Alezane's Diary Archive December 2004
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Wednesday 1st December 2004 Ninefields
”Ere, Wick. Listen to this.”
”I can't hear anything, Treg. Are you sure it's not your ears ringing again?”
”Na, I don't mean listen to anything making a noise, I mean listen to …”
”If it's not making a noise, how do you expect me to hear it, old chap?”
”Let me get a word in, Wick. Listen. It's me. It's me that I want you to listen to.”
”Well, what do you think I am wasting my time at, at this very moment, Mr. Bay?”
”Look, listen. I want to sing you something.”
”My goodness, is that the time? Sorry, Treg, I've got a very urgent meeting to go to.”
”Er, .. um, up in field nine, right up the top, far away from here.”
”Who've you got to meet, then?”
”Er, it's er, someone, I don't think you know him, Treg.”
”What's his name?”
”Er, um, Mr Brabbit. Come to think of it, you do know him. You know, that rabbit that was around the stream a few days ago. I promised to go up the hill and visit him. Anyway, can't stop now, Treg. See you soon.”
”You're back then, Wick?”
”What's that, Treg?”
”I said you're back then. From your very urgent meeting?”
”Oh, oh yes, that. Yes, it went very well.”
”Where you going now?”
”I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing here having a bit of a graze.”
”Oh good, so you've got time to listen to my song now.”
”Oh fetlocks. Oh alright. What is it?”
”It's something festive I made up to cheer us all up a bit.”
”I didn't know I needed cheering up until just now. What's it called?”
”I've called it the ‘Twelve Days of Treggy', you know, based on that old Xmas song.”
”Oh dear, but that goes on for ages, just repeating itself. I don't think I could take listening to all that Treg. Could you just sing a little bit? How about the ‘Two Days of Treggy'?”
”But that would spoil the whole feel of the thing, Wick. Tell you what; I'll plunge right in at the end so that you don't have to listen to the repetition. OK?”
“What can I say, Treg. Oh, alright. It is coming up to Xmas. Mustn't be all bah humbug, must I?”
”Right, you ready, Wick?”
”Groan, splutter, get on with it then.”
”Right, here we go:

'On the twelfth day of Treggy my Alli gave to me –

Twelve tails a twitching,
Eleven Ears a list'ning
Ten eyes a glist'ning
Nine noses neighing,
Eight buckets brimming
Seven Swedes and apples
Six bays and dapples

Five - nets – of- hay

Four polo packs
Three hard smacks
Two turnip tops
And a biscuit all crunch and carroty.'

“And that's it, is it Treg?”
”Yeah, what'd you think, Wick?”
”I wasn't sure about all those bits that didn't have food in them. Any chance of working on it a bit more?”
”Er, well, oh, alright Wick. I'll have another look at it, then.”

Thursday 2nd December 2004 dartmoor sky
Poor old Treggy, the dear laddie. I asked him to have another look at his Christmas song but I didna ken that he'd have to do it all over again. You see, like the rest of Alli's diary, we rely on HIM to type it up for us, which HE does usually after he has walked Alli home in the evening. As soon as HE leaves Alli with HER, HE takes her rug indoors and hangs up on the stairs (I think they like the smell indoors!) and then HE gets the buckets SHE has prepared for the next day's feed from the tack room and brings them indoors as well (maybe it's one smell to counteract another?). The, the puir wee laddie, goes and sits down with HIS laptop computer on HIS lap (where else?) and types up the day's diary entry that we have told him. That is what should happen. Now, I think Alli has mentioned that he has been having some problems installing something called a wireless network to enable all THEIR machines to get the Internet through something called a noseband or whatever. By the way, Alli has told me about this wireless network of his. She said you can see it through the window. It's the thing with masses of wires laying all over HIS window ledge. Anyway, as I was telling you. HE sat down to type up this day's diary (Thursday – are ye still with me, folk?), only to find that HIS laptop had seized up. After frantic females (I think they are called) to the makers and trying all sorts of tricks that they advised him of, the only way in the end, to get it working, was to completely erase his hard dicks (don't blame me, that's what Alli told me) and start all over again. Now, you can see the problem from Treggy's point of view, cant you? All his glorious Xmas song had been rubbed out in the process. When I told him, he nearly wept. What it do was to bring about one of the longest and stubbornest cobby sulks in the history of Ninefields. Telling Treg that this would drive HIS spellchecker crazy had no effect. He said ‘what about me? You know I don't have a very good memory. I can't remember the words – all those brilliant words – that I composed. And now I've got to do it all over again. Fetlocks. Fetlocks. Fetlocks! And that's really why I am doing today's diary piece. Treg had to go off behind the field shelter and do his best to reconstruct his song and he wouldn't talk to Alli or anyone. It's just that I was there to tell him the bad news and so I can pass on his reaction to you together with the new version of his song. Treg insists it is nowhere as good as his original version but it will have to do. And next time, he insists, HE must take much more care with these gems. ‘Artists like us', Treg says, ‘have sensitive natures.'

Me, laddie, I'd rather have a carrot!

Friday 3rd December 2004 Wicky has head stuck in bucket
Well, HE was a bit happier this evening as, I gather, HE got his broadband thing working. However, it's not all good news as HE still has to get HIS three computers to talk to each other wirelessly. If you ask me, there is altogether too much talking in the human world as it is. We're different. We still talk, all the time if you but knew it. It's just that we don't use our voices. I was talking to Wicky the other day and he said that the only time he uses his voice is in the morning when HE comes along with the buckets and then again, the same in the evening. It's not that he wants to but it does seem to make HIM happy. As soon as HE gets out of his jeep, HE calls out. If it's not to us, it's to the cows in the next field or to the sheep up the top. ‘Good morning, girls', HE shouts. And then, HE starts to make that strange noise that HE thinks sounds like a horse neighing. It's bad enough how terrible it is but HE will keep on repeating it until at last, out of desperation, poor old Wick is forced into giving a proper neigh back. It really is the only way to shut HIM up. As far as the mock neighing is concerned, that is. As soon as HE gets his reply, HE switches to human again and starts to say what a nice day it is and all that and then asks them what kind of a night (or day) they have had. I really can't make it out, for HE knows HE never gets an answer. But HE will still keep on. It's as though HE just can't stand silence. If HE only knew that the ‘moooos' that the cows give in reply were not answers but are them laughing at HIM, maybe HE would shut up.

This morning HE started to sing HIS usual song to me. You know ‘The Big Ship Sails on the Alley, Alley, O' (I know, but HE thinks it's funny) but then HE changed his mind and started on a new one about an old woman who swallowed all kinds of creatures, starting with a fly. It appears to be a weird song but it was made a whole lot worse by the fact that HE can't remember all the words. In fact, HE can only remember a few of then, and those do not appear to be in the correct sequence. This, I might add, kept HIM amused from Carrot Stop No 2 right the way to Ninefields. I just followed along quietly behind him, hoping no one I knew would come along. You have no idea what a relief it is to get into my nice quiet field in the mornings for a good old chat with my friends.

Saturday 4th December 2004 Mike's sheep
Well, it really was a morning to remember, today. Tregony had a wormer and didn't make any fuss. Well, alright, he did clench his jaws very tight and wrinkle up his nose which he tried to hold very high in the air. But, for Treggy, that was no fuss at all. You may remember other times, that I have told you about, when he has marched off very determinedly, up to the top of field nine (and you cant get any further away from the Throwleigh Road than that), just at the sight of a wormer syringe. This morning, I had mine back at the stable before we set off up the road to Ninefields, so Treg had no idea what was coming. When I arrived, he was having his sugar lump treats from HER as usual. And then, before he knew what was going on, SHE took my head collar off and put it on Treg. Then SHE passed one syringe over to HIM for Wicky (who eats anything and probably thought it was just another sort of treat) while SHE put my head collar on Treg and before he knew it, he had a mouthful of wormer paste. Now, the thing about Treg is that like most cobs, he knows when to give in gracefully. Given the chance he could have run away but on the head collar, oh well, fair game, get it over with. And after the head collar was taken off, he just stayed there and acted quite normally (which for Treg is standing vacantly waiting for his next thought). I asked him about it as we walked away, down to the stream for a drink.' No', he said, ‘it's not so bad really, I just like to keep them on their toes'.

THEY thought that THEY had another surprise for me tonight. You could see it in THEIR faces when I walked into the entrance to my stable. Like a couple of children, they were. Of course I saw it straight away as I was walking down the road and I thought to myself ‘Oh, that time of year again'. While HE was picking my feet, before THEY take my head collar off so that I can go along to my stable, I deliberately didn't turn my head or give any indication. I could see THEM watching me, waiting for me to notice it. Finally, just to please THEM, I just glanced at the Christmas tree with all its lights shining, as I made my way to my supper bucket. Really, it's quite nice as it gives me something to look at when I hang my head out of the stable door. It just gives me a feeling of power not to respond straightaway. Maybe that will pay them back for that wormer this morning.

Sunday 5th December 2004 Treg looks over the gate
Things were a bit tense tonight. Apparently HE had been on the telephone, on and off, with an engineer from the firm who made the gadgets for HIS wireless network, in an effort to finally get it working. This has been a long, drawn out sequence of events starting over a week ago. When HE first put it all together following HIS ‘little engineers' instructions and it didn't work, HE tried a few variations and then decided that it would be best to wait until the day that the broadband was switched on. In fact, I said HE put it together, but the truth is that only the physical parts were put together. HE couldn't get the two machines to even talk to him to get their instructions installed on them as well. Now, I've already told you that HE finally got the broadband bit working with the telephonic help of another engineer from the broadband supplier. This meant that as long as HE connected his computer to the machine that linked to the broadband line with a cable, he could use it. But this did not get the wireless part working, where HE could connect many computers, all over the house or garden (or even stable – the mind boggles!) to the Internet broadband connection at the same time with no wires connecting them – just radio waves. So since Friday, HE has been driving HIMSELF mad to make it all work. HE could now put all the instructions into the machine, according to the ‘easy start guide' provided. And it was easy, HE told me. The problem was that it didn't work! And when HE moved on from the ‘easy start' bit and tried to tackle it from the manual provided, it was rather like working from a recipe book with half the pages torn out or written in a foreign language. ‘All you have to do', it would say, ‘is to enter the blodge in the second space'. There was the second space. It would be really easy to enter it, if one knew what it was. So, after a couple of days of frustration, when HE had been e-mailing the manufacturer in the US for help and getting one reply the next day, he finally got a UK phone number from them and got in touch today. The problem is that HE was doing what HE had been advised on the phone but it still didn't work, right up to the time HE had to come and fetch me from Ninefields.


