Alezane's Diary Archive July 2005
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alezaneFriday 1 st July 2005
I think I must have upset her, SHE didn't come this evening. Either that or her cold is still debilitating HER. I like that, the word, I mean. I like to put them in occasionally to give HIS spellchecker something to do. Occasionally is another one of them. Without the spell checker HE would be really stuck. As it is, it often lets erroneous (another one) things through because they are valid words but not ones that are correct in the context HE is using them. One big problem, HE tells me, is that, since HE got his new laptop, HE is having to cope with a stiff keyboard. If HE tries to type too quickly, the key does not register and HE ends up with words, often without vowels in the middle. Rther lke ths. Of course, left to its own devices the spell checker would have corrected that to ‘Ether lake thus' which, if the principal was followed could lead to some diary entries which could well be more interesting than some of the current ones. I digress!
As I said, SHE didn't come along this evening which led HIM to the conclusion that the human concept of fairness has no parallel (sp?) in the equine world. (I must be honest here, I got it wrong and the spell checker came in handy again. HIM) Now, what brought HIM to such a claim was simply observing my behaviour at mealtimes. Being young and active, I just couldn't help being the first to finish my bucket. This speed was assisted by the fact that a considerable amount accidentally fell on the floor when my nose brushed against the bucket, knocking it flying. Anyway, in order that I might not be a nuisance to my two dear old colleagues while they were still eating, I went and assisted HIM by doing my best to empty his pockets. After all, HE doesn't want to have to carry that weight around at HIS age and the carrots did rather spoil the shape of HIS pockets. For some strange reason, HE spent quite a bit of energy trying to make me slow down. I can't understand the man. If HE didn't want a racehorse why did HE choose me? I suppose HE would answer that HE didn't, it was HER. He spends quite a lot of HIS time telling people that HE is just a poor ‘horse-husband', meaning of course someone whose wife devotes a sensible amount of her husbands time, energy and money on the care, protection and feeding of equines. This is intended to generate sympathy and a sort of cammeraderie (wrong again, well, you try spelling it with your eyes shut. HIM) camaraderie amongst other similarly lucky male humans. Often it just generates knowing smiles amongst the females.

So, here I was helping HIM perpetuate HIS myths when I noticed that Tregony had finished his bucket and had shuffled over to my place and had started to clean up some of the feed that had fallen on the floor. Now, me leaving it was one thing, Tregony eating it was something entirely different. Of course, I had to swiftly move over there and politely ask Treg to leave my supper alone, eat it up and then get back to HIS pockets before Treg had a chance to try and perform my charitable works himself. And, for this, HE calls me unfair? Now, I ask you. Did I go and start eating Treg's feed? No! So what's unfair about asking him to stop eating mine. I tell you, if I could type, HE might well find himself unemployed!

Ninefields fenceSaturday 2 nd July 2005
I don't know what it was but I came over all funny this morning. But not as funny as he was. Things were proceeding as normal, apart from the fact that SHE wasn't with HIM again. I finished my bucket nice and quickly and went over to HIM to assist HIM emptying HIS pockets. This is always a bit of a game, you know, for I am sure HE deliberately tries to slow me down and I try equally hard to hurry HIM up a bit. There are times when HE waves both empty hands up in the air and says ‘all gone Alli, no more' and while HE has HIS hands up I can put my mouth into HIS pockets where the rest of the carrots are hiding. Other times HE goes behind the doorway pole that holds the roof of the field shelter up. Then HE tries to avoid me. I move one side of it so HE moves the other. However, even then I can still get HIM by curling my neck right round the pole. This morning, however, we didn't get as far as those games. One minute I was rushing HIM along to give me treats and the next I just stopped. I get these moments some times when I might possibly have bolted my food down a bit quick and I just have to stand still and let things settle. This is what this looked like was happening this morning. But instead of getting over it, nothing happened. I just stood there, refusing the handful of mint sweets that I usually like so much and I think HE started to get a bit worried. HE moved down the field a little calling me to follow HIM, I think in the hope that this would settle everything down all right. I did follow HIM for a few paces but I found that I was starting to lose interest in the proceedings. HE walked back to the field shelter and stood watching me. I can remember following HIM again and standing vaguely looking at Wicky's feet then I moved back down to the field, turned round a couple of times and lay down. I don't remember the next bit but HE tells me that HE came over to me and that my eyes had rolled up into my head. HE gave me a stroke but got no response and HE picked up the buckets and made HIS way back to the car.
He tells me that HE looked back when HE got to the gate and I was sitting up. Of course I was. I remember that bit. But he didn't know that I was feeling much better now after that nice little nap and HE drove off home to get HER to come out and have a look at me, to see that everything was alright. So, when THEY drove up about ten minutes later, the three of us were grazing up by the gate waiting for THEM. SHE got out and came over to me so I didn't miss out on my morning treats after all.

Wicky - guess what - eating!Sunday 3 rd July 2005
“Ere, Wick, you ain't seen a shoe anywhere, have you?”
“Have you tied looking don, Treg. At your feet?”
“Well, that's just it. I have. And I can count them all.”
“So, what's the problem then, laddie?”
“Well, that's the problem. You know how I am … er … a little bit challenged in the counting department, so to speak. But, when I go to count my shoes, I can do it. Every one. One, two, three! There, see, that's the problem. It always used to be many but now it's only three.”
“Ah. Now I see what you're driving at, Treg. Here, let's have a look. There's one and there's the second and .. three and, well blow me, you're right Treg, number four's gone missing.”
“Oh, that's it's name, is it? Four? Right, now I'll know. I can go around and ask people if they have seen four, can't I?”
“Well, you can, of course Treg. But perhaps it would be better if you just said ‘my shoe'. You see, there are lot's of fours.”
“Yeah. It's like I always say – ‘many'. I know. But if I say ‘Have you seen my shoe?' they will do what you did and say ‘yes, look at your foot'.”
“Aye, laddie, you could be right there. Anyhow, do you have any idea where you lost it?”
“Maybe someone stole it. While I was having a little nap. What do you think?”
“If they had done that, Treg, they would have had the time and opportunity to take all four, wouldn't they?”
“But what if they only wanted one? What if they had lost one or even if they only had one leg or something?”
“You've seen many one legged horses, have you Treg? Uni-Tregs? I don't think that is the answer. You sure that you didn't just stumble like you usually do and kick it off as you recovered your balance?”
“I don't remember stumbling, Wick. You'd think I would have remembered if that had happened, wouldn't you?”
“You don't so much stumble as shuffle along old man. It could have happened anytime. Anyway. What are you going to do about it?”
“More a question of what THEY are going to do about it. I showed it to him this morning and HE just laughed and made up a silly old rhyme about ‘Tregony true has lost his shoe and doesn't know where to find it'. Then HE laughed again and that was about that. HE did tell HER when HE got home but SHE didn't say much when SHE came along this evening.”
“Aye, funny that, isn't it Treg. All part of that favouritism thing again. If it had been that Alli, THEY would have been on the phone to Mark the farrier to come and give her another one right away. But not for us. Oh no. We can just go without and wait. There's favouritism for you. Eh Treg?”
“But you don't wear shoes, Wick. So it wouldn't matter for you, would it, anyway?”
“That's not the point, laddie. It's the principal of the thing.”
“But I heard HER tell HIM tonight that SHE is going to take all our shoes off for the summer. It's to do with the state of our feet. This dry weather has been terrible on our hooves. They're all spilt up where the shoe nails go in. My hooves are breaking up and so's Allie's.”
“Well then. It doesn't matter then, does it. You might as well go shuffling and stumbling all over Ninefields and lose the others. That is, unless you are going to claim that they've been stolen by some two and three legged horses.”
“Oh, come on now, Wick. Don't be silly. Eh?”

alezaneMonday 4 th July 2005
This could well be a two part diary entry. You see, when THEY came with our buckets tonight, Tregony had just decided to have a little lay down. So? What's so unusual? What's the problem? Well, you see, we were up in the Throwleigh Road field when the sleeping sickness came upon him. Doubtless to say, Wick and I started on our buckets, finished our buckets, had our treats and watched HIM walk away and Treg was still lying in the Throwleigh Road field. Now, normally, when THEY go away in the evening, THEY shut the stream gate to keep us out of that road and then THEY put a chain and padlock on the gate, just in case any ramblers forgetfully leave the gate open. It's not to stop us getting stolen for anyone who seriously wanted to do that could easily cut the chain with bolt cutters. It's not to stop people getting in the field because they can easily climb the gate. No, it is just for the forgetful or stupid. So, tonight THEY were forced to go home and leave the stream gate open although HE did still put the chain on the gate. I heard HIM say that HE will come back later with Treg's supper and then, if the old boy is up, HE can shut that gate.
This evening (and yesterday) we saw Margaret and Jasmine come for a walk in the field. Unfortunately Jaz cannot be left of her lead as we still have sheep in the field. The problem with Jaz is that if anything runs, she will chase it and you can be sure that our sheep will run if they see a dog loose in the field. I mean, that's what they are trained to do, isn't it? The fact that Jaz is not the same shape, size or colour as Michael's sheep dogs wouldn't make the slightest difference. Some people say sheep are unintelligent but I would class running when a dog tells you to pretty clever. I suppose it takes all kinds.
WE are now seeing more thrushes and blackbirds coming for a snack. I suppose some of them are the young ones, although they are pretty big.

