Alezane's Diary Archive March 2008
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Hospital UrgencesSaturday 1st March 2008
The start of a new month and a very funny day indeed. I am afraid there is very little about us horses today. Let me tell you why.

SHE had a very disturbed night with her abdominal pains. In fact, neither of them slept at all. Finally, after HE had been along to give us our breakfast, SHE decided that SHE couldn’t take the pain any longer. THEY made a phone call to the doctor who advised going back to the hospital and she wrote a letter for THEM to take and phoned the hospital in advance. THEY picked up the letter and gathered together all the results of the various tests that had been done to date and drove off to the hospital.

To cut a very long wait short, THEY spent six hours in Urgences (French casualty or ER) with the only event, apart from being put on a pain killer drip, was going for one more examination. After chasing up the doctor by asking everyone THEY saw what was happening, it was decided that SHE would be kept in hospital for further tests and observation. As it was then five o’clock, HE drove back home to feed us and then drove back to the hospital, expecting HER to now be in a new ward. Instead, HE found HER still waiting on the trolley in the corridor of Urgences where HE had left her. Finally, about eight o’clock, SHE was moved to a medical ward or service as it is called here.

One interesting thing happened before SHE left Urgences. One of the doctors came to ask if THEY could meet later to help him improve his English. He was planning to move to Canada later and wanted to be able to speak good English before he went.

By the time HE got home, HE was too tired to type up my diary and went to bed expecting to sleep very soundly.

View to OrneSunday 2nd March 2008
Instead, HE only managed about three and a half hours sleep and was shattered when the alarm went to get up and get our breakfast. However, it being Sunday, HE decided to cook a full egg and bacon (or what passes for bacon here) breakfast to give HIMSELF a good start for the day. As visiting was not allowed until 12.30, HE sat down in the armchair to try to get a bit more sleep. Nothing happened until the cat, Tom, came and sat on HIS chest. HE had intended to go out and buy some bread at ten o’clock but, when HE opened HIS eyes, it was ten thirty.

When HE got to the hospital, it was some very good news, if it is true. SHE told HIM that SHE had had a consultation with the doctor and he had concluded that there was no physical problem associated with her pain. It was the result of stress and worry compounded by trying to relieve it with too much wine. They were going to medicate HER for three days to bring HER stress levels down and also organise for HER to see a cardiologist, which SHE had not done for many years now. As SHE was already feeling sleepy, HE was sent home early.

One thing I forgot to tell you yesterday was that, on HIS way home in the dark yesterday, a barn owl flew into HIS headlights. It flew into the ditch at the side of the road so HE stopped to get a better look but it flew away. Still, it was the first real sighting that HE has had since THEY moved to France.

Today, as HE was home early HE decided to cook an early meal and was sitting eating it when HE noticed someone spraying and pruning the trees in next door’s garden. While HE was watching, HE also caught sight of Morgan, the lad next door being mugged by Mims and I. Morgan kept getting something from his garden and then coming to the fence to feed us. In the end, he climbed over the fence so that he could also give some to the Big Man.


On reflectionMonday 3rd March 2008
Being reassured now, HE got a better night’s sleep last night and was in a better frame of mind when HE brought our breakfasts. HE then had to go shopping to buy us some ,ore apples and carrots and decided to go to Villaines, the nearby town with a store that has a few English books, so that HE could take them to HER in the hospital.

When HE got back HE had two jobs to do before going visiting at midday. It’s funny but as HE thought Gladys was coming this afternoon to clean the house, HE set about tidying up. The bedroom particularly had been left in a bit of a state when THEY had rushed out to the hospital on Saturday. As it happens, HE had the day wrong and Gladys is coming tomorrow but at least the job is done now.

The other thing was that SHE had requested that HE compile a few photos of us horses (and the cats and hens) to show to other patients and staff at the hospital. I don’t know if you realise how difficult it is to be in hospital where no one speaks your language. Having the photos will help to ease the burden of communicating a little I suppose. Anyway, how could anyone not like to look at us?

When HE got to the hospital, SHE was not in such a good mood as before. Apparently an intern had come along to ask all the same questions that she has answered twice already. SHE explained that it was hard enough for her to try and answer them in a foreign language and she was not able to do it all over again. The intern should read the notes. HER bad mood was not helped by the fact that the promised consultation with the cardiologist had failed to materialise. It appears that French hospitals suffer from the same deficiency as hospitals all over the world in that they may have good medical practices but they do not treat people like people and fail to keep them informed as to what is going on (at a time when they are most vulnerable and anxious) and instead treat them like inanimate items on a production line that must be manipulated to the staff’s convenience.

Again, HE was sent home early and was just in the middle of his lunch of pizza and chips when THEIR friends Eliane and Andre turned up to find out how SHE was. Andre certainly didn’t think that pizza was a proper meal and said HE should have bifsteak instead. HE finally got down to trying to update last month’s diary which, inconsiderately, coincided with the whole hospital affair and so didn’t get done yet. With luck HE will finish it tonight.

Hospital ServicesTuesday 4th March 2008
The worst day so far for her. Probably a lot of it has to do with the tranquillising drugs that they are feeding HER through a tube into her arm. This, of course, makes her sleepy and confused and also is giving HER bad dreams. SHE also has not eaten a proper meal for weeks now and that, together with the medication is giving HER a bad tummy. Eliane came to visit HER today and SHE collapsed in the toilet. Eliane had to help HER back to bed.

SHE was also expecting to see the cardiologist today as SHE thought he said that he would come along at ten o’clock but he didn’t arrive. It is hard to know if she got it wrong because of her confused state or language problems of if he actually did let HER down. For whatever reason, today SHE reached a low and felt like discharging herself.

HE must have caught some of the depression and confusion because be both forgot to lock the hens up for the night and also, which is much worse, forgot to type this days diary up in the evening. It has had to wait until the next morning to get done.

What there is of it!

DonkeyWednesday 5th March 2008
We have been on short rations today. HE thinks that we didn’t know but HE is wrong. What happened was that, yesterday, we were running low on our Floconné (the sort of mixed grain component of our meals) so HE drove to the feed shop to get some more, only to find that they had none in stock. HE ordered some, which they said would be in today but HE has known in the past that this ordering system does not always work. So, to be sure that we had at least some for tomorrow morning, to allow HIM time to buy some for tomorrow evening, HE cut down today’s ration by half a scoop each. To make up the bulk, HE added in another handful of sugar beet in each bucket. Just imaging if you had extra peas to make up for having less chips for your lunch. We are not silly but, as HE is under a bit of stress at the moment, we let HIM get away with it, just this once.

HIS routine has settled into looking after us first in the morning and then driving off to the hospital to visit HER. Then HE has the rest of the morning for shopping after which HE makes HIS lunch and then has a rest in the afternoon until it is time to feed us again. Then HE is off to the hospital again for an evening visit before coming home for an hour or two watching TV. Only, this afternoon, HE couldn’t rest and it was such a lovely day that HE came and hosed out our stables and washed all the mud off the concrete apron outside.

SHE had a better day today and Jo, HER bi-lingual friend from the farm in Livaie was there just at the right time when the cardiologist arrived for a consultation. He said that he wants to do a couple more tests before he can decide what is needed to be done about her faulty mitral valve. As he works out of Le Mans, this will mean a lengthy drive but it will ensure that she can be seen more quickly. The other good news is that SHE came off the drip tubes today. They will now give HER the medication in pill form instead.

