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Showing posts from March, 2013

Raising money for Redwings

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You might already know about the latest large cruelty case to hit the headlines in the UK. Redwings Horse Sanctuary (amongst others) have been taking in horses rescued from Caerphilly, in Wales. THe horses were described by the case officer as "queueing up and waiting to die". Redwings has, to date, taken in over 40 of these horses. One was so poor her condition score was 1.
I'd like to raise some money to help these horses, so am putting up for sale new copies of Olga E Lockley's Nannie Lambert Power O'Donoghue. She was a famous steeplechaser and horsewoman who wrote wildly readable works on riding: alas difficult to find nowadays, but you can get a pretty good idea of what she was like from her biography, itself a fine read.



I'm donating £5 from the sale of each book to Redwings. All prices include p&p, and are £10 (UK), £12.50 (Europe) £16 (USA/Canada) and £16.50 (Australia and New Zealand). You can order copies here.

Bonar Dunlop and the Piebald Question

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If you are pushing on a bit, as I am, you will find that there is a large tranche of the pony book reading public who see things entirely differently to you. Say Jill and Black Boy to them, and the pony that gallops through their mind is piebald. They read Ruby Ferguson's Jill books in the post-1980s printings, and in them Black Boy was a (rather porky) piebald on the front cover, and he was also (mostly) described as piebald in the text. These readers are incredulous when told that actually, Black Boy was created black.

I first read the Jill books in the 1970s, and as my paperbacks were a mix of 1960s and 1970s editions, I was confused. In some he was black, and in some piebald. It seemed odd to me at the time, but I put it down as as a strange thing the publishers had done, but not one I needed to worry about. In my mental picture of the pony, he could be whatever colour I wanted.

It wasn't until some decades later that I wondered why Black Boy was black when Ruby Ferguson c…

Moving on

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I had the Country Life dream. When hanging round at a station, waiting for my train, my favourite reading was Country Life. To be more accurate, my favourite reading was the property pages of Country Life. They are lush, sunlit visions of countryside perfection. An Elizabethan manor here; a perfect Queen Anne box there, the room shots full of the very best sort of brown furniture, beeswaxed to within an inch of its life. The gravel paths were weedfree; the grass immaculate. Even the wrecks were romantic in their decay: a brilliant opportunity for someone.

The country house was my dream. I peopled it with my happy children, playing in the fields, with a benign horse or two looking on, manes gently lifted by the soft summer breeze. I never thought I'd actually live in my dream. Reality for me was Charlton, SE7, one of those areas of London that even most Londoners are a bit hazy about. "The Millennium Dome," I would say. "There." Charlton was scruffy, and gently …