the packet like ‘enriched with minerals and vitamins' and ‘with added mint and herbs' but when I asked him afterwards why he hadn't eaten it, Wicky said (among a lot of unprintable stuff) that it didn't taste the same as what he was used to. So, after a light breakfast, as they say, Wick busied himself trying to make up all day with grass. He stayed in the home paddock but he managed to limp right up the hill to the bit against the wall. It's been a rotten windy and rainy day today and I thought he might be aiming for a bit of shelter but when I mentioned this to him he said ‘no lassie, it's a grand bit o' weather, it's just that the grass tastes better up there.
By this evening, he was moving a lot freer, still i9n pain but he was able to get to the field shelter and eat his supper with the rest of us. And THEY did a bit of a trick with him. Because he has to have six pills each evening, SHE kept half of his supper back in a plastic bag, to make sure that if he was not going to eat it all up, at least he would get his pills. Well, this worked a treat. Wick was at first very annoyed that he finished his supper so quick and then very pleased that he got seconds (actually the part THEY had held back) while Treg and I did not. This quite made Wicky's evening although it was nearly spoilt again by having to have his rug on. THEY thought that, as he couldn't move around so much, he might have trouble keeping himself warm and dry. ‘What do they think I am', Wick grumbled to me, ‘a cissy?'. However, I think he was secretly a bit pleased that THEY are trying THEIR best to care for him. SHE is now talking of having a blood test taken to check Wick for Cushing's disease. His curly coat and bad feet etc. might be a sign. We will have to wait and see. So, if you have stopped rolling about laughing now, I must leave you to get back to my herd minding duties.

Monday 4th October 2004
Tregony signpost”Ere, Wick, Wicky, did you here that, Wick did you?”
”Calm down laddie, now what's this all about?”
”Did you hear where HE said HE had been today?”
”I saw HIM go up to you and whisper in your ear, but I was far too busy trying to turn round on my bad foot to take any notice of what HE said.”
”HE said HE went there, today, Wick. HE went to Tregony!”
”Oh, no wonder you are excited, Treg. That's really good. Why did HE go there? Was HE asking them to take you back, I wonder?”
”Very, funny, Wick. No, HE's not asking them to take me back. HE just went there to see where I come from. And HE said it was very nice. Just one thing though. I can't make out where all my friends there have gone. All gone away. It's sad really.”
”How do you know that they have all gone away, Treg, did HE tell you?”
”Well, not exactly. But he did say that there was only one left.”
”Only one? Did HE tell you who it was?”
”No, HE just said that it was a one horse town.”
”Er, Treg. I think you will find that is just a saying. It doesn't mean that there is only one horse there. It just means that it is a nice, quiet place with not a lot of hustle and bustle.”
”Oh, you mean like Sticklepath?”
”Well, something like that. But I think even Sticklepath is rowdy compared to Tregony.”
”Wow, that good, eh? Anyway, HE said that HE was in Cornwall today and HE had some time to waste while SHE was at a conference or something so HE walked about and bought a map and when HE looked on the map, it appears that Tregony was not so very far away so HE decided to go there.”
”Humans are funny, aren't they? Just because it's not far away, that's no reason to go there. I mean, the holly tree at the top of Ninefields is not far away but we've not been there for quite a while, have we?”
”HE said HE did have a reason, not just because it was near.”
”I'm so pleased to hear it, Treg. And what was HIS reason?”
”HE wanted to find out how they pronounced it.”
”There are not many ways of pronouncing it, I would have thought, Treg. There's ‘i' and there's ‘t' and if you put them together they make ‘it'. Easy, really. Shouldn't think HE needed to drive down all those narrow roads to find that out.”
”Not how to pronounce ‘it' you Scots nana, how to pronounce ‘Tregony'.”
”You just did it, laddie – Tregony. How else would you pronounce it?”
”Ever since reading a book where the girl was from Cornwall and she pronounced things with the ‘Tre' accented, he has worried if my name should be Tre gony instead of Tregony.”
”Treg. If someone said to me ‘is it ca rrot or carrot?', I would tell them ‘what does it matter as long as it tastes good'.”
”But your name is not Carrot, is it? It might matter if it was.”
”So? What did HE discover?”
”That it is called Tregony, just like me.”
”Well, at least we will be able to sleep, alright, tonight. Seriously though, Treg. I really am pleased for you. By the way, did you know that there is a place called Wick on the Shetlands?”

Tuesday 5th October 2004
Tregony townI am pleased to say that Wicky's foot seems to be getting better. I say ‘seems' because he is still limping badly but, at least, he is able to come and eat his buckets in the field shelter with us. I have noticed that when I go to bite him or threaten to kick him, he is also capable of moving away fairly rapidly. Why I should be pleased that he is eating in the field shelter with us, I don't know. That stuff THEY are feeding him to help with his foot problem absolutely reeks of garlic. It reminds me of when I was a young filly back in France but there it wasn't such a problem as everyone ate it so you didn't notice it. THEY also split his meals up into two portions to make sure he is eating his medicines but I don't think that THEY need bother anymore. The way he leaves his buckets absolutely clean, these days, and the speed that he does it, proves that he is on the mend. But, giving him his food in two lots is very annoying because it looks as if he is getting two dinners when Treg and I are only getting one. AND he is being spoiled in another way. They have bought him special ‘sugar free' Polo mints now for his very own. Our old ordinary kind are not good enough for him now. He really is getting a bit above himself. Mind you, at his height, that's not difficult. (Joke)
THEY were talking tonight, while we were having our supper on our different eating styles. HE started it by saying what a messy eater Tregony is, as he watched Treg eating with his mouth open, so that bits keep falling onto the type that the bucket is put in to keep it steady. It's no problem to Treg for he always finishes up by going all around the tyre to gather up the bits that have fallen there. SHE chimed in and said that if HE thought Treg was a messy eater, HE should look at me. Now I have a special technique for eating which consists of flinging my bucket this way and that. THEY gave up putting my bucket in a tyre ages ago because I have no problem at all in flinging the tyre around as well. The whole idea is to detach the cut up veggies from the rest of the stuff and eat them first in preference. First you just give the bucket a hearty swipe with the side of your nose. This has the tendency to make the large pieces rises to the top. As you get further down the bucket this ceases to be so effective so the next thing is to give the bucket a really good swipe, which throws the remaining contents out onto the floor. Now you can glide over the top, picking out all the nice bits. Sometimes the bucket rolls on top of some of the food and you need to bash this out of the way. Unfortunately, in such a confined space as the corner of the shelter, the bucket has a habit of bouncing off the walls and coming back to cover some food again. This all adds to the game, though and you can eat and play at the same time. It does usually mean you waste some stuff which gets mixed up with the dirty floor but who cares. By then I will have picked out all the good bits and I can always rely on Treg or Wick to tidy up after me. Now Wicky has a very different approach to his food. He walks up to the bucket, buries his head in it and doesn't come up for air until it is empty. How boring! Still, it takes all sorts, as they say!

Wednesday 6th October 2004
AlezaneHarry was put down today! We will never see him standing in the corner of his field again. On the other hand, he will not live to be in constant pain and suffering from his bad leg. I don't want to be sorrowful but rather to remember him with joy. Harry was a big lad, a very big lad. In saying this, I am saying two things. Yes, he was big and strong but also Harry was an eternal youth. I was always amazed at hearing he was seven years old. We three used to stand in front of our field shelter some days and watch Harry, all alone in his field, running about and bucking and jumping, just like a silly little colt. But he was not silly, just full of the joy of life. Of course, we never saw him when he went jumping or hunting but I gather that he gave of his best with enthusiasm if not finesse. He really was just beginning to come into himself when his illness became apparent. He was not yet in great pain, it only showed in his gait and then was confirmed by x-ray. He was always nice to us, if not polite, it was only his boyish sense of fun. It seemed a great pity that he had no companion of his own age to lark about with but, with the size he was, any companion would need to be equal to the task. Apart from his nice nature, Harry was a very good looking horse. You will see what I mean when I get HIM to add a photo to this day's diary entry. We used to laugh because it was his mum that rode him most of the time but we could always tell if rain was due because then his dad would be given the task of exercising him. He would plough his way along the Throwleigh Road with his two canine companions Robbie and Tarka, Robbie running in front and Tarka (who, alas, is also no longer with us) trailing along far behind, picking up all his canine messages.
But, as I have already said on other pages, the lasting memory for us at Ninefields is Harry standing very patiently waiting for his dad to come and take him home. He spent much more time that even I have to, in his stable, I think because he was clipped out for working. I don't work so I keep my coat, what there is of it. So Harry would come along in the morning, on fine days, when he wasn't working and graze and lark about for the day and then, when it was time for our buckets to come, Harry would stand in the corner of his paddock and gaze down the road. Sometimes he would have a false alarm, when a Land Rover like his dads would come along the road. Then, he would do a little frisk and a buck and run to his gate to wait. When nothing happened, he would then walk stoically back and stand, on watch, again. We will all miss him and will be thinking and talking of him tonight. Good bye, Harry.

