Friday, 9 January 2009
Well tonight I did have half a plan just to do a quick couple of lines about Trevor and his fat balls. But as usual event overtook this smallholder who is home alone, aside from 60 or so beasts and Beth with her boyfriend Tom. Tracey is at her Mum and Dads because her Dad is still very poorly. So I was lucky enough to be driven home by Beth who models her driving style on a blindfolded Mr Bean, this time the journey passed without incident and I at no stage felt compelled to grab the handbrake or scream hysterically as she approached every junction.
Back at the ranch I intended to complete all jobs and then get the house not only tidied but completely redecorated before Tracey came home. First job was to muck the boys out who had each dumped a wheelbarrow load of fresh do all over the stable floor. As they have both got used to standing quietly having a munch from the ever decreasing haystack I let them both out for that purpose. I should have paid more attention to the mood of Apollo who was fizzing like an unexploded bomb. Whilst I was moving the latest offerings from his bowels he went off, down the lane at full speed disappearing into the darkness. William and I stood and waited. Soon the reassuring clatter of hooves heralded the wonder foals arrival. William chewed thoughtfully as Apollo circled him in the glow of the anti aircraft lights.
They stood shoulder to shoulder facing down the lane, William looked at Apollo and nodded and both took off down the lane Grand National style at full gallop.
I watched and waited.
No reassuring clatter of hooves.
They had whats technically known as done a runner.
I got my less than useful torch and with the Magnificent 7 in full cry set off after them. Precious few signs were there for an experienced tracker like myself to follow but judging by the hoof prints in the ice sheet at the bottom of our lane they had obviously considered turning for home before heading off up the hill towards the Ghost House and Mad Keith's. My spirit lifted slightly when I thought the torch had picked out Apollo but it turned out to be our sheep who panicked in the darkness unable to recognise the dogs as friendlies and so stampeded ahead of me hemmed in on the narrow track. We all got to the point it opened out onto the hill and as if by magic Mad Keith was perched on a rock watching the pantomime unfold. "Hi Keith, don't suppose you have seen two horses run through have you?"
"Yes, just now, they're up there" he pointed further up hill.
Great. I increased my pace, so did the tidal wave of sheep before me. Seven dogs ran amok on the hill looking for geriatric rabbits. I shouted over my shoulder, "Was one a white one?" Mad Keith thought a moment before shouting back, "No. Brown I think"
Half a mile ahead the track split in two, if I didn't head the horses off at the pass they would either head back around the hill or head off into thousands of acres of wilderness. I broke into a jog, unhelpfully so did the sheep. The torch illuminated a horses backside running ahead of the sheep, the panic of the sheep spreading to Apollo. William was just trotting along enjoying the adventure. Unbelievably the whole procession was brought to a sudden halt by the two Berners running back towards us having overtaken us all in the darkness. The sheep formed a defensive circle and Apollo skidded to a halt. I caught up with him, put a dog lead around his neck (it being the first thing similar to a lead rope I could find, be prepared, that would be a good motto to live by) and turned for home.
He was exhausted and shuffled along by my side alternately leaning on me for support or dragging his hooves a pace behind. William followed like a naughty child trying to pretend he wasn't really following and the sheep not wanting to miss out on anything fell in behind him.
And so this convoy of animals made its way back around the hill to Rock HQ. Right on cue as we got to the boundary of The Ghost House Apollo froze and refused to move freaking us all out. I had to drag him whilst at the same time conforming to the legend, don't look back.
Eventually we all got back to the safe glow of the anti aircraft lights and the two naughty boys were shut in their stalls without a goodnight story. This little escapade seriously ate into the time available for redecorating so Tracey will have to make do with just a tidy house on her return tomorrow.
What of Trevor and his fat balls?
Well the little shitland has made the most of his latest eviction from the stable block. The trees in the garden are adorned with fat balls for the birds. Little Trevor has managed to find all these bird treats and eat them all. I am expecting his latest offerings for the garden to pop out strung together in green nets.