Thursday, April 15, 2010

three wheels on my wagon

dear readers, i was going to fill you in on the progress in bonzo's education since his course. during the course he did particularly well at the module on 'how to tread on your human's foot and make it black and blue for a week'. the following day he built on his progress by jumping out of his skin at a passing shed while out on one of his walks, shoving herself face-first into a clump of brambles and nettles and leaving her face looking like she had fallen out with a tiger. but, true to form, life has thrown up yet more blog-fodder at a speed i find impossible to match.

the latest chapter came about because of herself's wish to continue bonzo's education with uncle gary, who is a first class teacher of both horses and their riders. it is rather pricey to pay for bonzo to be transported around the place so herself has been unable to take him to see uncle gary. the idea of purchasing a horsebox to transport him came upon her the other evening. no sooner had she had the idea than she was bidding on more than one horsebox on ebay. this was a rather risky strategy, although one of the horseboxes was only £5 at this point so the risk of having to embark on a programme of quantitative easing was lessened somewhat. in the event the £5 horsebox soon shot out of herself's price bracket, leaving her bidding on one that was within her budget (or more accurately within her overdraft limit).

herself was unable to wait for the outcome of the auction, and in any event the bidding price was reaching the 'buy it now' price, so herself's shopping finger clicked on the 'buy it now' button and the horsebox was ours. there is a little thing called paypal in ebay which allows you to pay for things very quickly indeed, so herself duly paid for the horsebox and then e-mailed the seller to arrange to pick it up.

it was at this point that things began to unravel somewhat. the seller wrote back to say she would only accept cash. herself replied that the ad had said that paypal would be fine. the seller appeared to have put the ad on ebay on her blackberry (not the edible sort, but a little communication gizmo that my more technically able readers will be familiar with) and had not pressed the correct button. anyway, herself was not to be put off and collared her maamship (who was down for the weekend) to come along with her. young dave and i were not allowed to join them, so what transpired took some time to filter through.

it appears that there were further communications from the seller during the journey, but none of these gave the exact address at which the trailer was stored. so herself and her maamship arrived in a little village in remotest surrey, where the local population was obviously extremely rich, without the foggiest idea where they were headed. they drove slowly around, trying not to look too dodgy, peering through hedges to see if they could see any horses (their combined forensic legal minds had concluded that someone with a horsebox to sell most probably had a horse to put in it). by now her maamship had started to giggle. herself kept trying to phone the seller but, what do you know, there was no mobile phone signal in the little village. i suppose the very rich people who live there send their butlers up to the top of the nearest hill to send text messages on their behalf when they need to contact their mates.

anyway, eventually herself and her maamship turned into a drive leading to a very large country mansion which had a sign saying that tradesmen and those visiting the riding stables should use the track to the left. on the basis that the people at the riding stables would know other people with horses in the area this was as good a plan as any. after travelling up a track for some time, turning round when they came to a dead end (by now extremely conscious that they were being monitored on cctv and probably being tracked by gun-toting private security forces) our intrepid explorers stopped to ask a man who was wielding a hose whether he knew where the seller lived. the man, at the mention of the name, looked as though he had a bad smell under his nose and pointed to a gate.

"they own those woods there," he said, before calling his dogs and retreating into his garden with the hose.

herself and her maamship parked by the gate and let themselves in, pausing to say hello to a bunch of dogs who were unconvincingly pretending to guard the place. a harassed looking woman greeted them, with a tale of woe about ebay and paypal and trailers and banks. she said her husband was on his way, at which point said husband arrived in a very large 4 wheel drive.

the conversation at this point concerned the fact that herself had clearly paid the price of the trailer to paypal and the fact that the seller and her husband had not managed to get the money into their bank account was due to their own lack of a password rather than anything herself had done. in spite of this the man asked herself how much cash she had on her, or whether she could let him have a cheque. she pointed out that as she had only just met him and his wife, and as they were in a wood rather than at an address, she was not inclined to part with any more money. when the man took a slightly lofty tone and said that it might be necessary to come back the following day, the fact that he was dealing with a solicitor and a judge somehow got dropped into the conversation in an effort to convince the man that the horsebox would not be stolen (for my american readers i should point out that our solicitors are rather different to yours) much to her maamship's embarassment.