Thursday 7th October 2004
sunrise”Wouldn't it be funny if we was to ‘ide so as when HE brought our buckets, HE couldn't find us? Eh, Wick?”
”Have you thought this through, laddie? I mean really thought it through?”
”Er, yes … I think so. Well, no. What do you mean, Wick?”
”Well now my Tregony. Let's imagine we did what you suggest. It is very nearly bucket time, we know that because we are feeling pretty hungry. And then, what do we do?”
”That's it, Wick. Then we run up the hill and hide behind the hedge up there.”
”And then?”
”Well, then we watch out to see when HE comes.”
”Oh, good, Treg. WE stand up the hill, in the middle field, our tummies rumbling and our mouths watering, waiting for our feed and we hide behind the hedge. I see, Treg, I think I understand it now. Then what happens?”
”Well, you see, HE comes along in his jeep. HE stops and gets out …”
” … carrying those delicious buckets full of the most wonderful food you ever clamped your mouth on ….”
” …. and HE opens the gate …”
” … carrying those fragrant, tasty buckets ….”
” …. and HE stops because HE cant see us. And HE looks this way and that, in the field shelter and under the tree ….”
” …. and the HE takes the buckets back into the car and drives off. Well done, Treg. What a really funny joke. And there we are, starving and growing thin and un cared for – all because of your really funny joke, Treg. Good, isn't it?”
”You don't like it then, Wick?”
”Tregony, you have had some silly ideas in the past. You have had some very silly ideas in the past. You have had some extremely silly ideas in the past. But this one tops the lot!”
”Oh, so it's really pretty good then?”
”I don't think you can have ever starved in your life, Tregony. You have never felt the pangs of hunger biting into your very insides. You've not had that hollow burning ache grinding away hour after hour, minute after minute until you think you will go mad. Until you know that feeling Tregony, you won't begin to understand.”
”You really have starved like that, Wick?”
”Every day, laddie, every day. It's only the knowledge of the daily buckets that keeps me from just wasting away. I think that if ever they stopped coming I would just curl up in some corner of the field …”
” ‘… corner of some distant field that is, forever, Wicky', is that the one?”
”What are you blathering on about now, son?”
”I just thought that you had gone all poetic on me and I was trying to catch the mood.”
”You're a poor wee soul, Treggy, you ken that. A poor wee pathetic soul, wi'out a doubt. But your heart's in the right place, laddie.”
”Yeah, I know, Wick. I asked Alli once and she said it was somewhere in my chest below my neck and above my knees. She said most horses are like that so I must be like most horses, mustn't I?”
”Far more extra ordinary than that, Treg. You are unique my man. One of a kind.”
”Wow! Me, ‘strordinary and U-neek. Is that better than a joke, Wick?”
”Better than any of your jokes, Treg. Far, far better than that!”

Friday 8th October 2004
who rolled?Another fine day today, the sun shone most of the day although it's starting to get a bit cooler as the afternoon wears on. I'm pleased to say that Wicky's foot appears to be on the mend. He is still limping but is able to get about quite well now and he certainly has got his appetite back. There was sometime strange going on down the fields from us towards Dry Bridge . I couldn't tell you what it was but there were definitely sounds that were somehow out of place. I tell you they must have been odd because they caused me to pause from eating my bucket this evening. I had heard them a few times during the afternoon but they were nothing I could put my finger on. It wasn't the sound of Clarence moving his sheep because I saw that and would have recognised the sound. They are a funny lot, all painted a variety of colours on their backs and quite a lot doing a fair imitation of Wicky. Not only are they short with thick white coats but also many of them are limping. I've noticed, sheep do that a lot. It must be to do with the fact that they have such silly, almost pointed, legs. They walk about as if they were wearing human high heeled shoes. And all over the granite too. Why they find it necessary to walk all over the walls, I just don't know. Anyway, they pay for it in the form of bad feet most of the time. Where was I? Oh yes, my mystery sound. It was almost mechanical, maybe it was some human machine or other but not one I am familiar with. The other two didn't seem to notice it. Wicky has such woolly ears, I'm not surprised and Treggy was appearing particularly windswept today so maybe he got mane over his ears and wasn't hearing so well. Or, of course, it could just be me. I have been a bit on edge lately. What with Harry going and Wick not being so well and the thought that I will be spending my nights indoors very soon now, it's all got a bit much for me. Oh, and I forgot to tell you, I've got a bit of bother with my foot too. It doesn't make me limp or anything, it's just a scab on the top of my foot. But it is painful when SHE takes the scab off and puts some cream on it. And then, of course, I jump around and threaten to kick and then I get in trouble and that makes me forget how much it hurt and all in all, I am getting a bit grumpy these days. Maybe the sound I hear is the sound of a happier Alli of days gone by. Of course, it could be a happier Alli to come? Let's hope so, eh?

Saturday 9th October 2004
blackberriesWe've been seeing the heron flying by quite often, recently. I would love to know where he lives. When I see him, I always get the impression that he is flying home towards Dry Bridge but I don't know of any large areas of water that way so I could be completely wrong. It's funny how we get an idea fixed in our minds. He could, just as easily, be flying away from home, someplace over Throwleigh way, on the moor. But I cant shake the idea that I have heard someone say, at one time or another, that he lived to the west, so that is how I imagine him. It's much the same with the traffic along the Throwleigh Road . Because a car or van is heading towards Throwleigh in the morning, I just sort of assume that it is going to work and that the driver lives in South Zeal or Sticklepath or somewhere west of Ninefields. The assumption is, of course, that they are going to work, at that time of day. Similarly, if they were driving eastwards in the afternoon or evening, I would assume that they were coming home from work. I suppose our brains work that way so that, for the most part, we are correct in our assumptions and so can order our lives accordingly. I happen to know where THEY live because my stable is next to THEIR house but even if I didn't, I could make a reasonable assumption from the direction that THEY drive up to the gate. I thought I would put my theory to the test by asking Tregony about it. I said to him, ‘See that car going past, along the Throwleigh Road ? Where do you think he is going?' Treg looked at me very closely to see if there was some kind of catch to the answer. Then he put on the most agonised face while his brain tried to come to terms with the question and he finally said, ‘Mike's Farm?' Now, this was a good guess for Treg. And, it proves he still has some memory left for Mike's farm is where we go when the farrier comes, if it is too wet for him to get his van into our fields. Mind you, we are also constantly reminded of the farm because we hear the tractors working away, especially first thing in the morning and we also often get a sniff of the cows when they are being cleared out. In addition to that, Mike often comes along the bridle path on his quad bike, when he goes up the hill to see to his sheep. I thought I would push it a bit further with Treg, so I asked him, ‘What if he were not going to Mike's farm? Then where would he be going?' After a pause, Treg looked at me and gave a little grin, as if he had just seen the joke. ‘Falling off the edge of the world, I suppose', he said. Which goes to prove, well, I don't know what it does go to prove except that you can't assume about anyone else's assumptions.

Sunday 10th October 2004
”What are you doing now, Treggy?”
”Getting ready, Wick. Big day coming up soon.”
”And what big day might that be, laddie. We've had the Pram Race, you're not going in for the Carnival, are you?”
”Carnival? What Carnival? No, it's the Human Watch general h'inspeckshun day, that's what. We've all got to be as spic and span as possible.”
”And what does ‘spic' mean then Treg? Or span, come to that. I know that has got something to do with a bridge but I don't know it, as far as an inspection is concerned.”
”Er, ‘spic' means, er … er, well, spic! You know … don't you Wicky?”
Alezane in rug”No, I'm afraid I don't know son. And I be willing to bet that there are not many who do know. Maybe it's something like ‘spit and polish'? What do you think?”
”Yeah, that's it, Wick. It's something to do with that … I think?”
”Oh, just forget it laddie, I( know what you mean, anyway. Tell me, when is this big day?”
”Oh, soon, Wick, soon.”
”But, when's soon? Is it in five minutes or tomorrow, or next week. When soon?”
”Well, you see, Wick. I don't really know. In fact, I'm not allowed to know. It's sort of a surprise h'inspeckshun.”
”Well, if they come now, with you looking like that, it will be a surprise, I tell you. What do they think about muddy legs and hay in your fetlock?”
”I'm not sure, Wick. I'll have to look that up in orders.”
”Yes, I should do that, if I were you, Treg. It might be that it is required and there you go, taking all that mud off and all the time they really expect to see it.”
”D'you think so, Wick, really? That would be good if they did, wouldn't it. I find it a lot easier to get mud all over me than to get it off. Even Alli draws the line at biting mud off my back.”
”She's not so fussy when it's your turn to groom her though, is she?”
”Yeah, but she's a French Princess, isn't she?”
”She's a …., oh well, I won't say it. She's a dear sweet creature with a leaning to biting my neck, that's what dear sweet Alli is.”
”Yes, she does seem to like doing that, doesn't she, Wick.?”
”lets get back to your grand inspection. What is it for?”
”Well, you know, I've only heard it second hand, from that mare that goes past after breakfast. But she says that she heard that the top brass feel that things have been getting a bit slack, in the force, of late. To do with the fact that no one is stealing any humans any more and even the vandal attacks have slowed right down. Apparently the idea of a surprise h'inspeckshun is to keep us on our toes.”
”Well, Treg, as long as it keeps you off mine, I do0nt mind. Go on, back to your grooming. Stand easy old son.”