WickedThursday 6th March 2008

HE was looking a bit frail this morning. I thought, oh dear, HE’s not had a night’s sleep again. But, it turns out, that HE slept very well, apart from two things. First, at three o’clock, the telephone made a noise. I say ‘a noise’ because it wasn’t a normal ring but more the noise it makes when it is plugged back into the mains. Anyway, after ringing to wake HIM, it did it again while HE was getting HIS head in order. HE got up and wandered out into the hall where the phone is but there was no flashing light showing a missed call, neither was there another sound out of it. HE concluded that maybe there had been an electricity cut which made the phone make a noise when it came on again. The only problem with that theory is that it happened (at least) twice. So, at 3.15 he went back to bed, again to sleep until 4.30 when there were loud cat noises from the living room. When HE went to investigate it appeared that Tom and Cannabis were having a bit of a game. HE was really amused. Had HE stayed up then things might have been alright but he went back to sleep from 4.45 and when the alarm went off at 6.30 HE just wanted to sleep and sleep and sleep.

As I said, HE was not the life and soul at our breakfast time. We, on the other hand, were as wonderful and well behaved as we could be. Well except for Wicky who was, well, just Wicky. Everyone has decided that the one thing that Wick is good at is getting in the way. When Mims or I want to go into our boxes, there he is. When HE tries to open up the feed room. Wicky is in the way. When HE is trying to negotiate the Big Man’s passage to his box, HE is in great danger of getting trodden on as X tries to get past Wicky.

This evening, I had had enough of the Big Man. He is not really bad but his schoolboy horseplay (pardon the pun) does get wearing day after day. We were all standing on the concrete outside out boxes when HE came along to make supper. I don’t know what came over me but something snapped and instead of going quietly into my box, I turned and chased the Big Man out into the field. Then I turned and walked into my box and Mims did likewise. HE was just getting the rope to go and fetch Extreme back in when he appeared around the corned as if nothing had happened and calmly walked into his stall. I was so amazed that I couldn’t even think to kick the walls.

Mims' woundFriday 7th March 2008
Any regular readers will know that THEY say that Mims is accident prone. The last evidence of that was the scratch on her face, just missing the eye, that you can see in a photo in last month’s diary. That was until today. When HE went to give us supper, Mims turned round in her box and HE saw this very large section of missing hair on her rear nearside leg. It measures about five inches by four inches (HE estimates) and the only way she could have got it (HE guesses) is by a kick or some other glancing blow as the skin does not appear to be punctured. HE showed a photo on HIS mobile telephone to HER tonight and she has told HIM to dress it with wound powder, just in case.

One good thing HE noticed about Mims was when HE drove up to the house today. Mims and the Big Man were standing by the fence to get any treats out of HIM before HE went into the house. (We often find that this is a good time to catch HIM). HE went into the sous sol and got an apple and a roll of mints and then came along to feed us. I was standing a bit away from the fence and after HE had treated them, HE called me over but I hesitated as there was not much room between Mims and Big X. Mims saw that I was being kept out and straight away she turned and chased the Big Man off so that I was able to come and get my treats. Sometimes my daughter amazes me how sensitive she can be.

HE had a busy day today. After giving us our breakfast, HE drove off to the hospital to visit HER. HE had only been there five minutes when a doctor came along and sent HIM away (visiting doesn’t officially start until midday). HE then had to make an hour’s drive to the town of Mayenne to pick up one of the papers needed to register the green car in France for the first time. On the way back, HE stopped in the supermarket at Pre en Pail to pick up some things to take to the hospital. By the time HE got back to our village it was lunchtime and so the Mairie was shut and HE had to go out again this afternoon to deliver all the car registration papers. Then it was evening and time for our supper followed by another hospital visit. When HE came away, instead of coming straight home, HE went to a different supermarket to get HER some pyjamas and a dressing gown (robe de chamber).

While at the hospital HE learned that SHE is going to be taken to Le Mans on Monday for her cardiology tests and diagnosis. HE thought that HE would be taking HER but SHE was told that SHE will be away for two days and, as Le Mans is a very long journey, THEY will have to communicate by phone while SHE is away. I hear that SHE dreamed that SHE was riding me the other day. I hope it will come true after SHE has her heart mended.

Telecomms towerSaturday 8th March 2008
A week ago today since SHE went into hospital. I think we horses are coping very well considering.
HE obviously doesn’t have HIS full mind on only us but we have come to recognise when HE returns from the hospital in the mornings and we line up at the fence at the first sight and sound of the green car (or voiture as we say maintenant). And, it is not only us. The chickens have also come to wait for his return. If it is bread that HE has for us, then they get all the crumbs that we drop. However, if HE has to go and get us a carrot or apple from the sous sol then they get nothing and have to content themselves with pecking vigorously at HIS feet.

Oh, I have to tell you what a treacherous thing HE did this morning, After HE had given us our buckets, HE disappeared for a while. We took no notice because we were eating anyway and HE often goes and empties the barrow on the pooh pile at such times. However, after HE had left, Wicky went out to the drinker behind the stable (as this is the place that he prefers to drink) and he came rushing back to us. Come and look what HE has done now, Wick cried. We all went out and behind the stable to find that HE had fenced off our big, lovely flat field. We are now condemned to only graze in the old field that we had when we first came here. Actually, there is nothing wrong with this field. It is even better than it was when we came as it has been topped and limed (twice) and it should produce some very good grazing this year, when the grass starts growing again. No, it is not so much what this field is like. It is just that we like the other one even more. And to be barred from it? Well! Oh I know it is fro our own good. SHE is behind this. SHE wants to rest the field and allow the new crop of grass to get a good foothold so that it supports us through the summer and autumn. But we do hate so being stopped from doing what we like. Don’t you?

SHE has now had an X Ray of her spine taken. You have to admit that these doctors are thorough. Having tested her liver, kidneys, her blood and her urine and found nothing, they got a psychologist to examine her in case it was all in her mind. Now that the pschologue (as they call them) has found that she is a normal pretty intelligent being, they look to the spine for a trapped nerve or something. In the meantime, the stomach pain is taking a back seat while the cardiologist  (cardiologue) sorts out her heart. If he can define the problem and then repair it, at least she will be able to breathe more easily and move about better. Hopefully, we will be seeing her in our stables in the near future.

FriendsSunday 9th March 2008
I got shouted at today. No just shouted at but slapped as well. Not hard, I will admit but still. It’s not dignified for the herd leader. What happened was this.

This morning, when HE was looking at the BBC news site on the computer before coming to make our breakfast, HE saw that there was a severe weather warning for South West England, where we used to live. HE did wonder at the time if the weather would also affect this part of France as it is not so far from the channel. However, HE always checks the local weather forecast before breakfast as well and there had been no mention of anything worse than light rain so HE forgot all about it.

When HE went to visit HER this evening, SHE said that Jo and Sophie had been along to visit and Jo had mentioned about the severe weather coming here as well. As HE had told HER about the way Mims and I keep the Big Man out of the stable so that, while we are bone dry, he is soaking wet when it rains. SHE was worried for him and told HIM to mend the tear in the Big Man’s coat tonight and then he could have it for tomorrow.

When HE got home, HE checked the local weather forecasts again and saw that the high winds and heavy rain was forecast now for five o’clock tomorrow morning. So, he came over to put our coats on tonight so that we are prepared for the early morning. We were all in the stable so HE thought it would be an easy job. However, when I saw what HE was up to, I strode out of my box and went to escape into the field so that I wouldn’t have to have my coat on. HE came rushing out with a rope and caught me before I could get too far and brought me back and shut me in a box while HE got my coat. I was so incensed that I kicked out at the walls and, when HE went to come in the box, I pushed forward to get out. Well, he just shouted at me and pushed me back. I kicked out at the wall again and HE slapped my chest. Of course, that was the end of my rebellion and I let him put my coat on. And I hung my head over the wall when HE was putting Mims coat on too so that HE could show how sorry HE was and give me some mints.

I think we can call it equal winners. HE did give me a cuddle afterwards.

