Alezane's Diary Archive October 2006
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Cows and WickySunday 1st October 2006
HE has just been publishing my diary for September and, in doing so, HE noticed how often I talked about the weather last month. So, just to be very unoriginal, let’s start today with a recap of the day’s weather.
Really, I would have had to start with it anyway because it wasn’t just a little special, it was very, very bad indeed. When HE came along with our breakfast, the first thing that HE noticed was that the stream was actually full and gushing along. It hasn’t been like that for the best part of a year now and there were times when it looked dangerously as if it were going to dry up completely. Then, as I mentioned last month, the weather took a turn for the wetter and we were all surprised that the stream didn’t seem to get any fuller even after it had rained pretty heavily. It is now obvious what was happening. As we have an exceptionally dry year, the soil itself had dried out almost down to the water table. What was happening when it rained, was that the ground was soaking it up.
Last night, when our supper came along, the ground in the home paddock was back to its old sodden, sloshy self again. HE should have realised then that the ground had soaked up all it could and that now, any more rain would be pored off the high ground and down to the streams. And that is what happened last night. We were all kept awake by the thunder and lightening storms and, as I said, by breakfast time, the water had poured down into our stream off the fields. As it happened, our breakfast was largely dry as the rain held off a bit. I was dry completely as I had my food in the field shelter. Mims and Wick stayed outside and HE spent HIS time walking from one to the other to do our sponges and then give us treats.
HE told me tonight that because the weather was looking better after THEY had had their breakfast that HE went out shopping in just a jumper and no coat. When HE came out of the supermarket, the heavens opened and HE got soaked just taking the groceries to the car. HE had to spend the time while HE was preparing our vegetables standing up as HIS trousers were very wet.
And then, this afternoon, the rain went away and the sun came out. However, the rain went away because it was blown away by the gales that followed the rain. All afternoon, the trees creaked and bent as they were battered by the wind. HE got HER to check on the weather forecast as HE was having thoughts about putting our rugs on. However, SHE told HIM that they were expecting temperatures of 15C during the night so THEY scrapped that idea. I’m sorry if I had to bore you all with weather again but it has been a funny old start to October. Let us hope things quieten down a bit as the month goes on.

Mims and that green carMonday 2nd October 2006
We were ‘inspected’ once this morning when we were having a gentle graze in the Throwleigh Road field. THEY just sat in the car and looked at us. I carried on eating for a time but then, out of politeness, had to look up. SHE was in the side of the car facing me but she didn’t get out so I just put my head down and carried n eating.
Later, this afternoon, HIS battered old jeep appeared. By this time we were up under the big oak tree so I was all for ignoring HIM again. However, HE opened the gate and drove in and Mims, silly girl, got all excited and called out to HIM. HE drove up to the field shelter, out of our sight and Mims went running down to the fence just above. However, HE just did what HE had to (it turns out HE was delivering some more rolled oats), swept out the shelter and then got into the jeep and drove away again without even saying hello. I think Mims was a bit disappointed but it will teach her that humans, however nice and friendly, are not equines and should not be expected to behave like us.
Weather wise, a much better day today with quite a lot of sunshine and a few showers only. HE filled our haynets right up full last night, all three of them so that there would be no squabbling. We do have a bit of a nibble if we are forced to stay in but largely they have not been used much this year. It’s nice to know that they are there though.
HE heard from the estate agent that the buyer’s surveyor thinks that there may be some active woodworm and that there does appear to be some damp patches on two of the walls. However, HE is not very worried about his as both of these items were worked on when THEY moved in ten years ago and the work was given a thirty year guarantee. HE was grumpy with the agent at first, mainly because HE was trying to have an afternoons nap and was woken by the phone. Then the agent implied the firm that did the work may have gone out of business. When HE suggested that, as HE had been required to pass all the relevant documentation over to the solicitor, they should contact him about these guarantees, the agent said that HE wasn’t being helpful. After putting the phone down, HE checked out the builders that did the work on the internet and found that, far from vanishing as the agent had implied, they appeared to have grown even larger. HE did also manage to find the guarantees which state that they are transferable to any new purchaser so HE thought HE would phone the agent back and reassure him. The phone was consistently engaged for over forty minutes so HE phoned a different branch, only to be told that they were having the same problems and, no, the agents were not given mobile phones in the event of the only office line going down.
Finally, when HE tried to phone the guarantee builders, HE got an answer-phone. Later someone phoned to say it was a private residence and they worked out that HE must have transposed two numbers in the code. HE then dialled the correct number only to get a second answer-phone telling HIM that they had all gone home for the night.
It took all our equine comforting skills to put HIM back into a good mood tonight!

SHE comes for a visitTuesday 3rd October 2006
HE’s been trying to sort out his websites today. HE is very conscious of the fact that there is soon going to be a big hole in HIS life, well, in THEIR lives, really. You see, when we go to France, you will recall that we are first going to a rented property while we look for our own premises. HE had been resigned to the fact that THEY would have to go back to dial up internet access until THEY can have broadband installed in THEIR own house. Then the lady phoned from the farm we are going to and told HER that there is NO TELEPHONE where they will be staying. That means, of course, that THEY cannot even use dial up as there is nothing to dial, if you see my meaning. The only way that THEY will be able to get email will be to go down to the town of Alencon where THEY have read, there are two internet cafes. This will let them get emails and maybe even do a bit of house hunting but is very unlikely to let THEM do much in the way of website building. What a shame! THEY will have to spend a bit more time with us, wont they? As long as it is all treats and no work, we will find that quite acceptable.
Nothing to report from the Ninefields front today. Weather quite pleasant, no quarrels, lameness or even passing riders to keep my daughter amused. Just straightforward grazing all day long. Not bad, not bad at all!

Wednesday 4th October 2006
HE came along this evening with our rugs. Maybe HE knows something we don’t. I mean, it has been a sort of average weather day today but no rain that might require us being waterproofed. Actually, we need our rugs more to keep the wind off than the rain. And, of course, some horses have rugs on quite a lot. Not that they are afraid of getting wet, not even to shelter from the wind but just because they are ridden frequently. They are not going to be ridden in their rugs but their humans don’t want them getting all muddy or dirty as does tend to happen when we roll. The other reason that I can think of why we should have our rugs on now is that Wicky needs a haircut and he cant have this if he is wet. When I say Wick needs a haircut what I mean is that Wick BADLY needs a haircut. It has started getting not only thick but very curly as well. This is not good news for Pauline who will probably wear out several sets of trimmer blades in order to get him looking half way decent.Alli knows
Cant remember if I told you but HE has been sorting out his photos in order to get a bit of a start on his dartmoor-photos webpage before HE passes into this webless void when we get to France. Anyway, HE came across quite a nice photo of me standing next to Wick which brings together the two threads of my first paragraph. We are both wearing rugs and Wicky has obviously been clipped. I say obviously because he looks about three times thinner than he does at the moment. In fact, he looks thinner, younger and cleaner and it was only taken last year.
Talking of Wick has reminded me of another thing that HE observed this morning. There is a human saying that when you give someone approval for doing something it is said that you ‘give them the nod’. Well, after HE had given us our breakfast this morning, HE went up to the jeep but, before getting in and driving away, HE leaned on the gate and watched us. By this time we were just cleaning up all the bits of breakfast that has got spilled on the floor. Mims and I were, at any rate. Wicky had already finished his, largely because he is such a tidy (and avid) eater that he never drops any. So, in his endeavours to ensure our filed stays tidy, Wick came over to where I was eating. And he just stood there – looking. But not doing anything. HE watched Wicky and I for several minutes and then HE saw me lift my head, look at Wicky and nod. With that signal, Wick just dived in and started scoffing. I had given him the nod to do so. Or, at least, that is how HE sees it. But then, I don’t think HE has ever had flies in his face while HE is finishing HIS breakfast!