Just an update, this evening, after HE had come along to do late stables before going to bed. Apparently he went back on the phone, after bringing me home, but everything the engineer advised him, didn't work. Eventually, the engineer said HE should contact the broadband supplier and said he would ring back again in an hour. HE decided to go through each thing in turn (pages and pages of it) and finally changed something that no one had mentioned and, hey presto, it worked. HE told me that HE had the satisfaction of phoning the engineer and telling him how to do it, in case anyone else had the same trouble. Anyway, thank goodness we can now all get back to talking about sensible things like carrots and polo mints. It must be a human thing, machines. I can't think of anything more boring.

Monday 6th December 2004 field
SHE found my scratches and bumps on my face and nose tonight. If there is one thing that SHE loves doing, it's picking things. She nearly martyred me with the scabs on my mud fever. Every morning, as part of my daily groom, she would get down behind my ankles and pick the scabs off. It was really painful but it was not that so much that worried me as we horses are quite good at bearing pain. No, it just irritated me and made me feel quite, (I was going to say bitchy) mare-ish. I would twitch my tail and pull my foot out of the way but SHE would take no notice. Now, SHE has found my face. I suppose it's my own fault really. I do love to push my nose right into the hedges to see what I can find. I love making tasty little salads of a leaf of this and a root of that. Some of them can be quite medicinal. I have got quite a reputation as a finder of remedies for our little group. I suppose it's being of French birth that I am so good at it. But the trouble is you do have to go pushing your face into the brambles and worse sometimes, the barbed wire. I hate that stuff but we have to have it to catch the sheep up on. At least, I think that's what it is for. In the good old days, you could rely on at least one sheep a week getting entangled in a load of brambles. The combination of all that woolly coat together with the brambles thorns was sure to make the initial catch. Then, all that is needed is the sheep's natural stupidity, to ensure that it turns round and round and gets really snagged up. Nowadays, you can't rely on the brambles, what with the hedge cutting machines and the chemical sprays and so on. So, the farmers have come up with the idea of using barbed wire to trap the sheep with. I have heard some of them say that the wire is to keep the sheep in but I'm sure that they know even better than me that you can't keep a sheep in if it wants to get out. In fact, it doesn't even have to want, positively to get out. They are so stupid that they will just wander out without realise that they are doing it. A high Devon bank, topped by a hedge with barbed wire round is just something to walk along the top of. No, the barbed wire is there to keep up the snagged sheep tradition, nothing more.
I was wandering, wasn't I? I was talking about the lumps and bumps on my face. If you look at me, they don't show. No one who just saw me passing would have any idea. The trouble is that both HE and SHE are a bit tactile. Now that's not a bad thing in a human. Horses are tactile by nature. I was saying the other day about how we talk without using our voices. One of the main ways we do it is by touch. I only have to lay my muzzle on Treg's neck for him to know a) that he has to move, b) when he has to move and c) where he is going. But, coming back to THEM. They like to stand and put THEIR arms round my neck and then rub my face. THEY have only to insert their fingers in my coat while THEY are doing it and THEY find my little scars and bumps. And tonight, instead of eating carrots out of the boot of HER car, I had to stand and let HER pick the scabs on my face. And it had been such a nice day too! Oh well. Sigh!

Tuesday 7th December 2004 Wicked
”Wick, ‘ere a minute.”
”Aye, Tregony. Here I am.”
”Ere Wick, I bin thinking.”
”I seem to remember reading that somewhere, Treg. Congratulations.”
”Er, thanks, Wick. No, I've been thinking. Do you think I should get brow band?”
”It would look very pretty on you, Treg. But are you sure you want to go back to all that riding tack and that? I thought you were retired.”
”Who said anything about riding? I just thought we should keep up with the times. Just because we live at Ramsley, shouldn't mean we're a load of bill hillies, should it. I mean, now that brow band's come, we can be just as turned on as city horses.”
”I think you mean ‘switched on' Treg, at least, I hope you do. What's it that's got into your little brain now, my old mate? Isn't life here good enough for you any more?”
”Oh yeah, I love it here, Wick. I just wanted to make sure that we didn't get left behind in the twenty er … sec …first century.”
”What is it makes you think that could happen, Treg?”
”Well, for a start, we ain't got mobiles, ‘ave we? How are we going to be able to test each other, if we don't have the equipment?”
”Why do you want to test anyone, Treg? Would you like to become a riding instructor or something? Is that it?”
”Oh, you don't have to be a riding instructor to test anyone, Wick. You can test anyone if you've got a mobile. Like, if it was your birthday. I could go right up to the top of field Nine and I could test you ‘Happy Birthday, Wicky, old mate'. Like that!”
”That's hardly a test, Treg. If it was my birthday, I'd know. And I'd know if it wasn't, wouldn't I?”
”I don't think you understand, Wick. And then there's 3 gee gee. When are we going to get that, eh?”
”If you must resort to that baby language, Treg, I could say that we've already got 3 gee gees here. There's you and me and Alli. Even you could count up to that. Well, nearly, anyway.”
”You know what, Wick? I despair of you. I think you are just too old to appreciate the wonders of modern science. Maybe it's best we don't get into all that after all.”
”Now, I wouldn't go that far, laddie. If they come up with a ‘fax me a carrot' or ‘polo downloader' then I could very quickly drag my self into any century you like. All I need is a little motivation.”
”Oh? I've not heard of them. Tell you what, Wick. I'll have a look on e-bay. See if I can find you one, cheap. A little one, you say? You sure that will be adequate? Tell you what. I'll look out for a small to medium one. OK?”
”I think you'll have to excuse me now, Treg. Got some serious eating to do. Have fun. See you later!”

Wednesday 8th December 2004 two friends
HE told me they were apple biscuits so, like a lamb, I let HIM put them into my mouth. Funny! No crunch. Hard at first, then soggy. Taste not bad I suppose but nothing like what I am used to. I tried another. Much the same except the surprise had gone. I took the third and fourth with what I thought was good grace but I could see that HE could see by the look on my face that I was NOT best pleased. HE tried to make a joke of it, to jolly me along but HE was far too late for that. This nasty little trick had set the tone for the whole of our walk home. I may have been hungry for my supper but I wasn't going to let HIM see that. Every opportunity I stopped. When HE gave a little tentative pull on the lead rein, my head went straight up in the air, jerking him back a foot or two (in both senses of the word). Everything was interesting, or if not interesting it was scary. Cars going past or cars that stopped, cows in the field or birds in the trees. And if there was nothing to see, there was everything to scent, and that was even better because HE couldn't tell if a smell was real or imaginary. It took us ages just to get as far as Amber's field. Not her own, that is but the one she often uses. I trained HIM to stop here on the way home so that I could get a further treat out of HIM. Anyway, we stopped tonight and HE then explained that the store had gone out of stock of our usual apple biscuits so he had bought another make, to tide us over. HE made such an abject apology that, in the end, I felt a bit sorry for HIM. However, the dawdling and lollygagging was such a good joke that I decided not to speed up now.

Then we set off towards home, and I noticed that HE had stopped paying attention to me and was staring up at the trees in the hedge as we went past. Then, instead of me stopping, HE stopped. HE stopped and stared up at the tree although how he could see I don't know as it gets dark very quickly these nights. Eventually we moved off and I started to suspect that HE was just trying to get his own back on me when we stopped again. The same thing. He stared up into the tree tops. Then, when we walked off, HE explained that he was looking for holly. HE remembered from last year that there were holly trees along here and HE was trying to find some with good berries on. He had thought that the birds had got them all but then HE explained that it was where the automatic hedge trimming machines had been that there were no berries but if you looked higher up the tree above the cutting line there were lots of berries. When I asked HIM why HE wanted the berries, was HE going in for a change of diet or something, HE looked blank at first. Then HE explained that humans like to have holly berries at Xmas time. I tried explaining to HIM that horses liked to have their regular apple biscuits at all times, even Xmas but HE then got grumpy and dragged me home, singing all the way - to punish me, I guess!

Thursday 9th December 2004 faces
One Christmas, when I lived back in France , we (all the horses in the stables) decided that we'd like to do something special to celebrate the holiday, just like the humans do. We held a meeting in the paddock to try and get some ideas about what we could do. The first suggestion is that we should form a choir and give a carol concert. This got quite a lot of support until someone mentioned the fact that none of us had wonderful voices. In fact, as far as I am concerned, I have virtually no voice at all. But that wouldn't have worried me because I would have mimed along anyway. So that idea fell flat.
Next, it was proposed that we should offer free rides to the local children. I thought that was a good idea because I love kids but quite4 a few of them thought that this would be beneath them as we were all thoroughbreds aiming to become racehorses. I stood up and argued that we should be doing this kind of thing, particularly at Christmas but even at other times as well as not everyone gets a chance to ride a racehorse. However, the objectors were more senior than me and there were quite a lot of them so that idea failed as well. Then there was quite a long pause before anyone was brave enough to come up with any other ideas, for fear of being beaten down like the last one was. After a while, someone did speak up and said maybe it wasn't such a good idea to do anything special, anyway and we should leave it to the humans while we just went about our business as normal. This brought about a prolonged hush and then people started muttering about what a shame this would be. If, what, maybe 30 or more of the finest horses in France couldn't come up with an idea to celebrate the Christmas festivities then it was a very poor show indeed. If we had been human, there would have been much shoulder hunching and arm waving and a tumult of body language to add to the talking. ‘So what are we going to do?', a voice from the back called out. ‘How about a pantomime', someone suggested. ‘You know, a cross between a circus and a play.' A ripple of excitement ran around the ring of horses. It was probably the word ‘circus'. Most of us had been told stories about the circus when we were very young and it was always a sort of glamorous never, never land. Something we could only dream about but never see. Suddenly there were lots of excited horses wanting to speak, all in favour of the idea.