Monday 11th October 2004
a warm coat”Treg, when I said ‘stand easy' yesterday, I did mean stand. What's all this laying down, when it's bucket breakfast time?”
”Er, … well… you noticed, did you?”
”Noticed! I had to help myself to the second half of my breakfast out of that plastic shopping bag because THEY had to go up the hill and get you up. It's a good thing I'm a pretty smart pony or I could have starved, waiting for you.”
”I'm sorry, Wick. It was just that I lay down on a particularly soft bit of ground. So, when I heard them coming, I tried to get up but the ground just gave way under my feet and I fell over again. Sorta winded me so I had to lay back there for a moment.”
”Funny how you get your wind back soon enough when SHE waves that stick at you.”
”Well, I didn't want to get in trouble and I know how you and Alli hate it if I am late eating my bucket up. It puts you all out of routine. So when SHE waved that big heavy stick at me, I thought I would just make an extra hard effort. And I did and got up.”
”Treggy, you know and I know that it is not ‘a big heavy stick' but a dried up piece of weed with no substance to it at all. In fact, I saw him waving it at you and it broke in the wind. What kind of a threat is that, you old fool?”
”It's what they call a psykolo .. er.. a sykolog …a psychololohgikal threat, that's what. I've heard that they hurt even worse than big heavy sticks, so there!”
”And where do you hear a big word like that Treg?”
”Never you mind, Wicky. I have my sources, you know. We in the Human Watch go through all kinds of training. In fact, I have just completed an extensive anti terrorist course only last night.”
”My word, Treg. Anti terrorist, eh? That's verra impressive laddie. Tell me, what's an anti terrorist?”
”Oh, come on, Wick, don't tell me you don't know what an anti terrorist is?”
”Well, of course I know, Treg. I was just testing you. Sometimes I am not sure if I really believe everything you tell me about your Human Watch activities. Wouldn't be at all surprised if you didn't make a lot of it up.”
”Cheek! Me make it up? You're just jealous, that's what.”
”So, tell me, what's an anti terrorist?”
”Ah, I thought you might come back to that. I'm not really sure how much I am allowed to tell you. I have signed the h'official sekrets act, you know!”
”Oh yeah, tell me another. You just don't know, do you? So you're hiding behind the Official Secrets Act to cover your ignorance.”
”All right, if you force me. But I am going to have to whisper, you never know who might be listening. Come over here, very close. Now an anti terrorist is murmur, murmur, …… mumble, sh, sh. …. murmur and then we all have to do it. See?”
”Well, Tregony Bay . I look at you in a new light now. That is very impressive. And you learned all that in just one night?”
”Shh, not so loud, Wick. But yes. It's just how I am. But I have to keep up this cover of being a bit silly, you see. Fools a lot of people, doesn't it?”
”My goodness, Treg. Well, I feel much safer now. Good man!”

sheep on the rocksTuesday 12th October 2004
”Posh, posh, posh, posh
Alli, Treg and Wick.
Gosh, gosh, gosh, gosh
Who's dressed so slick?

Coats, coats, coats, coats
don't need a wash.
Oats, oats, oats, oats
Aint we three posh?”

“That's really good, Treg. Did you make it up all by yourself?”
”Yeah, I did, Wick. Pretty good eh?”
”Well, yes, Treg, although I'm not too sure about the ‘oats' bit. What is that all about?”
”We songwriters calls that a lie-sense. I think I can best describe it as knowing when to fib a little bit to make it rhyme.”
“Oh, I see. And I suppose it is to celebrate the fact that we all got new rugs today. That's really very clever of you, laddie. My admiration keeps on growing.”
”That's nice, Wick. But let me tell you more. I think I know why we all got new rugs. It's the h'inspeckshun, aint it? THEY want to make sure that we all look our very best when the Grand H'inspeckshun takes place. Don't want us to let down the Ninefields Division.”
”But Alli and I aren't even in the Human Watch force, Treg. Why should we need new rugs as well?”
”THEY don't want you to disgrace me, you see. If the Supers come round and see that I associate with a load of scruffs, it won't look too good, you see. But as long as I can get you and Alli not to mud roll for a while until after it is all over, then I should get a very good report as someone who only associates with smart guys.”
”I hope you're not ashamed of us, Treg? We are your best friends, you know.”
”Yeah, I know that but I've got to keep up h'appearances. The glory will reflect on all of us, you know.”
”I never knew you took it all so seriously, old man. Are you getting ambitious, after promotion or something?”
”No, not really, Wick. I wouldn't want to climb above my old friends, even if I was worth it. No, I just stay down here with you, even if it is bad for my career.”
”If we've got to stay clean, you better say when the inspection is going to happen. I cant keep out of the mud for too long, it's bad for my health to stay clean for very long.”
”I'm afraid it's still like I told you before, a surprise. But I wouldn't be surprised (ha ha) if it weren't pretty soon now. Otherwise why the new coats?”
”Maybe I'll get Alli to have a word with HER. She usually manages to hear things before the rest of us and maybe she'll ask THEM. Does this mean you are going to keep on singing and making up new verses until the day, Treg?”
”It could well be, Wick. Once the cat's cries get me, you never know what will happen.”
”Tell you what, Treg. I won't ask. I'll just go quietly and stand up the top of the hill over there and let you get on with it. Bye, laddie, bye!”

Wednesday 13th October 2004
wide skyThese new coats have worked wonders for Treggy's ego. He is like a new man, strutting up and down. I think he particularly likes it because it is identical to mine (apart from the size – mine is 3inches bigger). Also, it is not a hand me down. Up until now, Treg has always had my old coats, when I got a new one and, I will admit, the colour doesn't always suit him. This time, we both got a new coat of the same kind and the same colour. The other thing that pleases both him and me is that these coats appear to be made of a new, lightweight material. No longer do we have to feel that we are carrying the world on our shoulders, with these, you hardly know you have them on. The cut is good as well. The old coats always felt like straight jackets, pulling in across the shoulders. These have a new sort of fastening that clips down from the neck somehow. And, we mustn't leave Wicked out. He has virtually the same thing as well. It's the same material but with a slightly different fastening but with him, as he has a shape peculiar to Shetland ponies (SHE calls him a space hopper, but you had to be around in the sixties, I believe, to know what that is), the fastening is no problem. And, of course, it is a slightly different shade – the McWicky tartan, just like his old coat. He also is very happy with the new light weight, especially with that thick coat of his. I think he would still prefer no coat at all, for comfort, but he does like the idea of getting a new coat with the rest of us. You would be amazed at all the compliments we have had from passing horses (and some humans too!).
And now, to change the subject. It is noticeable that the light is going quicker now in the evenings. I expect it will soon be time for the humans to, as they say, ‘turn the clocks back'. And that is generally the time for me to go back to my stable overnight. In fact, I am pretty sure that I heard him say something about me coming in next Saturday. Although I will be grumpy for a little while, I won't really mind. It's all part of the natural rhythm of things. I only hope HE will be up to it this year. I expect so, it's usually only the first couple of weeks that get HIM puffed until HE gets in training again. But, until then, I'm going to enjoy my freedom. I'm off now up to the top fields with Treg for some night time grazing.