Part two. We can forget the birds now. While HE was in the middle of that sentence, a neighbour called and, by the time that was over, HE decided to go back and see what was happening with Treg. And the answer was …? Not a lot. He was still lying down in the same place. The only difference was now another shoe was off and lying next to him. HE picked the shoe up and tried to coax Treg to get up but, when that failed, I'm afraid HE resorted to violence. Or, at least mock violence. HE took a piece of rope from the rear of HIS jeep and waved it at Treg's rear end, letting it touch gently but with enough force to let Treg know it was there. The next minute, the old boy was up and running. When HE called him back to eat his bucket Treg just ignored HIM, put his head down and trotted over the stream and up to the field shelter. It was there that HE finally caught him and gave him his supper while Wick and I looked on encouragingly. At least, we were encouraging HIM to give us some or, if not, some treats. We all four spent a happy little ten minutes crowding HIM while HE protected Treg from us. Cosy really. In the end, HE mdse HIS escape, shut the stream gate and re-locked the road gate. I bet HE was really pleased to enjoy a double evening with us tonight!

a cut on the legTuesday 5 th July 2005
“Well that passed without a bang, didn't it Treg?”
“Yeah .. er ..no .. what? What's passed?”
“Concentrate Treg. What's the date?”
“Oh. Er .. Tuesday, I think. Didn't the ryclers go by yesterday if I'm not mistaken?”
“Ryclers?”
“Yeah, you know. Them men in the lorry that pick up all that rubbish and drop it somewhere else.”
“Treg, I ‘m not sure that you have got that quite right. Are you talking about the dustbin men?”
“Well, yes, they are on some days but on others they have to swap all that special rubbish around.”
“It's re-cycling Treg not ‘rycling'. When they take all the old rubbish and turn it into something else. ‘Re-cyclers'”
“They don't turn it into something else Wick. I've watched ‘em. They turn it into somewhere else. Half the stuff that they pick up drops off their lorry and scatters all along the road.. Especially plastic bags.”
“Now, you know Treg, that is the one thing that they don't re-cycle. Plastic!”
“Oh, why's that?”
“Er .. because there is so much of it. You see, the one thing that humans make and use most of is plastic so that is the one thing that they don't recyle.”
“Oh, right. Makes sense, I suppose. Or does it? I would have thought that plastic would be the thing that they most rycled.”
“Re-cycled, Treg. Re-cycled! Well, there you are. I always said humans were a funny lot.”
“We're good at ryc …re-cycling though, aint we Wick?”
“Can't say that I have given it much thought Treg. What makes you say that?”
“Well, we take grass and turn it into something else, don't we? All the time. In fact, you more than most.”
“Ah. I see what you mean laddie. Yes, I suppose we do. Now, enough of all this rubbish ….”
“Ha, ha. That's a good joke, eh Wick?”
“What I mean is let's get back to what I asked you to begin with. When I asked the date, I didn't mean Monday, Tuesday and so on I meant the proper date. You know like April 1 st or December 25 th , that sort of thing.”
“Oh! Ooh! I see now Wick. Very good. Right.”
“Well?”
“Well, what?”
“Oh, I give up. Yesterday my man, yesterday was the fourth of July!”
“Oh, right. Yes. So it was.”
“It means nothing to you, does it?”
“If you are referring to my being arithmetically challenged again, that doesn't apply to dates. You see, they come along one at a time so I can add one to the last one and get the next one. It's not hard like trying to do it all at once.”
“I was not talking about that laddie. July the fourth, the fourth of July. That's a very important date. Don't you know that?”
“Yeah, you just told me Wick. But I didn't know. Not before that. Why's that? Why's it important?”
“Well, not to us, maybe. But to people from other places. Probably Chagford otr Tavistock. Those kind of places. They let off fireworks and all that.”
“Hm? Good job we don't have it here, eh Wick? They're a funny lot ain't they?”
“Oh well laddie, you're probably right. But it was something o talk about, wasn't it?”
“Least said, Wick. Least said!”

Treg and HERWednesday 6 th July 2005
“My goodness, Treg, look at your leg. Where's you get that great big cut?”
“Didn't you see. The vet! I was just having a little graze, wondering why HE had shut us all in the top field this evening, when THEY all came along. SHE held me, HE pushed on my other side and that fetlocking vet came along and did it. And, he kept doing it. He wasn't happy to make the first cut then he just kept on and on at it. I tell you, it made me really cross!”
“Er, I don't think it was the vet that made the cut Treg.”
“Are you telling me I don't know when my leg hurts and when it doesn't. All I know is that it didn't start hurting until he came along.”
“But don't you remember that HE found something there just after we had eaten up our supper tonight. HE went and got the wound powder but you wouldn't stand still for him to puff it on you.”
“Well, I don't know about you, Wick, but I never stand still while anyone messes about near my undercarriage with any kind of medicine let alone a powder puffer.”
“OK but what do you think he was doing it for?”
“I've given up trying to understand why humans do anything years ago. They are a different species and that's all there is to it.”
“I think Treg, if you give it a moment's thought, you must realise that you had that cut when you came in for supper and that was what HE was trying to put the wound powder on. It wasn't done by the vet at all. He was trying to make it better.”
“By hurting me? That'll make it better I'm sure. Anyway … well … you could be right, now I come to think about it.”
“Oh, so you remember doing it, do you?”
“Doing what?”
“Cutting yourself. What do you think we are talking about?”
“I thought we was talking about why HE was trying to squirt that wound powder up my belly.”
“It wasn't up your belly it at the top of your rear offside leg. Strangely, where that wound it, the cut that you can't remember. Or won't remember. Was it something really silly Treg? Is that why you don't ant to remember? Were you doing or trying to do something really very, very silly and cut yourself in the process? Is that it?”
“You don't have a lot of faith in me do you Wick?”
“I'd rather not answer that if you don't mind. Don't want to be accused of harming the afflicted so to speak. So, if you won't say how you got it at least tell me how it is now?”
“Funny that Wick. It's a lot better now that vet isn't rubbing it.”
“But he had to get the wound clean. Did you hear that they were considering giving you a sedative so that they could stitch it?”
“Stitch it? What am I now a horse blanket or something? That's the last chance they get with me. I wont tell you what they were talking about while he was trying to cut my leg off. Nasty bit of work that one. I think I even prefer that female who goes around pulling your teeth out. At least she didn't say anything about ‘doing the noble thing'.”
“Well, that's humans for you Treg. Come on where shall we go tonight?”
“As far up that hill as we can go, under that tree where we hid from him that night, do you remember?”
“Yeah. That was a laugh, wasn't it. OK old man. Lead the way. Up we go!”

here we liveThursday 7 th July 2005
Let's, for a change, not talk about Tregony. Let's not talk about him having another lie in this evening and nearly missing his supper again. Don't let's talk about how SHE had to get a thin, green stick and wave it about before the old fool could be persuaded to get up. We won't even mention how HE was able to find another raw place under his tummy, while he was lying down. No, enough is enough. There has to be life after Tregony. Maybe this evening can just turn into a nice, quiet ordinary one.

So, what shall we talk about. Three things come to mind. First HER cold, which had been going on and on, it seems like for ever. Until yesterday when you know who did you know what, SHE had not been coming along to the field to see us which meant that our treat ration was quite depleted. Then, when SHE had to come along yesterday, it seemed to mark some sort of turning point because we have seen HER at every bucket time ever since. And SHE has not been coughing so much. Let us hope that SHE finally is on the mend.

Next HIM. HE told me that HE got a phone call yesterday asking if HE would go along to the school and take some pictures of the various sports teams (twelve in all) as they will be leaving to go to other schools, after the school breaks up for it's summer holidays in a couple of weeks. At first HE was asked to do it on Friday but then, as the weather had disorganised the school sports day, they asked if it could be Wednesday instead. So HE finished washing the breakfast dishes, grabbed his gear and went along. It all seemed to go along fine. After the first few teams, it rained a little and, as it was driving into the camera lens, HE had to wipe it. But towards the end the rain stopped and the sun came out. However, when HE got home and downloaded the photos into HIS computer HE got a nasty shock. Where HE had wiped the lens, instead of clearing it HE had made a nasty smear over it and all the pictures after that were spoiled. HE did what HE could using computer editing but HE was still not happy with the results so HE went back to the school with the prints and offered to re-shoot as many as they wanted. However, it appears that they have even worse eyes than HIM for they said the pics were OK as they were. I think the real reason is that they had no time to get the teams together again. HE has learned something out of it however. HE has now packed some lens cleaning tissues in HIS case for another time.

The last item also concerns HIM. After struggling for quite a long time with a rather aging and unreliable computer, HE decided it was time to get a replacement. However, HE couldn't find one being advertised with all the bits that HE wanted so HE has decided to build HIS own. Now, although HE has fitted several new parts before HE has never done a complete build before. I think we should not hold our breath. HE told me today that HE didn't see why they needed to print the manuals in so many different languages. HE had tried reading the English version and it might as well have been in Chinese for all He understood it!

bucket timeFriday 8 th July 2005
Our stream is suffering from climate change. Really, I am surprised that more isn't being said about the lack of rainfall. Yes it's summer and we expect it to be a bit dry but since I have been in this field, the stream is at the lowest it has ever been. I suppose it could just be a very dry year and subsequent ones will see the levels go back up to normal again. It is very tempting when something less than usual happens to think that this must be something very special. It should be because it is happening to us. On the other hand for there to such a thing as ‘average' we must, by definition have both overs and unders and if we are at the peak of one of those then, actually, everything is as it should be and not abnormal at all. So, it is possible that this year is the driest year since I have been here and some other year was the wettest since I have been here and one of the other years was the average year. (Are you still with me Treg. Stop dozing off).

It's probably a much longer cycle than that. Maybe this year is a bit on the dry side but we won't reach the very driest year in the cycle for 9,867 year. We might have had the wettest year in the cycle the year before last. Who knows? So, why am I wittering on about it then? If we don't know and can't know then there is not an awful lot of point of discussing it – or is there? You see, it's the weather and that is something that humans love to talk about. But are they really so fascinated by it or is it just an easy way of making conversation. Is it because no one can be absolutely sure that they are allowed to all have an opinion without fear of contradiction?