So then we had to decide which pantomime to perform. Snow White would have been alright if we had had lots of small Wickies to play the dwarves but as we were all over 16 hands that wasn't possible. Cinderella seemed a good idea. There were actually parts for horses in that although we'd have to let the rats from the stables play a part as well. Finally, that was turned down as no one wanted to play the ugly sisters. Jack and the Beanstalk was suggested but someone objected to the prominent part for the cow. And on and on and on it went, one idea after another being turned down for whatever reason. At last, on the point of giving up, someone suggested that we should write our own show. This received unanimous approval, so that is what we did.
”And then? What happened then, Alli?”
”Well, Treg. I was hoping you would ask that. They asked for a volunteer to write the show, someone quick thinking and able to work fast.”
”Cor, I wish I'd been there, Alli. I could have done that.”
”You could, Treg? And, would you have volunteered?”
”Oh yes, Alli. I love anything like that. I'd have written it for them.”
”Oh good, Tregony. I was hoping you would say that. You see, I thought it might be a good idea if we did something like it here, in Ninefields and I was looking for a volunteer to write the panto for us.”
”Er, you mean …. “
”Yes, Treg. You've just volunteered to write the 2004 Ninefields' pantomime. Well done, old chap. No rush, we don't start rehearsing until Sunday.”
”Oh good. Not till Sunda ….. Oh, fetlocks. That's only thr.. fou .. two .. a few days away. Oh dear! Tell Wick I'll see him later. I've got to go behind the field shelter and get working. Oh yes I have.”

Friday 10th December 2004 sky at Ninefields
Two things today, no, three, I almost forgot. Well, first the day started with me having to wait in for the farrier. Once I saw his van drive in, I realised what it was. Before that I have to admit I was getting a bit grumpy. Not only did I not go down to the recreation ground for a bite of grass before going out to Ninefields, this morning I was left in my stable while I could smell that THEY were having their breakfast and ignoring me. Mark was nice, as usual and by the time he had finished I was feeling just like any other day as HE put my coat on and we got ready to go out. The trip up to the field was alright for me but HE kept complaining about having to walk with a full tummy. Well, whose fault is that, I wondered? Certainly not mine. So I made no concessions in my walking pace and HE just had to jolly well keep up. When we got to the field, Treg was having his shoes done so HE took me round the long way, down the bridle path and into the field by one of the other gates. It's funny, we've got four gates into Ninefields but we only ever use the road one. We are not likely to use the gate right up at the top as that only leads into Farmer Michael's field where he keeps his sheep mostly and his cows sometimes. So, we went down the bridle path and that was interesting because I was able to smell all the horses who had been up here recently whereas normally I only get to see them. You can tell an awful lot more from a scent that you can by just looking. At least, we horses can. Then HE had to try and undo the lock on the field gate that hasn't be used for months. Strangely, the gate was no trouble it opened straight away. However, opening the gate was another matter because the brambles and weeds had grown all around and through it and held it firm in position until he yanked it open. I walked up to the road field but instead of going up to Treg (who had been calling out), I decided to go down under Treg's tree (the weeping one) and have a jolly good roll. I don't know what got into me but when I got up I felt full of joy and wanted a lark so I cantered up the hill to where Treg was being shod, bucking and kicking as I went.

Well, that took longer to tell than I had intended, so I'll be brief. The next thing I was going to tell you about was on the way home. It was quite dusk and HE had his flashing light on HIS arm and I had my yellow warning leggings on. As we walked along there was a loud noise of something approaching. We couldn't see what as we could only see it's headlights but it was obvious that it was coming very fast. HE moved out and showed HIS flashing light but that seemed to make no difference. In the end HE had to move right into the middle of the road so the vehicle (it was a very large dumper truck and trailer thing) had to stop or run HIM over. That worked and we were able to pass it safely.
My last bit of news is the best. Because we were late going out this morning we saw Faith (who was Harry's human) going out towing the horse box. She didn't stop but just smiled widely. On our way home, we found out that Chester , a 17 hand jumper from Ireland via Torquay has come to stay. He is on a month's trial but hopefully he will be here for good. Faith said he has a lose shoe so he can't ride out until Wednesday but we should see him in the field next to ours on Sunday. As we got a little down the road, we heard him call out, probably to Faith but he may have heard me walking down the hill. It really is good news. As Faith said, an empty stable is a very sad thing. Welcome home, Chester !

Saturday 11th December 2004 funny face
“How's the panto coming along, Treg? Nearly finished?”
”Er, not quite, Wick. But I've had a few ideas though.”
”A few? That's this year's quota and next as well? What a fertile fellow you are. So, come on, tell us what that razor sharp mind has come up with so far.”
”Well, I thought about what might be a good subject that's never been done before. And I thought … don't laugh, I thought, ‘why not SuperTreg?', that ought to be a good subject. Not too much dressing up for the main character and …”
”Super Who? Super Treg? I thought you were taking this seriously? Oh, I see, you were having me on. Very funny, Treg. Very droll. Now, come on. What were you thinking about?”
”Oh! You don't like it? Pity, I knew just the chap to play the lead in that. Oh well! There's always ‘Earth Red and the One Dwarf'. That was another one that I thought we could cast quite easily.”
”Ha! And who did you have in mind there, Treg, might I ask? Or maybe not. I won't ask. They're both rubbish, if you don't mind me saying it. Is that really all you could come up with in what, three days?”
”No. No. That's not all. I just thought that they were my best er … good, er, well you know. I thought that they would be popular choices. Oh no. I've got lots more, just as good as that.”
”That's what I was afraid of Treg. Oh well, in for a pony, in for a pounding, as they say. Tell me your next brilliant idea.”
”How about ‘Robin Snaffle and his Merry Bits' or ‘Amber in Riding Boots'? Or we could get real modern and up to date. There's ‘Star Pony Trek' or … or..”
”Let's face it, Treg. You've not really given this much thought, have you? In fact, it's probably fair to say that you had forgotten all about it until just this moment. Is that right?”
”How do you know all that, Wick? You are clever, aren't you? Maybe you should be the one to write the panto, not me.”
”Oh, no. I don't think so Treg. It's your responsibility. I think you better get down to some real serious thinking, laddie.”
”But I thought that pantomimes were meant to be funny, Wick, not serious.”
”Oh. Very good, Treg. Let's have more like that, eh. It's sure to be a success. Now, let's make some decisions, shall we. Let's really decide what it's going to be about.”
”OK Wick. Good idea. It's kind of you to help me. I was rather at a loss you know.”
”Now, Treg. Think. It's got to be something that can be performed by just us three. Well, with maybe a few squirrels and magpies and that to back us up. But really, just three main characters.”
”Yeah. Right. But wha … wait a minute, yeah, that's it. How about ‘The Three Bucketeers', you know ‘all for one and one for all' and all that. Alli should like it ‘cos it's French and that, aint it?”
”Mmmmm. You might be onto something there, Treg. Just one thing though. If I remember the story, there were four principle characters. Wasn't it ‘Dartsnightan and the Three Bucketeers'? Something like that?”
”Oh, yeah. You're right. Oh fetlocks! That's my really good idea up the spout then.”
”Wait a minute, Treg. Didn't I hear Alli saying something about a new lad coming into the field next door?”
”Yes. His name's Chester . Great. He can be our fourth. Hooray. I'll make a start on it right away, Wick. While the mews is on me, as they say.”
”Is that what they say, Treg. Oh well. No accounting for some, eh?”

Sunday 12th December 2004 Treg & Wick
I was assaulted this morning, attacked, savaged by a pack of savage wolv … er.. spaniels … er … puppies. But they were scary. There I was, minding my own business, just having a little green mouthful over the recreation ground, passing the time as it was Sunday and HE always washes my stable out on a Sunday before we go over Ninefields. So, as I say, I was just grazing peacefully when these enor… well these quite large puppies came over and proceeded to get enthusiastic in he way that puppies do. First one ran under my legs and then another. I stood and snorted at them to warn them off but I think that kind of animal has very poor hearing or something because they took no notice whatsoever. It sounds tame now in the re-telling but at the time I started to get quite worked up. It was bad enough when I could see them but when they ran right under me, out of sight, my instinct is to run until I have a safe distance. The trouble was I couldn't run because SHE was holding me on a rein (actually, I'm ashamed to say, on a retractable dog lead). In the end I just stood square and had to threaten them. I didn't want to kick but I was very near to it. Just at that moment, their human came and retrieved them so no harm maws done but it left me wound up for quite a long time this morning. I felt a bit sorry for HIM as I did rather hurry along up the hill to the field. HE was forced to take HIS hat off as HE got far too hot trying to keep up. It's alright though because HE got his revenge tonight when we were coming back. I never feel in much of a rush to get back to my stable. I've been out with my friends all day so I am very relaxed. I know I should want my supper but, in fact, I have been eating all day, one way or another, so it is not urgent to get back to my bucket. So all I want to do is amble along, have a sniff here, a sniff there and look at all the bits of the world that I've not got to today. On the other hand, HE has had to leave HIS nice warm house to come out and get me and all HE wants to do is to get back home again. So we play this game. He tries to give me my treats as we walk along and I try to stop and munch them while having a good look round. Particularly tonight as the cows were being particularly interesting. The stream that passes through Ninefields runs along the Throwleigh Road in the fields where the cows are and one particular cow was having fun by walking along inside the stream. On the bank, on our side of the stream there was this little black calf doing interesting things in the hedge. And all HE wanted to do was rush off home. So, when HE said ‘walk on' I just stood there. HE tried to bluff me to walking by going off HIMSELF and letting the lead rein get longer and longer. So I let HIM and HE ran out of rein, of course. Finally HE did get me started so then HE did his old joke of walking faster and faster until I have to trot to keep up with him. Finally we both stopped laughing, he called me a silly old mare and I can't tell you what I called HIM and then, after a minty treat or two, we both set off at a normal pace and finally reached home, where SHE was waiting with Tom the cat in her arms. We're a sort of happy animal family and it's good to be here.