Thursday 14th October 2004
looking round the cornerIt started yesterday, I don't know quite what it is, but I have a funny feeling about going up to the Throwleigh Road gate. There was quite a lot of unusual traffic going past, during the day, yesterday and we did have a few ramblers along the bridle path that I didn't like the look of. Then again, we have had quite a few downpours in the last few days and this resulted a few times in the stream being in fast, full flood and I never have been terribly fond of going through water. Anyway, for whatever reason, I just wouldn't go up to the gate to meet them last night and, of course, if I didn't go, neither did Treggy or Wick. Its not out of loyalty, in fact, I am sure Wicky would go over the stream and up to meet them if I didn't place myself strategically in his way. He may pretend to laugh at my so called ‘bossy' ways but he is not so silly as to get within range of my nipping teeth. With Treg, I think it is more that he does anything for a quiet life. If I said to him ‘we are going right up into the top corner of the top field, before we have our buckets', he wouldn't say ‘why, Alli', or, ‘I don't want to, Alli', he'd just nod quietly and say ‘alright, Alli, shall I lead or will you?'. It's not that he is silly or creepy or anything, it just doesn't occur to him to be any different. The fact that he is a cob and therefore can be a bit ‘cobby' is only a problem for humans. He doesn't just do what they require without question. Usually he just stands there for a while, thinking about it and often he will try to catch my eye to see what to do. Most times, he does what he is asked by a human, but not if he doesn't want to or if he thinks it is the wrong thing to do.
Anyway, to get back to my little funny turn. I was already feeling funny about going up to the gate, as I told you, and this morning, after buckets, I was in two minds whether to follow THEM back to THEIR car, as I usually do. Just as I was making up my mind, I noticed that HE was talking to a strange Arab looking black mare, up by the gate. Now this was, at the time, very interesting and very annoying. If HE talks to anyone up at the gate, it should be me and there was little doubt that HE was on the verge of giving her some of my carrots or polo mints. On the other hand, it was possible that she was coming into our field. Now this opens up all kinds of exciting possibilities. Not to be nasty to my two old fellows, they never were built for running, even when they were young and now, well, they are about as exciting as a damp fog on Dartmoor. Now if this young lady who, although she looked a little on the plump side was far younger and fitter than the boys, if she were to come in, we could have some great games together. I made to run up the field and cantered a few strides and turned back but, sad to say, her rider just turned her from out gate and carried on up the Throwleigh Road . Now I was not only nervous but also (I think the word is) staled! So, this evening when THEY brought our supper, THEY didn't stand a chance in Chagford of any of us coming to greet them. Mind you, I did overhear HER say that THEY should put the gate over the stream so that we couldn't get into the field. Human's can be so devious sometimes, cant they?

Friday 15th October 2004
fir conesAnd they did! Put the gate over the stream, I mean. But not before we were all over the stream into the Throwleigh Road field. Doesn't time fly? It was farrier day again today. Eight weeks since mark came last. Well, not really because, if you recall, old Treg's shoe was coming off and Mark had to come and nail it back on again. However, it is eight weeks since we were all ‘seen to' properly. I nearly said ‘shod' but, of course, our little wicked squirt doesn't wear shoes, he just has his feet trimmed. What was funny this time was that Mark asked does Treg go out on the road at all and when THEY said ‘no', Mark said it was a wonder because Treg actually wears the metal out on his shoes. The only answer THEY could think of was that there is a lot of granite in our fields and Treg is quite a heavy lad, after all. Anyway, Mark started with me, as usual and Tregony was funny. He was sure that he didn't want any part of it this time and went and queued at the gate to be let back across the stream. When THEY wouldn't do that, Treg went and ‘hid' under his tree. He just stood in the darkest place under the tree, sure that THEY couldn't see him. Finally, he gave up and just stood around grazing, waiting his turn, properly. Wicky took it into his head (as he always does) that being stood around for the best part of two hours is just an opportunity to bully and coax treats out of people. He followed HIM all around the field as HE went about inspecting the perimeter, walls and fences. Wicky did a really good imitation of a dog on a lead and, of course, was rewarded for his efforts (although still with the ‘sugar free' variety of the mints. While Treggy was being shod, HE held him and, although they thought that I didn't notice, I saw HIM constantly drip feeding mints to Treg and Treg was going all melty and silly for HIM and resting his big old head on HIS shoulder. When Treg was done, THEY let us off and opened the gate so that we could go over the stream. We did but we waited on the other side until Wick had finished being trimmed.
I have a confession. In the evening, I was really spooked. I stayed up above the field shelter when our buckets came until, in the end, even Treggy pushed past me to go down and eat. And when I finally did go down, I squeezed between Treg and the edge of the field shelter for cover and started to eat Tregs bucket until I got shouted at. Finally I stood very nervously eating my own bucket in my proper place but just couldn't settle and had to stop and stare out of the doorway. And then, my fear got so bad I had to rush out and leave my supper. HE had to get my bucket and hold it for me and tell me soothing things to get me to eat up. I don't know what got into me. Let's hope it soon goes away!

Saturday 16th October 2004
tiny pony”There she goes, laddie, back off to her nice warm stable for the winter. I could have told you she didn't have what it takes to be a real Dartmoor hill horse.”
”I suppose you're right, Wick. Winter's here again. Just you and me. You will be kind to me, won't you Wick?”
”Course I will, Treg. Haven't I looked after you, all those years before we even knew Alli? Didn't I see you through all the long, dark nights while that big French softie had to be tucked up in bed at home? Of course I'll be kind to you, Treg. Just like always.”
”I was rather hoping it wouldn't be ‘just like always', Wick. ‘Just like always' means that you nip my knees and you pinch my food and you get real grumpy sometimes, and that makes me worried.”
”Och, laddie. We're real pals, aren't we? It's normal for pals to fall out sometimes.”
”You know, she didn't even say good bye. In fact, she walked up to the car and then on down the road just as if she had been doing it all through the summer. I did expect she would put up some resistance, some show that she would rather stay out overnight with us.”
”She's been in a funny mood for the last week, Treg. I think somehow, her biological clock told her it was time to go in overnight. She certainly has been very edgy about nothing that I could see and I've got very sharp night vision.”
”Yes, she has been very on edge. Ever since Harry went. It might just be co-incidence but it almost looks as if he came back and talked to her or something. She kept looking over at his field and behaving very nervously.”
”When she comes back in the morning, we must look after her, Treg. Make her feel welcome and make out we missed her very badly overnight.”
”I don't think I will need to make out, Wick. I know you are my best pal and all that but I've got a real deep feeling for Alli. I've had it ever since that first day I saw her. We just sort of hit it off, right away.”
”I know what you mean, Treg. We are old buddies from a long way back but that doesn't stop you getting attached to someone else.”
“Have you ever had anyone special like that, Wick? You know, someone of your own …”
” … size. Yes, I know what you were thinking and ‘no', I'm not offended. Aye, laddie, I did once have a wee lassie that I was very keen on. It was when we were out on the moor, wandering about. I was pretty young then and the bigger ponies used to pick on me and bite my knees so I always stayed on the outside of the main herd. And I used to get pretty lonely until, one day, our herd met up with another one and I saw this young filly, also hanging about on the fringes of her herd. We got chatting and she told me that all the mares in her herd were giving her a hard time. So, I invited her to come along with us. I said I would look out for her.”
”And did she come, Wick? Did she join your group and let you look after her?”
”Aye, laddie, she did. And we had a glorious summer together. Even my herd looked at me with new respect now and we were both accepted back into the centre again.”
”So what happened, Wick. Where did she go to?”
”It's a hard life, on the moor, son. The drift. We got split up during the drift when the different farmers claimed their own and we were sent to market and sold off.”
”And you never saw her again? Ouch, you bit me.”
”That's enough of Mr nice Wick, Treg you old sentimental fool. Move over and let me see if you've left anything in your bucket.”
”As Alli would say ‘plus ca change!”

Sunday 17th October 2004
Auntie NormaWell, that's my first night in of the season over and done with. I was really very good, I didn't kick the walls once. Mind you, I'm afraid it's not very ladylike to mention but I did get the squits very badly. I always do when I'm upset and boy was I upset! The walk home was fine. All downhill so HE wasn't puffed and it was quite interesting to sniff along the hedgerows and see who had been where and what was going on in the outside world. Even when we got home, I didn't mind going in my stable as THEY had very cunningly placed my supper bucket there. I just walked in and started eating straight away. No, it was after I had eaten, when Treg and I generally go up the hill to the top fields for the night, then it dawned on me that I had nothing to do but stare at the four walls until the next morning. Well, not quite true for THEY do do what THEY call late stables about ten o'clock , when HE comes in and cleans me out while SHE gives me treats over the stable door. Then it's HIS turn to come in and give me some more until HE says good night. Generally, HE also has to top up my hay, as I will have chewed my way through most of it by then. But not tonight. I must have only pulled at a few strands all night and eaten none. I was too upset to eat. Finally I just settled down for a prolonged sort of sulk/sleep all night with my back to the door. And that was where HE found me this morning when HE came to say hello while HE waits for HIS kettle to boil for THEIR first morning drink. Talking of drinks, SHE was considerate in filling my water bowl with water from the Ninefields stream so the changeover to the horrible water that THEY drink from THEIR taps wasn't so sudden. It will slowly get replaced as I drink it but it was a nice thought.
This morning things went better. I had my breakfast and then SHE groomed me while HE took Treg and Wick their buckets. By the time HE came back, I was ready and, after getting my coats back on again, I remembered that I always go into THEIR kitchen for some sugar cubes which are placed upon the table. And then we were off. I am afraid HE never walks fast enough on that first day back. I pulled HIM up the hill and through Dry Bridge as fast as I could. Then HE stopped, as I remember HE always did stop, just outside Amber's place and offered me the usual carrot but I just took a quick swipe at it and spat it out. I wanted to get back to my fields. HE made me wait (so that HE could get his breath) and then we were off again. I swiped a few mouthfuls of grass, as we went along and the next minute, I heard Treggy calling out to me. I was so glad to see him and we rubbed noses as soon as I went through the gate. I expect, from now, things will get back into routine but I will be counting the days to spring when I can become a wild Dartmoor horse again and stay out all the time.