So, is there really such a thing as climate change? I think the answer has to be yes. It's obvious really. Wouldn't we think someone was really stupid if they got up and started talking about he way that the climate was always the same – unchangeable? Can you imagine. Then people would really think they were onto a winner if they said he was talking a load of rubbish. Everyone would agree – of course the climate changes. Really, the only worthwhile question is why or, more precisely, can we do anything about it (if we wanted to)? I added that last bit because if our stream was in danger of really drying up, then Wicky Treg and I would definitely want something done about it. Or, at least, about making sure we got our water. It could be that there was no way we could stop it happening but we could always move. We might not want to and THEY might not want to have to pay for it but, nevertheless, something can always be done.
Which is more than can be said about Treg who has become less than enthralled with tonight's topic and has just gone for a little wander prior, no doubt, to a little nap. Now, I wonder what Wick thinks about climate change? Maybe I should go and find him. Or, maybe not, I wouldn't mind a bit of a doze myself!

in the shelterSaturday 9 th July 3005
“Ere Wick?”
“Good evening Tregs. What can I do for you?”
“What was Alli going on about yesterday?”
“Any particular time, Treg? She goes on so much, one thing merges into another for me.”
“Last night, when she was doing her diary. Going on about climax change and all that.”
“Oh was she? I'm afraid I must have been having a bit of a doze at that point laddie. Still, I'm sure it was very erudite.”
“No. Nothing about glue. It was to do with our stream getting smaller. I thought that it had just run away into the next field but Alli was saying … “
“Never you mind what Alli was saying, my old lad. If you think that our field is leaking into next door's field, that's a perfectly rational explanation. There's no need to change your mind just because that superior ginger nut tries to make a big deal out of it.”
“Cor. That's a relief then Wick. You think I don't need to try and understand it all?”
“You've never understood even a little bit before, have you Treg? Why should you try to understand it all now? At you age. You'd think that by now you'd know all that was worth knowing, wouldn't you?”
“You might think it, Wick. I'm not sure I would. That is, for me. You see, I never did understand much at any time but when I was young and handsome, it didn't matter. People liked me for my looks not my brains.”
“I can well imagine it, old son. I've seen some of those photos of you when you were younger, winning all those rosettes and so on. I should think everyone wanted to ride you then, didn't they. I don't suppose they queued up for a five minute conversation about global warming, did they?”
“Yeah, those were the days, Wick. Still, I'm quit content now, on the whole. I'm not very keen on all the aches and pains and your legs not doing what you tell them. But then, half the time I forget to tell them anything so they are sort of left to their own devices, so to speak.”
“Best way, I find Treg. They less you think about things and the more you just go with your instincts, the better. You know, there never is a day when I wake up and have to tell myself that I'd better go out and do some grazing. I just sort of know it. In fact, I think my legs know it better than me for if I am a bit slow in waking up, I often find myself in the middle of the field eating and cant remember how I got there.”
“That's the thing now, isn't it Wick?”
“What's the thing?”
“Er, …. well… er I forget what I was going to sa …. Oh no, I remember. The memory. That's it, isn't it?”
“Slow down old son. We're in danger of getting into one of your even less comprehensible moments, if we're not careful. What about the memory? Is it the memory of a particular event or taste or what?”
“No. Er, yes. Er well, no, it's the memory. My memory. That is the problem. The frogging thing keeps packing up on me. I never realised how much e depend on memory until mine stopped working properly and then … er , what was I saying?”
“Tell you what, Treg. My feet are starting to take me away from all this. I suggest you just follow me and then we'll see if it doesn't all come back.”
“Right Wick. And if it doesn't, we'll be eating anyway, so who cares, eh?”

the hillSunday 10 th July 2005
Today was a real hot summer's day. You'd think we'd like it. Hardly a cloud in the sky – just hot sunshine. Well, I've never seen Wicky so irritated, swishing his tail about like mad and stamping now and then. I'm afraid it's the first time he has had to put up with the flies like the rest of us now that he no longer has his big think coat. Mind you, if he did still have it think how uncomfortable he would be with the heat. I suppose it's a no win situation.

Now Tregony appears to be adapting well to it. Everyone laughs at old Treg saying that he is not the smartest and yet, when it comes to a hot fly ridden day, where do you find him? Cool as a cucumber standing and nodding in he field shelter. It may not be very polite to not bother to go up to the gate to greet THEM when THEY bring our buckets but, on the other hand, Treg reckons that if you walk all the way down to the stream and then up to the gate, you only have to go and do it all over again to get back to the field shelter to eat.

Me, I've found that this time the weather ha just made me a bit more soft and gentle. Not so much rushing around and, actually, I didn't have o because SHE found it too hot to walk down to the bridle path gates so I had my treats in the field shelter while SHE sat on a hay bale.

Now, as for HIM, HE isn't doing very well at all. HE has spent most of yesterday and today sitting in HIS chair at home sleeping, just tying to let this cold go away. I gather HE didn't sleep very well last night and woke up all aching and stuffed up. It seems a shame really because this weather, although it brings the flies out and is not good for us horses, is what most humans think of as very good. They go out and about and enjoy themselves or they work in the garden, have barbeques and stuff like that. In fact, it seems to be a requirement that, when the sun comes out and it is a beautiful day to have all your doors and windows open, it is also necessary to get out the noisiest grass/hedge cutters and work as long as possible so that the noise fills your neighbour's rooms. It's a difficult one, I know, as it has to be done sometime and it cant be done when it is raining.

Still, that's a human problem. We three are looking forward to tonight when we will go up into the top field and get a bit of a breeze while we do our day's grazing by night. Then, if tomorrow is as hot as today, we will just be able to ind a piece of shade and have a good old doze.

food ...!Monday 11 th July 2005
Well, it looks as if we have one mystery solved. This afternoon, THEY were sitting indoors sheltering from the heat when there was yhe sound of a car pulling up outside and then a knock on the open door. When HE went to see who it was, Sue the farmer's wife popped her head round the door. She said that when Michael and her had gone to take the sheep off our fields last night they had seen a big roll of barbed wire just underneath the sycamore tree, in the middle of the centre fields. Now, it made sense for THEY had had the barbed wire taken away from all round Ninefields a little while ago. At the time, HE had walked round the perimeter to see what it looked like and HE had found a roll of barbed wire right up in the top field. Having disposed of that THEY thought the fields were safer than ever. It would appear that the workmen forgot a second lot of wire as well. SHE wondered how it could have got there as SHE had been sitting near there only a day or two ago. When HE walked up to retrieve it this evening the answer was startlingly obvious. The barbed wire was covered in little balls of white wool. The sheep must have got it caught in their coat and dragged it to it's present position.

Mind you, it's typical of Tregs. If anyone is going to get caught up in barbed wire it will be Tregony. Don't ask me why. Wicky or I, if we had seen it, would just have walked around it and carried on, on our way. Not Treggy. Oh no! He has to try and walk right through it. Then when he finds that he is caught up in it, he just shuts his eyes and pushes on ahead. And, of course, he did get free, but not before the barns had made a very nasty big gash in his upper leg. Wicky wasn't very kind. He told Treg that if he had been more of a man, the cut could have been very nasty indeed but, as it was, nothing was dangling in the way. Now, we have said before that Treg is not the shiniest brass on the halter but he just looked at Wick and said ‘You're right there Wick. If I had such a fat tummy as you I could have got a very nasty cut!' Anyway, mystery solved and fortunately it seems as if Tregs cut is on the mend as well, thanks to HER dedicated cleaning and nursing.

Ooh, I don't think I told you, our swallows have flown. They do keep coming back but most of the time they can be seen now out on training flights with their parents. It started a couple of days ago when SHE saw them (There are just two chicks) sitting on the outside of the nest facing in. It was as if they had just got too big to fit in there anymore and they needed to spread their wings a bit. The next day, both morning and evening, it was very quiet, not the usual chick clamour when the parents brought food back. In the evening, HE climbed to look in the nest and confirmed it was empty. Then, the next day THEY heard the chick clamour again but this time it was outside the shelter and when THEY looked up THEY saw the birds flying as a family. And this morning, they kept coming back into the field shelter for a rest before flying off again. Isn't it amazing that one day they are a helpless chick and the next they are flying? We now have great hopes that this year's chicks will come back to nest with us next year.

AlezaneTuesday 12 July 2005
Maxwell was back to his house, yesterday. He is still away over South Tawton building up his condition but every so often Roy walks him home for a while and then takes him back. HE told me that he was looking good this time. I wonder when we will see him up here in his own field.

There's not a whole deal to tell you today. It continues very hot and we continue to mope about in or near the field shelter or up in the road field under the trees. In this weather we turn our lives inside out, going out and enjoying ourselves in the cool of night. One little bit of a mystery. When THEY turned up this evening there was one of Michael's ewes wandering about the bridle path, shouting her head off. They will do it those sheep. They climb or squeeze or push until they are over, under, round or through whatever divides them from where they should be to where they shouldn't. Then, when they realise what they have done and they can see that they are on their own they start shouting as if it is someone else's fault. SHE did phone Sue when THEY got home but strangely the farmers don't seem to take much notice. I suppose you wouldn't either if it was such a regular occasion and the silly things usually find their way back again anyway.

