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1 AN OLD LAND ROVER
STORY 40 SELLING A HORSE WHIP
Where my dearest whispers to a horse very loudly, puts one over the WI and once again PC Blenkinsops brain goes into meltdown
Below is a transcript of the description on the original Ebay advert
The reason I am selling this item is told below
The reason I am selling this whip is that my little Harvey Smith’s venture into all things equestrian have thankfully ceased.
It all started when my wife decided to enter the annual village carnival to represent the local witch’s coven, of which she is head honcho. The theme this year was famous figures from history.
After much thought and chewing of pencils she had whittled the pencil and the list down to. Maggie Thatcher, Bodecea, and Florence Nightingale. Maggie was dismissed as my dearest did not have the hair . Florence was discarded because she saved people from illness and death whereas my fungal footed one spread plague and pestilence with great ease. That left Bodecea an unwashed hairy footed peasant from Norfolk, and she seemed to fit the bill, especially the unwashed bit. Although I think what made Bodecea more appealing was the fact that unlike Maggie with her handbag and Florence with her lamp Bodecea drove a chariot and not just any chariot but one with huge blades on the wheels to cut down the enemy. I had an uneasy feeling of death, destruction and many villagers finding themselves two feet less in more ways than one. Though I need not have worried because as most wives after thinking about it she changed her mind.
A week later she came bustling in and asked how difficult it would be to learn to ride a horse.
I had a sort of sinking feeling in my stomach, a sort of oh oh what now.
It then transpired she had found out that the Womens Institute were doing St George and the dragon with a static tableau depicting the slaughter of the dragon. SHE wanted to go one better and have a LIVE re-enactment with her on a real horse with lance prodding the dragon to death.
The answer I suppose is simple. There seems to be this constant battle between my wifes coven and the local WI. I am sure it’s a class thing driven mainly from below by my wife saying ‘Who do they think they are swanking about in their fancy motors etc etc. In this instance it was probably. ‘So they think they can do better than us, we will show them.’
A feeling of impending doom welled up within me but I did not say a thing. You cannot reason with a women when their street cred is at stake.
The next morning I awoke to her demands for riding lessons. My wife comes from a small conical island where the only animals ridden, (In more ways than one) were sheep in the kingly sport of Sheep Skudging..Although I would feel sorry for any animal that would have carry my wife on its back.
And so my little Sojourner Morrell rang the local equestrian centre and booked her first lesson. We duly arrived and met the riding school owner whom on seeing my wife wondered where on earth he would get a horse big enough to fit her; most of his stable were considered and dismissed. The quick thinking owner not one to miss the chance of making a few pounds rang the neighbouring farm. Half an hour later a huge old shire horse was bought into the yard and introduced to the wife who immediately fell in love with him when she found out his name was Napoleon.
My wife likes all things French. She equates France with culture and taste, why? I don’t know. I equate France with eating horse meat, smelly urinals, and being very drunk. (I spent two days in Paris on an apprentice trip in my youth a long long time ago). I do hear it’s changed a bit since then. I had visions of her going to the stables on the next lesson wearing her beret, stripped tee shirt, and waxed moustache. I just hoped she would bring a string of carrots instead of onions.
This being the first lesson the stable owner suggested that my wife stand with the horse and offer him an apple or two just to get acquainted and bond. As soon as the owners back was turned she ate the apples herself and kicked the horse with her wooden leg. ‘Start as you mean to go on’ that’s the wifes motto.
She then stood in front of him eyeball to eye ball. This went on for many minutes. My wife and Napoleon seemed to be holding a conversation. This was not with words but by body language. My wifes ability to read body language has caused me much pain especially when I used to lie to her about how much I had spent on a Land Rover part, or No I have not been to the pub etc etc. Now I am straight as a die it saves being hit around the head by an expertly wielded wooden leg.
The conversation went thus..............
Napoleon ……….. A thousand years of breeding has made me the magnificent beast you see before you. My forefathers were the machines of agriculture pulling the plough and harvester, the coal wagon, the barge. Their forefathers bought here by William the Conqueror in 1066 were mounted by knights and rode into battle bravely and fearlessly, steel shod hooves crushing all before them. What has the world come to? One minute I am munching out the rest of my days in a green field, no more to toil for the benefit of mankind and the next I am bought here to be ridden by you.
My wife ………… Listen you overgrown Shetland pony I am master here and what I say goes. Ok you may have a pedigree and you may know Willy the Conker but I am the one with the spurs and whip and in my book that makes me master. Get it punk? Oh and no acting the fool, I have eaten bigger than you for breakfast so just watch it mate.
Napoleon ……….. MMMMM we will see about that you may think you are master but let’s see who is the strongest…..