there then followed a long discussion as to why the trailer was for sale which seemed to involve the sellers having bought it two weeks previously, from ebay. the reason the man gave for selling it so quickly was that his horse was too big for it. herself asked how big his horse was, to which the man replied that it was 18 hands high (a hand is a unit of measurement for a horse, and 18 of them makes for a very big horse). now call me a suspicious old lurcher but i would have thought that if you had a very big horse (and we are talking very, very big - the magnificent bonzo is only 16 hands high), you might just think to measure the trailer to make sure your horse would fit inside it. on the way back to the car, the man invited herself and her maamship into the barn to see his very big horse. herself was rather surprised to see that it did not appear to be an 18 hands high horse and indeed was not much bigger than bonzo. it could of course be the case that the floor inside the stable was lower but the man said the horse bit anyone who came near it so herself was unable to tell.

herself decided that at the end of the day what she was buying was the trailer in front of her and the sellers clearly had some sort of 'grip on reality' issue which she was not going to bother her head about. she and her maamship hitched it up, with the help of the slightly delusional man, and drove off. the minute they were out of earshot herself had pieced together a life story for the sellers, based on one or two facts and a lot of supposition. her maamship was slightly less judgmental, as befits someone who spends their whole week judging. she needs to sit on the fence at the weekends.

it would be hoped that this would be the end of the saga, but there is one final twist which i must share with you. it became necessary for herself to pull into a layby on the way home so a phone call could be made to himself to arrange for him to cook the evening meal (her maamship had promised fish pie but was of course unfortunately delayed). while they were there, her maamship took the opportunity to check the trailer. she was giggling even more when she got back into the car.

"call me pernickety," she said, "but there are only 3 wheels touching the ground. the fourth wheel is spinning in the air!" this did indeed seem to be the case. it was only when they got back to bonzo's field, and parked the trailer by the muckheap, that it was possible to see that the fourth wheel was a different size to the other 3. i feel a visit to a scrapyard in search of new wheels is likely to be the subject of my next blog post...

Friday, April 09, 2010

back to skool

dear readers, bonzo is going on a hoss course! herself came across a lady who teaches courses on 'what makes hosses tick' on the internet and decided to find out more. she was most impressed by the course outline and booked bonzo on straight away. today was the first day, when only the humans went along. herself came back full of how good it was and how nice the people were. one lady sounded particularly nice. she said that she really liked hairy lurchers so herself hooked out her phone and showed the lady pictures of young dave and i. it seems we were just the right amount of hairiness, and of course young dave looked very cute, as he does in a photo (in the flesh there is obviously the olfactory angle to deal with which is not to everyone's taste).

later on there was an exercise where the group had to get into pairs. one of them had to pretend to be a horse while the other one led them along. the one being the horse had to shut their eyes so they could experience how it was to move to someone else's signals. the lurcher-loving lady was herself's partner for this. it seems this lady had been blind for some years but had been given an operation which had restored some of the sight in one eye so she as at some advantage when it came to negotiating round a field without being able to see. after herself had been led round with her eyes shut, she said to the lurcher-loving lady how apposite it was to have the partially sighted leading the blind. luckily the lady had supernatural powers and understood this was intended to be witty or herself could have been dumped into the horse trough.

days 2 and 3 of the course have the hosses along. herself was a little worried about what sort of impression bonzo might make. he is very muddy at the moment as the field has been so wet. when the course lady rang to see about numbers, herself mentioned that bonzo looked rather like a yeti at the moment and she would have to tidy him up a bit. it seems this will not be a problem as they allow yetis as well as hosses.

the plan is for mrs rose, a friend of uncle gary's, and now of herself, to collect bonzo in her hoss trailer and deliver him to the course. he will stay overnight and then come back, with impeccable manners, on sunday evening. or at least that is the plan. i suspect it may take more than the one course...