Two headed monsterThursday 5th October 2006
Now I now why HE put our coats on last night. It has been nothing but wind and rain today. But, of course, with our rugs on it doesn’t matter much. In fact, it is good for the ground. The grass is very quickly regaining its greenness and the stream is starting to fill up again. It didn’t matter much this morning either. We still ate outside on the grass rather than in the field shelter.
That reminds me, I must tell you about my darling daughter last night. Because HE couldn’t carry our three rugs and our three feed buckets down from the car at the same time, HE left the rugs in the boot. After HE had given us our supper and cleaned out the shelter, HE fed the birds and then went up to get the rugs. I should have said that it is HIS habit to leave a small plastic bag of carrots (our after bucket treats) on the ground near us while he does the shelter and the birds. You’ve guessed! Yes, when HE came back from the car, carrying the rugs, Mims was busy unravelling the plastic bag and stealing the carrots.
I will say that HE was very kind. HE knew that it was HIS own fault for leaving temptation on the ground. HE could also see, I’m afraid, that I had left my food and had shoved Mims off hers so hat I could steal that. So, HE just put the rugs down near to us and retrieved the bag and what was left of the carrots. HE then picked up a rug, which happened to be Mims’ and went to put it on her. Now SHE always calls Mims ‘wilful’. I’m not sure what SHE means but Mims took one look at the rug in HIS hand and walked smartly away. HE followed her, determined not to let her get away with this disobedience but then she ran away. So, what did HE do?
HE walked back to where Mims food lay on the ground and then he put the bag of carrots on top of it and finally covered the whole lot with Mims’ rug. Then HE picked up my rug and started to put it on. Mims, no longer being the centre of attention, came back to resume her supper, only to find it covered over. She stood and sniffed the rug but HE ignored her. Then HE went and put Wicky’s rug on, leaving Mims with nothing to do but to ponder her sins. When HE came back and uncovered her food, she stood, as good as gold, while HE put on her rug.
And then so you know what HE did? He kissed her!
One bit of good news for THEM today. HE spoke on the telephone with the agent in France and incidentally mentioned how THEY would miss not having a phone in the rented accommodation. She told HIM that HE could have one installed quite cheaply and that, if HE would pay, she would organise it. Now, if there is one thing that HE is good at it is paying for things. He very grumpily said that everyone takes a slice of you when you move. I don’t know what HE is so worried about, it’s the last time HE will have to do it (if HE survives, HE adds – HE has now caught the cold that SHE caught when SHE went to the doctors last week).

Best seen from a distanceFriday 6th October 2006
I certainly had HIM worried last night. He had brought supper as usual and the rain had held off for a while. I was waiting at the gate with Wick when HE drove up and HE offered me a bit of carrot but I just ignored it and started off down the field. I had to pick Mims up on the way because you know what a div she is if you don’t ell her what to do. By the time I had her organised, HE was nearly at the stream but HE held back o let me go first. I think it was then that HE got a silly idea in HIS mind because I always take the stream carefully due to the hard granite lumps there and my delicate feet. I must have looked even more awkward than normal because HE old me afterwards that HE wasn’t at all sure that I was well, what with refusing a carrot and all. Anyway, HE went off to clean out the shelter after putting our buckets down, then HE fed the birds and finally came round o give Mims and I half an apple each. (Don’t worry, Wick gets other treats, its just that his teeth aren’t so good with apples).
When HE got to me, HE did a double take. Blood was coming down my nostril onto my mouth. HE straight away went and got a towel which HE wet in the stream and came along to bathe my face. HE then went away and gave Mims her apple but when HE came back there was more blood on my mouth so HE got the towel and cleaned it off again. This time, HE thought HE could see a graze on my mouth under my nose so HE went off up to the shelter and returned with some vile smelling ointment which HE proceeded to stick on my face.
HE then went away to wipe the smelly tuff off his hands (although HE left it up my nose to annoy me) and then went about HIS usual routine of giving us all our after supper treats. It was then that HE got really worried because it became obvious that it wasn’t just a graze but the blood was coming down my nose. Putting this fact together with my careful walking across the stream, HE got worried that I had had a strake or something. HE went off to HIS car looking far from happy.
HE told me this morning hat when HE got back home, HE went straight to her without taking off his coat and waterproofs to tell HER in case SHE needed to come back to the field with HIM or to call the vets. Was HE surprised when SHE told HIM that I was a thoroughbred racehorse and nosebleeds are quite common and harmless. I don’t think HE really believed HER and HE was very relieved when HE found me standing upright this morning, waiting for my breakfast.
I suppose it is nice to be loved like that, even if HE is a veterinary moron!

Wicky waitsSaturday 7th October 2006
Something very strange was going on this morning – or, at least, that is what HE told HER when HE came back from giving us our breakfast. HE apparently was playing a little game in HIS head on the drive up to Ninefields about who would be there to greet HIM. When the weather is bad, I usually wait in the field shelter, Mims hovers just outside and Wick waits in his usual head scratching tree place down by the stream. But this morning, the weather was good. In fact, in the night, the moon had been nearly as bright as the sun on a cloudy day. So, although it was a little cool, HE guessed that Mims would be in the shelter eating and I would be standing next to Wick on the lower part of the paddock. However, as HE got out of the jeep, all HE could see was Wicky next to his tree and maybe one white foot, which, as it was a front one, must have been Mims standing on the path.
By the time HE had got to the stream and crossed over, Mims was standing on the grass half way between the shelter and the stream. HE gave Wick his biscuits and put his bucked down at the front of the paddock and then moved over to Mims to give her a carrot. But, instead of taking it, she just stood, like a statue, gazing firmly ahead up towards the road. After placing it on her lips and still getting no response, HE looked up to where I as standing, with my back to HIM, in the shelter. HE made HIS way up and watched me as I turned round to get my breakfast and thought that I looked a little stiff jointed. Then HE set about the business of cleaning out the shelter and feeing the birds. By this time, Mims had walked up to just outside the shelter to where HE had put her food down.
After doing HIS jobs, HE cut the apple in half as usual and went to offer half to Mims. She took one little bite and then just wouldn’t have any more but instead carried on with her breakfast. Now this was very unusual behaviour indeed. HE just stood there pondering what was going on. HE thought maybe that Mims and I had had a falling out and that she was sulking. Either that or I had got a bad leg and she was worried for me. Then, HE thought that was silly, giving horses human feelings. But, when we had nearly finished our breakfasts, HE decided to test out how we were both walking by going and standing in the middle of the paddock with our carrot treats. Mims finished first and came over to him. I looked out of the shelter and saw that I had to go there as well or Mims would eat all the treats. Again, HE thought I looked a little stiff but not lame as I walked over.
After out treats, HE went away but stopped at the gate to watch us. I was grazing and Mims came and grazed right by my side, even rubbing noses once, just like a dam and foal, HE thought, as HE drove off. When HE got home, SHE had the most likely explanation. ‘They were both half asleep after a night’s eating’, she said. That’s two days in a row HE has worried about us. Do you think HE I getting a bit worn out by all the house moving business?

Under OfferSunday 8th October 2006
“Aye my little Mimsicle?”
“Ooh, I like it when you call me that. It’s real affectionate you know?”
“Really? Not a tad sardonic for you, my lassie?”
“Er … Well, er.., maybe  tad. Ere, who's gonna stop using the question marks first?”
“Who know, my girl, who knows? How  can I help you?”
“Bugger. You win I suppose. Well, I was just thinking. It would be nice to get away from all this lameness, and France, and weather forecasts an’ that. We ought to be able to talk about other things. Less boring things, you know, like er.. well like .. Ere Wick, what should we talk about? There, I got another question mark in.”
“You did, didn’t you?”
“OK lassie, don’t be silly. Here, I’ll let you win.”
“I thought you might, dear uncle Wick. How about we think up a game. We can stand here, in the field shelter, watching the rain and passing the time with a game.”
“Right, lassie. Here’s one. I spy with my little eye, something beginning with … er … Y!”
“With Y? Right. Its a ..em..a , Oh Wick. I can’t see anything starting with Y. Are you sure? You’re not making it up, are you?”
“No girlie, I’m not makin’ it up. Come on now. Try a bit harder. There’s Yvonne, there’s Y…”
“You can’t say Yvonne. First of all we don’t know anyone called Yvonne and even if we did there’s no one around but a couple of blackbirds and you don’t know their names do you?”
“It’s no blackbirds my girl. Come on, it’s an easy one to start wi’.”
“Oh, I don’t know. I give up. What’s the answer?”
“Mimsy, Mimsy, Mimsy. It’s you, don’t you see.”
“I begin with an M not a Y, Wick. Can’t you spell or what?”
“Mims, you begins with a Y not an M, my girl.”
“Now you cant even talk proper. You’d have to say ‘you begin with, not begins .. oh…I see. Ha, ha very funny. That’s not fair Wick.”
“Perfectly fair my lass. Now try this…”
“Wait a minute. It’s my turn now.”
“Oh no it’s not girly. I won so I get another go. That’s the rules. Now, listen. I spy with my little eye, something beginning with …er …with Y.”
“Wicky! You’ve done that one. Come on.”
“No Mims. This is another one. Come along. What begins with Y?”
“Oh, this is impossible. Yvonne. There. That’s who it is although I can’t see her.”
“No, it’s not Yvonne, my girly. And you can see it, whatever it is. Come on, think harder.”
“Y? Let me see. You say I can see it. Out there, in the paddock or up along the road and that? It’s not something behind us, is it? You’ve got to be able to see it.”
“Oh I can, my maid. I’m looking at it now.”
“You’re looking up to the road. Hm. Not an electricity wire, nor a telephone one. Not a tree? It’s not a species of tree, is it? I’m not very good at them.”
“No, lassie. Nothing so complicated. You give up?”
“Yeah, alright. I give up. What is it?”
“Yon rain, that’s what it is lassie, Yon rain. Gettit?”
“Wicky, that’s unfair. I’m not playing with you anymore.”
“Great lassie, I’ll just go out and have a wee bite then. You’ll be alright here with your ma fast asleep? OK Girl. Bye now, bye.”

