Alezane's Diary Archive March 2005
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The day to day life of an ex-racehorse and her companions in Dartmoor UK and Mayenne France
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Tuesday 1st March 2005Treg & Wick
“Wicky, Wicky, listen, ‘ere listen mate.”
”Whoa. Slow down Treg. What's the matter?”
”I think I've been fitted with one of those wireless network cards or something. I just heard HIM telling Alli a story, as they walked home.”
”Come on Treg. How could you? Even when you were younger you couldn't have heard HIM talking from that distance.”
”I know, I know Wick. But I did. ‘Ere, you listen and I'll tell you what I heard.

Once upon a time, long, long ago, there lived a very old bay gelding called Treggibones. He lived all by himself in a very big, big field on the side of a hill on Dartymoor. He didn't always feel lonely because he had got used to it but one day, when a little green rabbit hopped along right in front of his nose, Treggibones called out to him and asked him to stop and chat for a little while.

‘Oh, alright', said the little green rabbit, ‘I needed a rest anyway. And how are you, old man?', he asked.

‘Ohh, don't ask', said old Treggibones. ‘My joints are all aching, my nose is all running, my eyes are all squinting and I'm feeling very old.'

‘Oh dear. I am sorry to hear that. However, maybe I can cheer you up.'

‘I don't think so', said Treggibones. ‘My joints are all aching, my nose is all running, my eyes are all squinting and I'm running out of grass in this field.'

‘Lucky for you that I came along then', said the little green rabbit. ‘I'm going to a special place where you can eat all you want. If you like you can come with me.'

‘Is it far?' asked Treggibones. ‘I don't think I can make it if it's too far because my joints are all aching, my nose is all running, my eyes are all squinting and I'm feeling very tired.'

‘Ah, but what they have got there will make you feel a lot better. It's a special field where they have buried a lot of red things what they call kar-rots. And if you dig them up, you can eat them and they are really very tasty and it will make you feel very well again.'

‘Kar-rots, eh?' said Treggibones. 'And will these kar-rots stop my joints from being all aching and my nose from being all running and my eyes from being all squinting and me from feeling all old?'
'You'd better come with me', said the little green rabbit. So off they went!

“See Wick! I told you, didn't I?”
”You told me that you heard HIM telling a story to Alli. How do I know that it was that story you heard? How do I know you didn't make it up all by yourself? It sounds suspiciously like a story about you, if you ask me.”
”Well, there is a certain familiarity about the names, I suppose. But that's all. You never catch me moaning about my joints or my no ….”
”What? Never moan about your joints? Never stop if you ask me. Anyway, what happened next?”
”What do you mean, Wick?”
”With Treggibones and the little green rabbit? What happened next, I was quite getting to enjoy it.”
”Ah, there you see. That's the problem. I think HE and Alli got to walk under Dry Bridge just then and I lost the signal. I'm afraid I don't know the rest of the story, Wick.”
”Treggy?”
”Yes, Wick? What is it?”
”Rats!”

Wednesday 2nd March 2005Throwleigh Road
What with those two messing about yesterday and me limping about on three shoes, I forgot to mention that yesterday, Tuesday March 1 st , was St. David's day. St. David it is claimed, died on Tuesday March 1 st (589) and was of royal Welsh descent and is known in Welsh as Dewi Sant. It is tempting to think that the Sant means saint but, according to what HE read it was the attributed family name of his father, meaning holy. Who knows? Like much of this old stuff it was first written about him five hundred years after his death. I expect people may have forgotten some of it by then and so had to make some bits up. But, as we have said before in this diary, all stories are true so if it makes a whole nation happy it must be good. What I do know is that when I told Wicky what he is alleged to have said on his death bed, it cheered Wick up no end. It may have lost something in translation but it was to the effect of “take care of the little things”.
We had no trouble walking up the Throwleigh Road today. Remember that it was going to be closed for nine days starting today. In the end, it turns out that the road was only closed to through traffic but open for access. Actually, I said we had no trouble. That isn't quite true. HE had no trouble because HE is quite insensitive to change. As soon as I walked under Dry Bridge I saw them. Two great big red signs, right across the road. I just froze and snorted. When HE let me stand and stare for a while, HE persuaded me to walk up to our usual stopping spot at the end of Annette's driveway and there, right in front of my nose was another sign, this time a yellow one with sand bags over and under it. That did it! I just wheeled around and put my back to it and pretended it wasn't there. It took HIM quite a while to convince me that these were signs saying “only Alli allowed to go up here”. Even now I am not sure if HE was completely honest with me but, having ascertained that they didn't move or bite or jump out on one, I did carry on up the Throwleigh Road .
When HE came to get me this evening, it was snowing a blizzard. Treggy looked positively Christmassy with all the white stuff clinging to his dark mane. HE started telling me that possibly I might not be able to go up to Ninefields tomorrow – and then it stopped. So as we walked down towards Dry Bridge , the air was clear and I could see perfectly well these two new scary objects in the middle of the road. I stopped and snorted! I know I've said that once. Again! Now, if HE had only explained that the back of the red signs were not red and looked completely different then I would have just taken it in my stride.
Then, when we got home, I had just finished my supper when along came Mark the farrier who took no time at all to replace my lost shoe. So, given no more blizzards I am ready for a really good day up at Ninefields tomorrow.

 

Thursday 3rd March 2005Alli graing
To begin at the beginning. I had to stay in this morning for ages, well, it seemed like ages. One minute everything is going like normal, THEY go out and feed the boys and come back and I get a bit of carrot at the door. The next minute – nothing! I wait and I wait and I wait. In the end I had to resort to eating haylage and wondering what is going on. Finally, an hour and a half later, HE comes out with my coat and head collar, just like nothing had happened. Well, actually nothing had happened but you know what I mean. On the way up the road HE explained that the roads were covered in ice earlier and far too slippery for me to walkalong. I must say that by the time we did walk along them they were just wet. The sun was shining and there was not a spot of ice on the roads. The fields were a different matter though. All of them, even the top ones in the sun, were covered with snow and the ground was hard as rock.

We had a nice day though and by the time it came to go home I was perfectly relaxed. I must let you into a little secret here. On HIS way down the slope to the stream, while HE was carrying the boys' buckets down, HE spied something very white, lying on the mud. Thinking it was one of those nice crystal rocks we find around here now and then, HE decided to look out for it on HIS way back. Well, did HE get a surprise when it turned out to be a tooth, a big tooth which was very smooth and striped, just as if it had been rasped. HE gave it to HER and then THEY both had to discuss if it were mine or not because I had been very jumpy eating things these past few days – what THEY call ‘electric carrots'. Now, when I said I would let you into a secret, I should have said ‘part of a secret' because now you know as much as THEY do about the origin of that tooth!
As we walked home, we met Amber who came running up to say hello (to a carrot and then to me). When we had finished talking to her, we were about to walk on when I heard the sound of two horses coming up behind us. HE turned me round so that I could see who it was and then decided to let them pass before we followed on. And now a mystery really is solved. The riders were Matthew the horse trainer and Roy who HE thought was riding Silver. HE called out to ask if Silver had been away to school only to find out what I already knew – that it wasn't Silver. Silver had to go back and this (also grey) gentleman is a rescue from Bow. He apparently was undernourished. Well, he's gone to the right place now. Oh, and by the way, his name is Maxwell. I'll let you know more when I find out.

 

Friday 4th March 2005Treg observing
Well, THEY found out two things tonight; Maxwell is 10 years old and is a “very nice person” according to Faith. Oh, and a third thing – he is staying! You'll have to wait now until the weather improves and he comes out to his field next to ours; then we'll get some more information.

SHE has got it into her head that Tregony would like to come back with me to my stable. I'm really not so sure. Yes he would like to walk along the road with me and see where I go and what I do, but then I am not at all sure whether he would like to stay indoors all night. He's a funny old stick. He doesn't stay in the field shelter a lot. He likes to stand just outside it. Now whether this is his enormous inferiority complex or if he just prefers to keep out of Wick's way I don't know. Treg has actually been down to my stable but that was a while ago now. Both he and Wicky were brought down so they could have a bath using warm water and the hosepipe to rinse them with. Humans are funny really. Did they think that the lads would go back to the field and stay nice and clean? Whoever would have thought that the very first thing that they would do was find a nice big muddy patch to have a roll in? They have a very strange idea of cleanliness do humans. What is most natural? Well, that must be dirty! What is very strange and unnatural? Obviously that must be clean! For myself, I don't mind a bit of grooming as that is almost natural (except that humans use brushes and combs and things. I expect it is because they have such puny teeth.) Now Treggy, he loves being groomed – even by humans. He can even stand it while he is eating. Funny but no one thinks to groom Wicky although he would also let you do it while he is eating. In fact you can do anything as long as he is eating!
And lastly, the weather. Always a good thing to talk about if nothing much has happened. Actually it has turned quite pleasant today. The temperature is a few degrees up and all the fields were edible from the start today. HE tells me that some other parts of the country are still in the grip of ice and snow. Really we are very lucky in this part of the world. Because we are a peninsula we are protected from extremes of temperature. It does mean we get lots of rain but then, that makes the grass grow so I'm not complaining!

