Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Diesel and dust

"In the desert, in the dry, before the breaking of the rain, the temperature in the shade has reached a hundred and ten again". Well, not quite. I think it got up to 97 in Surrey, and might have been a few degrees lower than that here. But still pretty hot. My concession to the conditions was to take Jill out early: she sweats a bit anyway at exercise, being a natural fidget, so I thought it best to get her out at six, otherwise it could have been late morning before she fitted into my morning. It was rather a pleasant exercise, and I even caught a glimpse of Godolphin's last lot of the morning retreating back to barracks in time, I suppose, for a 6.30 finish. That routine works well for them, because it means that most of the lads have time to do a paper-round after work before going home to call their punters to wish them good morning and to advise them which odds-on shots to lay that day. (That's a joke, by the way, in case the feared Web Administrator is looking in).

So what this meant was that when I rode into the yard on Mozie Cat at 7.55, I should have been reasonably alert, having already worked two horses. Even so, I was completely bamboozled to find myself facing both The Judge and Claude Charlet. I just couldn't see the connection, and wracked my brains as to what link I'd missed. As it turned out, there was no connection: they just both happened to be there, independently. The Judge is working nowadays for Walter Swinburn, who has dispatched him to the British Racing School to be licensed as an amateur. So, if you see Mr I.McBride (7), riding for Swinburn in an amateur race, and the horse has any form at all, it might be an idea to have a bet, because The Judge would be streets ahead of the average obscure amateur. It was nice of him to call in to say G'day, and I was pleased to see him. He may even end up on one of these horses someday. Anyway, before the mystery was cleared up, things became even more confusing when Claude asked me if Gerry had rung me; he clearly expected the answer to be "Yes", but it was "No", and I had no idea what was going on. (It transpired Gerry had rung me, the previous evening, but it was after my watershed and the phone was already off for the night). All became clear, because Claude has given up on a horse he's been racing very unsuccessfully, and Gerry has arranged for us to have a go with her here. It's a challenge I am relishing, and I am delighted that Gerry has taken her on and put her here. So, later that morning, James ran me across town to pick her up - during which journey I was horrified to discover TWO Phil Collins tapes in his car. One might say that James, being a member of a band, is better qualified to make the judgement than I (who can't play or sing a note), but, even so ... dear, oh dear ...

I had a very pleasant drive up to Kerry's farm in Norfolk today to collect Millyjean. The filly has done very well in her break, growing in every dimension. The principal dimension in which she has grown is her waistline, but that's no disaster as she'll soon work that off. Overall, she went up there a pony and she's come back a horse. We are blessed to be able to send horses there, as are the horses to be able to go. It's always a pleasure to visit, and my trip made a very good way of spending what may turn out to have been the hottest afternoon of the year.

I notice, incidentally, that Alice has made another posting on this site in my absence. It's rather sweet that she should chose to do so under my name. What is also so sweet is that she writes in the third person. I believe that this is quite a common trait with basenjis, something like their equivalent of the royal "we". She's actually been rather modest, as she did accompany me on Jill in the relative coolness this morning, although she only made it as far as Rayes Lane, and turned back before Mark Tompkins' gateway. I didn't see her eat anything on the journey; I think that, like me, she becomes pickier in the heat. I do feel, incidentally, that she has been rather harsh on Matt Chapman, as I happen to know for a fact that it isn't Matt himself she finds annoying - she actually rather likes him, and once described him to me as a "brahmameister", whatever that means - but his habit of talking to her as she were an addicted punter, when, of course, nothing could be farther from the truth. Alice has no interest in gambling - as is generally the case with basenjis - but Matt insists on talking to her as if she would bet on two antelope strolling across the veldt. She does find that rather tiresome.

Oh yes, I must bid welcome to all our new correspondents. Delighted to have you on board - keep 'em coming. I think I've worked out who just about everyone is, the only two whose identities remain a mystery being Dickie Do Da and Statistician. I suspect one of them could be an American woman, but that's just a wild guess, and otherwise I haven't got a clue. It's good to blog.


D.D. Fan Club said...

Hope that The Judge wasn't planting an electronic listening device at Beverley House Stables. With the stable runners in magnificant form, and his punters always hungry for info, the temptation may have been too much.

jaggers said...

pulpit and stone

john's picture on the site, lose the beard and the smile, affix a "dog collar" and he could have a career preaching to bible belt America.

All that Harry Chapin stuff would go down a treat !!

philcollins1 said...

When I'm feeling blue
all I have to do
is take a look at you.
Then I'm not so blue

When you're close to me
I can feel your heartbeat
I can hear you breathing...
in my ear

Wouldn't you agree
baby you and i
got a groovy kind of love?

Anytime you want to
you can turn me onto
anything you want to
anytime at all

When I kiss your lips (yuk)
oooh I start to shiver
can't control my quivering...

Wouldn't you agree
baby you and me
got a groovy kind of love

When I'm on your site Wath
nothing seems to matter
my whole world can shatter
I don't care....

Wouldn't you agree...
etc etc
etc etc

joff said...

In order of listening pleasure:

1. Alice yodelling the South African National Anthem.

2. John 'singing' at his Open Day...

100. Phil Collins.