Ramsley LaneMonday 18th October 2004
”Did you see that, Wick? What was Alli thinking off?”
”She was thinking of staying out all night, that's what she was thinking off, laddie.”
”But that was open defiance. I never thought I'd see Alli be so downright naughty as that. I bet she gets into real trouble when she gets home.”
”I'd be willing to bet she doesn't, laddie. Haven't you see the way she deals with HIM. She's got HIM twisted round her little er .. well, she's got HIM under her er. hoof, that's for sure. She will just look at HIM all soft with her great big soft eyes and HE will just melt. No trouble for her.”
”But she still had to go back to her stable, though, didn't she?”
”I'm afraid that was inevitable. This time of year she goes in and Spring she comes out again. That's the way of the world.”
”I still can't get over her, the way she stayed right up the hill and wouldn't come down, at first. Then she comes down at a snail's pace until she gets to HIM and then, wow, then, she just dashes past HIM into the field shelter and stands waiting for her bucket.”
”She didn't just stand, waiting, laddie, she tried to get her nose into my bucket.”
”Wow, she really must have flipped if she thought you'd give up your bucket.”
”I think what it was, Treg, was that she felt a bit silly, just at that moment. She rushed past HIM and into the shelter and then what? She knew she'd have no bucket. I think she was just looking for something to hide her embarrassment.”
”SHE seemed to think it was funny, when HE led Alli out of the shelter and over the stream. SHE wasn't going to moan at her either.”
”No, Treg. SHE's a woman and that sort are very strange creatures. Just a little thing like giving some old friend a wee nip on the knee and SHE can get very angry indeed. And yet, when Alli performs a gross act of disobedience – nothing, worse, SHE laughs. I tell you Treggy old mate. Never take a female woman for granted.”
”No, I won't Wick. Not if it's like that. But, Michelle was a female woman, wasn't she?”
”Aye, laddie, that she was. You must be losing your old memory if you can't remember all her little inconsistencies.”
”It was a long time ago, wasn't it. But then, Alli is also a female. A female horse, not a woman, granted. But I think she shares a lot of the same characteristics.”
”Treg. I think it best if we don't say any more, laddie. I have a funny feeling that Alli gets HIM to put some of our conversations in her diary. We don't want to antago… er…upset any females, do we?”
”Don't we, Wick? Why's that?”
”You are losing your memory fast, aren't you Treg. Didn't I just say that both SHE and Alli are females?”
”Oh yeah! Right, gotcha, Wick. Dams the word! Eat up, eh.”
”Right, Treg, dam's the word, alright!”

Tuesday 19th October 2004
treat timeI gave in last night. I didn't tell THEM that but they may have guessed as I did make an attempt to eat some of my hay. Mind you, I didn't like it very much. Not surprising really when the grass is still so go in the fields. But, really, I don't have much choice. It's that or nothing. I don't think it would really do me much harm to cut down a bit anyway. If I'm honest, my new coat is a little tight and that's not because it's the wrong size – I am! After a really good summer's eating out at Ninefields, one does tend to put on a bit. Anyway, what I was telling you about was my giving in. When THEY came along this evening, instead of being half way up Ninefields, there I was in the Throwleigh Road field, good as anything. I still had to put up a bit of a show of token resistance by not looking up when they arrived. And I wasn't waiting at the gate but was grazing half way down to the stream. But THEY knew and I knew that I had now accepted that I will be going in overnight until the spring. Really, it's not so bad when I think about it. THEY are only next door and quite often come out and talk to me and usually have a mint or carrot about their person. Then there is the rest of the world going by along the Ramsley Lane that I can watch. Sometimes it is the children going to and from school or the recreation ground. I like that. I love kids and really enjoy seeing and hearing them go past. I love it even more if they stop and come and talk to me. The street light is right outside my stable so that gives me a sort of rhythm to go by. I get home in the light and then the streetlight comes on, not all at once but as a sort of orange glow to start with and then , after a while, a flicker and then it's alight. By this time the sky is growing dimmer and dimmer and then it's dark night time. While this has been happening, I have been having my supper and then having a bit of a doze to digest my food. Later in the evening, I stand and watch over my stable door. Apart from seeing the street, I can also see the gardens opposite and then the big hill which faces my stable and the big trees on top. I love those trees because they are almost always moving. Also they are full of birds. There is always something to look at. And then, above the trees on the skyline, I can look up and see the stars. Well, most nights, that is. We do have our fair share of rain here but there is usually a break during the night when I can see the moon, sailing along behind the clouds. I know it's not really ‘sailing along', it's the clouds that are moving. But it does certainly look as if the moon is running and hiding behind the darkness and that is what I like to think to myself. When I get tired of this, I just turn my back on the world and dream, in between a few bites of hay here and there. Next thing I know the birds are shouting and the milkman's van comes along with its' rattle of bottles and then it's breakfast time after which HE walks with me back up to Ninefields. As I said, it's not so bad really, when you get used to it!
off for a girlie moment
Wednesday 20th October 2004

I'm really sorry about that, Wick. But it was a general h'inspeckshun. They are very strict about dress on one of those.”
”Load of crib biters. What do they know? There's nothing wrong with my rug. It's a brand new one. You were only saying the other day how posh we all were. And now they're saying that my rug's not up to standard! What cheek!”
”Well, you have to admit that it lets the rain in, Wick.”
”Air conditioned, that's what. The trouble is those officer types of yours wouldn't know a quality coat if one kicked them up the a …”
” … ask me. I know, Wick. But there's nothing you can do about it. That coat's got to go.”
”Jealous, that's all. Did you see what they were wearing. Great big heavy old things that made them look like sumo wrestlers. No good to pony or man. Load of rubbish. I'm not going to give up my nice new rug without a struggle.”
”Ah. But I know something you don't know then.”
” Tregony Bay , old man. The day you even dream you know something that I don't will be the day they move you to the funny farm.”
”Oh, where's that, Wick. That sounds good. Remind me to ask you about it later. I thought I knew all the farms around here. Anyway, what I was going to say was that I heard THEM talking about your rug. Do you want to know the news or not?”
”Rubbish, laddie. There's nothing you know that could possib….er … what did you say? You heard THEM saying what, exactly?”
”Oh well, if you're not interested, I'll just be goin … ouch .. alright, alright. I heard HER saying to HIM that THEY had bought you another new rug, to wear while the two that leak are sent away to the makers.”
”Another new rug! That'll make THREE new rugs I've got. How many new rugs have you got Treg?”
”Only one, Wicky. But you see, I need mine. You know, with your own great thick natural coat that you don't need a rug at all. That's why the humans have gone and bought you three. See!”
“Well, as you put it like that, Treg, no. Except of course, who knows with humans? They go and find just the most suitable lightweight rug to keep off the wind and it has the added advantage that it keeps you cool and moist at the same time. And what do they do? They send it back. In fact they buy two and they send them both back. I'm really looking forward to THEIR next mistake, I really am.”
”Oh, come on, Wick, THEY mean well. It's just that they are …”
” … misguided. If only they weren't human, I'd bite THEIR knees, that's what I'd do.”
”never mind, Wick. By the next h'inspeckshun it'll be all sorted out and you'll pass with flying colours.”
”If those ‘hossifers' of yours come anywhere near me again it won't only be the colours that will be flying. You tell them that, you Human Watch lackey, you. I don't belong to their organisation and I don't want to. I may be little but at least I've got a life.”
”Oh dear, Wick. I do believe they have upset you. Tell you what. Let's forget about it and have a wee bite, shall we?”
”Treg, you're not only getting smart, you're starting to sound smart as well. Come on, race you to the top field!”