 

Saturday 5th March 2005Treg laying down
HE knew it, SHE expected it and THEY were both right – Treg was laying down this morning when THEY brought the buckets along. HE knew it because of the weather. It was not snowing, not raining heavily, not frosty, in fact just mild and bright, the very type of weather for a little doze, the old boy thinks. But this time, no panic. No calling of the vets and the carrying of hay bales. Just give the old boy a taste of carrot now and then and then just sit on the hay bales and watch him trying to make sense of the world. A sleepy eyed cob is one of the slowest, dopiest and most unexciting thing in the world to watch. Humans have a saying about watching paint dry. Watching a sleepy and elderly cob trying to wake up makes drying paint breathtakingly exciting. And so, after Wicky had performed his usual workmanlike demolition of his breakfast they just left Treg's bucket in its usual place and took Wick's teeth out of range on the other side of the stream gate and came home to fetch me. By the time we got back up to Ninefields the old boy had got most of the pieces together and had managed to empty his bucket as well. He told me later that he had just felt like a bit of a snooze and ‘as the weather was so nice …'
I had hoped that Treggy and Wick would do the diary today because there really is nothing going on at all at the moment. I could tell you a story but that is much more their line than mine so maybe it will have to wait until tomorrow. I can only repeat what I mentioned at the top of today's page – the weather has finally turned milder and what with the sun out and the daffodils on the brink (the wild ones I mean, the cultivated ones have been out for some time now) , it really does feel like maybe spring is on the way after all. SHE got a shock this morning. SHE got a Mother's Day card from Abbie. THEY were both sure that Mother's Day was not for ages yet and went scurrying around to find a calendar or something that had the date on it. Sure enough, it is tomorrow. I expect it is because THEY no longer have mothers alive that it becomes unimportant to them. Still, it was nice for HER to be remembered. I think I will suggest to Treggy that it is Dam's Day tomorrow and see what he says!

 

Sunday 6th March 2005buzzards
Starting from the end of the day – I'm a taxi now! Just as we were getting near home (and near my tea time bucket too!) we were met by my little friends over the road, Beth and Elsa. They stood in the middle of the road waving their hands just in case I hadn't see them (they are rather small) and jumping up and down saying ‘can I have a ride, can we have a ride?' Of course, it was obvious what the answer was going to be, all that was in question was if HE was going to put both on my back at the same time. It would have hastened my tea up if HE had but obviously it would not have been what the girls wanted and I expect it would have made HIS job a lot harder ensuring that neither fell off. So, what we did was put the older girl up first. She was a little bit nervous, I expect not quite knowing what was expected, so she draped herself all round my neck at first and held on with everything she had. After a few strides forward, HE told her to relax and sit up which she did. As I say, I think she just didn't know quite what to do. After that we went down the hill as far as my stable, with HIM telling Beth how to stop me by saying ‘whoa' and to start me again by saying ‘walk on'. We didn't get too many chances to practice that however because my legs are rather long. And then it was Elsa's turn. We were facing down the hill towards the recreation ground so we continued that way up to the lay by just before Barry & Brenda's house and then we turned round and walked back up to their gateway. It wasn't very far for either of them but given how small they are and how big I must seem to them, it was quite enough for a first go. They were happy and thanked me (which was very nice and thoughtful) and I was pleased because I like them. Then I went in for tea which pleased me some more.

Before that. When I went out of the gate with HER while HE took the lads supper down for them, I had a coughing fit. I don't know what it was but I was coughing a bit when THEY drove up. Anyway, I started to eat the carrots SHE lays out for me in the rear of the car (boot or trunk) but as I chewed it, it got up my nose and I coughed and sneezed bits of carrot all over the car. This would have been funny except it resulted in HER telling HIM that I was not to have any more carrot on the way home so that I would walk and clear my air ways. I did manage to persuade HIM that what I needed was a good few of those minty cough sweets that HE carries. It helped a bit but it really wasn't the same.

This morning, walking to Ninefields. That buzzard we have seen several times now, first flying away from our little lay by stop, then sitting in the tree that we can overlook just by Amber's field; well it seems to have made that area near Amber's it's home or at least it's hunting ground because there it was again this morning sitting in the branch of the tree at the entrance to Amber's human's house. When we came along it just flew away a little bit along the Throwleigh Road and settled on the next electricity post.

And, before that, HE came back from giving the lads breakfast to report that although the weather was mild and dry, old Treg amazed everyone by being stood up on his legs waiting by the stream. So, all in all a good day whichever way you look at it – front to back or back to front!

 

Monday 7th March 2005old mates chatting over the gate
“I thought Alli was kidding about Dam's Day, Wick. Didn't you?”
”To be honest Treg, I don't take a lot of notice what she says unless it's about food. What was she telling you this time?”
”She said that they had put aside one day a year when we have to think about our mothersand, if possible, be nice to them.”
”Ugh! That must be some sort of human idea she's picked up from THEM. Whoever heard of such a silly thing? Think about them? Be nice to them? I couldn't get away from mine fast enough. Always nipping me and pushing me about. Never let me do what I wanted to do. Miserable old mare, she was.”
”I'm not sure I can remember mine. It was a very long while ago. I expect she was nice and everything but if I can't remember, I can't. And that's that.”
”Did you tell Alli that, Treg?”
”Er, no. Not in so many words anyway.”
”How many words did it take then?”
”Well, none, really. Telling Alli something she doesn't want to hear is probably worse than telling your mother. I didn't want to take the chance, to be honest.”
”Wise move, son. Keep duckin' and divin' my old dad used to say. Never let ‘em catch you with your guard down.”
”You just said ‘gurd' Wick. Why'd you say ‘gurd'?”
”Not me old lad. It's HIM. HIS typing isn't as good as it used to be. HE really does know how to spell guard but HIS fingers go slower than HIS brain.”
”Oh! My problem is the opposite. Everything goes faster than my brain. Even worms and snails are constantly overtaking it.”
”Ah, but you have other talents, Treg, don't you?”
”Yes, that's right. I do. I do? Do I. ? Oh thank you Wick. Not many people tell me that, you know?”
”What are pals for, Treg? We really are good pals, aren't we?”
”Yes, of course we are.”
”And that's why you really don't mind that I come and nick your supper bucket as soon as HE goes away, do you?”
”Don't I, Wick. I rather thought that I … “
”No. Not a bit of it Treg. As I say. What are really good mates for, after all?”
”You know Wick. If you keep this conversation going for just a bit longer, my brain will catch up with you coming around the other side.”
”Can you explain that a bit, laddie?”
”That's just it, Wick. I can't. Some things I just have to take on trust. It's the way I have found is best for me. That way I can manage to get along pretty well. Oh, by the way. Did I tell you about Alli's idea?”
”Can't say that you have old man.”
”Alli says that we should have a Dam's Day. You know, be nice to our mothers and think about them lots.”
”I see what you mean now Treg about meeting up with things coming round the other way.”
”Oh, do you Wick. Maybe you could explain it to me?”
”Er, not now laddie. Let's go over to the other field and have a little quiet gentle graze first while I untangle my brain. OK?

 

Tuesday 8th March 2005 Alli inspects the road
Amber really is getting the hang of things now. The last few days when we have been going home, she has been quite a long way away at the end of her field and, when she has heard us go by, she has had to content herself with just shouting out to us. Tonight, however, as soon as we walked up to our stop before we get to her field, we heard her give a great big shout. She must have been waiting and listening for us, I think. So, when we walked on to within sight of her, she stood in the middle of the field just looking up at us. HE spoke to her and asked her if she was going to come up and talk to us and you could see her working out how she was going to cover all that space in time. Then she decided and started to canter to us only to find herself stopped by being on the wrong side of the stream. Her stream is the same stream as our, further along the way but, unlike ours, it hasn't got an easy ford for her to just splash through. Anyway, she just stood there long enough to be reassured that we would wait for her and then she madea fast canter all the way round the field to where she could just stride across the stream at its smallest point and came rushing up to us. We then had a really nice time together, munching carrots and rubbing faces. It's hard to remember now when I thought that I didn't like her, she's really quite nice (for a young girl that is).

While we were standing and talking there was an unusual amount of road traffic going past us. This morning when we walked up to the field there were some funny tractor like things going about. When we got to Dry Bridge , we could see what all the commotion was all about. It must have been the water men packing up and finishing their job early for all the ‘road closed' and ‘diversion' signs had gone. We were just observing this when another car came up behind and it seemed to be extremely careful as it slowed right down. HE turned and was just about to wave it on as HE usually does with slow drivers when HE saw that the driver had their window open and HE thought that they were going to ask directions (another common occurrence). However, when HE looked into the car HE saw that it was our vet Phil who asked him, I think a little bit sarcastically if HE was taking me out for a walk. He replied no, I was taking HIM out for a walk, by which time the car had moved on. It just leads me to wonder if Phil doesn't know that I only live out in the fields all day but come in to my stable overnight. At least, that's what I do in the winter. I can't wait for the middle of spring to come when I will be allowed to stay out all night. Just roaming about in the dark and grazing and listening to the night sounds is a really lovely experience. It's actually much nicer that the day time, in the summer, when the heat and the flies go to bed. Ah well, a few more months yet, I'm afraid!

Wednesday 9th March 2005
sparrow
Walking up the Throwleigh Road this morning, HE stood for a moment to listen. ‘Sounds like someone's got pigs, down there', HE said, ‘but then, I shouldn't think so. It's probably a pheasant with a sore throat or something'. I didn't answer HIM. What's the point? Either HE knows how silly HE is or if not, HE never will so why waste my breath. We walked along a little bit further when the raven flew overour heads, still making that disgusting noise that ravens make. To cover HIS embarrassment, HE only said that HE had forgotten to check with the shape of its tail for it looked a very small raven to him. It was on the tip of my tongue to remark about how things appear to get smaller the further away from you they are and then I thought again, ‘what's the use' and just walked on.