Mims caught in the flashMonday 9th October 2006
“Hey, mum. Shall we play this? I spy with my little eye something beginning with Y.”
“Yes daughter. Yon rain. You been playing with old Wicky again?”
“Oh, mum, you’ve gone and spoilt it now. Well, what shall we do then? I’m bored.”
“Bored eh? What a surprise. Never content you youngsters, are you? You could come with me up above the field shelter. How about that?”
“Wow! Whoopee! Up above the field shelter, what an excitement.”
“There’s no need o be nasty girl. I was doing quite well here on my own. I didn’t come to annoy you now, did I?”
“Well, it’s not fair. Why am I stuck in here, in this old folks home? Why can’t I be with others of my own age, for a bit of fun?”
“Oh, sorry. Well, of you go dear. Have a nice time. Let us know how you are getting on.”
“You know I cant go anywhere. There’s gates and things. Walls. Hedges. And anyway, where could I go?”
“You are supposed to be a race horse. At least a thoroughbred. Why don’t you just jump over the gate or the hedge? That’s what horses o you know dear.”
“Huh. I did that when I was a kid. Jumped over a gate. And where did that get me? In the vets, that’s where. And anyway, I was never trained like you. What was it like, mum? You know, when you were racing. Jumping over those fences and everything. I bet that wasn’t boring.”
“That was a long time ago now Mims. The training was hard but I was very young so I could take it, I suppose. You’re right, it wasn’t boring. Even had some good times, some fun times. Still, I’m not at all sure that I’m not paying for it now. My old bones are starting to ache. It’s not the usual lameness. Just a sort of stiffness. Yet I’ve not been running about or anything. Old age, I expect.”
“Old. You’re not old, mum. Not like uncle Wick. Or like Uncle Treg was. Maybe middle aged but not old.”
“Don’t be so sure my darling. Thoroughbreds don’t live as long as cobs or ponies. Not as a rule. Burn out, that’s what we get. Comes from working when we are very young.”
“Oh don’t say that, mum. We’ve only just got together. We’re going to have lots and lots of years together in France. That’s good, isn’t it?”
“I don’t know so much about ‘only just got together’. It’s a year now, isn’t it? Since you’ve been here.”
“Doesn’t feel like it. Anyway. I’m sorry that I was ratty before. Just needed to pass the time before supper, that’s all. I love you mum. Really.”
“And I love you too, dear. Now, push off and see if you can see HIS jeep yet. I’m just going to hang around here in the field shelter and rest my old legs a little. Off you go. And Mims?”
“Yes mum?”
“What’s something else beginning with Y?”

Blue & PinkTuesday 10th October 2006
HE was ever so pleased this morning. Last night when HE brought our suppers, I was standing outside the field shelter, in fact I was in the Throwleigh Road field, for the first time in a couple of days. HE took this to mean that my leg/foot whatever was better but couldn’t really confirm it because I didn’t walk about much - just enough to eat my supper and, although HE stood up at the gate when HE left, we still just stood around grazing. This morning though, I was down the field near the stream and, when HE came along with our buckets, I moved around the field like normal, with only the tiniest bit of stiffness. One thing we did do, by we I mean my daughter and I, was to confuse Him about our buckets. We went and stood facing a different way to normal, looking right up the field at Mathew’s place. HE sort of shrugged and accepted this and put our buckets down where we stood. HE then went off to clean out the shelter and when HE looked back, Mims and I had gone back to our normal places which meant that we turned round and ended up eating out of each other’s buckets. It didn’t really matter as HE gives us identical rations but it did make HIM laugh.
HE also decided to get me some medicine for my stiffness, even though I was looking much better. When old Treg was here, THEY used to get him some powders from the vets by the box of a hundred at a time. If any one else of us got lame, THEY would nick a couple of Treg’s powders to help us over the worst of the pain. Last week when I was bad, I finally used up the last remaining powder and so HE decided to go to the feed store and get a substitute medicine liquid made from some foreign herb which is supposed to have the same effect but without the dangerous side effects the powders could have if misused. HE said to HER that the worst it could do was to waste some money and you never know, it might even help my old age stiffness a bit.
Then HE went on this morning, after the feed store, to the vets. HE went to pick up the cats passports as they have now had all the jabs and tests and everything and have been judged fit to come to France with us. HE was a bit disappointed as the passports do not have a photo in them like the human ones but then HE was cheered up by finding a space where the photo is optional. HE now plans to take a picture of each of them and make their passports ‘proper’, as HE says. Then HE went to pay the bill but before HE did, HE asked about the medicinal powders that Treg used to have and managed to come away with some of these as well, just in case the fluid herbal stuff doesn’t work and we have an emergency while we are in France. Having lived there myself for a while, I tried to assure HIM that they do have vets out there and Normandy is the heart of the equine country with the French National Stud based there. But, HE says, it pays to be safe.
I know I’ll never stop HIM worrying until we are all over there safe and sound but I wont stop trying just the same.

Tail swishingWednesday 11th October 2006
I was in a spot of trouble today. You see, HE has been doing more preparation for going abroad. One of the things HE has had to do is get people ready who are on his email list so that they have the new email address when we move. You see, the one HE normally uses will have to be shut down as it goes with the broadband ISP which will no longer apply in France. Anyway, HE first went through all his email to see who was still using an even older account that THEY used to have when they were just on dial up, as HE was going to shut that one up now. HE thought it would be no loss anyway as most of his junk email comes on that one. In the search, HE found one old friend who used to live near but had moved away and so HE sent an email telling of the new address and added a few lines about the move.
Next HE got a mail back saying how surprised hey were to hear about the move and that they would have to go and check up by reading this diary. Apparently that is the third person HE has heard of recently who keeps tabs on THEM and what is going on by reading what I have to say. So I have been told, in no uncertain terms, that I have got to be very careful what I say and not to let any family secrets out.
I think what HE is really worried about is that the children will get to hear about it when THEY try to slip out of the country unnoticed and then , bang will go HIS plan to get out of giving any xmas and birthday presents anymore. And, what is worse, the family, once they know where we have gone, will all start coming over for a cheap holiday. Actually, I know what THEY are planning about that. THEY are on the lookout for a property which also has a small gite or holiday cottage as well as the main house. That way, when the friends and family come to visit, THEY will still have the house to themselves and the visitors can do their own thing. HE swears it has nothing to do with having to do the dishes for all those extra eaters but I am not convinced.
Changing the subject, at new herbal medicine that HE has started putting in my feed now, isn’t at all bad. Quite tasty in fact. At least, that is what Wicky tells me as he comes along to finish up my leavings. He has started getting quicker and quicker at eating his own feed and then coming over for mine. I don’t really mind as I get loads and loads of treats, but I am not at all sure about how much of the new medicine he should have. Wouldn’t it be terrible if he started running about all over the fields like a youngster again? Still, it might dry him out. THEY are desperate to get him dry by this Friday as Pauline is coming over to clip him.

