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Showing posts from August, 2007

Horses on Children's TV

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A post on Mutterings and Meanderings' blog reminded me of the horsey programmes I used to watch.

My absolute favourite horsey programme was White Horses, which for those of you not lucky enough to be born when I was, was a German programme about a Lipizzaner stud, dubbed into English. I think there's a certain section of horsey society out there who can sing along with every single word of the theme song. And Boris, ah Boris.... there was a horse. Ferreting about on the internet when I should have been doing other things, I found this site, dedicated to the series, and which is going to re-issue it on DVD. Oooooooh.... oooooooooooh. When it's out, I shall buy one, and an extremely large box of chocolates and watch it all with my sister, my partner in our television crimes.

Fortunately White Horses was on BBC1 as for most of my childhood we had a tv that only received BBC1, and when we did get a telly that got more chanels, my mother issued an edict that ITV was bad and we …

A new pony books blog

There's a new blog on pony books: it's started off with Diana Pullein-Thompson's Donkey Race and is going to feature all of the Pullein-Thompsons' books. Donkey Race isn't one I've actually come across, but having read the review I'm going to try and find one!

What I've been reading: a mixed bag

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I've been keeping the office ticking over this month as the family are home, which does have the useful side effect of letting me catch up on my reading. I was asked last weeks to identify a book (it was Three Great Pony Stories) which includes Joanna Cannan's They Bought Her A Pony. This, I suppose, as it was printed in a couple of anthologies was the easiest Joanna Cannan to get hold of before Fidra started their reprints, but it's never been my favourite.
Once I had dug out the copy I have I decided to read it again: I wondered before I started it again whether distance would have leant any enchantment (it took me a few years to appreciate K.M. Peyton's Fly-by-Night). Alas, it still left me with a vague feeling of dissatisfaction. They Bought Her a Pony is the only title of JC's (I don't count Hamish) not written in the third person, and I wonder if that is why the book doesn't quite work for me. JC is much better, I think, at revealing nuances of charact…

The Flat Pack Tractor

It's true. Here it is: the flatpack tractor. We spent the weekend at one of my sister-in-law's in Cornwall, and they take the Smallholder magazine. I always love reading about other peoples' chickens etc, so dived in, and found the Flatpack Tractor.

I just hope it has more comprehensible instructions than some flat packs I've dealt with in my life. Like most of the UK population, I've done my share of trawling round the hellhole that is Ikea (but gave up some years ago - I don't care how cheap it is. Being surrounded by other peoples' miserable, bawling kids who would rather be anywhere else other than there is vile, and I'm not going to do it anymore.)

Apparently there are 10 different construction tasks for the tractor, each of which should take an hour. I suppose this is the sort of thing you're not going to buy if you're the average hopeless goop who doesn't know how to use a screwdriver, but all the same, I'd love to know…

Go Fug Yourself

I do love Go Fug Yourself, oh I do. I'm not immune to the occasional (alright, frequent) fashion disaster myself. It took me years to finally admit to myself that I was never going to go back to my scrawny pre-pregnant self, and that it might be an idea to dress accordingly, but alarmingly I am not alone in being clueless.

I've just spent a morning sitting in one of Wellingborough's coffee bars - goodness, we now have a Costa Coffee - is this good or bad - but anyway; they have large plate glass windows, ideal for studying those walking by. All that fat wobbling away over low waistbands, and those wide, low slung belts worn at the widest part of one's wide, low slung self, the tight T-shirts clinging to every roll ...... and white boots.

The cheering thing about Go Fug Yourself is seeing people who frankly should know better (and have the dosh to employ a stylist) getting it gloriously, and spectacularly wrong. Which I suppose does not say good things about my char…

A Puzzling Unknown Book

Does anyone have any idea what this book is? My correspondent says it isn't a Jill book. This is what she can remember:

This book is written in the first person: and opens with the girl almost ready to give up riding after a bad lesson. She and her friend are riding along on their bikes discussing the lesson. Once she's home, she finds a letter from her aunt inviting her and her friend to come and look after the aunt's riding school. The two girls go and run a very successful camp for the riding school pupils. The book ends with the girls being invited to come and run the riding school in their school holidays.

The person who asked thought the book was the first in a series.

The Prodigal Hen

We thought on Saturday that the fox had finally succeeded in getting one of the hens. Only three were there at putting in time, and a search only turned up ginger feathers in the graveyard (appropriately). We searched; the dog searched - no hen. So, two nights went past, and we assumed Matilda was now fox food. Yesterday I went up at lunchtime to give them a handful of corn, and all four waddled towards me across the wreck that was once our sand school. Poor Matilda now has only one tail feather left and therefore a sadly naked bottom, but she seems fine otherwise.

We're really puzzled about where she has been. There is a very large bramble patch in the school, so we think she must have holed up under there until she felt better, at which point she emerged.

Foot and Mouth

A mammoth three posts from me today, but have just heard that Foot and Mouth has broken out again. My heart goes out to the poor farmers: it's been such a terrible year for them so far with the floods and awful weather, and if this is coped with like last time, it must be the final nail in the coffin for many.

It seems that Defra are reacting quickly this time. I hope they introduce vaccination and have learned from last time's debacle.

During the last outbreak we were grazing sheep on our land: we were lucky enough not to have any outbreaks nearby but even thinking of that time brings back the smell of the pink powdered disinfectant we went through by the bucketload. Hope and pray things get no worse.

A Recommendation

This is from one of my email correspondents - I haven't read it myself, but am going to order a copy asap.

" I've just read an astonishing book by Rosalind Belben called "Our Horses in Egypt" ( Chatto & Windus £16.99 2007)

It charts two journeys - that of Griselda Romney a war widow and her formidably reticent Nanny and precocious daughter Amabel and that of Philomena a rather "marish" mare. Philomena was Griselda's mare and she was requisitioned for the army at the beginning of the 1st WW. Philomena's story is of incomprehension, loss of companions, battles, betrayal (by the British government who abandoned 22,000 loyal warhorses in Egypt at the end of the war to an often painfully neglected existence). Griselda, on hearing that Philomena may be alive, embarks on a journey to discover her and bring her home.

Talk about pony books that make you weep - this is an adult novel you definitely can't read in public!

There is a lot about the way …

The Noel and Henry books

I'm doing a bit of a re-read myself, but I'd love to know why you like the Noel and Henry series, if indeed you do. And if you don't, what is it you don't like?