HIS little hanging basket of peanuts by the side of the field shelter has gone down very quickly. I must remind HIM to take some refills up to the field with HIM when HE goes tomorrow morning. As it is, HE has got to drive the jeep into the field as HE had to buy more rolled oats for the birds. I think HE is now supporting a great many bird families and they just sit on the bushes and trees waiting for him each morning and evening. I know HE thinks that just one bag every few weeks is nothing compared to the number of bags of horse food that THEY buy but then, I keep reminding HIM, that HE must compare size for size. I expect that if we were only the size of a blackbird or robin then HE wouldn't have to buy so many bags for us either.

HE's been grumping at me because his laptop's broken and instead of just sitting nice and cosily in front of the fire in his armchair, HE has to go upstairs to HIS ‘office' and sit up straight on the typing chair to record my diary. Mind you, in a way it's HIS own fault. HE is spending hours and hours on trying to decide which new machine to buy. He is torn between wanting various features and HIS meanness in paying lots of money for them. HE trawls through lists and lists comparing the various specifications, makes a decision that this one or that is the favourite after which HE goes from site to site trying to find the cheapest offer only to find that everyone is offering a slightly different spec machine. In the end, HE just grunts and turns it all of and decides to think about it later. Can you imagine if the laptops were bags of food and Wicky had to choose? ‘Can you eat it? Yes. Right, that's the one!'

 

Thursday 10th March 2005 darkening sky
I wonder if you have noticed of late that my diary has not been as full of sparkle and wit as it usually is? Come on, don't be nasty, it is usually better than this, even if that is only comparatively. You see, HE has not been very well. I go further. HE has been very ill and miserable. It is about all HE can manage to take the old boys' food in the mornings and then walk me up the road. In addition, the illness has made HIM a bit forgetful and so HE has missed taking his pain killer pills a few times and this has just added to his sorry state. The weather too plays a part because it is outwardly still a bit cold and yet, when HE puts HIS thick old coat on, HE gets all hot and clammy and has to take HIS hat off and undo the coat, even if it is raining. However, HE asked me to point out, HE is not looking for sympathy, only understanding why HE is not able to make my diary as interesting as HE would like. Me, I'm reserving my judgement. HE can't stay ill for much longer and if things don't improve, I will seriously have to consider my position. After all, I do have some sort of reputation to maintain.
One thing that happened that should make HIS little life a bit happier is that, after finally deciding to order a new laptop to replace the broken one and actually placing the order last night, HE was very surprised when the delivery van stopped outside HIS house this morning and, sure enough, it was HIS order. He told me that HE spent most of the rest of the day setting it up and re-installing the software that HE had on the old machine but, at the same time, HE was very pleased with how easy it was to get running with his wireless network and the internet connection. HE is also interested that the facility for changing the hard disk on the new machine appears to be the same as on HIS old machine and HE is going to have a try at just putting the old hard drive into the new machine and seeing what happens. Aren't humans the funny little inquisitive things that they are? If I had a new thing, I would just be happy with it and forget the old broken one for good.

Finally, I did have to apologise to him tonight, coming back from Ninefields. As we got nearly to home, that bird that I said was a raven yesterday came croaking and flying, finally coming to rest in the big trees that stand at the top of the hill facing my stable. HE recognised the croaking and watched until it landed by which time we were back to my stable where SHE was waiting. When HE asked HER if SHE saw the raven, SHE said that SHE had thought it was a raven as well until she saw it flying and saw that it did not have the raven's diamond tail. I do have to admit that this was HIS proviso last night so I had to say sorry to HIM after all. But I still say, it sounded like a raven!

 

Friday 11th March 2005sky tracks
“Ere, Wick, you seen your passport photo?”
”Why's that Tregony? What about it?”
”Well, s'funny, aint it? Makes you look like a furry peanut or something.”
”And you've not seen yours, of course?”
”Mine?”
”Yes, you know. That aging tramp with mud all over him, all bent over and miserable looking.”
”You can't be talking about my passport photo, surely. I thought HE took it. HE must have got a better picture than that. One that shows me off at my best.”

“Oh, it does Treg. It does show you off at your best. That's the trouble. It would have been nice if HE had done a bit of that computer enhancement that HE does sometimes. You know, took a bit of mud off you and a bit of curls off me.”
”Yeah. I don't think HE was feeling very kind when HE did them, do you. It's a pity we don't have one of those machines in the field shelter. You know, what you can sit on a hay bale and make funny faces at while you wait for the flash to go. We could have some real fun at that, couldn't we Wick?”
”Yeah. And get those strips of pictures showing us pushing each other off the hay bale or get shots of the tops of our heads and stuff.”
”Ere. D'you want to know what else I learned when I looked at the passports? You haven't got one. They've put your photo on someone else's papers. I know. I saw the name. It was someone called Flicket!”
”Daft old duffer. Don't you remember? That is my name. It's just HIM and HER that calls me Wicked and then that vet, Phil – he calls me Wicked Squirt!”
”Oh yes, I seem to remember. When we lived at that other place. That was a long while ago now.”
”Not so long, Treg, only a few years. I suppose it feels like a long time now because life goes a lot slower now we are retired. No more work, no more rides, at least, until those kids come along and that's only a few times a year.”
”And, Wick, and, I found out something else very funny about those passport. You know the reason we have to have them is so they can put down details of our medicines and stuff. Well, when THEY went to the vets for some more of my arthritis powders this time, when THEY got home they had a phone call saying that THEY should have taken my passport along for the details to be filled in. So, when THEY took it along today, it appears that it has to be filled in by the person who administers the medicine.”
”Oh, that's HIM or HER?”
”Yeah. But the problem is there are only three lines in the passport for medicines and I have two in the morning and two in the evening so if I live for another year THEY would need a passport with seven hundred and thirty lines in it and it would take them longer to do the paperwork than to give me my medicine.”

“Funny humans, aren't they, Treg? Maybe someone who thought up this law didn't spend too much time on the THINK part?”
”You can say that again, Wick. Still, don't worry. I don't think HE is going to spend too long at it. In fact, I think HE is not going to spend any time at all. HE's got the passport and that's quite enough. That's what HE says.”
”Well, really Treg. And you a hossifer of the law and all that. Surely you can't go along with that?”
”Listen, Wick. In the force we has what's called ‘a blind eye' sometimes. HE left me alone this morning when I was having a bit of a lay in so I can let him get away with this. Mind you, I wasn't too pleased to find HE'd left my breakfast in the hayshed, just out of reach so when I did get up I could only just skim the top of the bucket. I'll forgive HIM this one time but I won't forget.”
”Treg, you're turning into a grumpy old man.”
”Yeah. Be nice to have a bit of company, won't it Wick?”

Saturday 12th March 2005maas and baas
I'm beginning to think about being out all the time now. It was not so long ago when HE used to come out and bring me a carrot while HIS kettle was boiling for THEIR first drink of the day, just after THEY got up. Then, most mornings HE wouldn't be able to see me as HE walked from the house and HE used to say that it was only the white star on my forehead that HE could vaguely see that allowed HIM to find meat all. Then we would stand there together and watch the street lamp come on and maybe admire the stars if it was not cloudy. Now, it is very light in the mornings, even if there are clouds and the same in the evening, it doesn't get dark for ages now.
That's just reminded me of something. Although it has been very cloudy, it seems, for ever, the level of our stream reminds me that we really have not had any rain for ages. Now that may not be very surprising to you but for us on Dartmoor this really is a strange event. Normally all our little springs are brimming and running down the hills making streams which go to swell our rivers. Without any rain over the moors, the torrents have slowed to a trickle. I can't think that it will stay that way. Either we are in for a wet summer or there is going to be a pretty rainy end to winter and start to spring before we can start to think of summer at all.
What I really am looking forward to now are the fields full of baby lambs. Lower down they have had these already, some as early as January but hill farmers produce their lambs a lot later to fit in with the climate and the grass. We do see calves as well but somehow the lambs epitomise all that is appealing about the young. Mind you, having said that, a calf's eyes at close quarters take some beating too. For me, of course, there is nothing better than a foal but I don't get around enough to see these out in the fields, I have to rely on my memory. I wonder what happened to …. , come on girl, don't get all sentimental. I suppose because humans are used to just using animals, it never occurs to them that we might miss our children. I suppose most of the time we don't but now and again, I can't help wondering what became of them. Treg and Wick often kid me about being a grandmother but what's the use of that if you never see your grandchildren?

On the other hand, there is only so much grass and, at my age, I do tend to value my peace and quiet sometimes. I guess I'll just have to make do with THEM as my close family. I could do worse, I suppose. I know THEY could!

 

Sunday 13th March 2005 curly Wick
”Been like the first day of spring today, hasn't it Wick?”
”Dunno, laddie. What's the first day of spring like?”
”You know what I mean, Wick. It's been all nice and sunny and warm and that.”
”Oh. But you know, the first day of spring in the Shetland Islands isn't like that at all. If it's not snowing then it's blowing a gale.”
”Then how do you know it's spring and not winter?”
”Well, if you're standing up in the gale and not being slithered about on the ice it might just be spring. As long as the temperature is only just below freezing that is.”
”Blimey Wick. No wonder you grow such a thick coat.”
”Yeah. A bit wasted down here though in this tropical climate.”
”Tropical? You call this tropical. It's only just in double figures now.”
”Yeah. The Tropic of Treg. How about that?”
”Ere, do you know what HE did yesterday? HE went and e-mailed Michelle our photo, you know, the one standing at the gate.”
”What d'you mean, the one standing at the gate? They're all photos of us standing at the gate. It's the only time HE can get us to stand still. I really enjoy it when HE is trying to take my picture. I always move towards HIM as fast as I can go so that just as HE thinks HE's got me in focus, I've loomed up upon HIM and HE has to give up.”
”Yeah, that's why HE goes out to the other side of the gate, ‘cos HE knows we will stand there waiting for treats. You'd think HE had enough photos like that by now wouldn't you?”
”I think we've got what they call ‘an infinite variety' of faces. Every one is new and fresh.”
”I don't like to tell you Wick but the last time you had a fresh face was when THEY took us down to Alli's stable for a bath.”
”And I suppose you are the cleanest and most fragrant equine for miles around, eh Treg?”
”Ha, probably the most fragrant, that's for sure. I've managed a few rolls in some lovely places lately.”
”So, what shall we get up to tonight?”
”Four!”

