Saturday, 17 January 2009
Its been a busy day at Rock HQ and despite the efforts of the animals to derail the plans to get jobs done all tasks set by humans on the smallholding were completed and had Trevor not reincarnated as Houdini at last light we would have got back indoors before getting soaked in the current deluge from above that is now flooding the workshop.
The horses, collectively known as The Boys, were turned out first thing. Trevor has been out all week as Bailey the rescue greyhound needed his crib. William and Apollo were in need of a leg stretch and were put on Willow Rise, there is absolutely no grass but at least they can exercise. William entered the field with no problem and spent about half an hour running round like a lunatic until his batteries ran out and he turned his attention to the anthills in the hope that they might have a bit more grass on than the rest of the field. Apollo on and in the other hand decided he wasn't going quietly through the gate and set off at a fast pace uphill followed by an even faster pace back downhill. And so a very interesting game began where he ran up and down the the hill pausing just out of arms reach where he became very interested in a clump of bogwort or a narrow leafed plantain until I showed any sign of movement which provoked more equine speed displays. The show finally ended when I risked life and bionic left arm by rugby tackling him as he passed, suddenly having my weight attached to his neck caused a rapid change of direction and whilst I didn't actually floor the beast he found himself running in an ever decreasing circle and was unceremoniously shoved through the gate where he joined William examining anthills.
Without these two timewasters in the yard we were able to get on with an assortment of tasks which included introducing Bailey to someone who will hopefully turn out to be his new Mum, Dawn. She arrived with her son Sam and we all went for a walk with the brindle greyhound. Having briefed Bailey on the best techniques for impressing new owners things got off to a flying start with him planting the worlds muddiest paws on Dawns clean clothes and then sticking his muzzle into Sam's crotch. As we walked down the lane he gave a spectacular display of dog with upset tummy, the bright orange diarrhea could have been straight out of Van Gogh's paint set for Sunflowers, the shade and consistency was perfect.
Having failed to win her over on the walk Bailey was given a second chance on the indoor obstacle course test. Her comment "Is this the clumsiness you spoke of" as he clattered through a series of framed photos, cups of coffee and assorted furniture. His piece de resistance was chasing a cat up the stairs. The whole episode seemed doomed as Dawn, Sam and I sat making polite conversation about how nice well behaved greyhounds are when Bailey returned from his sortie with the cats, wiped the fur from his muzzle on Sam's trousers and looked at me suddenly poleaxed, somewhere in the dog hind brain he remembered his purpose in life, and if he still wanted one he would have to ingratiate himself into these new humans home. The most appalling display of fawning began and as Dawn warmed to the great hairy rat like hound he dispensed with all pretence at maintaining any dignity and rolled onto his back to have his tummy tickled. This was a complete masterstroke and she agreed to have him. He is now back at the kennels where he will go and see the vet to be castrated. Its a high price to pay for new home but long term he will think its worth it.
Much work was done in the garden, many barrowloads of horse do was moved and raked over the raised beds, Trevor in a demonstration of what was to come much later negotiated the goat proof fence and whilst I was busy doing the garden he was busy with his version which included munching the tops off the spring cabbage, stripping the last stalks of sprouts and trampling the garlic. He did however redeem himself by munching through the weeds that had taken over the "spare" bed thus helping clear the way for spring.
His stable disinfected and refurbished he eagerly trotted home and rolled in his new bed. The day was almost done.
William and Apollo were fetched and put in their stables, it was just a matter of rounding up the birds and feeding the dogs and the evening was ours. It was dusk, foul weather approached across the valley, timing was to perfection. It was then that Tracey just checked on Trevor whose stable is at the back. In a masterpiece of understatement Tracey said, "You are not going to believe this but Trevor's gone"
Now both Tracey and I are certain we bolted him in, I even spent several minutes filming him rolling around his new bed yet somehow the stable door was wide open. Little hoof prints showed his direction and speed. Half an hour later on the other side of the hill we found him in almost the exact same spot William and Apollo were found a week ago. Don't try and tell me they don't goad each other on to wind us up.
The rain came.
We got wet.
Inside Rock HQ I checked the classified adverts in the local paper, so far no one seems to want to swap a hamster for a shitland pony.
I shall keep looking.