But, I wasn't really telling you about sheep. It was while HE went down in the field to get a better look at the ewe that HE happened to glance up at the gate at the top of the little steep hill. This is the most direct route for us to go up to the top fields but what with the lack of rain lately and Tregony being a bit doddery on his legs, HE had shut that gate so we have to walk the longer but less steep and rocky route instead. Anyway, HE looked up and noticed that the gate was not closed but was hanging one end down and the other still caught on its catch. On climbing the hill HE found that the gate had not been lifted off its hinge as HE had first thought but the timber was snapped off around the pin holding it to the post. This could have only happened by some downward pressure. The mystery is – who? Was it a silly sheep jumping over and landing on it? Doubtful because Michael took them out yesterday and it wasn't done then. Anyway there was no need for the sheep to jump it because these gates are just two lengths of wood joined together designed especially so that sheep can walk under them. That leaves – Wicky. Now he is known for enjoying a good old scratch on trees, gates and the like. He can often be seen rubbing his neck vigorously on the similar gate across the stream. He has also been known to put his head under these gates and to throw them up off their hinge pin. If this had happened, it could have landed and split the timber. And that leaves – Tregony. Treg has never done anything deliberately naughty in his life. But he does have a habit of walking through things. He doesn't seem to realise that sometimes it is better to walk round them. Now, if he was coming down the hill in his usual was, forgetting that the gate was now shut, and he felt some sort of constraint, his natural instinct would be to just push a bit harder. And that leaves – moi! Oh come on, you know I don't have any faults and anyway, I could have jumped it easily. Don't be silly.

WickedWednesday 13 th July 2005
“Ere, Treg, you've been here a long while now. What do you make of it?”
“Er, well Wick .. it's not as nice as the top field, but it's not bad really.”
“No you old duffer. Not the field. Life! You know, what's it all about and all that.”
“Oh?”
“Oh? What kind of an answer is that?”
“Ha ha, that's an easy one Wick. It's a short answer, aint it?”
“Tregony. Now, listen. I'm being serious here. Give me the benefit of your many years of experience. What do you think about it?”
“Er, I think that sometimes I forget and other times I remember, sometimes I get hungry and sometimes I get sleepy. And I think … er …well sometimes I think /// and other times I don't.”
“Very erudite Tregony. Do I gather that you don't have any deep rooted philosophical notions about life that you would like to share with us?”
“Er … no! I mean I would share everything with you, you know I would Wick. In fact I'd go further and say that I wouldn't share them, I'd let you have them all. It's just that I don't seem to remember where I put them things hat you was talking about so I couldn't share them or give them to you, could I?”
“Very reasonably put, laddie. I tell you what. Let's approach it from another angle, shall we? Now Treg. In your very long and active life, what is the thing you think was the most worthwhile doing?”
“Oh, I see. Now you know that one already Wick. Eating of course. Very worth while in my humble opinion.”
“Yes, Treg. Very good. And just what did your eating contribute to the world?”
“Oh, come on Wick. That's not very delicate, is it. I can't say that if you are going to write it in the diary, can I? Oh, alright then, I'll whisper it. Manure Satisfied?”
“If there was one thing, Tregony Bay, that you have done in your life that you wished you could have done better, what would it be?”
“Ah, changing the subject. That's good. Now let me think. One thing I could have done better? There was that time when I threw that awful rider off my back in the riding school. Now he just dropped down at my feet. If I had it to do over again I could make him fly ever so high and fall into a ditch or something. Yeah. That's what I'd like.”
“I'm not sure that falls into the category of doing better.”
“No, fall into a big muddy ditch is what I had in mind.”
“You know Treg. When generations in the future get to read this, I'm not sure it's going to enrich their lives that much. Let's see if we can end on a slightly more elevated plane, shall we?”
“No, you wont get me going on one of those. I've heard them go screeching by overhead. Enough to deafen you. No, sorry, no planes for me. Anyway, where would I go? I like it here with you and Alli.”
“If you could live your life all over again Treg, what would you want different?”
“You have saved the hardest one till last, haven't you Wick? Now, let me see? I could have done without that vet the other day rubbing at my wound but I suppose he was only doing what he had to do. I don't like it an awful lot when you nip my knees but then how else would I know what you wanted me to do? Ooh, this is a hard one Wick. I think, er … I think world peace and to be a supermodel. How about that? Isn't that what they always say? Apart from that Wick, I'm very happy to be living here with you and Alli. Hey, you know what? I've learned to count how many shoes I've got on now.”
“Have you Treg.? That's great. And how many is that?”
“One. the rest dropped off!”

looking downThursday 14 th July 2005
We got fed early tonight. Something about him having to go and film the group of Church House restorers who were going to look at the field of wheat growing which is to be used to renew the thatch. Oh well, it keeps him out of trouble, I suppose. What SHE did do today was to try and put ointment into my eyes. I say try to because I am afraid I moved my head a little as I didn't like the look of the applicator stick thing floating about near my eye. The result, of course, was that I ended up with some ointment in my eye and lots more around my eye giving me the look of a cross between a ghost and a clown. The only thing that cheered me a little was that SHE did it to Wicky as well with much the same result. We could have stood and laughed at each other except that I couldn't see very much at all through the layer of cream. Wick and I stood head to head at the door of the field shelter, begging treats from him and making our eye masks squeeze every ounce of sympathy for us out of him in the way of extras. It really was quite funny because we kept bumping our heads into each other as we could see properly.

However, it did wear off within about an hour and my eyes certainly do feel a lot better for it. I do remember having this stuff in past years when my eyes have got inflamed. Funny, for once Treg seems to have got away without needing it. As most of the other problems and vets bills have all been down to him of late, it makes a nice change for him to be left out.

I'm afraid that's about all the excitement around here apart from the fact that the heat has been melting the tar on the roads and, now that the farmers are starting to take the first cuts of things, the hay or straw that has been taken up and down the road has laid a nice deposit in the sticky tar. I bet not many of you have hairy roads, have you?

AlezaneFriday 15 th July 2005
Ouch! You'll excuse me if I keep hobbling about from one foot to another. One more of THEIR good ideas, I'm afraid. Treg started it. A couple of weeks ago, he lost a shoe. As Mark the farrier was due today, in fact, THEY decided it was not worth calling him in early to replace it. Then, a few days later, Treg lost another one. THEY remarked then that the very dry year so far had played havoc with our feet. Both Treg and I had large chunks of hoof breaking off and shoes working loose around the nail holes. THEY tutted a bit but decided that there was little THEY could do.

About a week ago, I lost a shoe but, strangely, not the one That was loose and floating about my foot, that THEY had expected to go. So, there was Treg with just two shoes and me with three. On Wednesday, Treg lost his third shoe and there was I walking about with that shoe of mine still rattling around but clinging on. And last night, that came off leaving me with two shoes and Treg with one. As I said, Mark was due today and SHE decided that SHE was going to try giving our feet a rest from the nails and hoping they might toughen up and mend by the late Autumn when I have to walk up and down the road to my stable.

I don't think Treg was listening to any of this in fact, I don't think he knew that Mark was coming today. So, when they left after our breakfast this morning, locked us up in the Throwleigh Road field and left Treg with a head collar on, I think he was deeply suspicious. Nearly an hour later, they drove up to the gate again and SHE advanced on Treg with his lead rein. You could see what was going on in his head. The last time he was constrained in a head collar, that vet came and rubbed his poor old wounded leg. Now Treg might be a little simple but he's not silly and he wsn't going to go through that again. The faster SHE walked the quicker Treg stumbled. When SHE got close he did a pretty nifty turn in the other direction and when SHE tried to cut in and corner him, he even broke into a canter. Eventually, it took HIM with a carrot and no head collar assisted by me and Wicky to get Treg to stop long enough to have his bite of carrot and get his collar felt, so to speak. Just as THEY caught him, Mark's van drove up and Treg realised it was not the vet after all. Having been caught, he went first. When Mark took of his one remaining shoe and trimmed and shaped his hooves, Treg was led out of the way and left standing while I was taken to Mark. Now again, you could red Treg's thoughts by just looking at his stance. He just stood thinking to himself ‘Marks gone and done it all wrong. He's forgotten to put my shoes back on. Should I tell him, I wonder? Will he get into trouble?'

He was still standing there in a sort of daze when I was finished. It didn't take anything like as long as having shoes refitted. He just had to remove my two remaining shoes and then trim my feet and that was it. I went over to Treg while Wicky went along to have his feet trimmed as normal. It did feel funny. Although I was better balanced than having two on and to off, my feet didn't feel the right weight and I could feel every little stone. HE walked over and opened up the stream gate but Treg still just stood there waiting to be called back to be shod. In the end, HE had to loop the lead rein over his neck and lead him over the stream.

And that was it – except, ouch! I can certainly feel every stone and some bits of the field, crossing the stream, or instance, are all stones and no grass. As the day has worn on, I have felt myself slowing to a stop. SHE just laughed this evening and said I will toughen up an a day or two. I would just like to see her walking about in these fields without shoes for a day or two. We see who laughed at who then, wouldn't we?

skySaturday 16 th July 2005
“Ere, ouch, Wick?”
“Your attempt at the Scots accent is pretty poor, my lad. It's och, not ouch if it's anything.”
“I never said ouch, Wick, ouch. Oh, I see what you mean. No, I'm not saying ‘ouch' it's just that I make (ouch) this funny noise every time that I am in excruciating pain.”
“And why should that be, old lad? I can't see anyone poking you or hitting you. Where is this extreme pain coming from?”
“Alli's feet.”
“Alli's feet? What, is she kicking you? I don't see her.”
“No, it's since we had our shoes off yesterday. She claims the stones hurt her so bad that she can't walk and that we must just hobble about in front of the field shelter and make THEM feel real sorry.”
“So our feet don't hurt then?”
“Well, a bit. They are a bit tender and if I tread on a spiky bit of granite it gives me a bit of a nip. But no. On the whole my other aches and pains of old age, what I've had for a long while now, they're the ones that hurt me more.”
“So why do you keep going ‘ouch' and all that?”
“Well, you see, Alli told me it's something to do with a princess and a pea.”
“Filthy mouths those Frenchies have got.”
“What? Oh, I see. No, a round green vegetable pea. One of those.”
“So, what about it?”
“You mean, there's more? I don't think she told me any more. Just that it might be alright for rough wild Dartmoor Shetlands and the like. They're used to it. But French princesses can't be expected to walk around these rough old granite hills with no shoes on. She was bred for higher things and she is not going to stand for it .. or was that on it?”
“So where do these vegetables come into it?”
“Legumes. That's what she told me to call them. Legumes.”
“Listen Treg. I think you are seeing altogether too much of this hoity toity lady. Why don't you knock around up the slopes with me a bit more. I'll teach you a few good old Dartmoor stories – the Duchess and the pastie – stuff like that. It'd be a really good change for you.”
“Well, thanks Wick but ouch, someone's got to look after her. It's really not her fault that she's got such delicate feet. Thoroughbreds are known for it. I think she's done quite well as it is, considering. You know, her feet are so sore that she hasn't even been down for a drink from the stream.”
“Oh, that's why HE gave her a bucket of water this evening. I was about to shout favouritism until I saw it was only water.”