“I don't mean your counting lessons, Treg. Anyway, you can hardly be said to have mastered two yet. I think four is getting very ambitious.”
”I done two ages ago. It's dead easy. It comes after one and before …. Oh, yes, and before I forget, what do you think we will be getting for breakfast?”
”You're not changing the subject, old lad, are you?”
”Only kidding Wick. I know two comes before .. er .. that other number. You know the one that comes before four. Hey! I did that. I really can get up to four. It's just I forget the name of the number. That doesn't mean I don't know it. It's like that grey horse that goes out with Mathew sometimes. Now, I couldn't tell you its name but I still know it. So there! I can do my counting. One, two, other number, four! See!”
”You know, Treg. I do believe that I agree with you for once. You do know it. And probably it would be a shame to tell you the word or you'd probably forget four or something. It's not that you are not clever it's just to do with you having a limited amount of word storage.”
”That makes me feel a lot better Wick. Although one little thing still worries me. You see, I say ‘other number' instead of wotsit and that's two words when wotsit is only one. Now how can I do that if I've got limited word storage?”
”Enough, Treg. We've agreed that you are clever and can do your numbers with a few limitations. Let's not get into philosophy as well.”
”What's Phil's Hossify Wick. Is that the vet's book on horses?”
”The very same, Treg. The very same!”

 

Monday 14th March 2005 Treg sitting up
First things first. Last Wednesday and Thursday I was telling you about the bird that first HE thought was a raven and then SHE said it didn't have a diamond tail etc. etc. Well, I never got round to telling you that on Friday SHE saw it again and it definitely was a raven. Somehow SHE must have seen the tail at a funny angle or something. I mention it now, not only to put the record straight but also because this morning, just as HE was washing the old lads empty buckets out in the stream, SHE called out to HIM that both Mr and Mrs Raven were flying overhead. As luck would have it, HE had HIS little camera with HIM. HE dropped the buckets and fished the camera out of his pocket but, as it is a digital one, by the time it was fully switched on, the ravens were well past him and flying up to the moor. HE managed to get two shots off before they vanished altogether but when I asked HIM tonight what they were like HE told me that somehow the ravens had disappeared right out of the pictures. Shame, but at least we know now that it really is the raven family about.
Another thing we listened to this morning as we were stopped for my carrot break was the woodpecker. HE tells me that HE has only ever seen a woodpecker once, a long time ago in the forest near where THEY used to live. Well, HE still hasn't seen one here but you sure can't fail to hear them. Two other bits of nature notes, as it were. Where HE has hung up the peanut feeder next to the field shelter the birds must drop pieces of nut as they peck at them for yesterday, while HE was waiting for Treg and Wicky to finish their breakfast buckets, a little field mouse came from out of the hedge and started to eat the nut fragments. It ran back into the hedge several times as HE moved but still returned to finish the nut. The other thing that happened the day before was a crazy rabbit. It appeared from over by the bridle path gate and ran like the wind towards the hedge next to the stream path. It then came to an abrupt stop, turned to face the way it had come and hurtled off back again giving the impression of someone who has realised that they have forgotten something. I think it must be the time of the year.
My only piece of news was that, as we were walking home this evening, we passed Amber's piece of fence where she sometimes greets us and HE commented that she was not there tonight so maybe she was out on a ride or something. We had not gone more than about five metres when there was a whinny and a rattle of hooves and Amber came roaring up. Of course, I got excited and started to turn and the car that was already going past us very slowly, stopped all together until HE explained that I was just going back to talk to my friend. I must say I'm getting to like Amber's enthusiasm and finding it quite nice to have a friend, even if it is the carrot that is the most important to her.
One last little point. I have told HIM to stop using capitals for things like HIS and THEIRS and only use it for HE, SHE and THEM. It should make things easier to read (and to type) and I am sure HE misses a lot anyway so this way it ill look deliberate!

 

Tuesday 15th March 2005 grey squirrel
Johnny crouched close to the earth pulling the shining brown riding boot closer to him. He grasped his little piece of rag and began to polish. Rub, rub, rub, move along and rub. His eyes didn't follow his fingers but scanned the horizon. He tilted his head so that his ear would pick up the first sound of the returning horseman. After a while, his whole body became uncomfortable. He drew his legs out in front of him but made sure that his head went no higher than the blades of grass on the hillock before him. He stopped buffingand drew he two boots together. Shiny and glowing. Boots to be proud of. The man could not be angry with him now, could he?
In the distance, a cloud of dust rose just beyond the horizon. It was a still an warm day and no breath of wind moved the dust column as it grew larger and larger. Johnny saw it as soon as it was visible and after watching it for several moments he put his ear to the ground. Yes, it was a horse and yes, only one. The man had kept his word and was coming back for him. It still wasn't safe to stand and make himself seen. He may have heard only one horse but there could have been people on foot following it. He stayed crouching where he was and peered through the grass. He could now make out the horse's shape as it galloped towards him. However, with the dust still rising from the pounding hooves he was unable to make out the form of the rider. Nearer and nearer it came. He could now make out the chestnut colouring of the horse and even pick out hazily the white star on its forehead. But somehow the overall shape did not seem right. Even allowing for the rising dust, Johnny should have been able to at least see the rider's outline but he could not.
Forgetting the need to keep low, Johnny knelt up to get a better look at the nearing animal. No, his eyes were not playing tricks. He squinted and peered and then peered again and was finally forced to the conclusion – the horse was riderless. No sooner had the idea formed in his head and his mind started to try to get to grips with its meaning and consequences than the horse thundered into full view just metres away from the tussock that sheltered Johnny and skidded to a stop right in front of him. He scrambled to his feet and reached up to touch the sweating mare. “Alezane, Alezane. What's happened? Where's your master?” The mare snorted and tossed her head and then pawed the ground with her strong near forefoot. Johnny patted and stroked her in an attempt to calm her. Slowly her breathing returned to a more normal pace but it was obvious that she was still on edge, still ready to flee at the slightest provocation. Johnny knew he had to think quickly. The man was missing, hurt maybe dead. It meant that he could now make his own escape without fear of being followed. On the other hand, he stood more chance of survival with the man by his side than he did alone. Should he run or go and look for the man? He only hesitated a few seconds and then, with n agility that surprised even himself, he leaped on the mare's back and turned her head back the way she had come.

“Go on, go on. You can't stop there Wick.”
”Sorry mate. Looks like bucket time to me. Maybe later tonight when we are up on the big hill. But first, a guy's gotta eat to keep up his strength.”
”Oh, fetlocks. You're always eating and never finish my stories. You're just a tease Wicky Squirt and I don't think I like you very much. It's not as if a chap asks for much. Just a story now and then. And I do let you finish my bucket don't I. I think it's a rotten …….”

 

Wednesday 16th March 2005 grey rat
They had been riding now for several hours and they hadn't met a soul nor seen any trace of the man. Johnny kept the mare's pace to a gentle canter, partly not to tire her and partly so that he could use his keen eyesight to watch out for and clue as to the man's fate or whereabouts. The first hour had been across open countryside with here and there small bushes and a wall or two and the occasional stream to be crossed. Then they had come to the edge of a forest. Johnny just let her have her head, guessing that the mare would have some recollection of the way that she had come. The trees were quite widely spaced with the remains of last winter's leaf drop still in evidence on the ground. There was little mud for any rain that there had been had not made much impression. The disadvantage of this was that there were no tracks anywhere which could have given an indication of other travellers. Johnny listened carefully but heard only the various bird songs and warning cries to alarm other birds of his arrival.
Soon Johnny grew tired and, seeing a comfortable looking spot beneath a giant oak, he pulled Alezane to a gentle halt and dismounted. While he sank to the floor to close his eyes, not to sleep but to try and think what would be his best move next, Alezane wandered from under the tree to the grass and began to eat. Try as he may, Johnny could think o no better strategy than to allow the mare to take him where she might in the hope that he would eventually find the man or at least some sign of what had happened to him. Having come to this decision, he decided that he should have a short nap to build up his strength for the next stage of his quest. With one peep at the mare to confirm that she was staying within calling distance, Johnny let his eyes shut and his mind go blank.
In his dream, he was soaring over the ground on the mares back at full gallop. So fast was he going that her feet did not touch the ground but instead they were flying up and up until they were above the treetops and into the clouds. The clouds must have been full of rain because suddenly his face was dripping wet. He put his hand up to wipe it and found that he was touching a warm wet silky haired nozzle. His eyes fought to open and he saw that Alezane was looming over him. “Time to move on”, she said. “What, already”, Johnny replied, in his half asleep, half awake state. “If you want to find that man before nightfall, we have to get moving, it's still along way to go.” Johnny was just about to reply when it dawned on him that he was talking with a horse! He must still be dreaming, was his first reaction and he dragged himself to his feet and shook his head violently. “I should watch out that the few brains that you do have don't get shaken out like that!” Johnny jumped. There was no mistaking it. The mare had spoken.