Monday 13th December 2004 Tregony
Oh dear, Treggy is going to be disappointed. I've just learned that Chester won't be staying, after all so who is going to play the fourth role in his pantomime, I just don't know. THEY bumped into Faith in the supermarket today and she told them that Chester had been checked out by the vet and they had discovered that he has got a problem with one of his eyes. He was taken out yesterday and shied a couple of times at something he thought he saw which really was nothing at all. And when you want a horse for work then this is a real problem so, I'm afraid, he is going back to where he came from in Torquay. It is a real shame for Faith. She has been very unlucky with her horses lately. Anyway, I don't suppose she will find another one in time to play in Treg's masterpiece so he will either have to write him out or find someone else to play the part.
I asked him how it was going, yesterday. We had not seen a lot of him as he seems to be spending a lot of time behind the field shelter in his hoffice as he calls it. He said ‘not too bad' but refused to come out with any more details so I think it must either be going really well and he wants to surprise us or he has got what he calls ‘writers blockhead' and we won't see it before the xmas after next. You never can tell with a cob. They are funny old sticks. Very stubborn, but very persistent. I did try to get some sort of hint out of him but he just clamped his jaw shut, just as he does when he has to have his wormers. I'll try and charm it out of him another time when he's not expecting it.
The last thing I have to tell you is how hurt I was today at some very unkind criticism from HER. We were just on the last lap home from Ninefields tonight, just rounding the corner at the Y junction in Ramsley Lane when HE decided that we would trot home the rest of the way. HE does this sometimes when HE is feeling particularly full of breath and we have got it down to a nice little routine. HE doesn't have to say anything. HE just lifts my lead rein up high in the air and we both start out together at the same time. In fact, HE makes a game of it and HE runs as fast as HE can and I pretend that I just cant catch HIM up. HE always ends up at the bottom of the run, out side my stable, telling HER that HE has beaten me again. I don't mind that as I know it is a joke, although a rather repetitive one. But, tonight when we got back SHE burst out laughing saying she had never seen anything as bad as my trot. And it wasn't a joke, she meant it. Now, racehorse are taught three things, how to walk (round the ring), how to canter (up to the starting post) and, of course, how to gallop. Have you ever seen a racehorse trot? No, what I do for HIM is to run , not trot, so that I can play HIS game. I tell you, when SHE has learned how to gallop then SHE can start to criticise my action. Until then, she should kindly not be so nasty!

Tuesday 14th December 2004 Treg eating
”Yes, Tregony, bard of Ninefields. What can I do for you now?”
”Did you hear about Chester ? What am I going to do now, eh?”
”You don't mean to tell me that you have actually written something already, Treg? This will mean that you'll have to make changes then, old son.”
”Well, I've not actually put anything down in writing, so to speak. But I have been developing ideas for the plot and it did need the central figure that Chester was going to play.”
”Oh well then, Treg. That's not so bad after all. If it's still rattling around in that old head of yours there shouldn't be any trouble in changing it, should there?”
”I suppose not. But I still don't know what I will do. I did think of asking one of the cows to take the part but now Clarence has gone and taken them away as well. Soon there will be only us three and even Alli goes in at night, just when I was expecting our biggest audience.”
”At night, eh Treg. And who might these be then.? Owls?”
”Well, I've not worked out the details exactly yet. It's just all plays and things are put on in the late evening so people can go out for a meal and then on to the theatre.”
”So who are these gourmets that you are expecting to come and watch your panto, Treg?”
”Er … well … like you said, there's the owls and … er … well… others.”
”Oh, others! I hadn't realised. So they're not doing anything special that night. Well, well, well! So it'll be a sell out then, Treg, won't it?”
”Er, I hadn't thought of charging, Wick. Just putting it on as a community venture. A sort of thank you to …”
”… others, Yes. I see. So tell me Treg. What have you thought of so far?”
“Sounds like what, Treg?”
”No, not sounds – zounds .”
”You can stop putting on your Devon accent for me, Treg. Although I am of Scots descent, I've lived here for more years than you've had … well, lots.”
”No, no, no, Wick. It's a word they used to say in France , back in the 17 th century. All the best productions include it.”
”Oh? Zounds! Right, I'm with you now, Treg.. But. It that it? We cant all go around saying zounds at each other all evening, can we?”
”Have at you, sire!”
”Have what at me, Treg? Have a kick at me? Have a nip at me? You're going to have to learn to be more explicit.”
“Oh no! We'll have none of that, Wick. My shows are clean, decent and honest. None of that explicit stuff, oh no. Not in Ninefields!”
”No, what I meant … oh, what's the use? Tell you what, Treg. I'll just leave you to get on with it. Plenty of time yet. What? Another eleven days to go before Xmas. You carry on lad. I'm sure it'll be alright on the night!

" Ah, Wickhos! Don't try to make us believe you obtained that baldric by paternal generosity .”

“What was that, Treg?”
”Oh, sorry, Wick. I think I was just struck by inspiration.”
”Aye, laddie. Fate can be cruel, sometimes. Never mind. Grin and bear it!”

Wednesday 15th December 2004 Wick eating
I don't know if it's my hormones or what, I've been very funny all day today. It started last night with the wind. I don't mind rain, I don't mind snow, I don't even mind frost – but, the wind, I hate it. And last night, the weather decided to turn very, very windy indeed. I couldn't look out, I couldn't even eat, I just had to stand with my back to the front door and doze. Of course, that left me very tired and irritated this morning and even though SHE took me down to the recreation ground for some grass before going out, I was still up on my toes all the way up to Ninefields. I spooked just going up Ramsley and then, when we stopped outside Amber's place, her German Shepherd (who I know very well is a very kind, gentle dog who I rub noses with sometimes) grabbed my attention as if it was a wolf. Then, when we walked along a bit further, I heard footsteps and had to be turned round, only to find it was Max trotting along as he always does. I just let him go past and ignored him so that I wouldn't look silly and then we had to wait as a big skip lorry came roaring along the Throwleigh Road .

During the day, I quietened down a bit as Wick and Treg just carried on as normal. It was that that made me think that maybe it was me. They didn't seem to think that anything was out of the ordinary, not even the wind. The only thing the wind seemed to have done was give Wick a blow dry. Instead of the usual damp and soggy smell that he usually is, he was all fluffy and lovely. He must have been standing out in the wind all night, enjoying it while I was cowering in my stable. No point talking to Treg as he just went along in his own sweet way not knowing what Wick had been doing. I think he has been working very hard on this pantomime that he wants to put on after Xmas. After quizzing him about it, he finally decided that boxing day would be a good time for it. I* am not sure he realises that this is only a little over a week away now.

So, when it came to time for me to go home tonight, I was feeling quite relaxed. But, in between the time HE arrived and the time HE came back from giving the old boys their buckets, some sort of change came over me. I just sort of didn't want to go back to my stable. It wasn't that I wanted to stay at Ninefields. No, it was more a reluctance to do anything other that stand and look around. I looked down into Clarence's field, strangely empty now that the cows have gone away and I stood and looked up at Ramsley Common and that was also empty. HE stood and made various noises at me, calling me a silly old marey, then HE tried to put pressure on my lead rein but I just held my head up high and that defeated that. Finally HE resorted to giving me a big hug which HE knows I hate when I am trying to be naughty. We finally got home but, for the life of me, I still don't know what got into me. Maybe it's just the anticipation of the kids coming down for Xmas!

Thursday 16th December 2004 Treg lays down
“Ere, Wicky.”
”Is that you, Tregony? What are you doing with that stick?”
”Ere, Wick. What do you know about this sword fighting lark?”
”Sored fighting? They shouldn't do it if it makes them sore. Anyway, I don't agree with fighting. Maybe a nip or two round the knee parts now and again, that is, if it's called for. But not outright fighting. Why's that Treg. What have you been listening to now old lad?”
”We don't really have to do it, you know. It's just for the panto. Them old friend Bucketeers used to all carry these pointy stick things and were always fighting each other. It was sort of de rigeur , you know.”
”Tregony, Tregony, Tregony. You must stop all this learning stuff. It's making you speak all funny. I mean, you always did speak funny but this is even worse than ever. Now, what's all this about pointy sticks? Is that what you've got that bit of reed in your mouth for?”
”Yer. That's it, Wick. You each get a pointy stick and you say something like ‘At you, sire' or ‘En guard' and then you beat the crap out of each other's stick. D'you wanta have a go?”
”Sounds very interesting, Treg, but I think I'll forgo the pleasure for the moment. Don't let me stop you, however.”
”Well, Wick, you see, it's a bit difficult with just one of you.”
”Couldn't you jamb a stick in that hedge over there? Then you could wallop it all you like with your one.”
”But what if it beats me, Wick. I'd look ever so silly then, wouldn't I?”
”Hmm, there is that to it, Treg, I agree. But look at it this way. You wouldn't look a lot sillier than if you just stand there hitting a stick jammed in a hedge, would you?”
“Oh, no. You're right. Oh well then. That's solved that. But it will be a problem if you don't know how to do it on the night. I mean, whjat good is it if the Cardinal's men come at you with a ‘Zounds, en guard, sirah' and you just say ‘I'm not really sure what I have to do'. I mean, you will need some rehearsal before we go on, won't you?”
”I think I know enough about clouting a stick with another one to get by, Treg. I will admit that I'm not quite so familiar with ‘sirah' and all that. Will we get a dictionary when we go into rehearsal?”
”I'm working on that now, Wick. I started with ‘antechamber', went on through ‘chimeras' and have just reached ‘repast'. I think I'm doing quite well.”
”I hope it's not too big, Treg. We don't need a lot of extra learning as well as our parts.”
”Oh no, I told you, it's only three words so far. I'm not expecting many more.”
”Well, if it's only those three words, you could just tell us what they mean and then not bother with the dictionary.”
”Oh, I've not got round to that bit yet, Wick. I'm hoping to find out what they mean later. Maybe I'll ask Alli, she always knows lots of things.”
”Yes Wick?”
”Go back to bashing your stick, laddie. I'm off for a nice quiet uncomplicated graze up at field Nine.”