“Yeah. So anyway, I have to keep her company and pretend that my feet hurt as bad as hers so that she can say ‘no they don't' because I'm only a rough old cob and stuff like that.”
“Your loyalty and friendship are wonderful Treg. I have to admire you for that.”
“It's a bit more than that Wick. I'll tell you a secret. The first time I set eyes on her, I didn't know what had hit me. I'd never been in love before but Alli was everything I could ever want. And still is. I'd do anything for her.”
“You think I don't know that Treg. I've watched you two together. Synchronised grazing doesn't come into it. Right laddie. I'm off up the rough old granity hillside. Say a few ouch's for her from me, will you?”
“Right ouch o, Wick. OK.”

Treg eatsSunday 17 th July 2005
We've got a sweet but crazy bunny moved in to the poo pile just outside our field shelter. She turned up sometime yesterday and, when THEY came this morning, she was busy clambering over the poo pile and doing little sort of digging movements. She didn't seem to mind that THEY were standing watching and even talking to her. She did stop a few times to look at THEM but then just turned her back and started scratching away again. By the time that THEY came back this evening, she had dug a hole about three feet deep into the side of the pile. For those of you that don't know, a poo pile starts off as just that, a pile where all our dung is put when HE cleans it off the paths and out of our shelter. But, nature being as wonderful as she is, this doesn't stay a big smelly mess but over time it turns into the sweetest, richest earth that you could ever want to grow your tomatoes in. So, when this bunny had dug through the first six inches, she would have hit pure, clean dirt and it is in this that she has dug her burrow (if that is what she thinks it is?)

As I said, she was still at it when THEY came tonight and stopped only briefly when they arrived and spoke to her. After HE had fed the birds, HE remembered that HE had a bag full of carrots for our treats and that rabbits are supposed to love carrots. HE went and got one and approached the burrow holding it up in the air for her to see. HE told her what a nice bunny she was and that HE had a present for her and she stood up on her hind legs and watched him with interest. HE didn't want to frighten her so he gently rolled it along the ground between them. It just lay there so she just went back to work. After a while, HE took the opportunity while she was deep in the hole, to creep up and pick up the carrot and place it on the edge of the pile. She popped out and seeing how close HE had got, she got right out of the hole and walked to the top of the pile and then round the back. SHE came along then and took the opportunity to pick the carrot up again and break it in two, placing the smaller pieces right into the burrow.

Well, when the bunny came back and noticed the two carrot bits in her hole, she ran right away to the other side of the shelter and sat eating grass and watching. THEY had other things to do like putting honey on Treg's wound and sorting us out so the bunny got ignored for a while. Eventually, SHE went and took the bits of carrot out of the hole and Flopsy (we'll call her) took a long route back to the hole. And then, for some reason known only to her, she started digging another hole a few feet lower. And that's where THEY left her. We will have to wait and see what the final outcome is.

Lastly, just an update on our state of health. Treg seems to be walking as well as before (although that's not saying a lot). I am still very loathe to walk but a lot of it seems to be in my head as when I am led on a head collar, I seem to do not bad. My biggest problem is my eyes which have got infected again, even after having ointment in them. It is a combination of the heat and the flies. We all look forward to the night time for some respite from them.

light and shadeMonday 18 th July 2005
“There must be a reason for it. We must have done something really bad. First THEY take our shoes away so we can't walk and then THEY put that foul tasting wormer stuff down our throats. What is it we've done to deserve it, Wick? We're not that bad, are we?”
“Speak for yourself, Treg. I'm very bad and proud of it. Anyway, I really don't know what the problem is. I haven't had shoes for years now and it doesn't worry me. And , as for that wormer paste, it's really not so bad if you just relax into it. If you just think of it as a special kind of treat, you could end up quite liking it. I do.”
“You're weird, Wick. Weird Wicky. That's a good name for you. How can you say that you like it? It's just glulp and it sticks to your throat for hours taking away the taste of anything else that you eat.”
“Well laddie, it's for the best. You know why it's called ‘wormer' don't you?”
“I expect it was invented by some horrible human called Fred Worm or something. I really don't care what it's called. They could call it the Queen's Jelly for all I care.”
“It's called a wormer because it is stuff that kills worms, Tregony.”
“Then why don't THEY give it to the worms and leave us alone?”
“But THEY do give it to the worms, Treg. The worms in your tummy.”
“What? Get out. Worms in my tummy, indeed. Whatever next? I'll have you know my tummy is full of grass and a few carrots and short feed. Why would I want to eat worms? If THEY think that then THEY are even more silly that I thought THEY were. Worms indeed! the very idea!”
“But it's true, Treg. When you eat grass you also eat worms eggs that are stuck to it and that's how they get in your tummy.”
“… … Oh, I see, you're having me on, aren't you Wick. You're trying to stop me eating the best grass so that you can have it. Crafty little sh .. etland! Well it won't work. I'll eat just what grass I like and you won't put me off.”
“Oh well, please yourself laddie. I can see that I will never get you to understand the finer points of nature. Tell me this. Why do you think that SHE is putting honey into that would on your leg?”
“You don't let go, do you Wick? Of course it's not honey. It's wound stuff. From the vets. It's to make it heal up quicker, that's all.”
“It's not wound stuff from the vets it's sticky stuff from the bees and SHE's doing it because SHE has been told that it will heal up quicker that way. And it's working. SHE didn't believe it any more than you do but because it was a friend that told HER about it SHE decided to give it a go. And, after only a couple of days, SHE said that SHE can see an improvement. So there. That's why you are walking about with runs of sticky stuff going down your leg into your hoof.”
“It's a pity it's not running into my shoe. Now, if SHE had my shoes put on, that would bring about a lightening recovery.”
“How about we give the moaning a rest and go up the hill for a bit of a graze. It's nice and cool now with that breeze and we did have a bit of rain this afternoon. maybe the ground will be a bit easier.”
“OK Wick. Let's give Alli a shout. See if she will join us.”
“Well, you can try but I think she is still in the middle of a major sulk.”
“Yeah, women eh Wick. Ah well, lets go.

In the field shelterTuesday 19th July 2005
Are you in the situation where your kids just won't leave home? We were standing having our supper tonight when the birds came down to eat, after he had thrown the oats and peanuts down. First there were the sparrows and chaffinches and then these were joined by the bigger birds. First just an ordinary (and rather dowdy) blackbird and then followed by a much larger and fine looking blackbird. They both appeared to be pecking up the oats, side by side, and then, all of a sudden, the big one just confronted the smaller one and opened its mouth wide to reveal the typical orange gaping beak. Yes, it was a youngster who was demanding that it's parent (mother?) feed it, although it was perfectly capable of pecking up the oats itself. And she did! That was the amazing part. The poor bird was having to peck several times faster than normal to get anything to eat herself in between filling this enormous gaping maw of the youngster. When she did go out of reach for a moment, the greedy thing would just start to help itself but as soon as she was in range, it just stood looking as pathetic as possible. When something happened and all the birds took flight, the poor mother ended up having to go and get her beak full and then fly back to the hedge where her chick was sitting to feed it some more.

Treg and I started the day with the sulks. We didn't like the wormers yesterday and we let THEM know that we would never, ever trust them again. Nothing that THEY wished to hand us to eat would pass our lips as THEY were so deceitful. We felt pretty good about it at first when THEY went away feeling pretty sad and guilty. However, as the day went on, Treg and I had a bit of a conversation where we had to admit it was a bit of cutting off ones muzzle to spite ones face. We both had a distinct feeling of a lack of treats in our tummies and it did seem that we could just relax our campaign just a little. In fact. We were waiting up in the Throwleigh Road field for THEM when THEY came along tonight with our suppers. However, we didn't altogether relax and we pretended to ignore THEM until THEY brought our treat right up to us. Wick, of course, was just his normal greedy self. He has told us before how he doesn't see anything wrong with wormers (except, of course, there's not much in them). I will admit that I caved in before Treg. He still refused the offered carrot until HE virtually forced it down Treg's throat.