“And that's it for another night, Treg old son. Here they come with the buckets again.”
”It's not long enough, Wick. What if you eat up your supper and then tell me some more then?”
”But if I did that, HE wouldn't know about it and wouldn't be able to put it in the diary.”
”Yeah, well, so what? It's my story anyway. No one else should be listening. I never get anything of my very own. Always have to share with others. All I want is a little bit for myself…… Rotten ….. Never do anything for me ….Just finish my story, that's all ……. “

Thursday 17th March 2005Treg making an effort
The man sat wriggling his toes in the cool flowing water of the stream. He sat on the bank where he could keep an eye out for the returning mare. It was starting to look as if she wouldn't make it before nightfall. It was still quite light, in fact the sun's rays, although lengthening now, still had some warmth to them. Somewhere, in the tree above him, he heard a squirrel chattering and, looking up, just saw the flash of a red tail as it disappeared among the leaves. Time to dry his feet and start making some moves towards feeding himself, the man thought. He took his feet out of the stream and swung them round onto the grassy bank and then gave them a good rub with some handfuls of dried grass and leaves. Then, standing up, he stretched and jogged up and down to get his circulation going then went over to the base of the tree where he had left his boots, coat and hat.
When he as fully dressed again, he first went over to where the colt was grazing and checked that all was well. The big eyes looked up at him and then the head sank down to the grass once more. Assured that all was as it should be, the man set off to search for some wood to build a fire after which, once it was lit, he took his pot down to the stream for some water. It took about half an hour or more for the meal to be ready during which time the man had climbed a nearby tree to try for a sighting of the mare and the boy. ‘No need to rush things', he told himself,' that mare knows what she's doing. They'll be along soon.' He finished his meal and sat back to wait. Now, the evening was drawing into dusk and the birds were noisily settling down for the night. He began to plan what they would do next, when the boy finally arrived.
It was now definitely dark and still no sign of them. The man started to get the tiniest bit worried. Nothing stronger than a feeling. Could something have gone wrong? He had to admit to himself that the forest did contain dangers, some of which could be life threatening. Up to now he had put his trust in the mare and her magical properties but even these could be thwarted in certain circumstances. Was it possible that the child had come to harm?
He stood up and started pacing up and down. The sudden cry of an owl behind him gave him a start. In every dark corner now lurked a hidden evil. There was a crash somewhere deep in the forest. Just one and then silence. What had happened? Had some unfortunate creature met its sudden end? He stood very still and desperately tried not to breathe so that he could hear every little movement in the night woods. From some distance now, he thought he could hear the sound of hoof beats heading his way. His heart jumped. Was it the boy? Had thy found their way safely through the terrors of the night?


”And there, Treg … “

“No you don't, Wick. You wouldn't dare! Not now. Go on … “

“But it's getting late, Treg.”
”I don't care, just go on to the bit where the mare and …. “
”Shsh! Treg. Alright, just a little more.”

With a crash and a parting of branches, the mare broke through the forest curtain and came to a thundering halt by the man's side. “Wow, Alezane!” cried the boy, “that was terrific. I never knew a ride could be so exciting and exhilarating. Thanks lady.” And then he slid off her back and went to the man, the glowing pair of brown boots still grasped in his hand. “We made it”, he smiled. “Good to see you again.” The man reached out and took the boots with one hand while he ruffled the boy's hair with the other. “Missed you, boy”, he grunted. “Waiting a long time for this. Come and see what I've got you.” He grasped the boys hand and led him over to the clearing where the colt was grazing. “For you, son. We're a team now. When you're rested we gotta make a move to find the village.” Johnny walked over to the colt and threw his arms round his neck. The bay took a step back to free his neck. “Steady”, said Tregony, “you nearly choked me”. Johnny stopped in amazement. “You can talk too”, he said. “Of cours……. “

“It's me, Wick. It's me. In the story. Oh hank you Wick. What a lovely story that was. I'll never moan again, ever, I promise.”
”Don't you want to hear the end?”
”Oh no. That's enough or tonight. I want to have my supper and just go somewhere quiet and think about it. It's lovely to be in a story. That's really nice. Thanks.”

 

Friday 18th March 2005 horses in the sun
Well, while the two old boys have been story telling , we have had two glorious warm, sunny spring days. And, to crown it all, we go naked! This morning THEY decided to take our rugs off. Mine and Treg's that is, Wick has not been wearing one for some time now. I had been giving hints for several days but, this morning, after HE had put my rug on and buckled it up, SHE came out and said it was so nice that it seemed a shame to have to wear a coat. HE said that it was funny but it was exactly what HE had been thinking. So off it came again and I was so pleased I didn't even bite the door like I usually do when my rug is put on or taken off.

I will admit it felt funny walking up the Throwleigh Road . Almost as if I was naked. Well, I was. But you know what I mean. I bet you can't guess what the first thing I thought of was when I got to Ninefields. You're right. Where was the nearest muddy patch to roll in? Towards the middle of the morning THEY came along to have a spy at us and by then I had a good covering of mud. Not as much as I had by this evening when THEY came to take me home.

I have to admit I was pleased with how fit Treggy looked when his rug came off. OK his coat was a bit untidy where he has started to shed his winter woollies but really, his coat is lovely and shining, or at least it was before he joined me in a roll. Somehow I feel sorry for Wicky. He has such a thick natural coat and he can't take that off. I know he is going to be trimmed but it is still little early in the season for that. If the weather turns bad we can always have our rugs back on but, if Wick is trimmed, you can't put that back on. On the other hand, I suppose he could always wear one of the three new rugs that THEY bought him. His hair is falling out like mad now. When THEY came along this morning, Wick just stood and shook and it was like a snowstorm.
Anyway, the three of us had a really lovely happy and relaxed day today wandering over those parts of our fields that we don't normally go on. HE told me that when THEY drove along at midday , THEY expected to see us right up the top fields where we usually are. At first THEY couldn't see us at all because they were looking too high and THEY got a real surprise when THEY saw that Treg and I were still in the home paddock. Then, THEY couldn't find Wick until HE came round the bridle path a bit and saw that Wick was standing in the shade of the big middle tree, patiently waiting for Treg and me to come up.
Yes, all in all a good day today!

 

Saturday 19th March 2005 dandelion
Another beautiful warm, sunny day. Again no rush to move away from the home paddock. We did, but slowly, enjoying every bit of ground in between – some for eating and some, if damp enough, for rolling in. I think we had got as far as halfway up the middle field when THEY drove past, no doubt spying on us as usual. Wicky turned to watch for a while and then advised us all not o look up. Anyway, THEY drove off up towards Michael's farm. I guessed that this meant that THEY were going to turn round there and then come back and observe us from the gateway into Maxwell's (was Harry's) field. And again, I was right, that was exactly what THEY did. I wondered then if THEY knew that, in fact, it was us observing THEM. Just because our heads don't turn in that direction doesn't mean we are not seeing every move THEY make. So, of course, we also saw THEM drive down and stop at our gate. We also saw Jasmine with her human Margaret who were passing at the time, being stopped and invited to come for a walk around our fields.
I don't know if it was the relaxed atmosphere of the day but something made it seem a good idea to wander down the hill and greet them. I know what prompted Wicky but as it happens not a mint sweet was to be seen when we arrived. I don't think that they had intended to actually come into the field until they met Jasmine but, if you remember, Jaz did enjoy herself running around Ninefields that week when Margaret was unwell and couldn't walk her so I expect she was the real reason that they came in. I know I watched HIM slip her lead off and start to walk around the perimeter of the Road field just like HE did when Jaz came before. HE also stopped to throw sticks for her but I think she was much too distracted by the other humans around to bother with them much.
By the time THEY got to the stream, we had come down the hill and I strode up to meet HIM as he went to jump across. It was then that I discovered that HE had no treats. Mind you, I have to give HIM some credit for going into the field shelter and getting a small handful of the oats that he gives to the birds, one for each of the three of us. I was very pleased to note, as well, that Jasmine came up and mingled with us horses and took no notice of us at all. No silly jumping up and down and barking like she used to do. Then Margaret came and started to take Jaz for a walk up the hill and THEY turned back to their car. Before HE did, HE got a brush out of the field shelter and started to try and get rid of my hard earned mud so I had to walk smartly away from him before I said something very un ladylike.
They nearly got to the car when there was an awful row of howling dogs from up on the top of the hill, on the moor. Margaret had to put Jaz on a lead and start to bring her back down again and we all looked and saw, on the skyline, that the hunt's hounds were being exercised. I had memories of when I was with the hunt and poor Jaz had memories of when she was made to dog fight Perspective is a funny thing. It can make a quite ordinary event, in this case some dogs going for a run, appear quite different for different observers. The event just happens, it's how we see it that makes it what it is for us!