Wicky & grassThursday 12th October 2006
We had a visitor today. No, I don’t mean one of the family had come to stay or that a friend of THEIR’s  came along. No, SHE came along to our field to see us. It’s such a long time now since we’ve seen her, properly that is, that it was quite an event. I know THEY have driven by a couple of times to spy on us but this was different. It was a proper long visit.
We were all up the top fields when they turned up. Mims and I in the very top easternmost one and Wick at the top of the middle field. They green car drove up and stopped once but, from where we were, we couldn’t see THEM properly. Then THEY drove off up to the farm and turned round. This time when THEY stopped, THEY got out and came into the field. SHE started calling out to us and it was me that first started to go own. When Mims realised that we were moving she broke into a little canter but I still made it in a dignified walk. Then we caught up with Wick so, of course, he had to run to be he one in front. Finally we all met up at the fence above the field shelter and looked at THEM. HE had HIS camera out while SHE just kept calling and saying such nice things that I had to let the others go and followed them own to meet HER. Fortunately SHE had her boots on an as able to wade the stream as it was pretty full now after the rains. HE stayed on the other side still. I think HE wandered off with HIS camera.
We had a good time both just greeting each other and then putting away some apple biscuits that SHE had brought. After I had finished my share of greeting, SHE started on the others, so I decided to cross the stream to see what HE was up to. When I got there, I saw that HE had gone under Tregony’s old tree and was inspecting the damage caused by the wind lately. By this time, all the greetings were over, so the others crossed over the stream with HER and HE then got his camera ready and started taking some shots of us. HE moved out from under the tree and then made HIS way up the slight slope to photo us from another angle. It was at that moment that SHE had started giving me a scratch, something I’ve not had for ever such a long time now. Unfortunately I think HE got some pictures o me making some very funny faces as SHE found the really itchy places. Never mind, it was worth it.
Really, we all had a lovely time, both humans and horses. I do hope it is something that  will happen a lot more, particularly when we get to France and all live together.

SHE treats usFriday 13th October 2006
What does that date tell you? Or, putting it another way, have you ever seen or heard of Mims galloping? I think the two ideas have something in common. Let me tell you.
The day started much the same as usual. The weather had been a bit misty but it was clearing up fast when HE turned up with our buckets. Nothing much happened. We got our food, HE fed the birds, we got our treats and HE drove off.
About the middle of he morning, we had just gone up above the field shelter, when HIS old white jeep came driving along, down into the field and then over the stream and up to the shelter. Ah, a delivery, we thought, as HE got out, went into the shelter and opened the gate to the hay store and then proceeded to carry a large sack of peanuts into the store. But next, HE came out of the store with Wick’s collar in his hands and came walking up the hill calling out Wicky’s name. Of course, we all came to peer down over the fence but Wick was lured by the offer of some apple biscuits and went down to HIM. Mims and I watched until we saw that HE was leading Wick away, then we hastily came down into the field to join them. Up, over the stream and towards the gate they went and Mims and I broke into a canter. This got Maxwell in the next field shouting out and we called out as well. Mims tried to head them off a couple of times but HE just wagged HIS finger at her. Then, when she saw HIM undo the gate and take Wicky out, Mims flipped. She hurled off round the field and by the time she got to the straight part along the bottom by the stream, she broke into a gallop. But all to no avail, HE took our Wicky away. I was upset but not as upset as Mims because I have seen it all before. I knew that Wick was only going for a trim and, once he had got going, even Wick didn’t seem to mind that much.
Just after midday, HE turned up again, this time in the green car. I suppose HE had to use that because HE had left the jeep just outside the field shelter for some reason. Anyway, HE appeared but no Wicky. HE strode down to the shelter and emerged a few minutes later with a bag of hay, got back into the car and drove off.
Then, about half past four, they finally came along. Wick looked about half his former self except his legs which were still short fat hairy ones. After HE had driven off in HIS jeep, Wick explained that his coat had been so tough and long that Pauline had had to lave his legs to another day. He had blunted all her trimmer blades and, I think, exhausted her at the same time. He told us that HE had taken him for a walk down to the recreation ground where SHE used to take me. He said that at first he wasn’t very impressed but then he found some clover. He reckoned that it might take him up to three days to get that grass looking tidy. He also said that he could have come back about half an hour before but that HE was busy on the phone to the lady from the French bank who had phoned up to say that THEIR bank account had been approved.
So you see, Friday the Thirteenth isn’t completely a bad luck day!

I love a good scratchSaturday 14th October 2006
Back to the weather again today. Not that it was interesting. Rather the opposite in fact. It started off one of those nights and early mornings when the Beacon couldn’t be seen because of the mist. By the time HE brought our breakfast, the field was clear but not a lot else. And then it has stayed a very grey and cloudy day, all day making us think it was supper time hours before it was.
OK, that’s the weather. Now the news.
Well, that was our news. Our equine news so to speak. THEY had a little news today. Again, it wasn’t earth shattering but at least they feel a little less forgotten. THEIR solicitor wrote to them with a couple of questionnaire forms to be filled in about the sale of the house. It made HIM realise that there was some stuff that HE hadn’t thought to tell the solicitor so HE took the opportunity to do so when HE got all the paperwork ready to send back. The other thing that he found out about the possible buyers is that their solicitor is in Doncaster. No problem there except HE had assumed for some reason that they were local. The reason was that they said they had seen HIM and I walking up and down from the house to the field. Little mysteries make life more interesting, don’t they.
HE is also just about to give up the local village website for ever. Someone in the village is taking over and HE has passed all the stuff over on a disk. All that remains now is for him to publish a couple more articles on the 16th and then to assign the site name over. Then HE can become a reader instead of a producer. Maybe then HE can also get round to taking a few decent pictures of us instead of driving all around the villages taking photos.

Sunday 15th October 2006
Guess what now? You all know about this website. You must do or you wouldn’t be reading this. Well, some of you may also know about the website which HE bought when HE knew we were going to France. If any of you have looked at that site, you will have found that it has virtually nothing on it at the moment. HE bought it but didn’t have the time to put anything there so all HE did was to take one page of my diary and put it through an automatic computer translator to produce a rather silly French version and then put that on it, as a sort of Franglais holding measure. However, if you are a regular reader of this diary, you already knew that too, didn’t you?Autumn mist
What you didn’t know though, is that HE has now gone even sillier. If you don’t know, all the website names are known as ‘domain names’ and these are made up of the actual name (like ‘alezane’) and a suffix which says something about the type of site and often its country of origin as well.So is a site in the UK and also, as far as the ‘co’ is concerned, should be a company (which is not). If you find ‘’ you will see that it is a company in North America (Canada, actually). So ‘’ is a site in Europe although, in this case, it doesn’t say which kind of site. Others have suffixes like .gov (national and local authorities), .ac (academic sites), .org (non commercial organisations, etc.
So what? Well, they have now brought out a new suffix, for people who want to get the internet on their mobile phones, called .mobi. Yes, you’ve guessed it. HE went and bought ‘’. So now, as well as having a euro site that is rubbish, HE is playing with a mobile phone site that, at the moment, is not a great deal better. HIS idea was, and I can’t argue with that, people might want something to run their mobile phone batteries down when they are standing at the bus stop or train station waiting to get somewhere. What a good idea, he thought, if they could just stand and have a jolly good old read of my diaries. And, if the train or bus was very late, there are three year’s archives to plough through as well. Think how happy people would be when they arrived at work, for example. It might well boost the national economy or something. No more road rage (well bus rage or train rage, I don’t advise reading my diary whilst driving to work) and what an advertisement for the equine industry. My goodness, the benefits are endless. Or so HE tells me.
Back to sanity. Another misty start to a very grey day. A little bit of sun towards the end of the day but no warmth in it. We can’t grumble though because the daytime temperatures are far above the average for this time of the year. Makes me wonder if we will pay for it and have a snowy winter. Mind you, we have always had a special  climate here on the eastern side of the moor. I wonder what Normandy will bring? We can only wait and see.

Spotted by MimsMonday 16th October 2006
Now I’m in trouble. HE has asked me to apologise for calling HIS latest website(s) ‘rubbish’. HE says the correct technical terms are ‘in development’ or ‘beta versions’ or other high sounding phrases. Anyway, HE says “How do I know?” So, no more talk on such a sore point. We will have to let history decide, as they say.
Another grey upon grey day with, this time, a bit of an easterly breeze, making things a bit cooler than of late. Not that we feel it. Not even Wicky, who had all his coat taken off the other day. Every morning and evening, HE puts HIS hand under Wick’s rug and comments on how warm he is. I remember last year after he had been clipped, Wick was wearing two rugs, one over the other. Nothing like that needed this year, so far. The only thing about Wick’s rug is hat, when he hs his coat trimmed, the rug does seem a bit big on him. Still, given his size, I would say anything would look big on him.
HE remarked to HER today on how my darling daughter is a bit crafty. When we are having our breakfast, I usually finish first because Mims is mooning about thinking of goodness knows what. Either that or yawning, the way only kids can do. So, when I finish, I go over to him to have a few carrots. When HE realises that I might get more than Mims that way, HE throws one or two down on the ground where she is eating (I’ll come back to that) so that she gets fair shares. But Mims, although she is well aware that the carrot is laying there, ignores it and pretends she doesn’t ee it. Then she comes over to where HE is feeding me and tries like mad to catch up, leaving that one on the floor for later. Maybe HE is misjudging her. I like to think that something like that is a mark of intelligence, not greed. But then, she is my daughter, isn’t she?