After that, however, things returned to almost normal. I ate my supper and then followed HER down to the bridle path gate. Treg actually finished his buck normally (the last few times he has walked away from it half uneaten and HE has had to hold the bucket up to Treg's face to get him to eat). THEY didn't stay very long because HE was expecting some more bits for his new computer and wanted to get back so as not to miss the delivery. All in all, a sort of ‘getting back to normal' evening. We shall have to see what tomorrow brings.

yet another bucketWednesday 20 th July 2005
“Ere, look, Wick, she's back. That daft bunny, look at ‘er.”
“Aye, laddie. She is right enough. What's she doing now, d'ye think?”
“She's got a great big mouthful of something. Looks like she is even better at eating than you are Wick.”
“I don't think she's eating it. Look, it's stuffed sideways in her mouth as if she is storing it.”
“Yeah. Or collecting it. But why would a rabbit collect grass. There's enough of it around here for everyone. We've even got a new lot of sheep in to help us eat it.”
“Right, now – watch, Treg. Watch her. She's going back to that hole she dug in the poo pile. Look, she's going down the hole. I wonder. She couldn't be making a nest down there, could she?”
“A nest? I thought that's what birds lived in. I know she's daft but surely she doesn't think she's a bird?”
“No, I think not, Treg. But maybe she thinks that she's pregnant. You know, got a bunny in the oven.”
“She's not cooking them, is she Wick? Oh dear. Poor thing is really deranged. We'd better do something about it, hadn't we?”
“No, she's not cooking them. At least, not in the sense you are thinking. No Treg my old naïve one, it's a saying. Like when someone is cooking something they are getting it ready, when you say they have a bu …. Oh dear. No. let's just leave it Treg.”
“But she's a pretty little thing. You can't just leave her if she's in need of help Wick.”
“I think it's maybe too late for that, Treg. If she is expecting a lot of little bunnies then the best thing she can do is make a nice warm secure nest for them.”
“I agree it's warm, Wick but I'm not sure that the pile won't collapse next time HE has to shovel stuff on top of it.”
“I would imagine rabbits are pretty good at excavation. Hey, I just had a thought. I wonder if that is where the word comes from. ‘Excavation'! Rabbits are cavies so maybe excavation means digging rabbits out of holes. What do you think Treg?”
“All a bit highbrow for me Wick. I thought rabbits was bunnies not cavies. Cavies are what people find at the seaside, aint they?”
“Tell you what Treg. Let's change the subject. How's your old honey jar?”
“My honey jar? Oh, yes, I see what you mean. How's my leg. Well the wound's healing pretty fast now. It's just all the others are not working very wonderfully. You know what, Wick. I think I must be getting old. Eh?”
“Maybe Treg, maybe. But gradually, eh my old son. Like the rest of us. A day at a time!”

over the wallThursday 21 st July 2005
There was a light and pleasant breeze coming from the west and she stood tall and observant as the ride went by below. It was good to stand up there, away from the flies and the heat, and just observe the world going on as usual. There had been a bustle of tractors, bringing in the hay, round about lunch time. Before that only the normal run of traffic, first thing off to work, next the school run and finally the supermarket shoppers. But, in between these busy, busy cars, vans and lorries were the quiet people, the riders and walkers. It was the middle of the holiday season so, of course, there were ramblers setting out for the moor. These were often in groups, sometimes just two but more likely half a dozen or so, armed with sticks and maps and an air of optimism. She would watch these with a warm glow, wanting to tell them the best route to take or to reassure them that they were on the correct path. Of course, she couldn't as they just wouldn't understand her speech. Often, when she might be down in the Throwleigh Road field, these ramblers would walk past with a kind word for her. Some would even stop to want to give her a pat or a kind word but she just kept her distance, just in case. Wicky, on the other hand, was well used to trying to coax tidbits out of passers by and was not at all stand offish.

The other kind of traffic that she enjoyed watching were the riders, or more specifically the horses being ridden. She would stand, looking down and smile as she saw an old friend. Often she would hear them quite a long time before they appeared in sight. And she could tell who it was, nine times out of ten, just from the sound of their hooves along the road. It would give her great pleasure to be confirmed in her guess when the horse and rider finally appeared. Of course, it was not so difficult. Each had their own particular way of walking or trotting and, often. Each rider had their on way of making the horse move. At least, the skilled ones had. The less skilled would just sit there and the horses' own rhythm would take over. Either way, she knew it in most cases.

And that was how the day went by. There was a little flurry about lunch time with folk driving home or back to work, if they were lucky enough to live near their work. The there would be a real lull until time for school to come out. You shouldn't think that she just stood there watching all the day long. Most of her day would be taken up with a mix of grazing and dozing. But, in between, whether she looked up or just pricked her ears, she managed to keep a close check on the comings and goings below her. The other area of interest for her was in the fields themselves. Both in the fields and in the skies above the fields. A whole range of wildlife would populate the fields at one time or another. Sheep, of course, are not ‘wildlife' in the true sense of the word but they are not ‘pets' either. The comings and goings of these balls of wool on legs kept her amused for many an hour. They were, to her, not as stupid as humans like to think of them. The fact that they tend to all do the same thing made sense to her as a survival technique. She saw them not so much as a group of animals as a sot of tide, ebbing and flowing around her. Whilst they would not pass a gate that she stood in front of, they were quite happy to share the field shelter with her. The difference was more one of etiquette than of fear. Then there were, usually at quite different times, the rabbits and the foxes. The bunnies would normally play in groups but the fox more often than not was at work (shopping) not at play and would operate alone. There were also the deer but these would hardly make a ripple as they passed through. As an ex racehorse who had been a jumper in her time, she had to admire the jumping ability of the deer. A Devon wall with hedge atop it would be no problem at all. One small bound and they would be over. They passed, silently and gently from one field to the next.

And, in the skies above, the buzzard. Sometimes the raven but more often this, only early in the year. Crows, jays, pigeons and the usual crowd of small fry but the buzzard was king and queen of the sky. She would watch but also hear them as they soared up on the thermals and then sank down for the kill. And this was her life now. She stood, erect on the hill and wondered. She was not feeling happy. Almost sulky. But when she tried to reason why to herself and compare the feeling with her reality, all she could feel was puzzled. She couldn't imagine a better life. Maybe it was a triste for lost youth, who knows. She stopped looking at the road and put her head down to the grass once more.

Treg carries on eatingFriday 22 nd July 2005
“Ere, Wick, did you ever want to be one of them suicide bunglers when you grew up?”
“Can't say I did, Treg. I don't think they had been invented then. What do you have to do?”
“Er, well, I'm not really sure but I think it's something like filling a saddlebag with poo and then going and dropping it next to someone.”
“Cor, that sounds like fun, Treg.”
“Yeah, except to be a real bungler, the bag has to stay closed when it drops so no one notices anything different.”
“I really can't quite see the point of that laddie. Why go to all that trouble if it doesn't do anything?”
“That's the bit I'm working on now, Wick. I think it's a bit filosofikal or somethink. As far as I've got, it's to do with not wanting to be a tomato. You see, if the poo splits open and goes over everyone's shoes then you can become a tomato and go straight to heaven. But if you can't quite make it then you don't.”
“But why would anyone want to be a tomato?”
“It's like I said Wick. Then you go straight to heaven.”
“To do what? Strikes me that you have to be some sort of sad person to want to do that. Sad or simple. And then, if you did go to heaven, it would be filled with other sad and simple people and that would be even worse than being here. No, I'm sorry Treg, I just can't see any sense in it.”
“No one said there had to be any sense in it Wick. In fact, the less sense the better. You see, it's meant for them wot's got no sense. Them wot's a bit simple and haven't had no education. Now they look around and see as lot of happy people all round them and they think ‘Oh dear, they look happy. I bet they must be bad to be so happy while I am such a sad little thing. I know, I'll be better than them by getting to heaven first'.”
“But that's silly. Anyway, where is this heaven that they want to go to? I bet it's near Chagford or one of those poncey places.”
“Shouldn't think so Wick. Remember, it's full of tomatoes. It must be more down country where they have better weather. Probably Torquay, somewhere like that.”
“Torquay? Even more reason why they must be mad to want to go there. No, I tell you straight now Treg. When I grow up I am definitely not going to be a suicide bungler. And that's that!”
“I didn't mean that because you are a little short ar … a rather small person, that you were not grown up Wick. It was more of a sort of hynotherical question.”
“I should think so too, laddie. Get all that rubbish out of your head. By the way, how's your leg now?”
“Bearing up, bearing up. I think SHE has put some more of my arthritis medicine in my food, it's been a bit better today.”
“That's good laddie. Hey, I just had a thought. Could I be a phantom gasser? It's worse than poo ‘cause it's invisible.”
“Dunno Wick. I'll have to have a word with Al's Cider. Find out what the reward for that might be. That is if they haven't gone and bungled themselves out of existence. I'll let you know.”
“Aye laddie. You do that. ( Daft as lights but he means well! )

AlezaneSaturday 23 rd July 2005
We seem to be getting better. Physically, that is. I mean as equines we really couldn't be much better, could we? But we have been a bit under the weather of late. I say ‘we'. I will admit Wicked has been no different from usual. Which is unusual because he normally manages to get an abscess in his foot at some time during the year. Now whether he is being a gentleman and is waiting for Treg and I to recover before he takes his turn, who knows? If he is, it is not like him either. Anyway, back to Treg and myself. I have just had sore feet ever since I realised that I was not going to have my shoes put back on. While they had just fallen off there was no problem. I knew for a fact that there were only a few days before good old Mark the farrier would come and put them back on. But, when in fact he came and just took the other two off, well that really upset me. It's a bit like for you humans when you reach your 40 th birthday. Suddenly there is no disguising the fact that you are no longer young. Having no shoes for a horse means that you can't work any more and, whilst it was good to have days off and not to work, when you realise that you are retired, you don't think first and foremost of all the pleasure and leisure you will have. You think – that's it, Scrapheap!
Now Treg faced that situation many years ago when he was made redundant from the riding school. But he did still retain his shoes. A bit like saying that he was now a reservist who could be called up into action at a moment's notice. Mind you, Treg not having his shoes put back on was not his reason for being unwell. It was at first even though he had also cut his leg by then. No, it was when the cut started to mend, it also started to tighten up and made it very painful to walk. However, he passed even that stage and the pain of the wound started to ease off and then, whether through walking funny or what I don't know, then his arthritis started to come to the fore. Only a few days ago, the poor old guy was just stumbling about and could hardly get anywhere. I was worried sick about him. He couldn't even get up into the field above the shelter and I would wait up there, looking down on him and just hope that something would be done. And it has. He has been getting quadruple medication for his arthritis and it seems to be doing the trick. In addition, SHE has started grooming him again, something THEY both had to stop while they were not well with the three week virus. What with the extra super feed to put his weight back on and the medication and grooming, old Treg is looking a new man again.