Sunday 20th March 2005 Wick & Treg
”So you're turning into a sportsman are you Wick?”
”What's that laddie? Me, a sportsman? Well, I suppose you could say that I always have been a bit of one. But what makes you ask now, Treg?”
”'s just what HE told me today. Said you was getting a racquet or something. I didn't quitecatch what HE said but I thought it meant that you were going to start playing some sort of game.”
”What HE said, eh? And why was HE talking about me, old son? What were the two of you talking about?”
”I just said, er …, well …, HE sort of asked me why I stayed laying down this morning when THEY turned up.”
”Yes, HE would ask that. I suppose THEY do wonder at some of your antics sometimes. So, what did you tell them?”
”Well, I said it was that what you told me about security and that.”
”Ah, I see. That's where I come in. And what was it I said about security that got HIM so interested in my sporting prowess, Tregony?”
”Ah, I don't really know that, Wick. I just told him about how you said you would protect me from all those dangers that you said could happen to a fellow if he didn't let you protect him. You know. I didn't really understand all of it myself but HE said it was something to do with you getting all sporting.”
”I'm not sure I follow this myself, Treg. You told him what a nice chap I was in offering to protect you, right?”
”Yeah, an' how all I had to do was to let you push me off my bucket when THEY weren't there and how that way, I wouldn't come to harm.”
”Ah, Treg. I think I am beginning to see the picture more plainly now. You told them that I push you off your feed bucket, right?”
”Yes. And how I thought that if I had a lay in, in the mornings, then THEY would put you on your head collar, like THEY do, and take you up into the Throwleigh Road field and shut the gate. And then how I could get up and go to my feed bucket and eat it all up without needing our protection.”
”And HE said that I was running a protection racket, eh Treg?”
”Yeah, that's right! You got it Wick. That's what HE said and I knew then that it was to do with sports and stuff.”
”And you don't think that THEY think any worse of me because of this, Treg?”
”Funny you should say that, Wick. That's almost the hexact words wot HE said next. He said ‘Don't think we will think any worse of old Wick because of this, Treg. We couldn't.'”
”We couldn't?”
”Yeah. I wasn't really sure what he meant but HE said. ‘We couldn't think any worse of that little spit (I think) than we do already.' Wasn't that nice of HIM Wick?”
”You know Treg. HE can call it a racket or what HE likes but I earn my perks, just living with you.”
”Yeah. Aint it nice Wick? Us two mates together!”

Monday 21st March 2005 wild primroses
I meant to tell you. Since we've had a few mild, spring-like days, the wild primroses all along the hedgerow banks have all finally appeared in their full glory. This year has been a bit of a funny year with just a few single flowers appearing early and then nothing. The other thing that has happened is that the ‘wild' daffodils have all come out too. I say ‘wild' in quotes because they are not really wild in the true sense of the word. There are a few that really are wild but these are not common at all. They are pretty small flowers but the ones we see along the banks and in the hedgerows are the larger types that have been put there by people wishing to brighten up the days leading out of winter. They may have been there for a good few years now and have multiplied in many cases but they still can't really qualify as ‘wild'. Anyway, whatever, wild or semi wild, the banks are now starting to look brighter. To be honest, SHE doesn't like it very much. She says that nature is going through its yellow phase. All the flowers are of the one colour with maybe variations in it. To a certain extent this is true although some of the flowering trees such as the cherry are now coming out as well and these are definitely not yellow.
We have had rain today. Strangely this is really good because, although up until the last few days, the weather has not been so wonderful, we have not had any appreciable rain and the streams were drying up and the ground was getting parched. What was nice about the rain today, which came along in the afternoon, was that it was not hard and was not cold. Treg and I (and of course Wicky but we don't count him with his thick coat) are still without our rugs and it was lovely to get the rain on our backs. It makes us look good as well, all sleek and shiny, disguising the fact that we are in the in between stage of shedding our winter coats and actually looking pretty tacky.
SHE had her car serviced today. Why am I telling you this? Well, because it is taken away to the city for service, my head collar which usually sits draped over one of the back seats was taken in the house while the car was away. This meant, of course, that THEY forgot it when THEY came up to get me this evening. Now, the routine is that SHE puts my head collar on over the gate before HE carries the old boy's feed buckets into the field and down to the field shelter. When I stay out in the summer, I don't have my head collar on and HE carries three buckets down. Now, when THEY pulled up tonight, I came across to the gate as usual but, as SHE didn't have the head collar, HE said HE would bring one back from the field shelter and carried the buckets in. I got all confused and thought that THEY were letting me stay out and I just followed HIM down to the stream. HE turned round and shouted at me to go back and then I must admit I got a bit naughty and just ran and bucked and then still followed him up to the shelter. However, when HE then got another head collar out and went to put it on me, I just ran on back up to HER. It was a genuine mistake at first but in the end it turned into a lark and even THEY saw the funny side of it so I didn't get told off at all. Quite fun really!

Tuesday 22nd March 2005tree line
“Ere, Wick?”
”Yes, Tregony, my inquisitive friend?”
”Do you know what I can see from up here in the top field?”
”Rain?”

“Er, well, yes. But I mean on a good day.”
”A good day for you, being when you are awake, Treg, or when you are laying down?”

“Oh, I have to be standing up else I can't see so much. No, what I mean is if you look over there past Ramsley Common. When the sun is shining.”
”Ah, you mean a topographical feature, laddie?”
”Do I? I thought it was the cheese factory at North Tawton . That's what HE told me it was.”
”And did HE tell you I would be utterly fascinated by this piece of knowledge, Treg?”
”I can't remember now, Wick. I don't think HE said anything about you at all. Mind you, HE might have done. You know my memory is what it used to be.”

“Tregony old lad. Your memory never was what it used to be.”
”Anyway Wick, I just thought I would share that with you seeing as how you are my best mate and that.”
”On reflection, Treg, I'm probably your only mate, don't you think?”
”You see, Wick. It's my poetical side coming out again. The sights and the sounds of spring are rousing something deep down in my inner being.”
”Wind, Treg. It's wind. Pay no attention. We all get afflicted now and again. It's something to do with your diet.”
”No, Wick. It's not physical. It's an emotion. A feeling that is stirring inside me. I get he urge to compose poetry and just gaze and contemplate the delights of nature.”
”I get a similar feeling when I look in my feed bucket only I then get too busy to do anything but eat.”
”I wandered lonely as a … er … as a bay,

And thought it was a lovely day.

I looked around a little bit
and saw my mate, the little … er … Wick. No, that doesn't quite rhyme proper does it?”
”Do you ever get the poetical feeling, deep down inside that your knees are about to undergo an inordinate amount of pain? I think I should steer very clear of poems that feature your best friend unless they also mention lots of his favourite food.”

“Ere, how about, ‘and saw Wicky my bestest mate, with hay and carrots on a plate'?”
”Treg, do you know, your way with words is only matched by your personal hygiene?”
”No, Wick. Who wrote that?”

 

Wednesday 23rd March 2005blossom
We had Maxwell out in the field next to us today. He was still there when THEY came to get me this evening and HE was kicking himself because HE was going to put his little camera in his pocket and HE forgot (notice I am not capitalising ‘his' any more on Alli's orders. HIM) HE told me HE had a bit of a let down today. HE had finally taken the plunge and ordered himself a new posh camera yesterday. HE also paid for next day delivery and was worried when THEY had to go out shopping that HE would miss the delivery. Then, when HE got home and switched on his computer, HE found an e-mail saying thatthey were out of stock and would have to order it with no indication when it would arrive. On the other hand, if HE hadn't made the decision to buy it yet but to stick to his original plan of waiting a month or two, HE wouldn't have been disappointed, would HE?
Spring is continuing to blossom, particularly the flowering cherries over the road from my stable. HE took some photos of them this morning but they didn't do the flowers justice because the sun wasn't on them. So, when the sun had moved round in the afternoon, HE went out and took another photo and this time the blossom really did look just right. Today's diary seems to be a very photographic one because I have yet another story to tell you about HIM. For about a month now, HE has been trying to take a good close up photo of the catkins that are covering a lot of the trees along the Throwleigh Road . But each time HE has tried, when HE loads it onto the computer, HE finds that the pictures are out of focus and have to be deleted. Yesterday when HE was emptying my poo bag onto the pile in the field (Each day HE cleans out my stable, which has rubber flooring and so doesn't need any straw or wood chip, and puts the contents into a large bag which HE then takes up to Ninefields to empty every day when HE feeds the old boys in the morning.) HE noticed that there was a tree with catkins in the corner of the field. So, this morning, seeing the sun on the catkins, HE took out his little camera after emptying the bag and went and very carefully took half a dozen shots. Guess what? When he looked at them on the computer, they were all out of focus. HE thinks the problem is that the little camera's auto focus is fooled by the fact that there are more holes than catkin and so it focuses on the branches that give a more solid mass further back. HE has vowed not to give in and will try again, maybe with his bigger camera on manual focus instead.

And lastly a final camera story. While waiting for Treg and Wick to finish their breakfast this morning, HE decided to take a shot of Wicky's curly coat. After doing this, HE noticed Treg's neck was all wet and muddy where he had been laying down (for a change), so HE decided to take that as well. By now the lads had finished their feed and were after treats. HE told me Treg got very suspicious of the camera and would take a bite of carrot and then back away. But then, when the carrot was finished, Treg would come close again, only to back away when HE tried to get a snap. In the end, HE said, it was rather like a little dance that Treg had invented. But he got a few fun shots!

 

Thursday 24th March 2005moon
“Ere, d'you know why, Wick? Why is grass green?”
”Is it Treg. I've never really noticed. I just east the stuff mate. I don't admire its aesthetic qualities.”
”Yeah, right Wick. Who knows why grass don't believe in God? Serves it right if it gets eaten, eh? But it does make you wonder, don't it? I mean, just think what our field would look like if it was er ….. er pink! That would be funny, wouldn't it Wick?”
”Have you been eating something funny Treg? Why on earth should grass be pink?”
”Well, I didn't say it had to be. Just it could be, sort of, you see?”
” Tregony Bay . Mr. Tregony Bay. Esquire. Listen to me. Grass is green. Horses eat grass. There. Simple aint it? No need to go messing around with nature, is there? Just nice straightforward facts. Stick to those Treg and you won't go far wrong.”
”Yeah. Right. OK Wick. The facts, right? Grass is green. Horses eat grass. And that's it, right? I wonder why our stream runs across our field instead of up it?”
”Because, Treg. Because … er … ‘Ere. That's a very good question Treg. Why does it run across our field? And why does it run from the Throwleigh end to the Ramsley end and not the other way?”
”Maybe it will low towards Throwleigh on its way back, Wick. It can't low both ways at the same time, can it?”
”Ere. Be funny if it did. You know, like a road. Flowed towards Ramsley on the left hand side and towards Throwleigh on the right!”
”It'd make having a drink very funny, wouldn't it Wick. I expect one side of the stream would taste different from the other.”
”Yeah. And the fish wouldn't know if they were swimming upstream or downstream. Eh?”
”What fish, Wick? I never seen no fish in our stream.”
”That's because they're swimming on the other side, I expect.”
”Wick. Did you here that the moon is made out of cheese?”
”Can't say that I care much, Treg. I don't eat cheese. Now, if you said the moon was made out of carrots …”
”Then it'd be orange, Wick. Wouldn't it be funny going up the hill at night in orange light? It'd make all those bunnies a funny colour, wouldn't it?”
”And the... and the owls would start singing in Spanish, eh Treg?”
”Where's that, Wick? I thought that they sung in their trees. Why would they have to go to Spanish, wherever that is, just because the moon was orange?”
”Tell you what, Treg. Let's put the world back together again how it was. You're obviously not up to this surreal sort of thinking, are you?”
”To tell you the truth, Wick, I have trouble with any kind of thinking. But, it makes you think though, doesn't it?”
”What does, Treg?”
”Grass, Wick, grass!”