This afternoon, before HE went hospital visiting, HE decided to come and mend the little bit of the electric tape fence that HE had seen had fallen when HE drove round the old field last. This time , when HE drove out on the quad, HE found that it was not just the little bit of the fence at the top but the whole 150 metres of it. The bottom part had been overgrown with bracken and then pulled down and the upper part had been torn apart and trampled by horses (or most probably a pony?) and was torn in places with some broken posts as well. While HE was repairing it, it started to pour down with rain. HE found it ironic that while HE got soaking wet, HE watched Mims and I galloping back to the dryness of the stable. By the time that HE finished, it was so near to our suppertime that it wasn’t worth HIS getting out of HIS wet clothes and then putting them back on in twenty minutes so we got an early supper today.

It ends in our fieldMonday 10th March 2008
Well, the weather has been rotten but not horrific. It was a good job that we had our coats on as it has been high winds and rain and we spent quite a bit of time indoors eating haylage. At one time, when there was a bit of a lull, HE came over with some bread for us. What HE found however was that I have a very nasty bite on my neck. I was too proud to tell HIM who did it and, as soon as I saw HIM with the wound powder in HIS hand, I made my way off to the entrance to the field. However, I did stop and HE did catch me and bring me back and made me have the bite dressed with the powder.

What HE did notice on coming round the side of the stable was Wicky in the middle of the field. HE did wonder what he was doing all on his own and then, suddenly it struck HIM. Wicky was in the new big field again, even though HE had fenced it off with electric tape. HE spend the next three quarters of an hour getting new sticks and tape and slipping and sliding in the mud and rain, putting the fence back up again. And this time HE got the electrifying gadget too to try and deflect Wick although, with such a thick coat, it is doubtful if he will notice it.

It did lead HIM to make a disgruntled phone call to Wally the builder to try and find out when he is going to, at last, fix up our proper fence and gates. HE was just settling back for an after dinner rest when Wally arrived. They had a cup of tea and discussed all Wally’s personal problems and it was agreed (but to be trusted?) that he will come in two weeks time on the Monday. We will wait and see but not hold our breath.

HE tried to phone HER several times this morning to wish HER luck while SHE was travelling to Le Mans but it transpires HER mobile is out of credit. However, SHE phoned early afternoon to tell HIM that they were just prepping HER for her camera in her heart examination. As they have taken HER order for lunch and dinner tomorrow as well, she doesn’t expect to be back in Alencon until Wednesday. HE went along to the doctors to cancel a different heart examination that had been planned or this week. Then, this afternoon, just as HE was talking to the Laval Prefecture about the Carte Grise for the green car, the other phone rang and it was HER doctor, wanting an update on what had been happening. At one point HE had two different phones to his head, one to each ear.

Dark cloudsTuesday 11th March 2008
When HE came along this morning, HE was horrified to see that my bite on the neck was worse. Worse, in as much as it appeared to have been bitten again and had not only opened up the old wound but also made a fresh wound a little higher up. I am saying nothing but HE suspects either a) the Big Man has had another of his funny joke ideas or b) Mims has got a bit too enthusiastic in her mutual grooming. I have to agree with HIM in that either could have been the case but I should add that scratching my neck on the walls does add a further possibility.
SHE phoned HIM from Le mans to say that she was leaving the hospital there and that she would be coming home this evening. SHE asked that HE bring up the small soft suitcase to take HER things home in when HE came along after feeding us this evening.

However, when HE got there she was in a cross between flaming anger and tearfulness. Apparently the doctors here in Alencon had said that the other Doctor was wrong and that she could not go home yet. SHE insisted that SHE would go home and they said that it was very dangerous for her to go in HER condition and that it could kill her. After much arguing, the medical staff got the head of administration to come and talk to HER. He infuriated HER by asking HIM his opinion. She was even more infuriated when HE agreed with the doctors that, if that was their advice, to stay in the hospital, HE would agree with them.

Things got very nasty at one point but eventually SHE agreed to wait and talk to her cardiac doctor. HE then stayed until the nurse came and kissed her goodnight. Truly. It is apparently quite normal here. HE then complained that the nurse didn’t kiss HIM goodnight as well. All SHE did was make it obvious that HE should go home as visiting finished at 8 o’clock and HE was still there at nine.

It wasn’t until the next morning that HE found out HE had forgotten to lock the chickens up as HE had arrived home late, when they were already waiting for their breakfast when HE came along to feed us.

Big Man restingWednesday 12th March 2008
HE inspected my bite this morning and was relieved to see that it hadn’t got any worse and was not bleeding any more. However, HE did notice that now I have some large bare patches on either side of the bite. I think HE shut HIS mind out to this as HE was more concerned on what was happening to HER.

The visiting times on his new ward are from 1pm to 8 pm so HE had to plan out HIS morning. First HE had some washing to do for HER (nightclothes etc.). The last time HE had done this, being a complete novice, HE had put fabric conditioner in the machine instead of washing liquid. This time HE was much better except that HE put the liquid in the wrong slot of the machine. Then, as it appeared imminent that she was coming home, HE decided to clear out the fridge and freezer which seemed to have accumulated a lot of junk. SHE had been having trouble with HER mobile phone which was out of credit when SHE tried to phone HIM so HE had to go to the phone shop and change the contract to a regular one. This meant that HE had just enough time to clean the microwave oven and the kitchen light which was decorated with dead flies before leaving home.

After sorting out the phone, HE had some time in hand so HE went to the cafeteria for some lunch. HE had just settled down to eat when HE had a phone call which HE couldn’t hear due to the quiet caller and the noise in the restaurant. When HE got to the hospital HE found out that it had been HER phoning asking to bring some figures about their income as a lady was coming to talk about ‘mutuels’ (additional health insurance).

The lady came as did another lady who could translate for THEM. It later turned out that this was Cath, Jo and James’ friend. They found out that HER health care was free due to HER ongoing disability but THEY would have to pay 16€ per day for her hospital board. As THEIR income was over a certain amount, THEY did not qualify for certain benefits and were advised to investigate the advantages or otherwise of joining a mutuel.

Then HER cardiologist came along and with Cath to interpret, THEY heard that he wanted her to stay in Alencon hospital for another 5/7 days while they monitored and slowly increased HER new medication (as there could be side effects). He then wanted HER to go to a centre in Saint Lo for 2/3 weeks for physio to strengthen HER heart and improve the quality of HER life. He said it would not lengthen HER life but could improve what time SHE has left. He was such a charming man and what he said made such sense that she agreed to stay in and go to St Lo. Her only proviso was that SHE would like to be able to come home and see us before SHE went to the rehab unit.

HE came home for our supper, although HE was late and we were waiting at the gate, and then HE went back to spend some more time with HER at the hospital. When HE got back HE didn’t forget the hens tonight although HE did it in the dark as HIS torch batteries had run out.

A car to look down onThursday 13th March 2008
HE checked my neck this morning and was pleased to see that my bite(s) have stayed the same. HE is starting to suspect that it may have had something to do with having our coats on. Whatever the reason HE was sure that we were all in a very calm mood this morning after a night out with no coats on. And no wind although there was a little rain.

HE was also really pleased with the way we behaved this morning. When HE came, I was in Mims’ box and she was in the Big Man’s box. After putting the vegetables down, HE came out to the boxes and picked up a rope. I know what that was about. HE was going to put it round my neck and lead me into my own box. Instead, with one look at the rope, I just walked out of Mims’ box and into my own. And then, when Mims saw that, she just came out of Extreme’s box and walked along and into hers. And then, finally, the Big Man just walked along from outside and made his way casually into his box with nothing but a bad face from me.

However, while we were eating, HE found something that spoiled HIS good mood. HE went out to get the broom and shovel to clear out the boxes and HE noticed that the electric fencing had been vandalised again. It was not fully broken down, just enough to allow a small scruffy poney to get under and into the big field. HE spent the rest of the time while we ate, mending the fence.