Friday 17th December 2004 Treggy and Wicky
This morning, as I was having breakfast, the rain was pounding on my stable roof. And not only the rain, the wind was howling through the trees on the hill opposite making the world sound the most terrible place to go out in. When HE came back from feeding the lads, however, HE said it was not as bad as it sounds down here and HE was right. OK, it was raining as we walked up the Throwleigh Road to Ninefields but there's nothing unusual in that. In fact the only really unpleasant thing is that when HE is getting very wet, HE tends to sing to try and cheer himself up. Treg and Wick told me HE treated them to a breakfast with Xmas carols this morning. It nearly put them off their food. However, only nearly. In fact, I don't think anything would put Wicky off his. I find I can stand the pain of HIM singing if we are alone. I just switch my mind off and look at the trees and hedges and try and think of something pleasant. But, when we meet someone or are in company. Well, that's a different matter. Fortunately, I think HE realises that and HE does shut up if anyone comes by. So, we made it to the field, in the rain only to find that those other two hadn't even bothered to come up to the gate to meet me. I could understand, just, if they were staying in the field shelter out of the rain. But no, they were just hanging around in the home paddock. Probably it was Treggy's fault. He is not all that keen on the rain in his face. If he has to go out in it, he puts his head down so low that his chin nearly touches the ground and pushes forward as if he has to push the rain back.

Anyway, the weather improved by mid morning, which was nice because I had the best of both worlds. I was able to stay out comfortably and there were some really good, deep muddy puddles to roll in. By the time to go home I was really lovely and covered in mud. And then, guess what? The weather, which had been sunny all day, turned black and icy. We had to walk home with actual ice lumps pounding in our faces. Even I didn't like that. I must say this for him, when we stopped for our carrot break, HE turned me round so my face was out of the wind and rain. And, even better, HE didn't sing all the way home!

Saturday 18th December 2004 misty field
A funny start to the day but getting to be not such a rare event. Old Treg decided to have a lay in this morning. When HE took the buckets along, HE saw Wicky coming down from the middle field. Looking around there was no sign of Treg at all. HE took Wick's bucket into the field shelter and then went out to have a look. By standing on a bit of high ground, HE was able to see over the bank and there was Treg lying flat out on the ground. It was no wonder HE hadn't seen him at first. Any lower and Treg would have been underground. He was lying in his usual favourite spot these days, underneath the big tree in the centre of the filed. HE walked up the hill to Treg and by the time HE got to the top, Treg was sitting up. I was going to say ‘looking interested' but, with Treg, that would have been an exaggeration. But ‘with his eyes open' at least. HE gave Treg his ‘good morning' carrot and, having made sure that there was nothing wrong with the old man (well, nothing more than usual), HE walked down the hill, back to Wicky. In the past, when he has had his morning treat, Treg has got up and come ambling down for breakfast. But today, he was just too sleepy. In fact, he waited until HE had taken Treg's bucket back to the car, to be brought up later. Then Treg came down and HE had to walk all the way back to the field shelter with Treg's bucket and put Wick on the head collar and take him up to the Throwleigh Road field, to be shut in to give Treg time to eat his bucket alone without Wicky bullying him off it. So that was the morning's excitement. Treg just kept saying ‘What? What?' when asked about it so in the end, Wick and I just shut up.

Later we had more excitement when the hunt went past. In fact, we had double excitement because they went past twice. HE said HE had heard a hunting horn when HE was standing waiting for Wicky to finish his bucket. In fact, Wick shot outside and left his food to see what was going on but they heard nothing more so they forgot about it until the horses went by. When SHE came with HIM this evening and was giving me some treats in the boot of the car while HE took the old boys supper down to the field shelter, a police car stopped and asked if we were all home now. SHE had to explain that I don't hunt, just eat carrots out of the boots of cars. I can imagine the officer thinking to himself ‘Oh yes, a likely story'. It's a good job the hunting ban hasn't come into force yet or I might have got arrested! I would have had to ask hossifer Treg to come down to the station and put in a good word.

The last thing was another of their childish surprises. I saw it as soon as I rounded the corner by Dave the blacksmith's. THEY have put up pretty little twinkling lights over my stable for Xmas. What a surprise. I just ignored it and went straight into my stable to have my supper. Mind you, I will enjoy watching the reflection in the car tonight. But I won't give them the satisfaction of knowing that.

Sunday 19th December 2004 Treg still lays down
Six days to Xmas and we had our first snow last night. I don't think THEY saw much of it because it had stopped snowing by the time THEY got out of bed (I know when because I hear them and see the lights go on in the house). The snow was still a quite thick covering on THEIR cars when THEY got up but, by the time HE was ready to walk me up to Ninefields, it had all virtually melted. Still, HE didn't think it was very warm and kept moaning most of the way. When HE wasn't moaning HE was singing – I don't know what was worse. HE thought HE was very clever because HE had made up a new song to the tune of ‘Here we go round the mulberry bush only he changed ‘mulberry bush' to Treg – i – o, Wick – i – o and Alli – bum. I think it was the ‘cold and frosty morning' that inspired him (if that is the right word).Anyway, HE inflicted it on Wick and Treg over their buckets, this morning. They told me not to be surprised if they didn't get indigestion later in the day although I'm glad to be able to tell you that they survived. I did my usual shutting off of ears until HE ran out of breath as I knew HE would.

This Xmas thing is getting to be a bit much now. What with all the trees appearing everywhere – in gardens and even in windows, lights flashing and jumping out on me when I go down to the recreation ground. I tell you, I thought I was wearying of it before this evening. And then, coming home tonight, there was this crowd of humans all dressed up with yellow luminous jackets and going along Ramsley Lane, knocking on doors and rattling tins full of money. I just stopped and stared at them and it was a good job that I did because the very next thing a four by four came round the corner with a big red sleigh in tow. And, on that sleigh was the old, white bearded human still wearing his bright red dressing gown. I don't honestly know if he was very late getting up this morning or if he was heading for an early night but if he didn't soon get home and stop driving about all over the place like that, he'll catch his death of cold. And, then again, his sleigh was covered with flashing Xmas lights. The car and sleigh took up the whole of the lane and I had to go up my friend Reubens' driveway to get out of the way. Then, as we stood watching, Brian came down the hill carrying Ruebens and Beth and Elsa came along and they all said ‘hello Alli' and merry Xmas and everyone waved at the old white bearded guy and he waved back and everyone seemed to be in a good mood. So, I thought, what the hell, it's only once a year and I forgave them delaying me from getting to my supper. Mind you, as soon as they had passed, I did a swift u-turn and moved smartly home to my stable.

Monday 20th December 2004 xmas tree
”Ere, Wick, Guess what? Look what HE found today!”

'A Wiki or wiki (pronounced "wicky", "weekee" or "veekee) is a website that allows a user to add content, but also allows that content to be edited by anybody.

The term Wiki can also refer to the collaborative software used to create such a site. Wiki (with a capital 'W') and WikiWikiWeb are sometimes used to refer specifically to the the first-ever wiki. Advocates of this usage suggest using a lower-case 'w' for wikis in general.

Wiki wiki comes from the Hawaiian term for "quick" or "super-fast."

Sometimes wikiwiki or WikiWiki are used instead of wiki. '

“Where's HE find that, Treg?”

“Where else? In the Wikipedia ! And you know what else, Wick. A very nice lady wrote to HER and said what an intelligent horse I am”. What about that?”
”The world's gone mad! The older I get, the more convinced I am of it. What a lot of old farriers. You'll be telling me next .. er .. what was that bit about ‘'super-fast'? Run that past me again, old friend.”
”There, see. It's not so silly after all, is it? They must have seen you getting through your bucket, I suspect. Clever of that lady to recognise genius when she meets it, isn't it?”
”I thought she wrote to HER. You didn't say anything about meeting her.”
”Well, in an allegorical sort of way, I suppose. No, I didn't actually meet her. She just saw my photo and got in touch so I got HIM to female her for me. Ere, d'you know what I done? I told her that they named the town of Tregony after me. Well, she wont know, will she?”
”When were you born, Treg?”
”About fou .. er thir .. well, over twenty years ago.”
”And when was the town built?”
”Er, I don't really know but I think HE said it was mentioned in the Domes Day Book so it must be fairly old. Why's that Wick?”
”If it was built before you were born it couldn't be named after you. Stands to reason. It'd have to be named before you. That is unless they didn't name it at all for a long while. Fancy. People would say ‘where do you live?' and they'd have to say ‘I don't know, it hasn't got a name'. No, I don't think the lady would believe you Treg, unless she is a particularly silly lady. What's her name?”
”Yes you, I said what's her name?”
”Tregony. Her name is Tregony.”
”Right. Say no more. I understand, Treg. I expect she did believe you, after all.”
”Do you, Wick. Oh good. I wouldn't like to think that she would change her mind about how clever I am.”
”I don't know anyone who would change their mind about how clever they thought you were, laddie. No one at all.”
”Oh that's a relief, Wick. Tell me, was it you who started all those WikiWiki things? I didn't realise how technolololological you are. You must be almost as clever as me but in a different field.”
”You know, Treg. Sometimes I wish I were. Really I do!”