Tuesday 17th October 2006
HE just told me. They came and put up a for sale/sale agreed sign in front of their house. When the chap came, HE expressed surprise that they were bothering now. The agent said, yes, it had been a while, what, two weeks? To which HE retorted, rather abruptly, more like two months. Knowing HIM when HE gets upset, I hink we would find that the truth lies somewhere in between. Still, HE is looking at it now as a sign that maybe, just maybe, things are progressing at last. I think what HE is worried about now is that suddenly everything will have to be done in a rush. HE has secretly told me that one major job that he has kept on putting off is sorting out HIS shed. The thought of having to throw things away is not one HE can bear very well. HIS shed was where HE used to put things that SHE would want to throw away. Or things that HE found that attracted HIM. Not things that HE needed or that would ever be used, I must say, just things that ‘might’ come in handy. Well, HE has been proved right at last. They are handy for filling up the bins at the recycling centre!All the best people bend their knee
Some mixed but, on the whole better, news about HER today. She went to the doctors this morning, as I told you SHE would yesterday. He confirmed what she has known for over ten years now that her heart is not the best in the world. The only additional information was that it has got worse in those ten years. But, bad though that is, it is not really unexpected. The doctor is doing a complete series of tests so that everything is know and started on a course of treatment before we go away to France. He gave her a good prodding in her very sensitive tummy and drew a retort about how hard his fingers were. But, he got his own back by making her wait for a further blood test today and booking her for another test called an endoscopy to get to the bottom of her sore tummy (so to speak).
That reminded HIM of the time that HE had to go for an endoscopy. Being a complete medical moron, when HE got into the room with the doctors and nurses, they asked HIM if HE wanted an anaesthetic or no and HE replied ‘whatever you think best’. Now, for those of you who don’t know, an endoscopy is putting a tube down your throat into your tummy with a sort of tiny telescope on the end. HE found himself being held very firmly while swallowing this tube and trying HIS very best not to think about it and trying to gag. The doctors said it was to stop HIM feeling bad when HE woke up from an anaesthetic. They said very little about how bad HE would feel during the procedure.
Anyway, HER blood test was to confirm that the trend was for her cholesterol to drop, so at least that is good news. None of which has the slightest thing to do we us horses – or has it? If the doctor can sort her out to somewhere halfway decent again, we will be able to go out on gentle hacks when we get to the forests of Alencon. And then, when we get our permanent place, we can see about giving Mims a bit of elementary training. Oh, one good thing about Mims by the way. Now we are wearing our rugs, she cant scrape holes in her coat although, as SHE commented, that doesn’t stop her from tearing holes in the rugs which will cost money to repair!

The herdWednesday 18th October 2006
“Treg? Where are you Treg? Are you there?”
“Ello, Wick, you wanted something?”
“Oh, thank goodness, laddie. I thought I’d go mad for a bit of male company. Those gir’rls are very nice and all that but we done always have much in common.”
“Apart from the height, eh?”
“Oh yes, very funny, Treg.”
“And the colour?”
“I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t called you now. Well, old mate, how is it with you? How’s it going up there?”
“Funny that Wick. You always say ‘up there’ as if I’m floating about in the sky or something.”
“Well, aren’t you? If you’re not, where are you then?”
“Well, that’s not so easy to answer. Easiest to say that I’m here.”
“I know you’re here now Treg. But where do you go when you’re not here?”
“I don’t go anywhere Wick. No, honest. I’m always here.”
“Then how come I cant always see you then? How come I’m not always talking to you then?”
“The second question is easier to answer than the first, old mate. Even before, when I was part of the herd and eating the same grass and all that, you didn’t always talk to me. Quite often you went off on your own and didn’t talk to me for hours. Days sometimes, if I recall.”
“Aye, well yes. But that was different. I still could see you and talk to you if I wanted to. It was just, er.. well, just that I didn’t always want to.”
“And can’t you always talk to me now? If you want to, I mean? Where’s the difference?”
“Well. It feels different. That’s all I can say.”
“Let me try and explain it another way Wick. You know that the herd has a sort of pattern of having breakfast in the morning when HE comes along. Then it tends to hang about the field shelter for a bit to have a rest and get comfortable. Then you sort of drift up the hill, often into the top fields until it is nearing supper time when you wander gradually down again and end up in the road field to meet HIM with the supper buckets.”
“Aye, that’s our sort of routine. What about it?”
“Well, where we are we sort of hang about in our own place for a while and then we come along to see you lot. After that we may go off to meet other people we have know in what you call ‘life’. Then me may end up in our place until it’s time to wander off again. It’s much the same kind of pattern.”
“But we go down to the road gate because we know HE is coming with the buckets.”
“And I come along here to talk to you or Alii or Mims or sometimes I wander over to Winkleigh to see Michelle or even go back to Tregony for a while – all because I know that you are waiting for me. You see, I’ve not really gone anywhere. I am wherever you are or where Michelle is or whatever. Its easy. I’m not ‘up there’, I’m here, with you, whenever you want me. It’s just that you don’t always want me or think about me. Just like when I was in the herd. I suppose the best thing, as far as you are concerned Wick, is that now I don’t compete with you for the food.”
“Huh, you were never much of a threat, I assure you Treg. But, aye, I sort of understand what you are telling me. Comforting really. Just like old times?”
“Course it is. ‘Cept maybe that I don’t need to ask you so much anymore. I seem to know the answers now before I ask them.”
“Tell you what, Treg. It’s been really good to talk to you again but, if it really is that easy, I think I’ll leave you now. I hear supper’s on the way.”
“Yeah. Here HE comes. Go on mate, get your food. It really I like old times, aint it?”

Alli watches, Wivcky eats (of course)Thursday 19th October 2006
Another step towards France – or not? The guy came today to re-inspect THEIR house for damp and woodworm. The good news is that the woodworm will be under guarantee and the bad news? You guessed it. Basically, the man found a long crack in the rendering on the wall that faces the most of the weather and that is where the damp is getting in. That wall was not damp proofed under guarantee when they moved in because it was not damp at that time. Presumably the crack developed since. On of our Dartmoor earthquakes I suppose? HE tells me it is now a question whether the prospective buyers wish to undertake the work or whether THEY get it done and put the house back on the market at the original price, no offers. The second option will just delay our move but so what? While SHE is so unwell, that might not be so bad a thing.
And that is the news on the human side of things. And us? Not terribly exciting, I’m afraid. The main story is the weather again. Last night and early this morning was really horrendous with very heavy rain and almost gale force winds. So, what did we do? Stayed in the field shelter, of course. So, this was the puzzling thing for HIM when HE turned up with our breakfast. As he got out of the jeep, all buttoned, zipped and studded up against the weather, the sight that met him was all three of us horses (well two and Wicky) were standing out in the middle of the field in the wind and rain. Then, when HE turned the corner past the hedge, HE saw the reason. Someone (I wonder who?) had broken the string on the big hay net that he had hung by the door and it had tumbled down and all the hay had fallen out. Now, none of us was prepared to stand there in the shelter and get the blame for it, so we had all gone to stand as far away as we could get.
It made no difference though, because HE didn’t want to get wet while we were eating so HE just took all our buckets into the shelter and we had to go there to have breakfast. But, at least, HE thought it was funny and we didn’t get into trouble at all. HE just picked up the old net and lashed it together somehow saying that THEY were going to the farm shop tomorrow to buy our travelling bandages so THEY could get some new hay nets then.
The last thing I want to say is that the evenings are now getting noticeably shorter. HE is having to come along with supper, earlier and earlier and always now seems to have to use his lights in the jeep. And yet, we still haven’t got a real autumn yet. The leaves on the trees are still basically green and the weather is still unseasonably warm. Wet, yes. Windy, yes. But cold? No. we will probably pay for all this with a hard and sharp winter. But, when that will be, who knows?