We are not the only ones in trouble again today. While HE was working on HIS laptop, HE heard a strange crunching sound and looked up to see Sunny working her way through a mouse in the middle of the dining room floor. HE screamed “take it out” at her but then, when she just went out herself without it, HE had to pick up the remains and hurl them outside himself. HE got some satisfaction when Sunny ran to pick it up and her arch enemies, the hens, came rushing up to see what was happening.

When HE got to the hospital at lunchtime, HE found HER room empty. However a kindly nurse took HIM along the corridor to a new room that they had moved HER to. It was good news really as it meant that SHE was no longer in need of constant supervision.

In fact, SHE must be obviously getting much better. HE had brought some photos of us to the hospital for her and now SHE has a room with our photos all around the walls. And strangely enough, one of the nurses gave a card to HER. It turns out that she lives in our village and also she is a horse dentist. She says that she doesn’t use an electric rasp, preferring to rasp by hand. This suits me fine and the others would probably be less scared as well. Maybe we will be seeing more of her one day?

Alezane restingFriday 14th March 2008
Several bits of news today. First, me! When HE came to make our breakfast, HE was very disappointed to see that the wound on my neck had opened up again and blood was dripping from it in a congealed mess. After HE got us all settled down eating, HE went back to the sous sol and got a basin of warm water. Then, when I had finished eating, HE put my head collar on and bathed to wound. Very gentled, I must say. I didn’t mind that but then HE put wound powder on it and wrapped a bandage round my neck. I kept shaking my head so HE fastened it with some sticky tape. Then HE went back indoors for HIS breakfast. However, looking out of the French windows, HE saw me rubbing my neck up and down against the stable door. HE came out shouting at me to stop but I wouldn’t so HE took the bandage off and got some liquid wound spray to put on instead. HE just managed to get some liquid on the wound before I ran out into the field.

HE went indoors and looked up wounds in the couple of vet books that THEY have. Then HE went and phones our vets and organised a visit for mid afternoon. At three o’clock Thierry Cadual, one of our vets turned up. After an examination, he said he thought I had phlebitis and he first shaved my neck around the wound and then he gave me an ultrasound examination which confirmed his diagnosis. The result? A penicillin injection every day for four days, an anti coagulant in my feed, a twice a day rub over the shaved part with an anti inflammatory and anaesthetic gel and an anti clotting injection for four days. HE has never given an injection before so neither of us was really looking forward to it. But ……

When HE got to visit HER at midday, HE learned that SHE is coming home tomorrow. The hospital doctors had found out that SHE is booked in at the rehab clinic on the 26th so she can come home until then. It is also due to the fact that she has responded very well to the new medication. So, SHE is very happy to be coming home after two weeks away and HE and I are really relieved that SHE will be doing the injections and not HIM.

HE came home from visiting HER this evening and looked out to see where I was. HE couldn’t see me but HE did see that Wicky had walked through the electric fence into the big field again. HE went and got a head collar and two more fence posts and walked out and brought Wick back. Then HE remade the fence and strengthened it with the two extra posts. HE was just going to put the chicken to bed when HE saw Wick just walk through the fence again. This time HE wet and got him back and shut him in the Big Man’s box. Then HE went and got some wire from the sous sol and made a wire strip right across the fence at Wicky chest height. Then HE went and let Wick out and watched. Wick walked round and stood against the fence until he saw that HE was standing watching. He moved away from the fence but for how long, who knows. I’ll let you know tomorrow if the wire worked or not.

Horses near MieuxceSaturday 15th March 2008
Yes the wire worked. Or, at least, it appeared to have worked. Of course, it may just have been that Wick lost interest in going in the big field, at least, for now. We will see. I think it is a race in time to see if Wally really does turn up on Monday week and make the proper fence and if Wick can withhold his interest for that long. If you remember, he just broke through the new wire fence that was put up at the edge of the field when he wanted to get at the grass on the other side. We will have to wait and see.

I have to report a first. Not for me, well, not directly. You know that I told you yesterday that HE was pleased SHE was coming home today as I have to have two injections a day. Well, HE went along to the hospital at eleven o’clock, the time that SHE was told SHE would be released and, naturally, THEY had to wait around until twelve fifteen before someone came and gave HER all the paperwork. Then SHE wanted to go out for a celebration meal to a nearby Thai restaurant. After an almost French lunchtime (one that takes hours with lots of talking in between), THEY got home about three and SHE went to lay down for an hour.

At five o’clock, our suppertime, SHE was still fast asleep, although HE took HER in a cup of tea, so, with a second look in the illustrated vet book at ‘how to do an intra muscular injection’, HE headed down to the sous sol and then the stable with the two injection kits in his pocket. HE decided to do the big one first and then, if HE managed that, HE would follow up with the (sub cutaneous) smaller one. To HIS amazement, HIS first ever injection went as smooth as clockwork. Even smoother than the vet yesterday, who made me jump, I didn’t even notice this injection. HE then went to do the second, smaller one and failed completely. Not that HE couldn’t put the needle in me. No, HE couldn’t get the drug out of the ampoule. Slightly deflated, HE finished off by rubbing the anti inflammatory on my shaven neck and went back indoors.

A little while later, SHE woke up and rushed in to say SHE would come and do the injections. HE boasted that HE had done the big one but then had to admit that the ampoule had defeated HIM. SHE just took it and broke off the lid, filled the syringe and gave it to him. HE then came back to the stable and luckily (for HIM) we were still there as it was raining. HE found this second injection even easier than the first and now thanks that HE is a qualified veterinary nurse. We didn’t mind HIM coming back as we got a second round of mint treats.

Thomas and CannabisSunday 16th March 2008
Wicky is still steering clear of the electric (but not electrified) fence. Why it is not electrified is rather beyond HIM. OK, HE says, HE left the battery out in the field forever before brining it in to charge it but, as far as HE can tell, it now has been recharged to its proper strength. It is all plugged in and connected to the little fence but even HE cant feel anything when HE touches it. This is our original gadget that HE used in Devon. The new one that HE bought when we moved here last year has a non rechargeable battery and that would seem to be run down. As it is quite expensive for a new one, HE is hoping that Wally gets the new permanent fence up before HE needs to buy it. Anyway, so far, the wire is holding.

This was HER first whole day at home and SHE seems to have spent most of it sorting out all her new pills. SHE has a collection of eleven different ones which she has to take at various times, some in the morning, one lunchtime, some evenings and some mornings and evenings. What makes matters more complicated is that for some the name of the drug prescribed by the doctor and the alternate name that is given by the pharmacist make it hard to sort out which is which. On top of that, as these must be taken every day, SHE has one of those plastic pill boxes with compartments for each day and morning, noon and night. Having finally sorted out what must be taken when SHE then had to make up a weeks supply in the box.

SHE has not been able to come out and see us yet although SHE has watched us and talked to us through the French windows. Not only is SHE not string enough yet but the weather has been absolutely appalling with brisk winds and heavy rain. It has taken Mims and I nearly all day to keep the Big Man out of his stable and standing in the wet. It’s a pity he wont do it of his own accord but he will keep wanting to come in and get dry and eat haylage. He obviously forgets that he is a mere gelding and that he can only do what the coven … er I mean what us mares will allow him to do. Wicky doesn’t have this problem as, to him, it has been a day of lovely weather. He keeps telling us that if they had this weather in the Shetland Isles then they would know that summer had arrived.

HE did his next set of injections today. After HIS success yesterday, HE was a bit disappointed that HE made me jump with the big needle today. However, the small injection was over in a flash and I didn’t notice that one at all. I am sure that HE will be more relieved than me when HE does the last one tomorrow. It seems to be doing the trick however as my neck is healing fast. THEY are both glad that the vet was called in, in time.

