Tuesday, 17 November 2009

It's life Jim, but not as we know it

I have made the decision to turn the horses out, even though the hunt is meeting up the road. The horses can see the lorries and trailers from their field. Last time they came it took 45 minutes to catch Barnaby, who clearly thought he should be out with them and generally taking charge. Max was shaking, too. But this morning I knew Barnaby wouldn't stand for being kept in, and if I'd done so, I would have had to sedate him, which I don't really want to do, and besides which, I couldn't lay my hands on anything to sedate him with.
I was straining my eyes to see people arriving, and couldn't see anyone. I thought what an idiot I was about to look as I've told people at the livery yard and my neighbour that they are coming, so they could keep their horses in if they wanted to.
A couple of days before they came in the spring, we had seen a dead fox in a gateway up there, but didn't think anything of it. When the hunt arrived, the hounds came streaming out of the lorry, found the dead fox, said in unison, "Duty done, I think!" and ran back into the lorry!
I would have gone up to watch the hounds move off, but then I got a phone call from Pop's Attic saying they were on their way with the furniture, so I couldn't have gone anyway. Then when the delivery men arrived, they said, "There's 'ell of a fuss goin' on up there - dogs all over the place!" I just smiled. I also put Tessa into a stable, as she'd barked beautifully for me and I wanted to keep up the pretence of her fierceness. She isn't the only dog here. Pongo and Missis have two dogs, a black lab and a sheltie. The sheltie would, in fact, probably bite you, but the most the lab would do is pin you to the floor and lick you to death. I could think of a worse fate.

Purdy, my tiny cat, is sitting on my shoulder as I write this. I'm amazed at how well she is since we moved here. She is a stunted cat, so has always been very small, but before we moved here she had terrible skin, very bumpy and scabby. Now when you stroke her she is totally smooth, and you can tell she is well. Country life obvioiusly suits her. We have a 'cat room' next to the kitchen, which is where Pongo and Missis put the farm cats when they were kittens. We put Tigger and Purdy in there for two weeks when we first moved in, with the cat-flap closed. It is a feline heaven, with a climbing frame, a little igloo and a big cushion. When we were ready, we let them out to explore their new world.
Bear in mind that we moved from a semi-detached house with an extremely small garden, with a high wall round it, which Purdy couldn't climb over. Her world consisted of the house, this small garden and any butterflies that were silly enough to fly into range.
So imagine her reaction to the vast amount of space we have here. Tigger was a feral cat, so felt at home straight away, but Purdy was speechless. I saw her one day, sitting next to Tessa at the edge of the barn, both with their backs to me, not realising I was watching them. It was a Lion King moment. It seemed as if Tessa was saying, "And all this land is ours as well," and Purdy was gazing at grass as far as the eye could see, amazed at this new vista. No wonder she loves it here. I quite often catch her asleep in one of the stables, or curled up asleep in my tack locker. Actually, the first time she did it, I didn't know she was in there, and shut her in for the night! It's only because Tab, one of the farm cats, kept tapping on the door the next day, that I opened it and found Purdy inside, none the worse for the ordeal. Oops!

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