And, of course, that has helped me to get over my sulks as well. Maybe not wholly sulks. A mixture of sulks, worry and sore feet. Whatever, we are now getting back to something like our old selves. We met them up at the Throwleigh Road gate tonight and followed our buckets down without the need for HER to wave a stick. It must be getting very close to Wicky's turn now, don't you think?

the hedgeSunday 24 th July 2005
“Er, Wick. You know what we were talking about the other night?”
“Like the Wulrus and the Carpenter, Treg, we spoke of many things.”
“Er, yes … Who?”
“Never mind old son. A literary reference, that's all. Tell me now. What's on your mind?”
“Well … er … I was … er … thinking.”
“Desperate times call for desperate measure laddie. What were you thinking?”
“Well, I was wondering. Whatever happened to Old Sam the Bin Liner? You never hear nothing of him now, do you?”
“Old Sam ? Oh yes, I know who you mean Treg. No, things have gone very quiet in that direction I have to admit.”
“Do you think he's gone and done it himself?”
“Possibly Treg. It really all depends what you are talking about. Done what old lad?”
“You know. Become a tomato. Gone and done what he keeps telling all those other poor souls to do. Topped hisself!”
“Oh no laddie. If you are the brains of an organisation you wouldn't do anything like that. I know it's hard for you to understand, Treg. But that's what brains means. Not doing anything daft. No, only the poor simple ones can become tomatoes. The brains likes to live so they can see what the dopes are doing. Makes ‘em feel good it does. Much better than going to heaven.”
“You know Wick. I find that hard to understand.”
“I'm not surprised Treg. You find counting up to the number of hooves you have hard to understand. But, I'll tell you what Treg. You're not alone. You would be surprised the number of people who think that it's a good thing to do. They even think it is noble. For a cause so to speak.”
“What's noble in topping yourself Wick. Are they so cowardly that they can't face staying here and trying to make things better? It's a bit selfish, isn't it. Going to heaven and leaving all the other poor ignorant and hungry people to get on with it.”
“Ah but the Old Sams of this world tell them that they are helping.”
“Helping who? Not the real people who are being deprived and suppressed.”
“Oh no. They are not important. No, helping the Old Sams. Helping the ones who think they are above all that. I said they were the brains before but that was a comparative phrase. They have more brains than the poor suckers who go and blow themselves up. But in terms of real brains they are about as clever as – well, as you Treg, but nowhere near as nice.”
“Aw, thank you Wick. You don't often say such nice things about me.”
“As I said before Treg – desperate times etc. Anyway, why are you wasting you time thinking about such sad things as this?”
“Well, you see, I was wondering why we don't have suicide horses or suicide blue tits or suicide rab…..”
“”Right Treg, I get the picture. You are saying that animals don't do such stupid things. And you're right. Isn't it funny that when humans want to insult each other they call each other names like ‘silly cow' or dirty pig' or ‘dog' or ‘bitch' and so on?”
“Well, I can maybe understand ‘dog'.”
“But why Treg. I would think that the worst thing a human could call another human would be , well ‘human'.”
“Present company excepted and all that … nudge , nudge … eh Wick?”
“What? Oh, yes. THEY're alright. Never bite the hand that feeds you, my old mum used to say. Look up Treg. Bucket time!”

... and eating ...Monday 25 th July 2005
We just seem to be getting back to normal and then the midges start their attack. In a way they are worse than the flies because they bite. Bite, bite, bite. All the time. As soon as they find a sensitive area you are for it. It's not just us, THEY are in for it too, when THEY bring our buckets morning and evening. It's probably worse for THEM in a way because THEY have such thin skins. On the other hand, THEY can escape back to THEIR car. It's strange why the midges are so abundant here, at Ninefields and yet HE tells me that THEY don't have them in the same way where THEY live. It almost makes me want to go back to my stable to get away from them. But – almost. I don't really, in case anyone gets the wrong idea. There are both fors and againsts to being out in the fields all the time. When I am in my stable I get visited and spoiled quite a lot but when THEY are not there, I don't have a great deal to look at. Come to think of it, there's not a great deal to look at here, in Ninefields. But somehow it's not the same. If I fancy a walk I can have one. I can roll in the grass, I have company (of sorts – Treg can be a bit of a pain at times) and I can listen and watch all the other animals and birds that inhabit the area.

That reminds me. I was having a sort of graze/snooze the other morning when I was rudely awakened by a ‘crack' sort of noise. At first I wondered is someone was out shooting and I scanned the horizon for signs of a hunter. While I was looking – ‘crack' – there it was again. This time it sounded more as if it was in the field with me. I looked around and saw nothing out of the ordinary. A rabbit, a few birds, sheep – just the normal field inhabitants. And then my eye was caught by a couple of sheep in the middle of the field who seemed to be behaving in a strange manner. First they were glaring at each other, then they turned their backs on each other and started walking away. After only a few paces however, both turned and without almost a pause, they both started charging headlong at each other. Just before the inevitable collision, they both put their heads down and – ‘crack', they collided head to head making that noise that had alerted me. Strangely, neither seemed to be damaged in any way and they walked back to repeat the performance. There was another sheep who looked to be their mother, calling out to the pair. But they paid no notice and continued fighting with only the variation that if one turned its back a bit too soon the other rushed forward and butted the other up the behind.

At that moment THEY turned up with our buckets and the two protagonists slowly, grudgingly made their way across the field, still fighting as they went. Strange creatures sheep. That's something that I would never have seen if I was stuck at home in my stable!

Throwleigh RoadTuesday 26 th July 2005
If you have read this far, this month, you may have been struck by the rather unimaginative set of photos that HE has used as illustration. The problem is twofold. What with THEIR virus thing which took three weeks out of the month and still having to a variety of other jobs, HE hasn't taken many new photos this month and, if I am not mistaken, none of us. OK, but he still must have loads and loads of pictures saved up in his archive, you say. HE must take more than HE uses each month. Correct but there is a big problem there even so. You see, HE hasn't got any system going for separating the photos HE has used before from those HE hasn't. Now this means that when HE is faced with a pictureless month, HE looks at HIS archives and is worried that, if HE sees a picture that HE likes and so wants to use it, he thinks that if HE likes it now then HE probably liked it before and therefore HE will be duplicating if HE uses it now. Well, I all can say is ‘tough'. There are still four more days in this month. Time for HIM to get of his rump and come down to Ninefields and record our current features.

I am glad I don't have to moan for a change. The weather has turned wet and we love it. It has, at last, started to soften the ground so that we can walk in comfort. I noticed yesterday that even Wicky, who is well used to walking about with no shoes, has started to develop great big holes in his hoof. Until the rain the ground was so hard that it was like walking on concrete all the time. The natural granite is bad enough but when the earth dries up so hard as well, you don't stand a chance. Of course, the other good thing about the rain is that it is making the grass grow again and we can manege to find some really tasty bites here and there.

Talking of eating, I really should watch my figure. I do this every year and I know I do it but don't seem to have the will power to ease up on the eating. Thinking about it, it's probably just as well that HE hasn't taken many photos of us lately. I know THEY laugh at m now for when I walk my tummy sways from side to side. Not a pretty sight view from behind or head on come to that.

I'm afraid old Treg's leg is giving him some more trouble. It's hard to tell if it is his cut, his arthritis or just general old age. He does seem to ease up if he keeps it moving but this morning he was having a lie down when THEY brought the buckets and when he got up he was very tottery. Poor old lad. I suppose old age must come to us all but it is a sad thing to see in someone you love!

WickyWednesday 27 th July 2005
SHE thinks SHE's found it. Treg's foot problem that is. He was walking very slowly and painfully this morning and SHE decided to increase his medication again, having just decided to reduce it a bit. This evening when THEY came with the feed, Treg was walking with a decided limp. After we had all eaten, HE took Wicky and I off down the filed a bit to give us our treats but also to allow HER to give Treg a really good examination. And, after pushing and pulling on his leg joints, because that was where the problem appeared to be, SHE examined Treg's feet very thoroughly and discovered one very hot hoof, which is normally indicative of a foot abscess. Treg seemed to agree with her because he kept holding that hoof in the air. As it is too late to get the vets in by the time we have our evening meal, SHE did the next best thing by putting a poultice on the foot. Treg really did look happier then. Still in pain and still limping very badly but somehow you could tell by his manner that he at least agreed that THEY were on the right track. It was almost as if he was thing ‘oh, at last, THEY have finally fallen in. Humans can be very slow sometimes. Well meaning but not the shiniest nail in the shoe'. He walked off with me in quite a good mood after they went. Let s hope the poultice does its work and that the vet tomorrow can speed up the process.

While SHE was looking after Treg, HE was telling me that THEY went to Bodmin Moor this morning so that HE could photograph the stone quarry where the material came from to repair the Church House windows. HE wanted to take some still photos for HIS other web site but the main purpose of the visit was to get some video footage for the documentary HE is making of the Church House restoration. Apparently when HE asked the stonemason if HE could go along HE was told that HE would need a four wheel drive because the road (lane) up to the quarry was pretty rough. Yesterday when HE told one of the builders working on Church House where HE was going, the builder said he hoped he had a sturdy car because the lane up to the quarry was very bumpy. On the way, before they found the turn off to the lane, HE stopped at a house for directions. The man at the house told him where to go and said that it might be best to leave the car half way and walk the rest because it got very rough near the top. THEY found the lane and guess what? It was very bumpy. Very! But THEY made it, just, by driving very slowly after encountering several hard bumps at the start.

