Over the years I’ve avoided equine entanglements. I used to boast that I’d eaten horse more recently than I’d ridden one, but now thanks to Tesco pretty well everyone can say that.
Still I’ve avoided going into the whole ‘livery yard’ diversification thing. Not through innate conservatism or immense wisdom but basically because I’d heard too many stories.
One lass I knew did Livery for a few years. She had tales to make your eyes water. As she said, “I didn’t mind helping them organise their show timetables, but be damned if I was going to help them organise their adultery as well.” She also got fed up of having to cough loudly before going into her own barn, in case she might stumble on something (or in one case quite literally stumble over someone) that she’d prefer not to know about.
One lady brought a horse in for livery. Things went well enough for three months or so but then the rent started falling behind. My informant made tentative enquiries (She’s very English you know, doesn’t want to make a fuss) and discovered that the horse was actually owned by the husband and the livery fees were being paid by the boyfriend. The two gentlemen in question had at this point discovered each other’s existence and were less than happy with the situation. The lady who had brought the horse in had more chance of becoming the next Pope than she had of paying the bill.
At this point my informant had had enough. She parked a tractor across the stable door and took the back wheels off. She didn’t care who paid her but someone was going to before they could get their horse back.
Which sort of brings us to the title of this blog post; another place and time has moved on. Now in these ostentatiously enlightened times a (different) lady of my acquaintance discovered that adultery had also moved on. She had a female client who had the horse with her. As far as I can make out the husband was paying for the horse and the lady and her girlfriend were both riding it. And when said Lady decided to go off with girlfriend and abandon husband, husband of course stopped paying.
So as usual these things get acrimonious and people get all upset. People forget themselves and make threats because they aren’t willing to take responsibility for their own actions. After all it’s easier to do that than try to put things right.
Eventually I became peripherally involved. I was walking quietly down the lane minding my own business when this car came past me rather quickly. I stepped promptly to the side and had just recovered my equilibrium when my informant appeared in her car to ask me a question which I’m unlikely to forget. “Have you just seen four lesbians in a fast car?”
Welcome to my world
More tales from a lifetime’s experience of peasant agriculture in the North of England, with sheep, Border Collies, cattle, and many other interesting individuals. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is just one of those things.
As a reviewer commented “I always enjoy Jim’s farming stories, as he has a way of telling a tale that is entertaining but informative at the same time. I’ve learned a lot about sheep while reading this book, and always wondered how on earth a sheepdog learns to do what it does – but I know now that a new dog will learn from an old one. There were a few chuckles too, particularly at how Jim dealt with unwanted salespeople. There were a couple of shocks regarding how the price of cattle has decreased over the years, and also sadly how the number of UK dairy farms has dropped from 196,000 in 1950 to about 10,000 now.
Jim has spent his whole life farming and has acquired a wealth of knowledge, some of which he shares in this delightful book.”