My Wife ……… Bring it on big guy
The horse then put its head down and started to push the wife she in turn lowered her head so that they were pushing forehead to forehead. They leaned into each other, the horse pushing with its back legs straining every muscle its hooves digging holes as it tried to get a purchase in the soft earth. The wife just stood, immobile as a ten tonne rock, the only sign of strain being a spot of perspiration on the edge of the moustache on her upper lip. The horse that in its youth could pull a 10 blade plough all day long was weakening, his mouth lathering as he sucked in lungfuls of air. It knew it had met its match but his pride would not let him give up. The wife sensing this increased the pressure until Napoleon suddenly backed off, broken, exhausted. The wife not one to gloat over any victory raised her hands above her head chanting easy, easy, easy, and then gave it a good kick in the shins with her wooden leg. Just to reinforce the lesson you understand.
And so arrangements were then made for her to start lessons the following week.
Some would say my wife is cruel to animals, this is not so. In the animal kingdom there is a line drawn, often painfully between the boss of the family group or pack and the rest. Had Napoleon been in a leadership contest with another horse the conflict could have been far bloodier. How many households do you know where the pet dog etc rules the roost, when all that is needed is discipline.
Evolution has created a barrier between the animal Homo Sapiens and the lower animals. We have lost the ability to communicate on a primal level and have buried our natural instincts deep down below the many layers of sophistication and breeding. Not so the wife, she still has a primal instinct when it comes to other animals, she knows them, can read their minds and body language, instinctively knows about eye contact, smiling. And attitude of both body and will.
And if all of that fails a good old horse wrestling competition would settle any outstanding problems..
In my family it goes without saying that my dearest is the Capo as there is no way I want to wake up as a frog. She was not always the leader. At the start of our relationship she was obsequious and would not say boo to a goose, I as master was asked to make all the decisions from what colour sheets to have on the bed, what she would wear to go out, to planning every meal , and budgeting every penny. It soon got to the stage where my stock answer was “Oh I am busy you choose” Very soon I was not being asked anything, and soon after that I realised I was not master in my own home, and that she controlled everything including the purse strings. I did not mind though as I had higher things on my mind like who to put in the England football team and what I would do if I won the pools.
And so my Golden Wart Warrior donned the persona of a horse riding, dragon slaying knight. For the next week she looked at all the Ivanhoe, Robin Hood type of films she could get her sweaty banana fingers on. Our house resounded to the sound and smells of all things equine. Cleaning became mucking out and the whip was in evidence flicking the lad around the ear when he showed a slight hesitancy in eating ……… or doing anything. Straw was spread over the kitchen floor. I drew the line though at eating out of a bucket and being called a knave and a varlot. A plethora of My liege’s, begads, forsooths and other lordly medieval words and insults such as "Thou art a blibbering, swag-bellied scut"! and "Thou pribbling milk-livered moldwarp"! echoed through the Foggydave mansion (well semi). **
I thought she was going to change her mind when she started to question me about Lady Godiva, she who rode naked through the streets of Coventry to protest about taxes. To picture my wife on a horse was bad enough but naked? No, even I could not picture that. Most of our nocturnal activities are done in the dark at least that way I can keep my dreams, or to put it another way it lessens the severity of the nightmares. Apart from the picture she would make, the idea of her sitting bare bottomed on a horse seemed very unhygienic from the horses point of view. I persuaded her that her hair was not quite long enough to cover her embarrassing bits, and as this is most of her body it would have taken a lot of hair.
The next lesson started off normally, although due to her size my wife had to use a ladder to get onto the horse which I must say visibly sagged in the middle as its strong legs trembled under the weight. Its whole attitude seemed to say that it was getting a little old or this sort of thing but would not see this upstart of a woman beat him.
Napolean lasted all of ten minutes before with steam rising from its white lather covered flanks it stopped and despite all the cajoling shouting threats and my dearest kicking it forcibly in the ribs refused to budge, it was rather sad that this once proud beast had been bought down to this.
It was obvious that this horse riding thing would not work. My dearest was visibly upset, she had to beat the Womens Institute, there must be a way. She then looked at me. I do not see that sort of look very often thank God. It is a look that says sort this out NOW or terrible things will befall you. Fear is a wonderful motivator. In these cases it helps to think laterally, and so I came up with a plan.
A local engineering works I frequent often to cadge sheet steel and other weldable bits had a large steel decked trolley to carry heavy weights in the factory. It had four very sturdy wheels and would hold the weight of the horse plus wife. The idea would be to weld Napoleans iron shoes to the bed of the trailer and then sit my wife on him. I would make a trestle to fit under the horse’s tummy to support the weight of my dearest. The horse would then be draped in a long cloth to hide the trolley. I would then tow the trolley with my Land Rover which would be camouflaged to look like a dragon.
Her armour I made out of redundant road signs (I think they were redundant officer). For her lance she used a twenty foot length of scaffold pole with a very sharp pointy bit at the end.
Then came the day of the carnival. After several frantic hours welding and draping we trundled out of the factory door and joined the procession ready for the judging. It was obvious that the contest would be between the WI and the Coven. I think what swayed it in our favour was the consequences of the judges saying no when a twenty foot pole with a very sharp point was waved in front of their noses. My wife having been declared the winner again showed true sportsmanship by waving the lance above her head chanting easy, easy, easy. Thus giving the two fingered salute to the WI.