hello - I'm TregonyThursday 21st October 2004
I hear HE had a right old time of it, this morning, before I went up to Ninefields. Apparently HE took along Wicky's new coat this morning when HE took their breakfast buckets and what HE had to do was to take Wick's old coat off and put his new one on. Now, for those of you who have never had to do a similar task, I must explain. There are two problems here. One is fairly trivial. It is just the fact that the job has to be done with Wicky's head firmly planted in his bucket. Nothing will move it until it is empty. If you need to do the front buckles up, you must do it blind, groping about under Wicky's bent chin. But, as HE proved, it can be done. The other problem, which is more of a challenge, is that new rugs always come with straps that are adjusted either far too short or far too long. Adjusting these on a ‘normal' 16 hand chestnut mare is always challenging for, whichever way you loosen the buckles, the straps seem to go the opposite way to the way you want them. Now, understand then how it is, trying to do the same job while reaching underneath a soaking muddy midget. I am not being politically incorrect here, just telling it like it is. Wicky's shape in plan view is like a pear, so to try and reach the strap, let alone adjust it means getting down on a muddy floor and reaching past his not inconsiderable belly. Now I am telling you what HE tells me for it is HIM that has to do it. But, why make such a fuss, it's do-able isn't it? When I asked HIM this, HE said, ‘I forgot to tell you. As I arrived with the buckets, I saw Tregony was laying down, having a snooze'. Apparently what HE decided to do was to leave Treg alone (SHE always goes and makes Treg get up) and get on with Wick's rug, in the hope that Treg would make it on his own, when he saw the food arriving. Halfway through sorting out the rug, HE took a break to look out of the field shelter and, sure enough, Treg was no longer sitting down on the ground. No, he was laying flat out, fast asleep! HE was in the middle of the rug saga, so there was nothing to do but go back to Wicky and let Treg sleep on. Fortunately, as HE was nearing the end of HIS task, HE heard some grunting and groaning noises and looked out to see Treg strolling up to the shelter. All that remained then was to keep pumping apple biscuit and polo mint treats down Wick's throat while Treg ate a leisurely late breakfast.
Well, I had a good day, anyway!

Friday October 22nd 2004
”Fine, bracing bit o' weather, eh Trogs?”
”Phoo! I hate this wind. And it blows the rain right in your face. I don't know how you can say you like it, Wick.”
”Wind? This is nothing, laddie. Up in the Shetlands, this is what we would call a gentle breeze. If it gets no stronger than this, we reckon we're having a good summer's day.”
”Wick, how can you say that. This is one of the worst days for weather that we've had in ages. It's dark and miserable, the wind could knock you over and the showers are so heavy that HE says that there are flood warnings. And you think it is nice?”
churchyard”It's all about what you are used to, laddie. I expect that some horse from one of those hot countries, Irabia or Afghanica or somewhere would come to Dartmoor and think our summer days were cold.”
”I wish I knew as much geography as you Wick. I only know bits of Dartmoor , Cornwall and Winkleigh. All the rest are foreign parts to me.”
”it's not so much to do with where you have been, Treg. You can learn by just keeping your ears open. And then, when you learn of a new place you just sort of add it on to the places you know. Pretty soon you can be as impressive as me. Well, maybe in your case, not pretty soon, but one day.”
”Tell me about another country you know, Wick. How about that place Alli comes from, what's it called, France , isn't it?”
”Well, some people call it France , but us who are in the know, call it Normans Day. You see Treg, it all goes back into history, even before HE was born. There was this fellow called Norman who used to horrify his mother by putting frogs into his mouth.”
”Urrgh! He didn't really, did he Wick?”
”I'm afraid he did, Treg. His mother used to tell him it would make him go blind but he just wouldn't listen. In the end, his mother got so fed up …”
” …. I bet the frogs did too, Wick.”
”… got so fed up that she kicked him out of the house. She told him not to come back home until he had kicked the habit.”
”I would have thought that putting frogs in your mouth was bad enough without picking on the poor old bunnies as well.”
”Habit, Treg, habit, not rabbit! Anyway, Norman went off, stuffing a few tadpoles in his pockets on the way, and pretty soon he came to a great big stretch of water.”
”That was good. He could have let the tadpoles go, then, couldn't he?”
”I'm afraid not, Treg. this was salt water. This was the sea. But Norman didn't let a little thing like that stop him. He walked along the edge until he came to a place called Plygob. There he found all kinds of wooden houses bobbing about in the sea and he got talking to one of the people living there. He told them the story of his mum kicking him out and the man said that his house (he called it a bote) was going away from Plygob to try and find somewhere else. Well, to cut a tedious story short, Norman agreed to go with him and they were both surprised when they found somewhere else pretty quickly. The only trouble was that the people there were so silly that they couldn't understand a thing that Norman said. He was trying to tell them about why his mother had chucked him out and in the end, he got so exasperated with them that he took one of the frogs out of his pocket (the tadpoles had grown up by this time) and he put it into his mouth. And really, that was that.”
”What do you mean, Wick, ‘that was that'?”
”Well, these silly people thought Norman was eating the frog and so they did just that and they liked it so much that they named the land in celebration of the day that Norman came to visit them.”
”And did Norman become king or chief constable or anything, Wick?”
”No, Treg,. He was so disgusted, seeing them actually eating frogs that he went straight home and was good to his mother for the rest of his life.”
”That was a nice story, Wick. Thank you for that!”

Saturday 23rd October 2004
Alezane and HERA really terrible wet and windy day, today – or so THEY tell me. I think the problem is that where THEIR house (and my stable) is, the wind gusts down it like a funnel, as it is in the valley below Cosdon, with he high Ramsley Common on one side. Where we Dartmoor horses and ponies are, up to Ninefields, we don't take much notice of the weather. There is always somewhere to shelter, whatever direction the weather is coming from. Actually, this little flurry is not so bad anyway as it is coming from the south and therefore while wet, it is very warm. Anyway, so when THEY came to get me tonight, THEY were expecting me to be cowering in the field shelter and THEY wre very surprised to find me up in the middle field just grazing away. Treg was down in the home paddock and that little sh .. er .. squirt Wicked was hovering, as usual, by the stream. He always stands there as there is a particularly good scratching tree just back from the stream, so you can cover the approaches while getting rid of any little itches at the same time. I say it is a good scratching tree. It is if you are between ten and twelve hands high. If you are of a normal build, then you have to go farther afield. So anyway, SHE just stood there and called out and shouted to me until I was forced to show willing and make an attempt at a trot down the hill. I will admit I was a bit taken aback when I got to the stream, as it had risen considerably since I had last looked at it. That's the funny thing about our stream. You don't have to have much rain (or even any) in our fields for it to rise very suddenly. It's because it rises on the moor and if there is torrential rain there then it has to find it's way down, past out fields. So, I took a deep breath and I plunged in and over. Actually it was only a few inches deep but when it is moving so fast, you cant see the bottom and have no way of judging what you are going to walk through except to do it. SHE told me I was very clever (which is a bit of an exaggeration, as I am sure Tregony could do it too, if his dinner was half a mile away down the Throwleigh Road ). Then SHE proceeds to put these bright yellow bandage pad things on my legs. At least, on two of them. Was it my hind or my fore? Can you guess? Well. I'm sorry, but you are wrong. SHE goes and puts one on my offside hind and the other on my offside fore. Apparently they are so the traffic can see me (or , at least, my legs) reflected in their headlights. I had just got over this latest whim, when a bolt of lightning hit me. Well no, not exactly but I thought it did. HE's gone and put that flashing light on his armband again. I should have remembered it from last year but it took me quite by surprise. And that was today, except that HE had his old torn coat on to walk me home because he was keeping his new one dry to wear when HE goes out to photograph the Carnival tonight. I wont be seeing it again this year. They always used to go past my stable but now they have altered the route. Good job too. Noisy lot!