Tuesday 21st December 2004 Dartmoor
It is just before evening at the Chateau de la Treg. The warm breath of the horses fills the air and one can hear the impatient hoof beats on the cobble as they wait for the King to arrive …

“Egad, his majesty is late ce soir, mon ami” said Wickos, as he ran to and fro underneath Baron Tregos' fine, muscled belly.

“Mais non, mon brave”, Tregos replied, regally. “His majesty is on time, as always, it is us that are early.”
”But his majesty always arrivez a little bit before il s'expecte. N'est pas?”
”His majesty, arrives when he wants, not un moment too soon or un moment too trop. Il est le roi!”


“Er, Treg. Does this go on much longer like this?”
”Well, that all depends, Wick. What do you think so far?”
”Well, as a Xmas play it is a bit .. er .. “
”Go on, say it. Jen ne .. er .. mind .. pas!”

“Well, it's just that it is a bit .. er .. well …”Q
”Come on Wick, out with it.. You think it's too French, don't you?”

“I think it's too rubbish, actually, Treg. I mean, what's all that about running to and fro under his belly?”

“Just trying a spot of realism, Wick. You don't object, do you?”
”I thought a pantomime was meant to be funny. At least it should be amusing. This is just a lot of Franglais twaddle.”
”We hadn't got to the best bit, yet. Give it a chance Wick.”
”Hmmph. I suppose it cant get much worse. Alright, read us a bit more then but leave out all that Froggy stuff. And any heightist references!”

“Right, Wick, just you listen to this.”
The night sky echoed to the sound of the galloping hooves as the tall spectral trees flashed by down the never ending avenue.
”How much further mon ami?” grunted Tregos, turning his head slightly in his headlong gallop.
”Distance doesn't matter when one is saving the queen, mon brave. Just keep on, you'll know whan we get there.”
Just then a shape loomed out of the darkness. Tregos and Wickos skidded to a halt just in time to avoid a collision. As their eyes focussed they were able to make out the tall elegant shape of Allimiss arriving to meet them.

“Hola, mes amis!”, she cried. “I have word”.

“You have word?” echoed Wickos. “Which word is that?”
”Un petit mot, my friends, that will help to save her majesty.”
The two friends eyed Allimiss eagerly, with wide eyes, waiting for the ……


“Hold it, hold it. I thought you said this was the good bit.”
”We were just coming up to it, Wick. I have to set the scene first, don't I?”
”And I thought you were going to leave all that coltish French out. It doesn't add anything to the plot you know.”
”I was hoping it would make Alli feel more at home with her part.”
”Homesick more likely, or just plain sick. Where's all the ‘He's behind you! Oh no he isn't, Oh yes he is' stuff? That's what pantos should be about.”
”Do we really have to have all that? I was hoping we could have a more sophisticated approach. After all, this is literature, not nursery rhymes.”
”This is literature? That's what it is? You could have fooled me, Treg. And this is what you have been wasting good grazing hours on? It's going to have to get a lot funnier before you will get me to act in it.”
”Oh, funny? It's funny you want, eh Wick? Just you wait till you hear scene twenty seven. It will have your sides splitting.”
”Twenty seven? How long are you planning this to go on for, Treg?”
”Boxing Day. I thought we had to fill Boxing Day with it. You think that's a bit long, do you Wick?”
”Tell you what, Treg. Let's make a stab at 20 minutes and then if it over runs, we could have an interval for a little snack, eh?”
”Cor, Wick, what a smashing idea. That means I've finished already. Just got to prune it a bit and pick out the funniest bits.”
”You're not offended that I've spoken out so bluntly?”
”Rather you than Alli, Wick. I'm lucky to have you to try it out on. You're sort of my equivalent to the provinces. No, I think now, it's sure to be a really great success. The highlight of our Xmas!”
”The highlight, eh? Wow! I'm looking forward to the rest then. Off you go lad. Get out your editing hoof!”

Wednesday 22nd December 2004 hoof prints
What an appalling day. Back to the wind and the rain again. Usually it goes away when it gets light. HE sets of to feed my old men at Ninefields in the dark and by the time he gets back it has started to get light. About ten minutes after that, we set out up the hill and it is definitely light and somehow the weather improves. But not today. It wasn't even as light as normal because of all the raincloud. I was going to say clouds but today it was just one continuous cloud and we were right inside it. You could hardly see to the treeline let alone to the top of the Beacon. Now I don't mind rain for itself but I do hate the miserable effect it can cause sometimes. No, the worst thing is the wind. For some reason, when it is hard enough anyway walking up hill then the wind is always blowing in your face. Now why cant it ever be blowing behind you to give you a helping shove?

When I got to the field, Treg was not very happy either. He had been working hard on his pantomime and when he showed it to Wicky, he got told that it wasn't very good. I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't but there are ways and ways of telling someone. I am afraid old Wick is not the most sensitive of fellows. So, for most of the day, Treg just stood behind the field shelter half sulking and half reworking his panto. That left me talking to Wicky which can be quite infuriating when the weather is bad because he is always so happy with it. There he stands in the rain and gales with no coat on now and he keeps saying what a wonderful wee bit of weather we are enjoying. The rest of us with our heads down into the wind can only bite our tongues and try and avoid him.

And then it was time to walk home and it couldn't come quick enough for me. I'm sorry there was nothing to report today but some days are just like that, aren't they?

Thursday 23rd December 2004 holly tree
”Ici, Wickos”
”Qui, Tregos, mon brave?”
”How about that as an opening line?”
”Hmm! Bit short, don't you think? Doesn't really set the scene, does it?”
“Oh, I see what you mean. Maybe I should try something like ‘Ere, Wickos, look at that big cloud in the sky above the noble town of Bye Yer . See how it casts a shadow over the stable where our most honourable friend Allimiss lives. If it were a smaller cloud it would have completely passed this field where we, two brave bucketeers of the Kings own regiment are waiting for the evil Cardinal Wormer to come and …… “
”Hold it, hold it, Treg. Now you've gone too far the other way. This is supposed to be a pantomime not a radio show. You don't have to put everything into words. Try and think visually.”
”Listen Wick. I have enough trouble thing normally. I'm sure I couldn't cope with that other way.”
”No, Treg, it's easy. Just imagine you are watching the panto, like one of the audience.”
”Oh, that's OK. I can do that. But who's going to write it, then?”
”Look, you're still going to write it. Just put down what you see.”
”But if I haven't wrote it yet, there won't be nuffun to see, will there? Oh, I see, it's a joke! You nearly had me fooled there for a minute, Wick. Now, come on, I've got a lot of work to do if we're going to do this by Boxing Day. Give me a few hints what I should write.”
”Not a lot, really Treg. It's really got to be no more than a sketch, an outline. You see, you've only got about 600 words. That's all HE ever types for one day's diary.”
”Six hundred words? That's not a panto that's just, well, it's just ….”
”… just enough, Treg. You don't want to run over into grazing time, do you? Tell you what. You just do 600 words for HIM to type and if you have any left over you can give them to me and Alli and we can play while we're eating. How about that?”
”Er, well, er . Yeah. That's a good idea Wick. Can't help it if the fruit of my genius isn't read by millions of web site visitors. Not as long as my best friends can get the benefit, eh? Yeah, that's what I'll do. Good thinking Wicky!”
”For my sins, yes, I do have some good ideas. Now. Be a good chap and run along behind the field shelter and get composing so I can carry on with my elevenses.”
”But it's only half past nine , Wick.”
”I like to keep on top of things Treg. I nearly said ‘don't let the grass grow under my feet' but that would be a wicked thing to wish, wouldn't it?”
”But if it's under your feet you can't eat it, can you?”
”The field shelter, Treg.. Remember. Off you go laddie.”
”Right, yes Wick. Er, Wick?”
”What now Tregony?”
”Did I tell you about the lady who said I was intell ….”
”Yes, you did. Poor deluded soul. Maybe she'll get over it. Now off to …”
”And did I tell you about …”
”Tregony! Off! This minute. You know what happens if your not good around this time of the year, don't you?”
”I think you may have told me, Wick, but I'm a bit forgetful. Maybe if you just give me a little clue?”
”About the man in the sleigh pulled by reindeer?”
”Er, and he was asking the way to Sticklepath and ….”
”No, Treg. He wasn't asking the way to anywhere. The big jolly man with the long white beard and the sack full of …..”
” sack full of carrots! Yeah, now I remember. And he comes to all the horses what have been good and …. Oh fetlocks! You mean … Right. I'm off. And, you won't tell Wick, will you? You'll tell him I've been good. Please.”
”OK laddie, I'll tell him. Off you go.”