(Good) Friday 25th March 2005 catkins
And it was. Good, that is. I can't remember if I told you that we had our coats put back on a few days ago. That was because our old friend, the weather forecaster, frightened her by saying that it was going to be cold, wet and windy. And it was, for a little while, mostly overnight. A couple of nights ago we had a real thunderstorm. It didn't worry me because I was dry in my stable. I don't suppose it worried Wicky because of his extremely thick curly coat. And I don't suppose it worried Tregony because he seems to like standing just outside the field shelter, even when it rains. So, back to this morning. HE looked at HER, SHE looked at HIM and THEY both said that it was a lovely morning and it seemed a shame (and worse, silly) to put my rug on. Of course that meant that, when SHE drove up to Ninefields to collect HIM when HE had walked me up there, SHE also took Treg's rug off as well. I have to admit this caused a bit of a minor worry at first because when I got within sight of the gate there was something over it that isn't usually there. It's not that I am a scaredy cat or anything, it's just that I don't take kindly to change. If a gate is usually a naked gate then there might be a reason to worry when it turns into a covered gate. As it turned out after a fair degree of huffing and snorting, it was just Treg's rug resting there, waiting for HIM to load it into the back of the car.
The first thing Treg and I did after the source of treats had finally dried up what to have a good old mutual groom. We haven't been able to do this for a few days now because a mouthful of rug is a bit pointless. However, with our rugs off, we both were able to have a real good nibble of each other, just above the shoulder blade. In fact it was so good that we got rather engrossed and Wicky walked away up the hill in disgust. I feel sorry for him sometimes because, due to his lack of stature, he never gets involved in a mutual grooming session. Well, what would be the point? Bending all that way over for a mouthful of his disgustingly dirty coat and him being too short to reach up and repay the compliment.

After a while, we followed Wick up the hill and then we got involved in our next delight. The good thing about the rain we have had over the last few days (apart from making the grass grow) is that it has provided some really nice muddy puddles. I mean, if you are going to have a roll why not turn it into a beauty treatment session. So we found some really good sloshy places and covered ourselves in mother earth. After which, we completed the makings of a really good day by a scrumptious graze of grass, weeds and herbs. And then, as the sun slowly set, not behind the horizon but set the mud on our backs, we waited like really good boys and girls at the gate for our tea. Good Friday – you can't beat it!

 

Saturday 26th March 2005Wicked
If those two think I'm going to wait around here while they bite each other's necks they've got another think coming. I may be a bit on the short side physically but I am not lacking in brains. Every minute wasted in messing about with grooming is one minute less of good eating time. Days are quite short enough as it is and particularly tonight when we lose an hour. For a chap like me with a few dental problems, it's pretty demanding to have to do 24 hours eating in 23 hours. Aye, I do have to admit that HE put that tape thing round my tummy this morning and no matter how hard HE tugged on it to make the result smaller, it revealed that I have put on a wee bit of weight since last time. For now I can get away with it because of the confusion with my thick coat. SHE is not quite sure how much is extra weight and how much is coat. Unfortunately SHE has told me that, after Easter, SHE is going to organise someone to come and clip my coat off. I say unfortunately, in fact it will be a great relief to get rid of it. With the temperatures rising now I am getting very hot most days. That's another reason why I had to leave Alli and Treg down in the lower fields and come up to the top fields where the air is, at least, a bit cooler.
People look at me and feel sorry for me that I don't have a companion of my own size to be with. To be honest, I never have worried about that. In my younger days, being the only small one had a lot of advantages. People would look and say things like ‘Oh, isn't he cute' and queue up to give me cuddles and treats. I could do without the former but I did enjoy the treats. I've always had a load of bigger mates, Treg is just the latest one. Really, Treg might be a bit of an old silly but he really is a good mate and we two enjoy ourselves on the nights when we are out here alone. Now that Easter is here, I don't expect those times will last much longer. It'll soon be time for Alli to stay out all night with us. She could now, in fact. It's just that SHE likes to have her home in the stable next door.
Alli's been a bit, how shall I say, ‘on edge' of late. It must be a combination of the spring weather and her biological clock. To tell the truth, that's another reason why I come up to the top fields on my own. It's not a clever idea to be around her with all those hormones floating around. Give her plenty of space – that's the smartest move. It doesn't really matter for Treg because he is used to being told what to do and I don't really think he notices any difference. ‘Yes Alli, no Alli' and he just bumbles about. Mind you, he's happy so that's alright. At least he's been getting the timing of his little siestas correct lately. He still lies down but is usually up in time for breakfast these days.

Well, I can see those two finally getting round to coming up to join me so that's the end of my diary contribution for a while. I will say it makes a change being allowed to talk like a normal sensible fellow instead of having to be one half of a comic duo with Treg. I think if I hear ‘Ere, Wick' one more time, I'll do something drastic. At least I would if it didn't waste good eating time.

 

(Easter) Sunday 27th March 2005Alli eats at the bank
Well, I really did it today. I rolled and rolled both sides in the most delightful and slushiest mud you could wish for. On the way home, HE said that the cars were slowing down, not because they didn't want to frighten me but because they were afraid of getting dirty if they came too close to me! And, HE could be right. I was filthy, delightfully filthy. It is going to take HER hours in the morning to get me groomedproperly. And, when SHE does, with luck, I will be able to go out into the fields and do it all over again. The weather looked right for it. As we walked home it was starting to rain nicely. I reckon by morning the ground will be really good and sloshy.
I had a funny start to the day today. Because THEY put their clocks forward an hour overnight, I got my morning treat and then my walk up to Ninefields an hour earlier than normal. Now, nice though it was, I was not really ready for it. I had just settled down to an hour's watching Annabelle's sheep, over the road, when along HE came with my first daily carrot. I enjoyed the carrot as I always do but I was a bit put out with HIS interfering with my normal routine. The sheep were particularly interesting this morning because, instead of feeding them, Annabelle decided to go out for a ride on Meadowsweet. Of course, because she road this way, past both my stable and the sheep's borrowed field, they saw her go by without a ewe nut in sight. You should have heard them complain. I am sure Annabelle heard them but they carried on much longer than just the time it took for her to pass. By the time she was well out of hearing range they were still complaining. And then HE came to take me out.

Well, I spent every second of that trip either stopping to eat grass from the roadside or stopping to sniff at interesting things along the way or, if there was no grass and nothing to sniff at, I would just stand with my head held very high, listening to the sounds of the morning. I tell you, it took us ages and ages to get up to Ninefields. By the time we arrived, SHE had run out of treats and had to run away from the two old boys and get in her car and turn it round.

On the way home we met Amber. We had looked out for her in her normal field but, as she wasn't there, we had given up and were surprised to find her, leaning over her gate in the small field next to Dry Bridge . I decided it was time to let her know who is first in line should a handsome stallion come along. A little nibble of her face and a big puddle outside her gate was my way of marking my claim. I am sure she understood my meaning even if HE didn't.

We got home to find Margaret ratting on us because we were a bit pushy when she brought Jaz into our fields for a walk. I gather the advice she was given was to wave her stick at us. Well, that should keep Treggy away, at least!

 

Monday 28th March 2005Pheasants
“Ere Wick, look at that. Them two pheasants phighting!”
”It's to do with their hormones, Treg. Always happens at this time of the year.”
”Is that like ‘in laws' Wick? I aint never seen hormones, I don't think.”
”Oh, you can't see them, Treg. That's what makes you so ratty. Just that, this time of year, they get into your system and start irritating away and that makes you want to go and fight and that.”
”I'm going to keep my system right away from them and if I see any I'll swish my tail and make ‘em go away.”
”Good idea, Treg. We don't want us to end up fighting, do we?”
”I'd never fight with you Wick. You're my best mate. ‘Ere, lookit them go now. Jumping up into the air and squawking and flapping their wings and everything. They must have got loads and loads into their systems, eh Wick?”
”I'm afraid you're right their laddie. An awful lot.”
”Ere Wick? What's a system?”
”Well it's er, well a sort of, you know, down in your tummy.”
”Ah, I thought so. So hormones is like worms really. I definitely won't be letting any into my system then or SHE will come along with some hormoners what'll taste really horrid. I think I'd rather fight than have to take them.”
”You know what, Treg. I think you and me might be immune to hormones now I think about it. You see, it's all somehow got to do with females and all that stuff and I think we are a bit old for all that, aren't we?”
”As far as I can remember, Wick, I've always been too old for that. The only trouble I have with females is with Alli when she bosses me around.”