StairsMonday 17th March 2008
Guess what? The electric fencing was broken again this morning when HE came to give us our breakfast. As Wicky was waiting for HIM in the stable, HE could not be certain that a) Wicky had done it and b) that if he had, he had been into the big field. So, faced with the lack of evidence, all HE could do was to grit HIS teeth and go and repair it while we were eating.

Later in the day, when HE was coming back from the shops, HE noticed that the little plum tree that stands behind our stable and that was so little because we had eaten a lot of it last year (even so, it produced a few small plums), was now leaning sideways at an angle of thirty five degrees. HE later on came to right it and noticed that it has started sprouting its leaves so it is finger crossed that it is not too damaged. Already there is another tree in that field that is almost certainly dead, due to out biting away at its bark last year. There is no way that HE can tell who the culprit of this latest vandalism is. HE is being generous and assuming that we just brushed past it in our exuberant rush to enjoy our old field.

I was a bit cross with HIM tonight. Thankfully it was the last of my big injections but, after that, HE got so enthusiastic in HIS relief that HE bounced with the small injection, twice, making me jump both times. Then HE has to (gently) rub that nasty gel on my neck and, although it doesn’t hurt, it does make me smell so bad. All medically, I hate it. So, when HE opened my box, I didn’t wait for a treat but just stormed off out of the stable area altogether. The worst thing about that though was that I lost all my dignity when I thought about it and had to come back for some mints. Anyway, tomorrow is the last of the small injection and just the morning and evening gels to go.

ps HE learned today that a) it is Saint Patrick’s day – HE had forgotten all about it. And b) no it isn’t. The churches have cancelled or moved it because Easter is early this year. What utter rubbish. People will celebrate it when they want. No wonder the churches are losing congregations.

In the gardenTuesday 18th March 2008
Well, I never thought I would say it but we horses all have to be grateful to Wicky.

When HE got up this morning, it was quite a light morning and HE looked out of the windows and saw a whitish blob on the horizon of the big field. HE was furious, thinking that Wick had broken the fence down again. However, when it was time to come and give us our breakfast, there was Wick, standing on the hard standing outside the stable as he always does at meal times. When HE looked over the field again, HE saw that what HE had thought was Wicky, was in fact a white van parked on the neighbour’s side of the fence. HE was so pleased that HE let me get away without the gel on my neck this morning so that was one reason to be grateful to Wick.

After getting the bread (and ordering some oysters at the greengrocers of all places) HE came home and decided to get all our buckets and give them a thorough clean out with hot water and detergent. HE came over to the stable and saw, to his dismay, that Wicky was indeed out in the big field again. HE left the buckets and got a head collar and walked out to Wick and, without saying a word, brought him back and locked him in the Big Man’s box. HE then came out and mended the fence but this time HE also positioned the two remorques against the fence and got all the pallets HE could find and leaned them up against the fence for added security.

While HE was doing this, Wick was calling out in the stable and I came along to find out what the problem was. I went in the stable and Wick told me what had happened and then I, together with Mims and the Big Man went and crowded round HIM to ask him kindly to release my pony. When HE had secured the fence, that is exactly what HE did. HE then gathered up all the buckets and went back to the sous sol to wash them all out.

THEY were having dinner when SHE said to HIM ‘Wicky is out in the field again’. Well, HE just despaired. THEY discussed the fact that Wally should be along next Monday to put up the permanent fence and then SHE said to HIM. ‘You should take the fence down and let them all back into the big field. And, this afternoon, that is what HE did. As soon as we were let out, we all rushed up to Wicky to thank him but I think he was too busy eating to take much notice. In fact, when we came in for supper this evening, none of us was really very hungry but we did HIM a favour and ate it.

Mack watching KebabWednesday 19th March 2008
A cold but bright and even sunny at times sort of day. I must admit that there is nothing much in the way of news, probably because we are now back in the big field and so go missing for most of the day. This morning, we were so full from grazing that we could hardly be bothered to eat our breakfast. That is all of us except Wicky who can always eat. HE kept coming to collect my bucket when I was standing at the gate, only to find that it was still half full. HE is fairly used to Mims’ behaviour. She often leaves her food and goes and stands at the gate in order not to miss anything happening outside. But the big surprise was Extreme. He always empties his bucket but today he stood at his gate like the rest of us for quite a while with a still half full bucket. He did go back and finish it all in the end, as we all did, but it was one of those long, lazy French breakfasts this morning.

It was another shopping for carrots and apples day for HIM. When HE came back, HE was amazed to see Wicky, threading his way through the maze of remorques and palettes to get to the field, even though there is now a five metre gap in the fence for us to go through. It must be something in a pony’s genes or something. No wonder he kept escaping.

No more medication for me. The wound on my neck has dried up and shrunken now. There is still a raised bump and my neck is, of course, shaved and the hair has not grown back yet. But, it doesn’t hurt or itch now and there is no open wound. And, best of all, I don’t have to have that smelly old gel on me. I don’t know what it does but it must tell you something that he had to wear rubber gloves to handle it. Alright for my neck but not for his hands eh?

Oh, there is one more thing I have to tell you. Its really a secret so don’t tell anyone else because it really is a shame. THEY have run out of people to give the hens eggs to. And, what with her being in hospital and then not having much of an appetite yet, the eggs, which the hens are still laying at three or four a day, have been mounting up. Three shelves in the fridge were full to overloading. So today HE put about thirty five in the waste bin and took them down the dump. It seems a crime when there must be some people who could want them but it is a question of finding them. Anyway, THEY have, with today’s four only got one rack of a dozen in the fridge now. Until tomorrow!

Primroses and VioletsThursday 20th March 2008
HE had a new game today. Late in the afternoon, HE appeared going to each fruit tree in turn and kneeling down in front of it. We watched HIM for a while as HE went round all the trees in the garden. Then HE vanished and reappeared in the field behind the barn. Well, it was too good to miss. Mims looked at me and I looked at Mims and then, as one, we started off for the small field. When we got closer, we could see that what HE was doing was putting green sticky bands round the tree trunks about half a metre from the ground and then was securing them with plastic covered wire ties. This instantly became boring for us but what HE might have in HIS pockets was another matter.

HE was so intent on what HE was doing that HE didn’t hear us come up behind HIM. The first that HE knew was when first Mims and then me put our nozzles down next to HIS face. Of course, it worked and we got some mints. Then HE moved off to the next tree so naturally we followed. In all we got about four trees worth of treats before HE stood up and raised both hands in HIS usual gesture to show us that HE had no more. Then HE moved off. Leaving us standing and knelt down at the next tree. We watched for a while and then got on with grazing. HE got on with the next tree, happy to be left alone when suddenly Wicky came charging up to HIM, having seen from afar what was going on. HE had to give Wick some mints, proving that HE lied to us when HE said HE had no more. Therefore we started off after him again. HE was very happy when HE ran out of stick bands with four trees left to do. We will look out for HIM again tomorrow.

It will soon be time for HIM to move the time of our supper I think. It is getting lighter and lighter now and we often, as tonight, are still busy grazing when HE comes to feed us. In a way I think HE is happy with that because HE can get everything ready before we come in instead of having four hungry mouths watching HIS every move. However, HE has less to do, now that we are back in the big field again. We are not eating our haylage much nor are we making a mess for HIM to clear up. Tonight HE put all the buckets in the stalls apart from Wicky’s and then came round the side of the barn carrying Wick’s bucket. As soon as we saw him we started moving smartly back. The Big Man broke into a trot so Mims moved to block his path and chase him to the side. Wick got in first (of course) and then I followed with Mims third. The Big Man came sheepishly along last and HE had to shut Mims and I in our boxes and give him a protected entry as we always make the Big Man run the gauntlet past our boxes.

I don’t know if it was as a reward or a punishment but HE got a brush and gave the Big Man a groom while he was having his supper. I am not at all sure if the ground is muddy enough for him to put it all back on tonight. Lets hope it rains!