Mims tries mutual groomingFriday 20th October 2006
“… and here we are, nearly xmas and still, Oh, we’ll finish this later, my girl.”

Sorry about that. Just giving my daughter a bit of a talking to. Now, where are we. Oh yes. When I first started this diary, we were having major drainage works done in the field. Diggers were buzzing about. Work men here and there. All sorts of exciting things going on. Lots to talk about. Well, today we got a new hay net! There. Exciting? No, maybe not. But that’s about it. Let me remember. HE came along with our breakfasts and … oh yes, HE laughed at me.
I was waiting for HIM to turn up and had sort of drifted over to where Wick has his breakfast. Now, between there, which is along by the bank this side of the stream, and where we (Mims and I) stand, in the centre of the home paddock, there is a strip that before that drainage work I just mentioned was put in, used to get very wet and boggy. HE tried to stop it by digging a ditch along where we now have some post and rail but it made very little difference. That was one of the reasons why THEY had drainage put in. The worst bit was the other side of the fence. THEY did consider giving in to nature and having a pond dug there, it was so wet. You see, it is the low land where all the natural drainage for the rain runs to and when it is wet (a funny thing to say about Dartmoor) that part used to have grass floating on the top, giving the impression that you could walk over it but where, actually, you would sink into water to the depth of nearly a foot if you were taken in by it.
Anyway, since the drainage has been done, that area has become nicely dry and just like any other part of the fields. Any other part except that strip between where Wick stands and we do to eat our bucket food. So this morning, after I had taken my treat from HIM, HE walked over the wet and soggy bit that is nearly a stream again and looked round to see me following HIM, only to catch me walking around the long way. He may have wellies on but I don’t!
SHE drove up to see us today. THEY had been down to the farm shop to get our tail bandages for our trip on the ferry and SHE wanted to come and see us as SHE has been missing us lately. Mims however, was less than impressed. First she got shouted at for just trying to bite Wicky when he came up to gate to join us. Then Mims found that SHE took a lot of reminding to keep popping treats into her mouth. I never have this much trouble with HIM, she complained after THEY had gone. I have had to remind her that she has had it easy so far. Yes HE is a soft touch but it doesn’t do a horse much good to always get her way. She will actually be a lot better off when we get to France and SHE takes up her training properly. Still, I told her, enjoy it while you can, my girl. And that’s when she said, well, I wont tell you what she said, but that is what I was in the middle of sorting out when you turned up. I now have to go back to being a mother. Oh dear, and I thought I was done with that ten years ago!

That bucket againSaturday 21st October 2006
I need to bring you up to date with the cats. Yes, I know this is supposed to be an equine site, but they are my friends and so you should know about them. Come to that, as it doesn’t look as if I am going to be going back to my stable in Ramsley Lane this year, I ought to be able to catch up on them, as well.
Anyway, I didn’t need to ask because HE told me, yesterday. You know that all three of them are now equipped with their own passports. In that way they might even be said to honorary equines as we have all had ours for a long while. Well, HE thought that was it. No more vets bills for the cats! Well, HE was wrong. A few days ago, a card came with the post saying that Tom (that’s the brown one) was dues for another injection (I forget what for, flu or cat stuff or something). Then, while HE was getting ready to make an appointment to take Tom along to the vets, SHE remembered that PC (that’s the white one, although he is officially ‘lilac’), who has been on a series of steroid shots, to keep his liver deterioration at bay, was overdue for his next one.
Well, the upshot was that HE bundled the two of them up and took them along to the vets yesterday. Tom just had his required injection and then insisted on sitting on HIS shoulder and inspecting all the rooms next to the examination room he was in. However, PC, as well as having his steroid and multivit shots was recommended to have his blood pressure taken. At first HE was a bit cautious as PC is an old gentleman now and HE was worried that it might be a difficult procedure for him. However, HE was reassured that it only meant having a little fur removed and then a cuff put round his ankle and a small probe being attached so that the vet could listen with some headphones and then record the pressure on some meter. HE agreed and it was found that poor old PC had a blood pressure of 240 while normal is 170 (so the vet said).
So finally, they came away with some more of Tom’s breathing pills (I forgot to say that Tom has to have one pill every other night to fight the problem that his sister died of) and also a bottle of pills for PC to help reduce his blood pressure. A quarter of a pill every day was prescribed and was started straight away when he got home. By now he has had a couple and THEY can swear that they can detect a difference in him. He had been having a sort of nervous tic quite often and now that appears to have gone. Maybe it is only wishful thinking but hopefully there will be a real improvement in the old boy.
One last thing. The three cats now have their photographs in their passports. HE wanted them so that HE can quickly tell whose is whose but it was also a bit of fun. The problem was that PC would not look straight at the camera so he looks a bit dreamy in his. Which is funny really, as it is Tom that has trouble staying awake!

Alli & Wicky relax ...Sunday 22nd October 2006
A long wet, cold and miserable day. Really hard to find anything nice to say about it at all. Started off OK. Mims and I were up above the field shelter when HE brought breakfast because the home paddock is getting rather a soggy mess at the moment. For some reason, Mims has gone off her morning half apple. She does bite it in half (can you say that? She actually bites it into a quarter apple but I suppose that is half in half? Oh well.) but then she absolutely refuses to eat the other half or the four sugar cubes that go with it. It’s strange, HE says, that you can’t treat some horses. Mind, Wicky is not very interested either. But for a different reason, I think. Wick is always in a hurry to finish his bucket so that h can come over and eat up anything Mims and I have spilled. So extra treats are going to slow him down and so we might eat up all our own food before he gets a chance to nick it.
Enough of food. The birds have been a bit absent of late. I expect loads have flown home to warmer, sunnier climes. HE doesn’t seen to have to fill up the peanut feeder as often or as much as before. Never mind, it gives him all the more time to refill our hay nets. Although I have to say, even those are taking a long while to go down. I think it is because THEY bought nearly a winter’s worth of hay but are not expecting us to be here for the whole winter to get through it, so HE is very generous when HE fills our nets. However, we don’t eat any more. We just pull it out of the net and let it land on the floor so that we end up with a great big pile under the net to eat from.
HE now is getting worried/annoyed by the fact that although the French bank spoke to him on the phone and said that they would send his account details to the house here, they still have not arrived yet although it was ten days ago that they phoned. HE says the biggest problem is having so much to remember. It’s not that THEY need the bank account yet but it would be one less thing to have to remember to do. This way, THEY forget all about it for weeks and then suddenly remember and worry that something must have gone wrong that they need to deal with.
One nice thing HE told me. HE found a very close up aerial photo of the farm where we are going to stay until we buy our new home. You can make out the houses, barns, roads and even the orchard. HE found it on the French Yellow Pages site after doing a search for farmers (agrigculteurs) at the address postcode. Oh, by the way, don’t tell Wick about the orchard, as the farmer says that there are lots of windfalls at certain times of the year. Still, Mims wouldn’t be interested, would she?

.. then along comes MimsMonday 23rd October 2006
We continue to puzzle, nay amaze HIM. Tonight it was pouring with rain and so dark that HE brought our supper half an hour earlier. But, instead of huddling in the field shelter keeping dry, all three of us were up in the Throwleigh Road field just grazing. Well, a mix between grazing and drinking I expect. Whatever. There we were, soaking wet and taking absolutely no notice at all. Then HE had to persuade us to go and eat in the shelter as HE didn’t want to get wet. Mims just went and planted herself in the usual place  but I was persuaded to follow HIM into the shelter. Wicky, of course, just followed his bucket as he would wherever it went. Finally, HE was able to call Mims over and we all had supper in the shelter. Also in the dark. Half way through, Mims had to turn round, so that she could look out. Dead nosey that girl. She even leaves her food rather than not be able to watch what is going on along the road or in the next field.
Talking of Mims, I am afraid she and I had a bit of a falling out yesterday. Now, I can’t be sure if it was me being a bit too much of an authoritative mum or if it was her being her usual headstrong self. Whatever, we had a bit of a spat and spent yesterday afternoon in separate fields. Something else to worry him. It may also have had something to do with the fact that I was a bit stiff in the front legs again yesterday. Not just stiff but in pain too. I’ve been better today but I suspect HE may have put something in my feed this morning. This suspicion was boosted by the fact that HE stood over me to make sure that I ate all my bucket up and didn’t leave anything for Wicky. That’s one of the problems with horses. Cats and dogs tend to have pills which humans then know that they have (or have not) eaten. But with horses, powders in their feed only work if they can be sure that it has all been eaten up by the intended horse not her friend.
HER sister turned up today for a few days visit. HE told me that HE nearly didn’t get to pick her up from the airport as the traffic was at a standstill all around Exeter. Fortunately HE didn’t have to go into the city but just around it to get to the airport. It turned out when HE met her that it took HIM almost as long to get to the airport as it took her to fly here from Norwich. Maybe if the weather improves we will see her before she flies back on Friday.