“Oh come on, Treg. Everyone bosses you around. I even saw that rabbit in the home paddock yesterday bossing you around.”
”No, no he wasn't. It was just that he wanted to go along the bank of the stream there and I was in his way so he asked if he could come past.”
”'Oy, get out big bum' isn't a very polite way of asking though, is it Treg?”
”He can't help his manners Wick, he was brought up in a hole, he told me so. If he wasn't given the right surroundings when he was young you can't expect him to become a little gentleman now, can you?”
”I suppose not. Well, what shall we do this evening? It'll be a little shorter than normal. Since THEY put their clocks on we are getting our supper later, have you noticed? Makes the evening sort of flash by. By the time I've eaten my supper and helped you with yours it's nearly dark.”
”Well, I tell you what, Wick. You needn't help me with mine. I'll manage alright all by myself. How about that?”
”Oh, it's no trouble, laddie. No trouble at all. I mean, what are friends for?”
”Yes, Wick. I do often ask myself that too!”

 

Tuesday 29th March 2005mist from the field shelter
I can't see all the Beacon from my stable but I can see the edge of it and, last night, before it got too dark too see, it was possible to see the mist coming down. A real Dartmoor mist, the kind you associate with escaped prisoners on the moor being hunted down with dogs – that kind of mist. And this morning, the mist was even thicker, largely being due to the fact that the little droplets of water it was made from were turning into big droplets of water. By the time HE led me up to Ninefields it was raining pretty hard. Hard but not heavy yet. It's funny but when you live in a pretty wet place you get to know the differences in the kinds of rain that you can experience. It's not just dry or raining, oh no. Often what others who are not used to this place would call rain is actually just a low flying cloud descended upon us. Our most normal kind of rain has a decided slant, coming from the west. But, coming from the west it is usually quite warm. Actually, we horses don't really mind the rain, it's the wind that bothers us. Just as well really because after that first start this morning, the rain turned both hard and heavy.

When I got to Ninefields, Wick and Treg had decided not to bother to come up to the gate to wait for me. Now, you might think that, because of the rain, they would decide to wait for me in the field shelter. Well, you'd be wrong. They actually decided to wait just outside the field shelter so that they could still enjoy the rain. It really was quite pleasing because you have already heard me say that we have not had much rain for ages now and the new spring grass will be due soon and this sort of depends on the rain for its lushness and its taste. Today was a very good day for the spring grass.

Because of the weather, it being overcast and miserable looking to humans, THEY decided to come and bring me in early. Of course, we weren't ready for THEM. But we were not standing out of the rain under a tree or in the field shelter; we were doing our usual grazing up in the middle field. We heard the car and looked up and SHE called out to me. This was a real good excuse for a lark. I just looked once and ran down that hill at a really cracking pace. Treg wasn't as far up the field as Wick and I and he had just got to the gate between the middle field and the home paddock as I came charging up. He very quickly had to move out of the way to let me through and I carried on down and over the stream in a very few swift strides. Once a racehorse always a racehorse even if you are also a wild Dartmoor creature as well. As I ran up to them, I thought I heard something (or made out I did) which caused me to screw sideways and half rear at the same time. Skidding in the mud whilst doing this manoeuvre was pretty impressive if I say so myself. Well THEY were impressed anyway and put on their toes by it.

The gallop down the hill had got me pretty excited too and I kept up a pretty stiff pace all the way home and at one point had to give a thorough shake, from my nose to my tail, just to get more relaxed. We didn't see Amber tonight so I didn't have top stop and it was good to get my coat off as it was really heavy with water. And, of course, best of all, there was a nice full feed bucket waiting. Another really good day!

 

Wednesday 30 th March 2005Treg sleeping
Well, when was it last that Treg gave them all a fright? He went and did it again today, the old b.. ay! When HE went this morning to take their breakfast buckets, Wicky was standing on the other side of the path, by the stream. That's always a sign that Treg is having a lie down. Never mind, Treg's done this quite a lot of late and HE now has a routine. Just leave Treg alone, apart from giving him the odd bit of carrot, feed and groom Wicky as usual and when he has finished, take Wick over to the Throwleigh Road field on his head collar while leaving Treg's bucket in the field shelter for when he gets up. Nine times out of ten, by the time SHE drives up and HE walks me up, Treg is up and having his breakfast. Not this morning though. SHE drove up and Treg was still laying there in a sort of say dream. He took any treats that were offered but other than that, he didn't stir so THEY decided to put his bucket away in the back of the hay store and leave Wick and I to get the old devil up. THEY then drove off to get their breakfast, saying THEY would come back later and check up on him.

Wick and I had a chat with him but he said that it was a bit early yet and we should leave him alone and he's come and catch us up later. When a cob is being stubborn there is not a lot anyone can do about it so Wick and I just sort of wandered off, going slowly in a sort of upward direction by way of any tasty bites of grass we could find. A little bit later, we heard their car drive up. THEY got out and were dismayed to find Treg still lying where they had left him. SHE went and got his head collar and gave him a few good hard pulls. Nothing! SHE then got HIM to hold the lead rope while SHE gave Treg a few hearty (but soft) whacks on his coat to try and scare him up. Nothing! He went and got Treg's breakfast bucket and gave him a mouthful and then placed the bucket a few metres away from him. Nothing! Well, not quite nothing for, seeing a bucket full of food, Wicky and I decided it might be fortuitous for us to go along and find out what was happening so we moved smartly down from the upper field. The only result of this was that HE went and put the food bucket back in the back of the hay store. HE next got a bale of hay and started scattering this all around Treg because the ground where Treg was laying was slippery with all the rain we had yesterday and making it more difficult for the old boy to get up. That was the theory, anyway. Treg thought it was a substitute for his breakfast and started eating it and so Wicky and I joined in. We soon lost interest though as there is still better grass to be had. THEY decided that there was nothing to do but go away and check up on Treg later, as far from trying but failing to get up, he seemed quite content just to sit there.

THEY drove off and Wick and I stood around for a bit wondering what would happen next. “What we doing today?” asked Treg, like nothing had happened. “Well I'm going up to the top field where I found a particularly tasty bit of grass yesterday,” said Wicky. “Oh, right”, said Treg. “Hang on a bit and I'll be with you.” And the lazy old so and so just lay down flat for a second, gave a little grunt and then jumped up, giving himself a good old shake. “Right, come on you slow coaches”, he yelled and steamed off up the hill. Wick looked at me and I looked at Wick and then we both burst out laughing and raced after him.

THEY were ever so relieved when THEY came back and there was just an empty mound of hay in front of the field shelter. So was Treg when he had his first bucket of the day for his supper this evening. I wonder if he still thinks a lie in is worth missing a feed for?

Thursday 31st March 2005
I'm pleased to say a really nice end to the month – we've got woollies! Well, what I mean to say is that Michael has put some of his sheep in our fields. Now you might think that we wouldn't like it as they are competitors for our grass. But, not at all. There's plenty enough grass to go round. Even Wicky couldn't eat it all, hard as he tries. And then they eat stuff that we wouldn't eat and vice versa. But, best of all, they are good company. Treggy recons it's good to have them because they make him look clever. I havesheep to admit that they are maybe not the most intelligent of animals but then who wants intelligent sheep. I mean, we are not going to have quiz nights in the field or anything. No, they are just nice to watch and somehow comforting. They make a field look complete. With horses, you only usually see one or two in a field, a handful at most. And then the field still looks a bit empty. But with sheep you get a sizeable number (except for that lot of travelling sheep from the moor – but they are another story) and because they are usually mainly white as well, they give the impression of filling the field nicely. Even Wick doesn't mind them because, what with the colour and thickness of coat, they are quite similar and yet Wick looks big amongst them and there's not many times you can say that. And then there are those sheep who we know who come back time and time again. Many of them are new but the few that we do recognise are nice to have a chat with and find out what they have been doing since we last met. They can be quite interesting because they get to go out over the moor and other places that we don't get to see so they can bring us some interesting news.

Back to coats off today. As HE says, we go naked! It's funny but we are and we aren't, it depends how you look at it. Yes, we have no clothes on so in that sense we are naked but, on the other hand, we do have thick coats of our own. This is now the season when we are shedding our winter coats and everywhere gets covered in hair. Wicky only has to shake (as he often does at this time of the year) for literally handfuls of hair to fly out of him. Treggy doesn't have the same type of dense coat that Wick has but he has very long hairs in the winter. If THEY put a curry comb through his coat it gets filled in two strokes and he is covered with loose long hairs that THEY can just stroke off. Treg and I usually do a spot of mutual grooming when we first meet up in the mornings (that is if he is standing up) but at this time of the year I always get a mouthful of his very long hairs. In comparison, I have a very thin short coat but even mine makes me look like a teddy bear at this time of the year. And, when I do have to have a rug on, it gets coated with millions of short red hairs on the inside which makes it look like another me when it's taken off.

Just to end, this morning Amber met us going up the Throwleigh Road to Ninefields and we stopped and shared a treat. In fact, HE hadn't expected her so he didn't have any extra carrot and so I shared a piece of mine with her (which I thought was very noble of me). On the way home, she was standing a long way away in the middle of her field and she shouted out to us. We didn't think she was coming up so we stopped and called hello back. Then she decided she would come and galloped up, only to find she was still on the wrong side of the stream. She stood there looking up at us and then, just as we decided that she wasn't going to make it and started to walk away, she made another gallop right round her field to the place where she can cross the steam and came rushing up to us. I don't know if you remember but there was a time when I didn't think much of her. Now I know we could have a great deal of fun if we were ever together in a field. Right, March's over. I am going to spend this evening in my stable thinking of some good April Fool's joke to play on Treg!


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