Friday 24th December 2004 Snow fields
”'oos that, Alli?”
”Who is who, Treg?”
”Them kids wot come up this morning. We had one with us when we had our breakfast and then another one came up on your back when HE walked you up here.”
”Poor old Treg. You are getting confused. Don't you remember the grandkids, Rachel & Ben? You used to give them a ride, remember?”
”Oh yes, them! I remember them. Aint they grown big. I really didn't recognise them. What an old silly I'm getting, aren't I?”
”Yes, I'm afraid you are, Treg. But, I'm surprised Wicky didn't remember them.”
”Oh, he may have done. I didn't ask. You know him when he gets his head stuck into his bucket. Doesn't know anything else going on around him.”
”Yes. That's right. He does get a bit single minded when he's eating. Well, Treg. How's the panto going?”
”A bit forwards then a bit backwards. I think it might just be ready. There wont be any time for rehearsals though. We'll just have to do it al bib, as they say.”
”Actually Treg, I think they say ‘ad lib' but I know what you mean. That's alright. It should make it all the funnier.”
”Funny? Is it supposed to be funny? I thought it was a sort of historical drama. Funny eh? Oh, that makes things a lot easier. I'll definitely get it finished in time now.”
”That's comforting Treg. Well, are you ready for the big night?”
”No, Alli. I think just the 3 bucketeers, the king and the cardinal is enough. We don't need a knight as well, however big he is.”
”Silly, I didn't mean a character for the panto, I was talking about tonight. It's Xmas Eve tonight, isn't it?”
”Oh, blimey, I quite forgot, what with all the scriptwriting and everything. It's ‘im, aint it. Santa's coming tonight. I hope he remembers how good I've been.”
”What are you hoping for, Treg?”
”Oh, I asked him for a present. That's what I'd like best, a present.”
”Oh well, Treg, I expect you'll be in luck then. If it helps, I told him that you had been very good this year.”
”Oh thanks Alli. And I hope you get a present too. Alli?”
”Yes Treg”
”I love you, Alli. Happy Xmas!”

Saturday 25th December 2004 snowscape
Guess what? Two things. The first is that HE was just coming to the end of typing today's diary entry into HIS laptop when the page went blank and after many tries at finding where it had all gone, HE had to give up and concede that all that work was lost. C'est la vie, as Treg would say since he has been working on his French panto. But really the thing I was going to tell you is that we had snow, snow for Christmas Day! When HE came out to see me this morning while HE was waiting for the kettle to boil for HIS early morning coffee, it was dry and not particularly cold. By the time HE had made my breakfast and was ready to take the old boys their's, it was in the middle of a blizzard. HE told me later that when HE and Ben were driving up the Throwleigh Road , they could hardly see through the windscreen, the snow was so heavy. Driving home, HE told Ben that I wouldn't be going out to Ninefields today. And then, ten minuets after getting home, the sun was out and HE was walking me up the hill with Rachel on my back.

When I got to the field, Treg said to me ‘Thank you Alli'. When I asked him what for he said ‘For my present, the snow. I've always wanted snow on Christmas Day.' It did no good telling him that it wasn't me that had delivered the snow so in the end I just had to tell him that it was because I cared for him so much. And it was true. Not the bit about the snow but about both him and Wicky. They are both really good friends to me and I do care for them both very much. Of course, I get irritated with them some times when they cant play with me like a younger horse or pony could. But they really are the best of mates to have and I wouldn't change them for anything.

Oh, I forgot to tell you. We all got a Xmas present from the little boy Rubens, over the road from my stable. It was a real red santa stocking with Polo mints, carrots and an apple for each of us. When SHE came up to Ninefields to give the old boys theirs, Treg was scared at first that it was just another ruse to give him a wormer and he was just about to run away when he saw the red stocking. However, he changed his mind when his mouth was full of apple. Happy Xmas Rubens. By the way, he was named after the racing driver not the artist.

The rest of the day was a funny mixture of blue skies and sunshine and dark black skies and very heavy snowfalls. Just before it was time to come home, the kids Ben and Rachel came along to the field fully intending to make a snowman. However, after being surrounded by us and persuaded to part with a mint or two they had to give up and wait to be rescued by HIM and HER. The walk home, this time with Ben on my back was uneventful as I walked in the channels made by cars running along the road. However, if it freezes tonight, I am afraid I will be spending the day in my stable. All I can do is hope for some heavy overnight rain to clear the roads by morning.

Sunday 26th December 2004 through the snow
Scene Un: Outside Le Mouton Inn , Bye Yer. The three Bucketeers Tregos, Wickos and Allimiss are whispering together.

”What news of the wicked Cardinal Wormer?”
”I hear he is on his way back from Sticklerue with his retinue, Treg.”
”Do you hear that, Allimiss? We are all in dongher. Let us find the Princess Meadowsweet before he takes her back to the Roy .”
”Don't you mean the King, my friend?”
”Yes, but we are in France now. When in Rome do as the .. er .. well, you know what I mean.”
”Are we all ready then, mes braves? Wickos, get up off your knees, we're going.”
”I wasn't on my knees, Allimiss. Where shall we ride to?”
”We must arrange to rescue the Duck de Nord and then …”
”Wait, who's that cantering into the courtyard?”
”Where? I can't see anyone, Wickos.”
”He's behind you!”
”Oh no he isn't!”
”Oh yes he is!”
”Shut up you deux. Look, it's DartAmber!”
”Brothers, freres, amis – no time to lose, the wicked Cardinal Wormer comes in haste and quickly. We must defend ourselves.”
”Right lads. Unsheeth your teeth (or tooth, Wickos). We will fight to the last swede. All for one and one for all. Bucketeers, take your places.”
”Tregos, where is Princess Meadowsweet?”
”I left her in the Inn . She was chatting up that young Matthew.”
”Mon dew, but he's engaged. You must get her away from there, Tregos, before she causes more trouble.”
”I'll go, Allimiss. You and the Bucketeers stand And fight Cardinal Wormer.”
”Right, DartAmber. Hey, come back Tregos. No hiding in the top field. We must all stand together. That's right. And you, Wickos, come out of that hole.”
”I'm not in a hole, Allimiss.”
”Oh, so you're not. Bon! Here we go. Tout pour un etc.

Scene dew: Somewhere along the vieux A30 to Okeville. Shadowy shapes lurk behind the trees.

“Now, get this right, Tregos. It's not Duck its Duc. I am a nobleman not a canard.”
”I never said you was a coward, your Lordship. It was just that we had to get away quick vite after that fight at the inn.”
”Quiet you two. I want to listen for hoof beats coming from the oohwest (‘Treg. What's this bit in the script? Ooohwest?' ‘Its fransays for west, Alli.') Here's someone now. I hope it's DartAmber with the Princess.”
”Oh no it isn't, Allimiss!”
”Oh yes it is, Wickos!”
“Behind you, Tregos!”
”Zounds, DartAmber. You've brought Princess Meadowsweet.”
”Under protest, Allimiss. She found two rather good looking grooms and it was quiet difficile to tear her away.”
”We, Dartamber, she ees un tarte, nest par?”
”Tregos. I think you should stick to your version of English if we are going to finish this panto.”
”Oh, alright, Wickos. There's no need to crawl on your knees. I'll speak so you understand.”
”I'm not on my knees, idiot!”
”Come friends. We must get the Princess to the Ro .. er King before Cardinal Wormer catches up with us.”
”To the King! All for one bucket, five buckets for all!”

Scene Fin: Okeville Chateau. King Louise XVMC is sitting on his granite throne.

“Well done, my gallant Bucketeers. You have save ma phil from the wicked (present company excepted – you may rise young man) Cardinal Wormer. What can I do to repay you?”
”You could all stop telling me to get up, for a start.”
”Oh, Wickos. Don't be so sensitive. You may be metrically challenged but I am sure you have un cur door!”
”Mercy, you majesty. Honoured I'm sure. Mais mots fine butter no parsnips. How about a net of swede?”
”DartAmber. You will get raised to the nobility. I grant you a haylage!”
”Thank you Louise. And my three brave Bucketeers? What reward will they receive?”
”They shall have the freedom of Neuf Fields for all their days and I shall only allow my sheep to graze there every Lundy Island and Sammysday. But for Tregos, I save the highest honeur. He shall marry the fair Princess Meadowsweet. Hey, come back, mon brave … Tregos… Tregos!”

Toot : “We better go up the top field with him, your majesty. All for One and One for All! Tregos, wait for us, attendez .......!

Monday 27th December 2004 walls and snow
”Well done Treg, that was terrific. I can't claim to have understood it all but it was a heroic effort. I didn't know you had it in you.”
”Thank you Alli. It did go down rather well, I think, didn't it?”
”It certainly did, Treg. A first night to be really proud of. Eh, Wicky, what did you think?”
”Well, on the whole it was alright. I'm not too sure what all that about ‘get up off you knees, Wickos' was all about.”
”Poetic licence, we call it in the theatre, Wick. It's to do with taking a known fact and embroidering on it.”
”And what might this ‘known fact' be, Tregony?”
”Now come on lads. Don't let's spoil a perfectly good experience. I must say, I really enjoyed acting in it. It was very festive, Treg.”
”You are kind, Alli. But I do think that most of the audience came away with a good feeling. You did like it really, didn't you Wick?”
”Of course I did, Treg. I know you were only playing. It was a pantomime after all. Not Shakeswithers.”
”I like to think that it came somewhere between panto and the serious theatre. I mean, there was an educational element, wasn't there?”
”Tregony. If that was educational then I wasted all my years at school. What on earth do you mean?”
“Well, Wick. There woz the history bit and the modern languages. You could learn more educashun watching my play than you could going to human uniadversity.”
”I suspect that in many cases you could be right, Treg. But really, it was an entertainment, wasn't it. Something that people stuffed with Xmas pud and mulled wine would find extremely amusing. Probably even without the Xmas pud as long as there was enough of the wine.”
”I did notice a slightly rowdy element at the back, now you come to mention it. I assumed it was Ben and Rachel and that lot.”
”I hope you're not implying that Ben and Rachel over indulge in mulled wine, Tregony!”
”Oh no, Alli. I was just discussing the gate with Wicky.”
”You was not, Treg. You was talking about the audience.”
”Wick. That's what we theatre folk call the audience. We calls them ‘a gate'.”
”Why? And what do you call the actors – ‘a hedge'?”
”I'm afraid you'll never understand Wick. I'll tell you what, though. There was one very unkind person in the audience. Kept calling out ‘come on Treg, break a leg'. I hadn't even done anything to him.”
”Pure jealousy I expect, Treg. Anyway, well done old mate. I have to get on now. What with the rehearsals and the panto itself and then the post mortem you have no idea how many eating hours I'm behind. You carry on and back in your glory mate. I'll see you later.”
”Yes, well done again Tregony. We'll look forward to a repeat performance next year.”
”Oh no, Alli. Can't do that. I'll write a new one!”

