Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Colts, coats and cats

"Colts" and "Coats" - two words which, when heard on the phone, can cause a certain amount of unrequired confusion. Well, they do for me - I'm a pensioner you know!

I'd better explain that statement, I suppose - but first, a story that the mention of coats has brought to mind.

Many years ago, during the days when the Irish were resident in  the prisons, before the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, I was in Frankland prison with several of those I.R.A. men, men I had already known for several years in various places of containment. One of those fellows was Pat Hayes, a decent enough fellow who, since his release, has become a teacher of IT in Dublin. Pat bombed Harrods. In fact, he once said to me that, if he had known what a decent fellow Al Fayed was, then he (Pat) would never have bombed Harrods, he'd have bombed somewhere else.

Anyway, I digress - a common fault of mine. I had a map of Ireland sent in at one point and it was a chart of all of the clans and families in Ireland and their Coats of Arms. I found Wilkinson up there in Sligo but couldn't find Hayes. So, I went to Pat and said, "Hoy! Ye bollix! I've found Wilkinson, there's no Hayes!" He replied, "Well, there's a reason for that. We had no coats but we had plenty of arms."

Yesterday, I was collected at the gate by Pat and her daughter Sara for a day out at Pat's place. There was me, dressed up like a Pox Doctor's clerk and, when we got going, I suggested that we stop at Tesco's so that I could get myself a couple of shirts and a few pairs of socks. Sara said that she liked my pink tie so I told her that I was in touch with my feminine side - and she must be given credit for only sniggering a little bit.

I got my clothing and off we went to Pat's place where, clearly, it intended to rain at regular intervals so I got changed into my normal attire, which makes me look to be one step up from a gentleman of the road - a denizen of the long acre.

Sitting in the kitchen later with Pat, Sara and Jade, Sara told me (or was it Pat? One of them told me...) that there had been a phone call during the previous week about coats! She'd phoned back and got nowhere apparently, so we phoned a friend of mine in Melton Mowbray - because it was HE who had been wittering about coats. He hadn't mentioned coats - he was talking about two COLTS that he had for me. So, we chatted back and forth, with me totally unable to understand much of what was being said because, to be quite frank about it, I'm a nitwit when it comes to telephones of any sort - I don't like them and never use them unless I've got no option. I had no option.

Bob has two colts, last year's horses, and I wanted to give them to Sara because Jade is too big for her current pony and the colts are Welsh cobs and will grow to anything between 14 and 15 hands. One is black and the other black and white and they are off to collect them within the next few days.

"Coats" and "Colts".

I asked Jade what her favourite colour was for a horse and she said, "Black!" So that's her choice made then. Young Harvey isn't so keen on horses because he got on one last year and the horse simply took off with him - last seen heading up the M1 with a posse chasing them.

Where was I? Oh yes. In the afternoon I went out on the marsh with Dennis to look at the old hulks that the R.A.F. use for target practice, and managed to fall over in the mud but saved myself from getting too dirty by getting my hands up first. All I left were imprints of my fingers, like those of a demented piano-player in the mud.

Back at the ranch, and before we settled down to an excellent meal of home-made rabbit pie (delicious), there was a pantomime. Apparently there is some rail company with a name to do with red spots and handkerchiefs - "Red spotted hankies"? (What do I know?)  The thing is, they have a competition on line. Not on the rail line -  there'd be more than red bleedin' spots in that case - no, on t'internet. Pat had registered and they had sent her a red hankie with spots on it. The plan (apparently) is for people, folk, to send in an original and interesting picture which must include the red handkie. There is a prize - free travel or naked pictures of Simon Cowell or all the stale buns you can eat or something.

Pat didn't want to just tie the hankie around one of the animals' necks - because everybody on-line would be doing that - no, she wanted something more interesting.  Dennis suggested shoving a cat into a wellie and putting the hankie on a stick like a tramp's bundle and calling it "Puss in Boots" - quite clever I thought.

So Pat dragged me and Tracy into it somehow. Have you ever tried to stuff a cat in a wellie arse-first? Cats are notoriously uncooperative, let me tell you. So there we are, two of us trying to stuff cats in wellies and Tracy trying to get pictures which don't look like evidence in a case brought by the RSPCA.

We finally gave up on the cats. "Let's try a rabbit!" some nitwit suggested - it may have been me. Did you know that even placid and friendly rabbits can cut up a bit rough when you try to stuff them in a wellie? It's true - take my word for it. How we didn't end up in the nearest A&E department is a mystery that can only be put down to luck.

"Now what?" said someone after the rabbit had been returned to its hutch with a definite sneer on its face. "Duck," said I. So we went to look at the ducks, but one look told us that those ducks were too fat to go anywhere near a wellie. "Chicken!" I suggested but just got pitying looks from the rest. I gave up round about then, but Pat and Tracy got one of the dogs, a very active and possibly insane terrier, to jump up and down at the red, spotted bundle on the end of a stick while they tried to get a useable picture out of the mayhem.

Good luck with that then.

I went to give Buddy a carrot - remember Buddy? I had to turn the electric fence off and climbed in clad in the righteous armour of Tesco's finest carrots - three of them. Buddy saw me and sort of casually ambled over, but you could see it on his face - "Here comes the nitwit who lets me do as I please - and he's got carrots! Excellent!"

I gave him one, but I don't think it touched the sides, so I gave him a second and turned to give the third to a pony standing politely waiting. Buddy stood on my foot so I had to give him the third too. That horse needs counselling in my opinion.

Did I mention that it rained a bit? And, at one point there was even a quick spurt of hailstones - I could have done with one of the coats mentioned earlier.

The Voice In The Wilderness

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