Mims causes troubleTuesday 24th October 2006
A better day today as far as the weather goes. It was a bit chilly for humans but that matter a bit for us horses. HE is always amazed when HE has come out of HIS warm, centrally heated house and is feeling very cold and sorry for himself when HE comes to feed us (bother himself should have been in capitals, never mind, you know who I am talking about) and HE feels under our rugs to find us, in HIS own words, ‘as warm as toast’.
Mind you, HE is finding it difficult to find somewhere to put our buckets down out in the paddock as the ground seems to be getting more and more sodden and worn out. No problems when we eat in the shelter but, when the weather is as nice as it has been today, there is no way HE is going to get us to go in there.
HE was doing a bit of bird watching this morning. It started when HE went out to his car and two buzzards were flying or hovering right over his head and mewing in the distinctive way that they have. Then, HE gets up to out field and the pair of ravens were making their usual horrendous caw caw-ing as the flew up from the trees and flew overhead on their way back to the moor. This made HIM want to do an assessment of who is still coming to eat the oats and peanuts as they are going down much more slowly these days. Although HE stood quietly for quite a long time, HE could only spot the usual single robin and a smattering of chaffinches. There may have been a hedge sparrow or two in there but it is hard to distinguish them in the early poor light, especially as the finches are less highly coloured these days.
News from the house. HE had a bit of excitement today. HE went shopping! HER sister Norma came with him. For a bit of excitement too, I suspect. The good news is that SHE appears to be making a bit of a recovery. Either that or SHE is making a special effort with HER sister there. Hard to tell with humans. Equines are much more honest and straight forward. If we feel rotten we be rotten, no matter who is watching. The same is true if we are feeling good. We don’t hide our high feelings under a cloak of ‘ladylike politeness’ do we Mims? I said ‘do we Mims?’ The little darling!

Wick has run away ...Wednesday 25th October 2006
SHE spoke to the lady (Jo) where we are going to stay, at first, in France, yesterday. Jo had phoned to tell HER that the telephone had now been put in to the cottage. Then they got chatting and Jo mentioned her twelve year old daughter, Sophie, who is a horse rider and who is looking forward to us coming onto her farm. SHE mentioned that Sophie might like to look on my website and p-assed on the details. Today SHE got a lovely letter from Sophie saying nice things about us so I decided to write back to her. This is my little letter. I hope you can understand most of it.

Bonjour Sophie, je dis merci pour m'écrire. Et, dans l'anglais, aussi! J'essaie de parler au Kilgannons (my humans) dans le français mais ils ne peuvent pas me comprendre.

Saviez-vous que je suis né à L'haras d'Etreham à Normandie ? Et ensuite, quand j'avais fini de courir, j'avais deux filles, Faline (qui était la petite amie de Bambi) et Mims (de la Madame Mim, la sorcière dans l'Épée dans la Pierre). Je que dont connaissent où Faline est maintenant, mais Mims reviens, en vivant avec moi. Mims veut être présenté à votre stalion. Elle est très mauvaise, non ?
Je dois vous dire un secret. Je lui répète (Peter mon humain) qu'écrire et IL reçoit l'ordinateur pour le traduire dans le français. IL a vraiment essayé d'écrire directement dans le français mais c'était si bête, IL a renoncé. Vous devez m'aider à lui enseigner comment parler correctement, quand nous arrivons là.

Au revoir pour maintenant


... only to come back againThursday 26th October 2006
So guess what my silly daughter did today? You know how she was always making holes in her coat before we had our rugs put on? Well, now she has fallen and made some very deep scrapes in her knee (it’s not really her knee but it is where humans have knees so that it is easiest for you to imagine what I am talking about. If I said she had scraped her ankle you would have imagined quite the wrong place). Where was I? Oh yes. I was telling you … Well. After she had done it, the blood ran right down the front of her leg and, as it dried, the colour merged in with the colour of Mims coat.
Then, in early afternoon, we had a pleasant surprise. SHE came along with HER sister (and HIM of course) to make sure that HE was giving us enough treats. We were all having a very nice time when SHE noticed the blood on Mims’ leg and off HE went top the field shelter to re-appear with a wet cloth and some wound powder. Now, as much as Mims is always falling over or scraping herself and surviving OK, the moment HE tried to wash the wound and put the powder on, she goes all girlie and silly. The only way that HE could do it was to go to the car and get her head collar so that SHE could hold Mims while HE tended the wound. Even then, she wouldn’t stand still and the moment THEY took the head collar off, Mims was away down the filed and over the stream to get away. HE had to pass her again when HE put the powder away and she did deign to take a mouthful of oats in recompense.
Then HE just walked away from her and rejoined everyone else giving us treats. The next minute, Mims came cantering up the field to join us as she really didn’t want to miss anything. Then, tonight, when HE brought our suppers, HE took another good look at the wounds and decided to use a medicated spray on them just to be sure that it was sterilized. The minute the spray hit her leg, she just left her food and was off again. HE ignored her and she came back but HE wasn’t happy that all the cuts had been sprayed, so HE did it again. And she ran off again. Eventually, when she was sure that HE had put the spray away, she came back to finish her supper.
I really must get HIM to show her the photos of the time the vet bloodied my nose putting that tube down it!

"It wasn't me, Alli"Friday 27th October 2006
THEY had quite a busy day today (including taking a look at us on the way home). SHE had to go to Exeter hospital for an ultrasound check up at 9.45. Now, last time HE went to Exeter, to pick up HER sister from the airport, the traffic was so bad that a journey of usually thirty minutes, took him just over an hour. So, this morning, so as not to be late for HER appointment, THEY left home virtually as soon as HE came back from giving us our breakfast. The added complication was that HER sister had to be back at the airport to catch her flight by midday. Now there was no way that HE could go to the hospital and then come back and pick Norma up and then get back in time to catch the plane, so Norma had to go with THEM to the hospital.
Fortunately all went straightforwardly at the hospital and when they had finished there, they had quite a bit of time to spare so they were able to go into the hospital restaurant and have the breakfast that they had missed in the morning. Then they made their way to the airport and dropped Norma off with three quarters of an hour to spare. Then, lastly, THEY had to stop off on the way home to buy our carrots otherwise HE would have had none to bring us tonight and that would have been a tragedy. I think THEY both had to spend the afternoon having a little nap to recover before THEY got back into routine.
THEY had one disappointment when THEY got home. There were some emails from France abut a property THEY were getting very excited about. Lots of things were right but, unfortunately, the place was on a road with neighbours nearby who would have passed back and forth in front of the house which was one of the very things THEY don’t want. THEY have made a wish list for the home of THEIR dreams and, whilst THEY know they will have to compromise, there are some things (including isolation from roads) that THEY will not compromise on. THEY were about to have a survey done on the place too so it is just as well that THEY found out before the money was spent on that. So, I expect you could say, that some good came out of it. Oh well, back to the drawing board for THEM!

Ps Mims leg is a lot better today. What next for her, I wonder?