Refelctions in the rain(Good) Friday 21st March 2008
THEY didn’t sleep very well last night because of the wind. Actually, the wind and the rain. The nose of the wind in the ventilators, the nose of the rain on the windows and the noise of the shutters, banging in the wind, all of these either kept THEM away or woke THEM if THEY were sleeping.

So, when HE came to make our breakfast, HE decided to put our rugs on again. This time, however, it was not our big winter rugs but our lightweight summer raincoats. HE started with the Big Man who is really good about having tack or coats put on him. Then  Mims, who is alright with her rug but always lifts her nearside rear leg when HE goes to attach the rug under her hindquarters. However, HE doesn’t take any notice and just does up the rings as if she is doing nothing. Then HE comes to me. I hate having rugs put on or rugs taken off. You see, it is not the rug that I object to but the process of putting it on/off. I put my ears back and I grind my teeth. But that is all I do so HE just ignores me and puts it on anyway.

With our rugs on we were protected from the wind and rain and so we went out to graze as usual. However, the difference that the wind makes is that it makes us a bit skittish. All of a sudden, we decided to have a bit of a lark about. The Big Man started it when he went trotting fast past my Mims. Of course, she followed him and then I came up in the rear. We all had a jolly good canter (or fast trot) round the field and I managed to get in a few bucks and high kicks as well, before we went back to sedately grazing. It s really good what the wind can provoke in us.

When we were larking around, even Wick had a canter to come and join us. However, when HE came to bring supper, Wick started to behave strangely. At first he did not come to the gate for his sugar lumps. The when HE offered them to him he would not eat them. Nor would he eat his supper when it was brought to him. Instead Wick just stood with his nose on the wall and then lay down and rolled over. HE was worried that this was not normal Wicky behaviour ans went and spoke to HER who told HIM to call the vet. SHE came over and took his temperature and tried to listen to his heartbeat and digestion with a stethoscope. Then, after a long period of waiting, Thierry the vet arrived. He examined him (including the bit with the plastic gloves) and said that Wick appeared OK now but he would take a blood sample and give Wick a pain killer injection  and phone with the result in the morning. After the vet had gone, Wick did manage to finish off his supper bucket and then go out with the others.

THEY didn’t get much sleep worrying but wick then went out grazing all night.

Big man in the snowSaturday 22nd March 2008
After a very poor night’s sleep, HE woke up with the alarm to get our breakfast. HE always starts with a cup of coffee and a look at the internet news. HE also looked at the weather forecast and today HE looked at three forecasts, Mayenne, Alencon and the BBC’s western Europe to try to decide if we could have our rugs off today. HE then looked out of the window and saw that it was snowing heavily. Who needs the internet?

HE was very pleased to see that Wick was back to his usual self and eating and pushing like he does. We all had our breakfast as usual and then went out to graze. While HE was getting ready to go shopping, the phone rang and it was Thierry the vet with Wick’s blood sample results. Apparently, apart from being a bit anaemic, Wick is pretty good for a pony of his age. The anaemia is due to his Cushing’s disease blocking the ability to make the most of the nutrient in his feed. It is possibly no wonder that Wick always appears hungry. The vet thinks that as the time of the good grass is approaching, Wick may be able to counter this by eating well. So, armed with the good news, SHE phoned Wick’s real mum, Michelle, who, in turn, sent some pics of Wick’s prize winnings from an earlier time.

THEY had a treat for lunch today, oysters. However, HE had another first today in trying to open them. Having read all the cook books and buying the opening gadget, HE started to open them, only to find that it is a harder job (or maybe more skilful) than HE had expected. Also, although HE had ordered a ‘douzain’, HE had ended up with fifteen, which added to HIS workload. However, in the end it was worth it and THEY had a good lunch’ Possible the bottle of Muscadet that HE bought as well, helped to ensure the success of the day.

When HE got to the stable this morning, HE was amazed to find the hens there. HE knew that HE hadn’t had time yet to let them out of the chicken shed, so HE assumed that HE must have forgotten to lock them up last night. However, just being happy that they had not been eaten by the fox, HE decided to let it go. Until this afternoon when HE was looking out of the window and saw that the door and window to the chicken shed were still closed. When HE went to inspect, HE found that the roof of the nesting box area had blown off in the wind last night. The straw inside had got soaking wet so he replaced it and placed some rocks on the nesting box roof to keep it safe.

Wall horseSunday 23 March 2008
Eater Sunday. Cold and wet but no snow as there has been in England and other parts. In fact. In between the rain, the sun came out for a while and if one was indoors you could forget about the cold. We horses have spent quite a lot of time today in our stable. We have gone out in the rain because we still have our rugs on but not for very long periods. We have been amazed how the hens don’t seem to like this weather either as they have been spending very long periods in the stable.

HE went down the shops this morning and was pleased but surprised to find it was just like any other Sunday. All the normal shops were open for the morning. The only difference that HE could see was that folk were using Easter as an excuse to buy lots of chocolate and big, sweet, chocolate and fruit cakes. He went shopping to get bread but also be cause of the uncertainty of what shops will be open tomorrow. Easter Monday is a national holiday in France but often supermarkets and other shops (notably bakers) stay open. THEY are interested in the supermarket opening times as SHE is off to the clinic on Wednesday at midday and needs to buy some things to take with HER. SHE will have all day Tuesday and possibly Wednesday morning but SHE also has to fit in a visit to the doctor before SHE goes.

Talking of health, Wicky has been his usual self these last couple of days. THEY have increased his food ration since the vet said that he was having trouble converting what he eats to nutrition. Funnily enough, Wick has not protested once to this extra workload. Like the brave little man he is, he has just soldiered on and still finishes his bucket before I do. I put my lack of appetite down to worry for I am sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the new grass starting to come through. What the reason for our dung looking more and more like cow pats is just a mystery to all of us!

Wicky's prizeMonday 24th March 2008
It’s Easter Monday. A national holiday. A time when lots and lots of people are travelling somewhere for a fun holiday or meeting up with friends or family. And what’s happening here? Nothing, absolutely nothing. The weather is wet and very cold and the highlight of our day was this morning when HE whispered in my ear “Well, at least there aren’t any flies yet”. We cant even have our raincoats off yet as it is still off and on windy and the temperature combined with the cold makes it not a good idea.

The highlight of HIS day had to be spraying the fruit trees. HE has been meaning to do this for weeks but the weather has been too windy or too wet. This morning, there was a dry spell when HE thought there was no wind so HE went down to the sous sol and filled his spray with fifteen litres of Bordeaux mixture. HE was not being patriotic to HIS new country, HE used to use it in England as well. It is a copper based remedy for mildew and the like. HE should have finished this earlier but there was just still time. The next spray will be just before flowering to kill off various insects.

So, HE tottered outside with the container strapped to his back. It brought back memories of when HE used to spray the weeds in Ninefields, Dartmoor. This was different however as HE had to hold the spray up in the air top spray the branches and not down on the ground. HE also found out that there was in fact a wind and he needed his plastic mask to stop the spray blowing back into HIS eyes. Instead it blew on the visor and blocked his vision. And it was cold, very cold. The combination of the cold, the wind, the weight on his back and the strain of holding HIS arm up in the air all the time made this a very memorable experience.

So much so that, when HE had finished and got back to the sous sol and was washing out the spray with the hose, HE got the idea that it would be good to was the little green car. It hadn’t had a wash for months and HE had been waiting until the new French licence (carte grise) arrived. However, this was taking much longer than expected so why not wash it now. The result was a little less than expected. All taking the road grime and mud off achieved was to reveal all the knocks and scratches that one seems to acquire in French car parks. Well, at least he can see through the windows now.