Sunday 24th October 2004
coloured skyIt was one of those mornings when THEY like to say I've ‘got the wind under my tail'. THEY say that because THEY don't know what it is that causes me to behave in a very excited manner. And I did. Now, before you start waiting for me to explain, don't bother, I'm not going too. I know this is a diary and all that but there are some things that a girl likes to keep private. Now, maybe if this was a proper diary that I wrote on my own and kept hidden in my hay rack or somewhere where only I could read it, then I might put down my really secret thoughts. But this, well. First I have to tell HIM and then HE publishes it up on the web for the whole world to read. I mean, there may be some wild horses out on the Russian steppes or somewhere who haven't yet become internet literate but I am quite sure that the stallions that I have some feelings about (in the poshest of posh racing stables) probably not only have the web but broadband too, in their stables. So, I know what excited me this morning but I'mm afraid both you and THEM will never know.
HE should have got some idea when HE came in to clean out my stable, this morning, before SHE brings my bucket in. Normally, just to get me used to the idea of eating again, after gazing at that muck that THEY call hay all night, HE gives me a bite or two of carrot before starting to sweep. Now this morning, I was far too interested in what was going on over my stable door to come and take it. Then, when it was time to get my coat and head collar on, HE should have detected just the tiniest hint of impatience in my manner. If neither of those alerted HIM, HE soon found out as I dragged HIM up the hill to Ninefields at twice our normal pace. By the time we got there, HE was very sorry HE had put that heavy padded coat on. After HE released me in the field, HE collapsed, puffing and perspiring, against the gate. Again, against all routine, I didn't even try to bully more carrot out of HIM but instead, with my head up in the air and my ears pricked, I strode off down the field towards the stream. The old boys didn't pick up on my mood either for they crowded round THEM, as usual, for some treats. I stood at the bottom of the field and watched them. Suddenly, I couldn't help it, I broke into a canter and hurtled towards them all, bucking and kicking as I went. I was so glad I put so much effort and joy into it. As I skidded to a stop within inches of them, Tregony looked up and said ‘Oh, good morning, Alli, didn't see you there. What shall we do today?' The other thing I'm not telling you is the answer I gave him!

walking outMonday 25th October 2004
”'ere, Wick. What d'you reckon to this? I've been thinking.”
”Oh dear, laddie. Are you sure you should? You know what it does to you.”
”Shut up, Wick, and listen. Why don't we have a carnival?”
”Because, Treg, old soul, we are equines. Only humans have carnivals.”
”But why, Wick? Why do only humans have carnivals. We could have them too, if we wanted, couldn't we?”
”I think Treg, that humans have carnivals because they are carnivores and , as we are herbivores, we can't.”
”Oh, I see. Well, that's a shame. I was looking forward to all that dressing up and that and being carried about by tractors. Now, that's a real pity. Fetlocks!”
”Never mind, old man. I'm sure you can think of other ways of being carried about by tractor. Maybe you could ask Farmer Mike to give you a ride next time he goes up the Beacon to see his cows.”
”Mmmm! I think we could maybe …. er .. we could dress up and … er … Hey, Wick, I've got it. We could have a Herbival! Let the carnivores have their carnivals and us herbi …..”
”Oh, all right, Treg. I think I've got the picture. No need to spell it out. But I do have one more question.”
”Yes, Wick? What is it?”
”Why?”
“Well, go on then, Wick. Don't stop. Why what?”
”Just why, Treg. Why should we have a Herbival or whatever? Why?”
”Well, because … because… it's the season. Everyone is having them. Every town and every village in the south west of England is having a carnival so we could be the first, the pioneers, to have a herbival.”
”So, you are telling me the reason for having one is so that we will be the first to have one. That's like saying that it would be a good idea to be castrated if no other horse had been before. To my mind, Treg, that doesn't sound like a real good reason.”
”Well, if you put it like that. But, let me see. We could, er, we could do it for charity. How about that?”
”Whose charity, Treg? Which charity? And what will they get out of it?”
”There must be one. How about the ‘Carrots for the Elderly Bays ' or the ‘Garlic Hay for the Laminitically Challenged”. Or we could ….”
”I think that's enough, Treg. I was obviously correct in the first place. Thinking is not good for you.. The thought of a load of demented old horses and ponies dressing up as Black Beauty or Shergar, parading along the Throwleigh Road in open top horse boxes just fills me with horror. How about let's just let the humans do what they do best (acting silly) and we equines comport ourselves with a modicum of dignity to show them how they could be when they grow up? How about that, Treg? Good idea?”
”Oh, all right, Wick. If you say so. But being dignified isn't so much fun, is it?”

dark skyTuesday 26th October 2004
I went to the park, this morning, the first time since I have been in my stable for the nights. I remember last year how I got very friendly with two black and white cats who live in the house at the entrance. I say two because there are two and they are virtually identical. Whenever I am there, it is only one who comes and talks to me but I have no idea if it is the same one or if they both take it in turns. Whoever it is, I had got them trained by the end of last year to have a go at eating grass, just as I do. I don't think they ate very much but they did at least have a stab at it. This morning, however, they were not there and SHE and I had the park all to ourselves. I will admit I was very pleased to go there ass I still haven't got used to eating much hay yet overnight and so it was very pleasant to be where there is so much untouched grass. The only other horse that I know who used to come over here on a regular basis was Meadowsweet and now she has moved further up the road, she doesn't do it any more. So, all the grass is not eaten, except for the human lawnmower and that has stopped now for the winter. We don't spend too long down there. It is only a fill in to save waiting for HIM to come back from feeding the old men. HE was even longer than usual this morning as I gather Tregony had decided to have a little nap again, this time above the field shelter. HE once again decided to ignore Treg, after going up and giving him his early morning carrot. This time Treg didn't get up immediately and HE had just about decided that HE would have to take Treggy's bucket home again and let HER bring it when SHE came to pick HIM up, after HE had walked up the road with me. Then, just before Wicky finished his breakfast HE heard a ‘whooof' grunt and then another and HE realised that Treg had got to his feet at last. He is a heavy lad and getting up now, at his age, always causes Treg to grunt like that. However, when HE looked out of the field shelter, there Treg was, coming down the hill like a steam engine to get his breakfast. The upshot was that HE was left to fend Wicky off by giving him one treat at a time, while Treg ate his breakfast in peace. Wicky is a funny fellow. He used to leave his vegetables in his food because they were cut in small but normal size pieces. So he has got THEM, cutting up his vegetables into tiny morsels so that he will eat them. Now, when it comes to treats, Wick also will start off only eating small pieces, maybe an apple biscuit or a couple of polo mints. If you give him a piece of carrot, he rolls it around in his mouth for a time then spits it out. However, as he goes on eating treats, as in the case when you are trying to keep him occupied so that Treg can eat his own food without having it stolen, at those times, Wicky gets faster and faster and he is somehow magically able to eat pieces of carrot the same size as the rest of us eat. But then, I expect we all have our funny little ways. I know Tregony has a wonderful knack of storing things in the back of his throat so that people think he has nothing to eat, that his mouth is empty. Finally, when they go away, Treg can be seen to be magically eating although no one has given him anything for ages. He will just stand by the gate and watch THEM drive away, all the time munching with a little contented smile on his face.

Wednesday 27th October 2004
churchyard gateIt was supposed to be a very bad day, today, weather-wise, I mean. THEIR friends, the forecasters, were saying that a deep depression was on its way and we should expect very high winds and very heavy rain. And so it started out. The wind was getting up and a few spots of rain started falling while HE was over Ninefields with Wick and Treg. By the time HE came back and was ready to take me up the hill, the wind started to gust with a vengeance. Now, I don't know what it is but high winds always wind me up. I'm up on my toes and ready to break into a trot at any moment. In fact, it was quite an exciting experience making our way up the hill this morning. By the time we got there, HE could hardly breathe, I was nearly dizzy with being made to turn round in the road to stop me pulling and Treg was just plain fed up with waiting in the wind and rain for me. Wicky just said ‘morning Alli, nice day, eh, lassie' and went on eating. But then, what can you expect from such a character, after all? I was pleased to find that HE had refilled our hay nets in the field shelter in anticipation of my having to stay in and watch the storm. Not that I like hay any better yet but it is nice to have something to tug out of the net and drop on the floor while you are waiting for the weather to improve. Funnily enough, the storm didn't materialise. The wind subsided and although it rained heavily, it was still warm and, with a rug on, not all that unpleasant. So, all in all, not such a bad day. I did learn one thing this evening. Apparently, while THEY were eating THEIR lunch, SHE saw Roy (that's Harry, that was's dad) go by riding a new chestnut gelding. THEY tries phoning to find out if there was a new kid on the block but got no reply so we will have to wait and see what develops. The only other news today was that THEY went along to the village hall to get their flu inoculations. Sad, isn't it, for humans. We horses get the vet to come out to our field to give us ours but they have to go to their vet. Anyway, while They were there, SHE got talking to farmer Clifford about the weather and how the wind always put me on my toes. Clifford said it wasn't only horses, his cows were exactly the same. He said it wasn't that they were frightened, they just got excited when the wind got up. Funny, isn't it. Again it is humans who are the odd ones out, the rest of nature tend to react the same. It's a shame really. You would think they had enough of a disadvantage only having two legs. No wonder they are always moaning!