"You tell tale, Wicky"Saturday 28th October 2006
HE had a terrible shock yesterday. In reply to an email HE had sent a friend, HE learned, in passing, that Clarence White had died. Clarence was the farmer who had the fields next to ours and whose cows we often see looking through the hedge. I think, what made it more shocking was that, on Thursday, when THEY came along with HER sister, Norma, and found Mims with the grazed leg, THEY had also found one of Clarence’s cows walking along the Throwleigh Road and had managed to get it back into the field between them. HE had later gone round to Clarence’s house to let him know that here must be a hole in the hedge somewhere and the lady HE told didn’t say anything (probably assuming that HE knew). Then again, yesterday morning, HE found two of Clarence’s cows wandering in the road but, as HE was on HIS own, HE was not able to do anything so HE phoned Clarence’s house to let them know and, again, was told nothing.
HE told me that it was strange. HE was not a close friend of Clarence and his wife Pat but, when THEY had met them, in the village, they had always stopped for a chat and always made THEM feel very welcome. So, when HE read the email and found out of Clarence’s death, HE found that HE had tears in HIS eyes. Clarence was one of two farmers left living in the centre of the village and his father who farmed there before him used to breed and show Dartmoor Ponies. The real, pure bred Dartmoor Ponies not the cross bred Hill ponies like Wicky. HE says that it was an honour to have known him and that the village will be a lesser place without him. Although HE has officially given up the village web site now, he posted a photo of Clarence laughing, in memory, on the front page which should remain there until the new editors publish the November issue at the start of next month.
Now to happier things. HE has been out taking pictures of the village Carnival this afternoon (the children’s part) and is going again tonight to photograph the adult floats. It will be the last time for we will be in France next year although I expect that they will have something similar there, maybe at another time of the year. SHE got another email from Sophie today and is trying to write back in French. It is going to be an interesting few months as THEY struggle to make THEMSELVES understood. HE bought a book today full of phrases and words to do with going to the vets, in France. Maybe the first word that THEY look up should be ‘lame’?

"Now listen, the two of you!"Sunday 29th October 2006
I am not at all sure what is going on. This morning we had to wait around about an hour for our breakfast. There was nothing wrong with our timing. As usual, when HE is due to turn up, we all took our positions in the home paddock. And then we waited …. And waited … and waited. Mims got very fidgety but Wicky, well, he got downright grumpy. And when Mims tried to cheer him up with a few friendly bucking and kicking games, he just went all moody and silent. As I said, it was an hour before HE turned up and then HE just strode into the field, HIS usual awful jolly self, as if nothing had happened. At last I couldn’t stand it any long and asked HIM where the .. er where HE had been. ‘Oh, didn’t you know’, he said, ‘the clocks went back last night’ as if that explained anything. If THEY had to give their clocks back to whoever it might be, you would think that THEY would have had the sense to have some spare ones of THEIR own around, so that THEY wouldn’t be late for our breakfast. I think HE got the message as HE was on time for supper tonight. We will have to keep a very careful eye on HIM over the next few days.
This evening, my darling daughter was full of herself. Supper turned up and so we started down towards the stream. This is always a difficult moment as HE is carrying the buckets and we don’t want Him to trip and spill things so I trty to get Mims to either go on ahead of HIM or to wait back with me. The problem is often that HE tries to be polite and let us go first and then we get into that ‘oh no, after you’ thing which can make for delays to the important eating process. So, tonight I steered Mims away from the stream to let HIM cross first but, the trouble was that Wicky crosses with Him and that gets up Mims’ nose. So, instead of doing what she should, she first ran at me and bucked and then weaved past m towards him and Wick and bucked again. HE moved straight into the wagging HIS finger at her routine which seemed to stir her up even more and she ran right round behind me and then up to HIM again. This time HE shouted ‘STAND’ at her and made her stop. But then, when HE crossed the stream with Wick at HIS heels, Mims cantered right across and round the field to show that she was not taking any of that. In the end, everyone realised that it was just a bit of fun and we all had a nice supper.
One last bit of good news. SHE was sitting in doors this afternoon when SHE heard hooves walking bye and looked out of the window to see Annette walking bye with a handsome young chestnut lad. When HE was driving back from giving us supper, HE saw Annette and asked her about him. HE couldn’t stop long as HE was blocking the road and a Land Rover came along but HE learned that the chestnut is five years old and not properly backed yet and that he used to be with an England footballer in Cheshire. Just you wait till Mims hears about him. A good job we will be going to France or there might have been some flirting going on!

Calm is restoredMonday 30th October 2006
The trouble with humans (or, I should say, one of the troubles with humans) is that they talk a lot. Talk and touch. They must always be touching you. And talking!
HE brought the little camera along the other day, something HE hasn’t one for a while. Then HE started moaning because HE said that all we do is eat and HE has enough photos of that to last till … well, for a long time. So, what HE did, was when HE had walked away into the Throwleigh Road field, on the way to the car, HE stopped and spied on us and took photos of what we did after we had finished eating. Now, we didn’t mind this because it was useful as an education for him. It at least showed him how it is possible to lead very well organised lives without all that talking. In fact, he was so impressed that he has used one little sequence of photos in this diary for the last few days before this day, to illustrate what I am talking about. The first picture shows me and Wick having a little post breakfast chat about the state of the world and that. The next photo shows my darling daughter Mims coming along to join us. Now, cast your minds back to the very first day that Mims was brought to join us at Ninefields. The very first thing that happened was that Wicky chased her all the way up to the top field. He was only doing his duty to protect the herd (which included Tregony then) but I am afraid Mims has never forgotten (or forgiven him). So, the next photo, I am afraid shows a little ‘set to; between the two of them. In the next, Wick is nowhere in sight, having been told where he can go. Then, you see Wick walking back to tell me what he thought of her behaviour and then my reaction. Finally, things get back to normal and the herd is at peace again. And all done without a single verbal exchange. It’s amazing what you can achieve with your ears, teeth and body language!
The other photos that HE has used for this months diary were taken when SHE came over for a sadly all too rare visit, these days. I have missed her very much and one of the things I have missed is her very good neck scratching abilities. I am afraid that HE caught some rather silly expressions and neck stretchings while I was enjoying myself. I spoke before about body language. You really could read a whole  book of enjoyment into my postures in these pictures.

Maxwell does 'trick or treat'Tuesday 31st October 2006
And we didn’t even know! HE turned up this evening with our supper but Mims and I were much too concerned with what was going on outside of our field to pay a lot of notice. We did draw a bit near to HIM for some support but HE still didn’t know what was up. We followed very closely to HIM and Wick when we went down to the stream but there, Mims and I froze and just stared. HE stood there for a while but then just shrugged and crossed over and placed Wick’s bucket on the round.
I think HE started to get the message when, as HE was putting my bucket down, I ran straight at him. Of course, I stopped before I got there but it did make HIM take some notice. After putting Mims’ bucket down, HE came over to me and said ‘what’s the matter old girl, Halloween ghosties after you?’. And, of course, that explained it. HE thought it was the sound coming from Michael’s farm where someone was knocking with the digger, probably putting a post in or something. But HE couldn’t know what we horses know, of course. We just had to wait and be polite to HIM until our supper was over and HE went off back to his car. I looked at Wick and he was sniggering in his food pile as HE passed him. I thought he might explode and give the game away but he managed to hold on until we saw the little green car drive away.
“OK Treg. Where are you, you old monkey? What do you think you are playing at, scaring the lassies like that?”
“Ere I am, Wick. Boo! There, what d’you think of that?”
“Boo? Boo? Is that the best you can do?”
“Well, I thought it was pretty good. That Mims was a bit scared, weren’t she?”
“No I was not Uncle Treg. I just had a feeling that something was different but I couldn’t quite place it. What are you doing here? Come to have supper with us?”
“Supper? I don’t need any supper girl. No, I’m out scaring. It’s our night, isn’t it?”
“Quite right Treg. How lovely to see you, by the way. You really had me going for a minute there. Until I realised it was you, of course.”
“Hello Alli. It’s nice to see you again. Were you really scared? Was it my ‘Boo’ that did it?”
“Er, no, Treg. Not the Boo. No it was just the sense of something supernatural in the air. You could feel it rather than hear it.”
“Oh. And I thought my Boo was really good. Would you like to hear my ‘Whoooeee’? It’s really blood-curdling. Goes downa treat with them back in Cornwall.”
“We’re a bi’ more sophisticated than they ladies down there my ol’ mate. I’m afraif even your Whoooeee wouldn’t make a lot of us jump down Dartmoor.”
“No, Uncle Treg. Why don’t you just have a bite of grass with us. You couldn’t scare us anyway, we like you too much.”
“Probably you’re right miss Mims. But I’ve got to try to scare someone. It’s my job. We all have to go out and do that this evening. Sort of makes up for the rest of the year when we don’t do anything.”
“Tell you what, laddie. See yon grey ion the next field. You could have a go at scaring him. Maxwell didn’t know you, did he?”
“Well, you see Wick. The problem is, I already tried.”
“And what happened? Wasn’t he scared?”
“I’m afraid I don’t really know. You see, I sneaked up behind him and he looked up when he heard me. Then I caught a glimpse of that mask. Wow! Never seen anything like it. I ran. Worse scare I’ve ever had. And do you know what he had the cheek to yell out after me? ‘Happy Halloween!’”

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