And that is it. Nothing about horses. We had breakfast, went out to graze, came back in to shelter and doze, went back out etc. etc., had supper, went …. And on and on. Just one by the way. SHE phoned Wick’s original human, Michelle, to let her know of his health problems and Michelle told HER of a prize that he had won, I’m not sure why. Still, here is a photo of it. Cute, eh? Tomorrow, you can see another of Michelle’s photos, this time of a moment in Tregony’s life. Both photos seem much more fun that we had today.

Mobile homeTuesday 25th March 2008
“’Ere, Wick?”
“Bonjour, me old mate. How goes it?”
“How does what go where, Wick?”
“Just a way of talking Treg. Just asking how you are.”
“Oh. Right. It is going very well. And I’m OK too. I just came along because I heard that HE was going to publish that photo of me. I’d like to that that after all these years.”
“Yeah, laddie. You can’t have changed all that much because HE was looking through an album of 189 photos on Michele’s web site and HE recognised you at once.”
“That’s nice Wick. I’m glad HE hasn’t forgotten me.”
“No one’s forgotten you Treg. In fact everyone still misses you lots.”
“So, what did HE say when HE saw that photo?”
“From what I gather HE asked HER if you had ever worn a house.”
“If I’d what? Oh, yeah, I see what you mean. It is a bit unusual. But nothing like as silly as that prize you won, do you remember?”
“And what was wrong with that prize, might I ask?”
“You have looked at that photo again, haven’t you Wick? I mean, a prize? More like a cuddly toy, if you ask me.”
“Michelle used to think that I was a cuddly toy. Now all I get is Mims or Alli taking a bite out of my bum.”
“Yeah, but I’ll bet it is a love bite, eh Wick?”
“Whether it’s a love bite or a hate bite it hurts just the same.”
“Oh come on. I know you. That’s just your way of trying to make folk sorry for you. You know that they never reach the skin. All they get when they bite you is a mouth full of dirty stinking hair.”
“Ay, laddie, I ken. And it is a real mouthful as well. Serves them right too, I say.”
“Well, Wick old pal. I’ve got to be off now. We’re having a bit of a do tonight and I have to go back to get ready. One never knows if there might not be a few nice fillies on the look out for a partner.”
“In your dreams old man. OK I know you are not as old as me but you wouldn’t have stood a chance here on earth so why should up in … er .. wherever you are now.”
“Mmmm. Bit of a secret, mate. Things are a bit different there. You know, wildest dreams, that sort of thing.”
“You wont entice me that way Treg. I’ll join you when I am good and ready. But not yet. The vet said I will go though the summer anyway and he will review things in November.”
“Oh, alright Wick. When you’re ready. I’ll be waiting. Still, till then, ‘a bientot mon ami’.
“Gracious Treg. Never expected to you speak French. Have a bon party. See ya.”

ConesWednesday 26th March 2008
We had to sort of take a back seat today because it was the day that SHE went off to the therapy clinic at St Lo. The good thing was however that, when HE came and brought our breakfast this morning, HE also took our raincoats off. It was such a lovely relief to be free of any artificial covering again. The weather forecast is for today to be a bit cool but after that we should see some good spring weather. As far as we horses are concerned, we are happy as long as there is no wind. And the forecast says that there will not be.

After we had finished breakfast we all went out quite quickly instead of hanging about in the stables. HE had been up early this morning to sort out the washing in case  SHE wanted to take any of it with HER. Then THEY spent a lot of the morning sorting out suitcases and packing HER things. HE went out to the bakers and to get her a padlock for her case as there is not a lockable cupboard in her room according to the brochure. They then waited for the medical taxi to arrive to pick HER up. He turned up on time and after they had left HE set out to the supermarket to do some shopping that had been waiting for a few days. HE also bough a selection of food to keep both HIM and us going for a few days.


On the way home, HIS phone rang and HE thought it must b HER ringing to let him know that SHE had arrived but it was not. It was Jo ringing to ask how things were. It did remind HIM that SHE should have got there so HE rang HER but with no reply. HE tried again at various times during the afternoon but with no success. HE also rang Wally the builder to let him know that if he didn’t come while SHE was away then he should just forget it and return the cheque for the advance THEY gave him in November. Later in the afternoon, Wally phoned back with another promise for next Monday. HE must be forgiven if HE will only believe it when HE sees it.

This evening, after supper, it was raining quite hard and only Wicky went out to graze in the middle of the field. The rest of us just stood about in the stable. I expect we will go out tonight but it takes a little time to get used to the rain on our bare backs again.

Our herdThursday 27th March 2008
For a change, a bit of news about us horses today. HE was watching us this morning, while HE had HIS first early morning coffee, before coming to give us our breakfast. HE looked through the French windows and saw us all having a real good lark about. It was the Big Man who started it. He kept chasing Mims and then I would get in between the two of them and he would start challenging me (in fun of course). We all ended up running around and jumping and bucking until HE came out and filled our buckets. Of course, Wick took no part in this as he was waiting patiently for breakfast to arrive.

HE then went back to have HIS breakfast and went out to the post and to buy our Floconné. However, that wont be in the shop until tomorrow so HE came back and decided to clean out our stables. When we saw him bring the quad round and fill up the remorque with our old haylage, we started to get interested in what he was doing and drifted back from the other side of the field. This was exactly what HE wanted and, as soon as Mims was within distance, HE came out and enticed her in. I had to follow then and HE put us both in our boxes. The Big Man went and stood at the fence as usual (‘comme habitude’ as we say here) and HE went out and brought him in as well. Then I started to panic because Wick was nowhere in sight. HE had to walk out to the centre of the field, calling all the while to fetch him and I wasn’t happy until we were all together again.

HE then tied us up, one by one, and got the hose and washed down our feet which were very muddy from the field. I didn’t cotton on why until a van turned up and out came Pierre the Farrier. So, today was the day that we all had our feet trimmed. I have to say, I was very proud of Mims who was absolutely no trouble at all. She seems to have gotten over her tendency to stumble when her rear off side is lifted. After trimming Mims, I was next and then HE decided to put us in our boxes while the farrier did the Big Man. However, in shutting the door to Mims box, HE forgot the chain was not on into the tack room. When HE looked up, HE saw that Wicky had gone in and eaten his supper (which was prepared ready for tonight) and had stated on mine. When SHE phoned HIM today, HE said that the horses had been very good. Then HE explained that this excluded the pony!

And our final bit of news was that, after the farrier had left, HE let us in to the garden to graze. I am afraid we made a few holes in THEIR lawn when we started bucking with delight but then we settled down to some serious eating. We also had a bit of a rest in the sunshine. At one time all three of us horse had a lay down so I guess Wicky must have been in charge to pay for his naughtiness.

And to finish, as I said, SHE phoned from her clinic and sounded quite settled there. They have told HER to rest and taken HER off the exercises and SHE now has a private room of her own. She was going to settle down with her opera CDs and look out of the windows at the blackbirds.

Churchyard treeFriday 28th March 2008
Yesterday. HE decided that HE would go out to take some photos for the March diary today. Then, when HE woke up HE saw that today was going to be a bad day for it. Rain, rain, rain and wind with some sunny bit in between. By this evening, when HE came to give us our supper, the rain was hurling down and the wind gusting like a hurricane. HE had to make a decision and HE decided to put our raincoats on again. I was really good when HE did mine. Usually, I cant stand having tack on when I am eating but tonight I could see the sense of it. However, by the time HE had got all three coats on, the sun came out and it was hot and blue skies. HE went back indoors thinking that HE had made a mistake but when HE was cooking HIS diner, the skies went black and the rain and wind started all over again and HE felt vindicated.

It has been a busy day for HIM. HE started by going to buy our Floconné and then go to the Mairie to check if HIS Carte Grise or the green car had arrived yet. HE stopped in the Mairie but the lady said that she had heard nothing yet. HE then went on to Didier’s for our Floconné  but was told that it had not come in yet and to retry again in the afternoon.
Given some time now before lunch, HE decided to go to Alencon again and buy the telephone answering machine that HE had looked at on Wednesday.