 

 

Thursday 28th October 2004
Throwleigh Road early morning lightHis name is Punch. Unusual because all his predecessors were named after English kings but, of course, they were all youngsters and were given their names. I, sorry, I forgot, you don't know who I'm talking about. Harry's replacement! I gather he comes from Chagford and he is 14 years old, so of course, he comes with a name already. So, he is Punch. I've not seen him yet although I smelt him as we walk past his house. According to HER, he is ‘on probation' so we will have to wait and see if he stays. He is not as tall as Harry but then nobody I know is. Harry was 18 hands which is tall. I regard 16 hands just perfect, myself although I don't mind a bit more for a male. You could nearly get two Wickys for that although if you were also taking girth into consideration it would still be just the one. SHE said that Punch was ridden back from Chagford to see how he would carry himself. He is not used to be on his own but happier going out in a string. He did hesitate just once but Roy, who was riding him, was very firm with him and the moment passed. He must be pretty good for it's quite a distance from Chagford to Dry Bridge . We will have to wait and see how he settles in, all on his own. I would imagine he will get plenty of attention so it shouldn't be a problem.
Another day when we were promised bad weather. The coastal areas did get hit badly yesterday and some areas, Cornwall in particular, suffered flooding but this was due to a combination of high winds and high tides. We don't have much in the way of tides in Ninefields, so it really wasn't a problem. Joking apart, we often get different weather from the rest of Devon , even from the rest of Dartmoor . It will depend on the wind direction but, a lot of times, we are sheltered by the Beacon. Today must have been one of those for the morning was, in fact, quite glorious and this afternoon we just had a few showers whilst further east, to Exeter , they had very heavy showers. How do I know? Well THEY went to Exeter this afternoon to pick up HER sister from the station. She seems a nice person as she came along to Ninefields this evening when THEY came to get me and she just stood there feeding me polo mints until SHE went and spoiled it by saying ‘we don't go in for the conveyor method here'. Miserable mare. Still, there's time yet. If I can get her on my own, I will get her trained before she goes home!

Friday 29th October 2004
Alezane with Norma”Vetting raining again, Wick, what shall we do?”
”How about eating, Treg, That's always a good thing to do.”
”Take no notice of him, Treg. As we are all standing here in the field shelter, why don't we play a game?”
”A game, Alli. That's a good idea. What do you think, Wick?”
”As long as it's one you can do with your mouth full, it's alright with me Treg.”
”Good. Well, Alli, what game shall we play?”
”How about word associations?”
”Er, yes, well, maybe, Alli. Is it something you have to join?”
”It's not that kind of association, laddie. Tell him, Alli. It's a word game, isn't it?”
”That's right, Wick. What you do, Treg, someone says a word and the others have to say the first thing that comes into their heads. You know, it's an association of ideas, that kind of thing.”
”Er, oh. Right, Alli. I think. Er, shall we give it a little go and see if I can do it?”
”Of course you can do it, laddie. Don't be such a great big lummox. Come on, I'm getting hungry.”
”Right. Wick, do you want to start as Treg is not too sure.”
”Aye, lassie, nothing to it. Ready, Treg. Here we go. Buckets!”
”Where? It's not that time already, is it Wick. And I was looking forward to playing that game.”
”No, you great big daftie. That's the word. Buckets. You're supposed to say the first thing that comes into your head after I say buckets.”
”Oh. You mean it's not really bucket time? It's just part of the game. I see.”
”Come on you too. Treg. Let's start again. Now listen carefully. Wick is going to say his word and you have to reply with the first thing that comes into you head. Alrighht. You got that?”
”Alright, Alli. I'm ready Wick.”
”Carrots”
”No, that's not fair. You were supposed to say ‘buckets', wasn't he, Alli?”
”Well, Treg. Wicky can say whatever word he wants to. He doesn't have to say the same word all the time.”
”But I had an answer for ‘buckets'. Now he's gone and put me right out. I can't think now.”
”You never could, you idiot. This'll never work Al, let's do something else.”
”Hold on Wick. Give it another go. I tell you what. Lets get Treg to go first. You say the word and we'll say what it makes us think of. Alright?”
”O.K. Alli. I can do that. Lets see if Mr clever midget can do any better.”
”Now, don't get nasty, Treg. Go on, what's your word?”
”Buckets.”
”Er, Farrier. Your go Wick.”
”Carrots. Now you Treg.”
”Er, um, horseshoes.”
”Irons. Wicky?”
”Carrots.”
”Alli, he's not playing fair. You just said that, Wicky. You can't just say the same word. Can he Alli?”
”You're supposed to say what comes into your head, laddie. So I did.”
”Alli. He's not playing properly, is he?”
”Oh look, lads. The rain's stopped. Lets go out and do a bit of grazing. What do you say?”
”Carrots.”
”Wicky!”

Saturday 30th October 2004
Treg comes for a chatWell, I must say, Wicky I looking very summery. The weather started out pretty misty but dry and the weather forecast is good now until Tuesday or Wednesday so HE decided to take the old man's coat off.. I didn't tell you, did I? You remember I said that they bought Wicky a third new coat because the other two let the rain in. Well, it turns out that there was nothing wrong with the first two after all. The next day after Wick had had his third brand new coat on, HE lifted it to see how it was doing and it was a wet as the other two had been. It wasn't that the other two let in water, it was that Wicky's own natural coat was holding onto the moisture underneath the bone dry hard exterior and when he had a rug put on, it got so warm that the moisture in Wick's natural coat evaporated and then condensed on the inside of his new rug, making it appear that it leaked. So, the original two rugs did not have to be returned after all and have been cleaned off and put away for use later on and Wick has been wearing his third coat in the hope that he would eventually dry out. And when, at last, the weather stopped raining and a few good dry days are forecast, the idea is that THEY take coat number three home to properly dry out and THEY cross THEIR fingers that Wicky will dry out as well. However, the chances of old Wick going a few days without finding a nice wet muddy patch in which to roll are not good. No doubt I will be updating you on the wet Shetland saga in the days to come.
Nothing much else to report, today, I don't think. Treg and Wick are getting a bit excited by the thought that it's what Treg calls “Hello Ian” tomorrow. According to him, it's a time when you should go round in groups and go up to any Scots pony (or one of Scots descent) and creep up behind them and shout HELLO IAN to give them a really good fright. I think Wicky knows better but he hasn't the heart to tell Treg the truth so he just goes along with it. I did tell Treg that not all Scotsmen are called Ian and so he should not be surprised if they fail to see the joke. That pulled him up for a moment. He just stood there (allegedly) thinking and then a great big smile spread over his face. ‘I'll just explain to them that it's Wick or Feet time. They won't know what that means because I've just made it up but, at least, they will forget that I made them jump. I did hear somewhere that if you say that to humans then they give you a carrot or something. Don't tell Wicky though!'

Sunday 31st October 2004
HalloweenWell, THEY did it again – forgot to set THEIR clocks back, that is. It didn't matter to me, the forgetting that is but THEY were woken by THEIR alarm telling them it was five thirty in a very cheerful voice. THEY groaned, on realising THEIR mistake and tried to get back to sleep, but it was no good. But instead of getting up and feeding me and taking me up to Ninefields at my usual time, THEY just lay there until the new six thirty came along. Humans are a strange lot, which is their problem, as a rule. But this clock putting back game means that I get one hour less up the fields with my friends and one hour more shut in my stable with nothing but that rotten old hay to eat. Oh, there's another lot! Come on, hurry up, you're interrupting me. Good, they've gone. Now where was I? Oh, sorry, you don't know what's going on, do you. It's the Halloween ‘Trick or Treat' ers coming round in groups. At least that is one interesting thing I get to see now I am back in my stable. You see, my stable door is in line with THEIR front door and there is just a short paved area between the road and us. So, when the groups come round, all dressed up in their masks and costumes I can just put my head over my door and give them a fright, if I want to. Usually, I don't want to though because I like kids. I'm just interested to watch them and then listen to them going away, discussing between themselves ‘what did you get?' and ‘oh, I like them' and so on. Of course, HE always makes them wait at the door while HE gets his camera to take their photo. Then HE opens the door, takes HIS pictures and before HE gives them anything, asks them what they will do if he chooses a trick. That usually stumps them, as they have been warned by their parents that they mustn't do anything bad. HE always ends up holding out a bag of goodies for them to dip into.
Now, what was I saying before that lot came round? Oh yes, it was about the clocks being put back. I was listening to Treg and Wick today, after I had told them that I was late because THEY had put the clocks back. I was just wandering off to have a graze when I heard Treg ask Wicky. ‘Why do they have to take them away in the first place, Wick?' I looked up and saw Wicky shaking his head. ‘Who knows what humans will do next Tregony, my son', he said. ‘I would have thought that they would have had enough time now to know where they wanted to put their clocks. There should be no need to take them away and then change their minds. But, that's humans for ye.' I was about to walk over and explain what changing the time was all about and then I thought ‘why bother'. Wicky wont care and Tregony wont understand. ‘Leave it girl', I thought. And that goes for this day's diary as well. Here comes another set of ghouls with a taste for chocolate!


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