THEY drove up and the mason was using a pneumatic drill to make holes in a piece of granite. He stopped and greeted them and HE explained that HE wanted to roam about taking pictures for a while and then come back and record an interview about the Church House restoration. HE then went back and got HIS video camera only to find that it had got broken by the bumping about. So, although HE got loads of stills, there was no video footage of the quarry!
One good thing did come out of it. For two years HE has been drooling over a new camcorder but had sensibly saved HIS money. I bet you can't guess what HE has gone and done now? Oh well, we should get some rally good movies of Treg's poultices!

Red bucketThursday 28 th July 2005
“Ere, Wick, I knew I hated vets.”
“What now Treg. I thought he came to make you better.”
“Cutting my foot off is supposed to make me better, is it?”
“Oh, come on laddie, he didnae cut your foot off.”
“Well, it felt like it. I don't know what makes them vets think they've got the right to just go cutting and cutting away at your hoof until they are right inside your foot like that?”
“Well, the farrier cuts your hoof away and you don't complain. He even bangs great big nails through it, doesn't he?”
“Yeah, but he only does it in the hard bit of the hoof where there is no feeling. This guy didn't stop there, he just kept cutting and cutting into the bit where there certainly is feeling cos I felt it. Boy did I feel it. He's lucky I'm such a well brought up chap or he could have got kicked all over the field shelter.”
“But SHE was cuddling you, wasn't SHE?”
“Mmm, cuddling or pinning me down. Bit of a moot point that. Anyway, I couldn't make too much of a fuss and let HER down, could I. But just let me see him again and I might not be such a gentleman.”
“Ere Treg. Have you noticed something?”
“Apart from the pain? Can't say I have.”
“Well, as we're talking, we're also walking along grazing, aren't we?”
“Yeah, what of it?”
“Well, like I said, we're ‘walking along' not ‘limping along' or ‘staggering along'. What I'm saying Treg is that he must have done you some good after all. You know that old ‘it's got to get worse before it gets better' stuff. I expect he had to hurt you a bit to get to the cause of the trouble.”
“I thought he was going to get to my belly button the way he was digging.”
“Come on, admit it. You're feeling better, aren't you?”
“Oh, all right. But I think it is as much due to those poltics that SHE keeps putting on me as what he did.”
“OK Treg. Tell you what, let's change the subject. Do you see what Ali did before supper?”
“You mean when THEY turned up with the buckets and Mathew rode up on that stallion?”
“Yeah. Nothing wrong with her feet then, was there? Cantered up to the gate with her tail held high, the hussy.”
“Well, that's the stallion that calls out to her across the field from Mathews, isn't it. I agree she did get a bit excited, didn't she? Still, it can't be a lot of fun being cooped up with us two old codgers all the time. A girl wants a bit of fun now and then, eh?”
“Hold on Tregony. Who are you calling an old codger? Just because you're a bag of old man's problems with your arthritis and your bad foot, your teeth falling out and your stumbling walk. Now I am just about in my prime. Ready for anything.”
“Oh good. Then you better get ready to have your coat clipped again, it's starting to grow long and turn curly because of your old man's disease.”
“What? Oh well, maybe you're right. Still, it wont stop us eating, will it mate. Come on. Now your foot's getting better, how about we wander up the hill a bit, there's a nice bit of new grass up there. Let's get it before all these sheep do.”
“Good idea mate. Let's go!”

The fieldsFriday 29 th July 2005
I'm feeling better, much better. I think it was not just having sore feet but rather the worry over Treg. But now I am getting back to my old self again. I even followed them up to the Throwleigh Road gate this morning. Mind you, I'm not sure I have forgiven HIM yet. Because SHE was seeing to Treg's bad foot this morning, HE decided to take me down to the bridle path gate. But, instead of sitting on the old log when HE got there and feeding me tons and tons of carrots like HE should have done, instead HE went and leaned on the gate and tried to make me go over there too. Now everyone knows about the spooks that appear over that gate. It is the last place I would ever want to be. So what does HE do, he leans there and holds out my carrot and refuses to budge so that I am forced to stretch my neck out as long as it will go so that I don't take one step towards that horrid place. I think in the end we both were in the act of compromising and stepping towards each oher when SHE came along and told HIM off for teasing me. The trouble was that, by this time, I was getting a bit confused as to where I should be and instead of staying with HER I started to follow HIM back to the field shelter. SHE made HIM stop until SHE could catch up with me and then SHE held me while HE walked back.
I am afraid I've not seen anything more of that fine young stallion that passed here the other day. It quite brightened my day up seeing him but I fear that Matthew will not ride him past while I hang about at the gate as I might put him off his training. So I have had to look elsewhere for amusement. Oh, that reminds me, I gave Wicky a real kick today. Can't remember why now but I know it was very satisfying. Didn't hurt him though, couldn't if I wanted to now I don't have my shoes on. He can be a real irritating little so and so when he puts his mind to it, which is most of the time. He doesn't even take any notice if I do kick or bite him. He just runs out of the way and carries on with what horrid little thing he was doing. Oh, he's alright really. In fact I rather like him. And, I do definitely admire him. I;m afraid his coat is growing again. With all the rain we've been having it's even starting to get a bit of a curl to it again. It's not going to be long before he has to do that long walk with HIM down to the stable.
That reminds me. The year is going by fast again. It won't be very long before I am having to walk up and down that road myself. I wonder what THEY will do about my feet then? It's only half a mile twice a day so it's possible they wont bother, especially as I am now getting used to going unshod. Still, mustn't get ahead of myself there's still a couple of months of summer left with any luck. HE tells me the grandchildren are coming down tomorrow for a week. That will be a nice change to see them. Ben was talking of camping out in the field like he did last time. I wonder if he'll still want to when he sees the amount of sheep's poo we've got now?

it was here ...Saturday 30 th July 2005
HE was right, the kids did turn up today. It was really very confusing though for, when they all turned up tonight at supper time, I just didn't know who to mug for treats. Everywhere I looked was a person all of whom, I could tell by the smell, had mint sweets or carrots on their pocket. I decided that the ‘bird in the hand' approach was the best. I just took from the nearest source until it dried up and then moved on to the next. At least I did until SHE came along and made me go down the field with her to the bridle path gate. I have to admit I am feeling a whole lot better. My feet are no longer a problem and old Treg is also showing signs of improvement so there is not so much for me to worry about either.

The rain has continued and it is even less warm of late which is a blessing. The ground is softening up and the flies are giving us a respite. HE told me today about the 200 th anniversary of some battle or other. As a rule we horses are not very interested in the silly thing humans get up to in order to hurt each other. But this was interesting because they are going to recreate a stage coach journey from Falmouth in Cornwall , through Devon and finally on all the way to London . Apparently this is what happened after this famous naval battle of Trafalgar. One of the fleets captains took a stage coach to deliver the news of the victory, telling everyone on the way. Of course, the interest for me (and the others when I told them) was the fact that it was horses that drew the coach and made it all possible. In those days they didn't have telephones, radio or internet. The only way to get detailed information was by word of mouth and the only way to achieve this was by horse, either ridden or by coach.
It seems funny to us now I expect. Not only any of those electronic means of communication but also no motorised transport either. They did have a system of lighting beacon fires on the tops of hills to send signals but, of course, this couldn't convey detailed information. I(‘m not really sure if I'm glad or sorry those times have gone. In one way it meant a lot of work for horses to do but on the other hand it did make us more important and humans depended on us much more. Now we are just pets or toys, even for those that use us for sports or recreation. Anyway, it gave the three of us something interesting to talk about as we spent the night grazing up the hill on the side of our own Beacon hill .

AlezaneSunday 31 st July 2005
”Ere Wick, 's easy, aint it?”
”Piece o' cake, laddie. Suckers the lot of them. You just cant beat tourists for getting the extra treat or two.”
”Do these still count as tourists then? I thought they were family?”
”Aye laddie, they are family but a special kind of family.”
”You mean?”
”Yes laddie, family than you can con and con again. You see, family are better than tourists as they not only have the tourist thing about all local livestock but they also have to show the grandparents what good animal loving creatures they are. As you say mate. Ea-sy!”
”But doesn't it make you feel a bit guilty Wick. I mean you are using their good nature to get extra treats out of them.”
”Guilty? What's guilty? Come on Treg. What have I taught you all these years? Look after number one and only number one. Let the rest look after themselves. If they are silly enough to give us more than we should get, that's not my fault, is it?”
”I suppose you're right. I don't see Ali holding back either and she should know what's the right thing to do. I mean, she's family too, aint she?”
”We're all family Treg. Why do you think THEY worry about you so much when you're ill. It's because you are family, that's why!”
”Me? Really? I thought the only family I had were all left behind in Cornwall . I thought I was an orphan sort of. Me, family. Would you believe it!”
”Anyway old man. I see you are moving better as well. Even running tonight to get your bucket.”
”I had to run Wick. You see I was so tied up in getting treats out of them that I missed HIM carrying the buckets up to the field shelter. And you know what happens if I don't get up there quickly when my bucket is put on the floor.”
”You don't mean someone comes along and eats from it, do you Treg?”
”Not someone Wick.”
”Not someone? You don't mean something? Heavens, not a monster or a spook? You don't mean that, do you?”
”Er, not a monster in the true sense of the word Wick. But he is a monster when he eats my supper.”
”He? So you don't mean Ali then?”
”No Wicky.”
”That pheasant then. If I see him I'l; give him a good swift kick for you Treg.”
”No, not the pheasant, Wick. No, more like someone – family, so to speak.”
”Oh, Ben. No, don't you worry about him man. He wouldn't eat you supper, honest. Humans don't eat our stuff, they don't like it.”
”No, I know that Wick. Tell you what, let's drop it. It doesn't matter anyway because I got there in time. What shall we do tonight?”
”How about a race up to the very top field?”
”I may be better Wick but I was never much on racing even before I was unwell. No. tell you what. Lets go up and count the stars. Let's enjoy the last day of July and look forward to what August will bring.”
”OK laddie, if you must really think about the Folk Festival!”

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