While there, HE saw a portable DVD player which would help HER spend HER time at the clinic. HE bought that and the telephone and then came home and then spent some time wrapping it and posting it so that SHE should get it as soon as possible. When HE got home HE found that Wally the builder had turned up at last and was busy putting posts in the field.. HE then installed the telephone a d started to cook HIS dinner hen Gladys turned up. She had been telephoning since Wednesday and didn’t know that SHE was away at St Lo. It was agreed that she would return on Monday afternoon.

We spent the evening in the rain and wind but with our rugs on, it wasn’t so bad.

Avaloirs viewing tower and statueSaturday 29th March 2008
Nothing whatsoever to do with us horses but it is the UK Boat Race today. A little bit more relevant is that the clocks go forward one hour tonight. This should mean that we will get our breakfast at the equivalent of (now) 6.30 am instead of 7.30 am and our supper at (now) 4.00 pm instead of 5.00 pm. However, HE will probably take this opportunity to change our times about a bit to fit in with the rhythm of THEIR life. Breakfast will probably stay the same (although the clocks will say an hour earlier) but we will have to wait at least an hour from the time we are used to and maybe even a bit longer. I cant say we will worry very much as the grass is definitely coming through now and eating in the stable is more a routine to look us over and keep us ‘humanised’ than a necessity of nutrition.

Surprisingly Wally turned up again today. ‘Surprisingly’ because it is Saturday and builders don’t generally work Saturdays. However, HE thinks that Wally is probably trying to fit us in between other jobs and wanted to get ahead with the job. And he has. He has built the little ‘box’ section round our water trough at the back of the stable and has cemented all the posts in, particularly the large double post that will be holding the hinges of both our horse gate and the large tractor gate. His idea is that now the posts are cemented in, he will be able to hang the gates on Monday and then shut us out of the big field so that he can dismantle the old fence between the field and the garden and build up the new fence there.

HE is in the usual position of thinking that HE wont have enough photos for this month’s diary so HE took the opportunity of some sunshine this morning to go to a local tourist spot, a concrete tower on the highest point in North France from which there are some really good views of the surrounding area. By the time he got there the sun was playing hide and seek with the clouds but it made the skies more interesting. There may have been sunshine but the wind made it very uncomfortably cold. At least HE got a few more photos.

HE spent a lot of today (and Thursday and Friday) getting some floccone for us. Having been told yesterday that there was only on bag and the rest would in today, HE left it until this afternoon to be sure it was in. But it wasn’t so HE had to drive to the next town, Villaines, to find some for us. When HE got home there were 5 messages on the new phone that HE installed yesterday, and two on the other landline. The first one HE answered was the pharmacy in the village which had the new gadget for measuring blood oxygen that SHE had ordered. HE went out and got that and was just listening to the next message which was from HER, HIS mobile phone rang and it was her trying another number. Apparently the parcel that HE sent HER yesterday at a very high price so that it would get to her in 3 hours, hadn’t turned up. After discussing that and other things, THEY decided that this would be tonight’s phone call as there was nothing left to talk about. HE now will be able to go all around the house and change the clocks to the new time ready for tomorrow.

Putting Kebab into the ovenSunday 30th March 2008
HE had decided to give us our breakfast at our normal old clock time (which was now an hour earlier as the clocks had changed) but when HE looked outside, when it was time, it was still dark so HE compromised and waited for hlf an hour. I think HE will now go by the light rather than the time which suits us fine.

We are still having to get used to the new (unfinished) fencing. Wick had no problems and was waiting at the stable as usual but us three horses were standing outside in the field. HE decided that HE would come and bring Mims in and then HE expected that I would follow and then the Big Man. However, HE got Mims in her box and there was no sign of me. When HE came to look, I had gone through the wrong part and was now in the first field. Seeing HIM, I came back but instead of going into the stable area, I went back out to the big field in my confusion. In the end, HE had to come and fetch Big X and I followed along behind. I will say HE is very kind to me. As well as not humiliating me by leading me in with a rope round my neck HE also just leaves my gate open for me to go in my box on my own. However, having said that, we all noticed that HE has cut our ration of short feed by a quarter. HE thinks that now the grass is coming through we don’t need it. We are actually very lucky (if not spoiled) to be getting supplementary food at all. Most local horses just eat what they can find in their fields. Mind you, they are not usually as old as us or thoroughbreds so it does them no harm.

HE was invited to Jo and James’ farm today for dinner as SHE is away at the clinic. When HE was coming away, HE did see Arnold sheltering in the sheep barn but as the rain was so heavy HE didn’t get to go over to him. The good news is that the injusry that he suffered about this time last year that stopped Sophie riding him, doesn’t seem to be bothering him at all. Jo says that he canters and gallops around the field a lot chasing the sheep. The bad news is that he has become rather wild and wilful now so Sophie still does not ride him but instead goes riding at Xavier’s riding school, the place the Big Man came from.

Just before HE sat down to dinner, there was a loud bleating noise and a lamb appeared in the kitchen. HE had seen it when HE first drove up, running round the yard being stalked by Mack the collie. When HE remarked on the lambs entrance, James said ‘Oh, that’s Kebab’. It was bad enough that the poor thing had such an unfortunate name but when HE said HE would get HIS camera for some photos, James picked Kebab up and pretended to put him in the Aga. When HE came with our supper tonight, HE told us what a lovely dinner HE had had but fortunately it was roast beef and not lamb.

Wally the builders stuffMonday 31st March 2008
It has been a rainy old day today. Not terrible but heavy showers with gaps of sunshine in between. We were all in when HE came to do our breakfast to try and keep out of the rain a bit. We are getting very good at boxing now, when we want to. This morning it was as smooth as anything. The Big Man was in my box and Mims and I were just outside. All HE had to do was to hold X’s sugars in front of him and lead him out of my box into his own. As soon as this was accomplished, I strolled into my box and then Mims ambled into hers. This made Wicky very happy as it meant that he would get his breakfast quicker. I am sorry to have to report that HE forgot to put the hens away again last night. It probably had something to do with the change in the hour as it stays light for quite a long while now. Even if the hens have gone into their house on their own (as they always do), if HE goes to shut them up before they are really settled, they hear HIM coming and rush out of the house again to greet him. HE often ends up walking over the lawn with a chicken under each arm to put them back in the house. For this reason, HE leaves it as late as possible before shutting them up and with the hour change this means that it can clash with something HE is watching on TV. HE has taken to putting the TV remote control out of his reach on the table to remind HIOM but it didn’t work last night as there was no need to change channels.

Wally has now hung the gates on the fence and tricked us into coming in so that he could lock us in the front field (HE really must make up a couple of proper names for the two fields) so that he could get on with the fence between the (new) field and the garden. Now that the grass has come through, we don’t really mind too much, it is just that our preference is for the new field as, being square and nearly flat, it appears to be bigger and give us more room to play about. The only other thing we have to get used to now is the entrance to the stable through two gateways. It is no problem but it is just new and we don’t like ‘new’. We get very suspicious of anything new until we are used to it. Also I fear that we may be stuck in this old field for some time now as it is what SHE wanted to give the other one a rest.

HE hasn’t done anything very exciting today. HE hasn’t even gone out to buy bread. What HE has done is to sit working on this month’s photos, you know, the usual, selecting, editing and preparing for the web. The only extra thing HE did today which made the job longer was to try and make the photos fit the content where possible.

Today marks one year since THEY first entered the house, vacant of the previous occupants. THEY didn’t move in until April 2nd because the 1st was a Sunday and we horses moved then as well. Nearly a year! It’s amazing where all the time has gone. Still we are all still here and even have the Big Man as an added (if sometimes doubtful) bonus.

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