Tuesday 28th December 2004 from Throwliegh Road
Well, that's over with for another year. Or nearly. I expect we have got the New Year to look forward to next. Oh, did I forget to put quotes round the ‘look forward to' bit. Humbug! I think it really must be me. When you get to my age it's the routine that's more important than the excitement. Take today for instance. Because of the vagaries of the railway system, the kids had to go back at the time that I usually come home from Ninefields. This meant that I had to come in early. Not much too early and, in fact, I didn't mind that much as it meant that I got my supper early. However, that bit about missing my routine did mean that I would have had to wait longer for late stables. Actually, when it came to it, THEY decided to have an early night so I had late stables an hour earlier than normal. Well! By the time the morning came I didn't know where I was. However, it's back to routine again now.

We've all congratulated Treg on his effort at a panto. For you, just reading it, it may not have seemed much but for all us up at Ninefields it was what we can only describe as 'an experience'. First there was the anticipation (Wicky called it dread), waiting for the script to be finalised. Then we all had great fun learning our parts and rehearsing. In fact some would say that the rehearsals were better than the panto. They were definitely funnier. Wicky was in his very best ‘naughty little pony' mode and kept making the most outrageous mispronunciations and inserting pauses where there should be no pauses and generally living up to his name. At first Tregony got a bit upset, as he was taking his role as writer/director very seriously. Eventually though, even he could see the funny side of it and laughed along with the rest of us. The night itself was a bit tense at first, not knowing if anyone would come. Then Treg relaxed a bit when the rabbit families turned up. I mean, they nearly filled the field on their own. Then some owls and a few bats came along. The chaffies had promised to come as well but I think it must have been too late for them. Of course THEY turned up, all of THEM, the grandchildren as well and then finally, like magic, that deer came very quietly out of the trees at the foot of Ramsley Common and crossed the road to watch. With an audience like that, we had to perform well and I think we did. As they were leaving, a lot of people asked Treg what he was going to do next year. I don't think he has a clue but I am sure he was flattered.

Wednesday 29th December 2004 twisted tree
Even HE had to agree with me tonight. There were wolves coming along the Throwleigh Road after us as we walked home! I heard them just a few steps along the road from the gate. I stopped abruptly an stood rock still and listened. There it was, a sort of crying noise. At first HE just tugged at my lead rein and told me to walk on and stop messing about. I was very alert now but I did as HE asked and started off again. Then, I not so much heard it as sensed it behind me. I froze and held my head high, listening. This time, HE listened as well. There it was again. I was able to locate it better this time. Not so much along the actual road but more up the hill towards the moor, from somewhere over Matthew's way. ‘Your right' HE said, condescendingly, ‘I can hear them too. Maybe it's the Baskervilles!' Well, I don't know these friends of HIS that he mentioned and I think I don't want to know them. I decided to say nothing and keep on walking. For a little while it was alright and then I started to feel creepy again. Like something sinister going to snap at my heels. I tried to stay calm but I couldn't help it, I had to do a little sideways skitter. And that's how we progressed along the road until we came to my carrot stop. HE held my rein very close to my head and held it very tightly and I took a few walking paces and then floated sideways a bit. Even the passing cars took more care passing me than usual. When we did stop, I had a good long hard look behind me on both sides and finally had to agree with HIM that we had left the wolves far behind. But, you know, as my dam told me, a girl cant be too careful!

When we started up again, I was feeling much more relaxed and was surprised when this land rover came along and crawled to a halt in front of us. After all, I wasn't scared any more so why should they be? Then the window opened and it was Sue, farmer Michael's wife, who is also the school secretary. She stopped to ask HIM if HE wanted some snow pictures. I think he had also relaxed, probably a bit much, because, like an idiot, HE asked where the pictures came from. Sue was very kind and explained that she had a digital camera and reminded HIM that we had been covered in snow over the Xmas period. Anyway, HE was very grateful because HE will put them up on the villages web site in case there are any others like HIM who have forgotten what happened a few days ago.

Thursday 30th December 2004 gorse
I had some hay this morning. That seems a funny remark for a horse to make in winter. What's so special about that? Isn't that what all horses eat when the grass stops growing? Well, yes, and then again no. The trouble is, or was, that all the seeds and fungus spores in the hay tend to make me cough and make my nose run. Some years it's not so bad but this year, it must have been the weather, but the hay was dreadful. And it was first cut and everything. Normally you cant get better than that. But, as soon as the bales were broken open, you could see the white spores where the mould had started to develop and no amount of shaking out and soaking in water could make the hay any better. THEY were faced with the choice of spending money on breathing powder and vets bills or changing me from hay to haylage. Either way, it was going to cost THEM money. I've already told you what happened when I first changed over. You are supposed to do the change gradually, a bit at a time, mixed in with the hay, over a couple of weeks. Well, I found the stuff so tasty that I pigged myself and ended up with colic which, apart from me having a tube down my throat and a hand I cant tell you where, it also cost them even more money. The humans have a saying ‘horse poor' which doesn't mean that their horses are unwell but rather that they have chosen to invest their cash in a very certain way. Mind you, there is a good side to it. You see, if you have horses you can't go on holiday so think of the money you save that way. And a pair of wellies are an awful lot cheaper than a fashionable pair of shoes. So, you see, it's swings and roundabouts really.

Oh dear, I'm getting sidetracked again. I was talking about hay. Now, what it was about is that, due to Xmas falling on a weekend this year, the shops are closing for quite a long period. And then, right after, in the following week we have the New Year and the shops have another two day holiday over a two day week end. All in all, to be covered for edibles – you know, carrots, apples and now, of course, haylage – takes an awful amount of forward planning. Added to this, the fact that, being a princess, I can't have just any haylage but have to have the sort that isn't stocked but can only be had to order, given that, THEY found THEMSELVES running short on the stuff and the New Year closure looming up. ‘Let her eat hay' was HIS answer. SHE decided to try and eke my rations out by mixing hay in with my dwindling pile of haylage. Do you know, the first batch was really good. Probably novelty value, I expect because the second dose gave be a very nasty runny nose – just like the old days. So, it's emergency shopping for THEM tomorrow. They can't get my special stuff but THEY will have to compromise with a bale of the other haylage until THEIR order comes through. We'll see. I may let THEM get away with it or I may play up and make THEM feel very very sorry. I've not decided yet. After all, I am a princess!

Friday 31st December 2004 hedge
”Ere, Wicky.”
“Aye, laddie?”
”Happy New Year, Wicky, my really best friend.”
”Oh, how nice of ye, Treg. And a Happy Hogmonay to you as well!”
“How about we have a little party, Wick. We could celebrate the new year and have a bit of fun, as well.”
”What had you in mind, laddie?”
”How about a ‘Cheer And Right Rave On Throwleigh', Wick?”
”There must be a reason why you put that in quote marks, Treg. It's not an acronym, is it?”
”Er, isn't it Wick? Probably just as well then, eh?”
”Ay laddie. Or we could have a ‘Bash Under Clean … er… what starts with K? … er .. Kissing Eating Toast'. How about that, Treg?”
”No, sorry Wick. Rubbish.”
“Well, maybe I'm not a great poet like your good self, Treg. But you know what I mean. If there is not a great deal of eating involved then I can't see the fun in it.”
”But it's not about eating, Wick. It's to celebrate the year that has just passed and to welcome the new one.”
”And what did we have to celebrate about last year. What was so wonderful about 2004?”
“Well, it was the year that I got a lot fitter. This time last year I was wandering about as if I was on my last legs. Then, suddenly, I got a new lease of life and have been enjoying myself ever since.”
“You've got a deal more pushy and full of yourself, if that's what you mean.”
”I'm just more confident both mentally and physically, that's all.”
”And me? What has been so good for me in 2004?”
”You did get three new rugs, didn't you Wick?”
”Aye, laddie, I did that. And now, look at me. How many am I wearing? None!”
”You did get to stop that vet rasping your teeth. That must be some sort of victory.”
”Huh! Vets. A pushover. All they're ever good for is finding foot abscesses. And there's nothing wrong with my tooth .. er .. teeth.”
“Well, was it a bad year, Wick?”
”Nay, laddie, not a bad year, I'll grant you that. At least we're all here, safe and well. That counts for a lot.”
”It's a pity Alli can't stay out in the field with us for a proper celebration. She'll be stuck inside her stable with all those horrid bangs going off all around her. I wonder why humans need to do that?”
”Don't go there, Treg. If you start to wonder why humans do anything, you could still be doing it for the next millennium new year.”
”I shouldn't think so, Wick. I don't think I will be here in another ten years.”
”Treg, a millennium is … oh well, never mind. Is that Alli over there?”
”She's just coming down from the top field. It must be nearly bucket time.”
”Right, well let's just go and catch her before she has to go home. Alli! Alli, over here lassie.”
”Hi boys, sorry I'm a bit late. I just needed to get some proper grass inside me before I get locked up for the night.”
”We just wanted to wish you a ‘Happy New Year', Alli. It's a shame we cant all spend it together.”
”Thank you Wick. Treg. And the same to you both. Yes, it would be really nice to see the new year in together. Never mind. I will be thinking of you both. Let us hope that we all have a really good peaceful and loving 2005 together.”
”Yes Alli. And to all our friends, all over the world, even as far as Sticklepath, we wish you all ‘A Happy New Year!'”

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