So the procession started my wife being the best entry proudly led the way. All went smoothly for the first half mile. It was when we were going down a slight incline in the high street that it all went terribly wrong. During processions people like to throw loose change into buckets. My wife had draped two buckets on either side of the horses neck into which lots of coins were being thrown. The trouble was more coins were hitting the horse than going into the bucket, the horse fed up with this tossed its head back which tipped both buckets over and the coins spilt noisily onto the steel bed of the trailer with a large crash. The startled horse tried to rear but its shoes had been welded to the trolley and so the whole trolley lifted up and detached itself from the Land Rover.
I was blissfully unaware of what was happening until I saw my wife, horse, and trailer trundle past me drapes blowing backwards in the wind as it gathered speed down the hill. Pedestrians scattering as the trolley, horse and wife hurtled down the narrow street at the end of which was the police station above the butchers shop, St George, the horse and the trolly came to an abrupt halt when they hit a kerb.
Two things happened.
The lance my wife held also hit the kerb and like a pole vaulter she was pulled up into the air sailing in a graceful arc until her progress was impeded by the police stations upper window, luckily it was open she bounced across three desks before coming to rest on pc Blenkinsops desk. He was studying a report about screams and other noises coming from the garden shed of a house in the village the report did not name the street for fear of retribution but the letter was signed fd He had been given desk duties as he was in poor health due to his recent abduction by aliens and his incarceration in his mummies womb/police car. (story No 27) He looked up to face his worse nightmare and as when he met my wife the first time his brain unable to cope closed down, well not so much close as melt down. ( story No 11 ) This was one bridge too far.
The horse in the meantime had followed a separate course. As the trolley hit the kerb the welding broke off on the horses shoes and now free from the steel plate Newtons laws took over and the horse stiff legged skated across the pavement sparks flying from steel hooves into the local butchers shop, crashing through the front door and then through the open door of his walk in fridge at the back of the shop. The butcher who sold horsemeat as real beef steak had minutes earlier rang his supplier to order some more horse meat, this was real service and although he normally got his meat already dead would not look a gift horse in the mouth (so to speak), and so slammed the fridge door shut in case his prize should escape. The butcher was unaware that Napoleon had crashed through the back of the fridge and wall into a back alley and freedom but not before he had seen bits of horse hanging up in the fridge. He circled around to the front of the shop and silently walked in to find the butcher with his ear pressed against the fridge door listening for sounds of activity within. The butcher felt a hot breath on his neck and turned to find the huge face of Napoleon pressing into his, he backed off towards a smaller walk in fridge and scurried inside locking the door, The police found him the next day frozen solid just like the bits of horse meat hanging on the hooks around him.
My little scud missile enjoyed the pole vaulting experience so much she thought she would join the local athletics club and use one of those bendy poles as seen in the Olympics. That was until I tactfully showed her by my calculations that to lift her weight using a pole vault over a bar twenty foot in the air she would have to achieve a take off speed of ninety miles per hour.
** If you wish to see more of her Sheakespearean insults go to Names I call my wife
Postscript to story
Pc Blenkinsop is in the local sanatorium his brain a complete mess. It is hoped that he makes a full recovery but the prognosis is grim.
Napoleon retired back to his field and cannot settle just in case a man with a horse box arrives in the dead of night, and also the constant nightmares involving butchers, freezers and glue factories.
Jack ----- "I used to be a horse whisperer you know".
Sarah ----- "Wow really I thought you hated horses. Now I know you like them I will ask Mellissa if she will let us borrow her horse. This is really nice you know".
Jack ----- ???????
Sarah ---- I thought we were drifting apart but this shared interest will bring us back together again. Oh I am so happy. I will ring mummy up and see when she will be free to arrange the wedding. We could hold the reception at Daddys mansion and go to Jamaica for the honeymoon".
Jack ----- ?????????????????
Sarah ----- Oh we can have children. Where shall we send them? .....Cambridge. Yes Cambridge Daddy went there. Oh Jack I am sooooo happy.
Jack ----- ??????????????????????????????????? ……………………….No I said I used to be a hoarse whisperer. I had laryngitis when I was a young boy. …………….Horses … horses, no I hate horses. They make good glue though.
I have spoken before of my wifes split personalities it seems the Sir Lancelot/ St George phase is still with us. She insisted we go to a themed mediaeval banquet at a local abbey but was rather miffed when she was not put on the head table** although she got her own back by pretending to be a servant and spiking their mead with plague inducing potions.
**This may have been because she was dressed as Long John Silver complete with parrot.
While I was writing this story I could not help thinking of the sorry fate of so called ‘Whipping boys’ of days gone by. The reason for this person was that in days of yore a young king or would be king could not receive corporal punishment so instead of chastising him for any wrong doing the ‘whipping boy’ would be cuffed around the head instead.
This was the reason King Alfred burnt the cakes. When young, during cooking lessons he would just sky lark about making rude shapes out of the pastry and instigating flour fights knowing that his whipping boy would take all the punishment. When asked to look after the cakes he just did not know what to do and a kingdom was lost.
Well lots of lookers but no bidders. Such is the way in the wonderful world of eBay. I will though tell the wife it has sold as the lads ears are getting very sore from the constant flicking.