Tag Archives: horses

Breaking-in the Clothes Horse.

Yesterday, I had an encounter of epic proportions, when I tried setting up what should have been a simple clothes horse. One of those darned instant clothes racks you put up when it’s raining and your clothes dryer’s on the blink. Worse than any contraption I’ve ever bought from Ikea, this thing arrived without instructions..or even that pesky Allen key.

Indeed, I would’ve been most thankful if an “Alan” had been included, who could help put the thing up. Disentangle the rack, which was meant to clip in on top, from the feet. This is when the wrestling process began and I was seriously concerned that either I was going to get tangled and trapped inside. Or, it was going to become air borne. With only a little imagination, I could see this thing flapping it’s wings and flying away. (Or, is that just me? If so, I’ll blame the Weetbix. That stuff looks pretty ordinary, but the villains are always understated.)

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The annoying thing about all of this, was that I bought the clothes horse because the weather report said it was going to rain for three days. Naturally, the kids’ uniforms needed to be “processed”, especially the socks.

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An empty clothesline on a perfect washing day.

However, today I woke up to perfect blue skies, and what so many poor, deranged souls call “perfect washing weather”, when they could be down at the beach.

Have you had any challenging home maintenance experiences lately? Memories?

Despite all these DIY shows, I have noticed that the local tradie hasn’t become extinct. That there are still many people out there like me, who still need to be rescued. Fortunately, my other half compliments my capacity for disaster, and is a very enterprising Mr Fix-it.

Be careful this weekend.You might just be better off picking up your phone than a spade.

xx Rowena

Driving to Promised Land.

Welcome to Day 17 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

 

Today, we’re driving from Hobart to Tazmazia, which is located in Promised Land, a town located on Lake Barrington (Tasmania), Promised Land is 200km from Hobart, and about 80 km south of Launceston. The postcode is 7306.

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When the car heard us mention all the driving we’ve been doing,she went crackers. You sods with all  your “are we there yets?”Get real! You’ll just sit there, while I do all the work!

As you know, we’ve been doing a crazy amount of driving around Tasmania. However, we’ve been rushing so much, that I’ve barely had time to share scenery along the way.

So, before we head off to Tasmazia today, we’re having a horse stop beside the road and taking a look at Mt Roland.

Horses are in my husband’s blood. Both sets of great Grandparents bred horses and his Great Great Uncle, Daniel Griffin was a journalist who not only wrote a lot about horse-racing, he knew the horses and their pedigrees inside out. Another Great Great Uncle, James Newton was very involved in horse racing and cousins upon cousins were involved pacing, breeding, racing…you name it.

That said, it’s can be easy to forget that not so long ago, horses were commonplace before advent of the car. It wasn’t just his family.

Anyway, we had to stop when we spotted these horses beside the road. They were so lovely and friendly.

On that note, we’d better get back in the car and head up the hill to Tazmazia and the Promised Land.

xx Rowena

There’s Life In the Old Horse Yet!

As you might know, I love delving deep into the old newspapers online and have found some fascinating snippets and stories along the way. That includes this fabulous story about Pete the retired racehorse reflecting on his glory days. We could’ve had a wonderful chat if only he could talk and wasn’t fiction.

Indeed, I enjoyed this story so much, I decided to share it with you. There are a few bits of text I couldn’t make out and as it as written in the 1940s, the language is a bit dated but it’s still a fabulous, fast-paced tale. I hope you enjoy it!

OLD PETE By FRED GARDINER

OLD PETE was a vegetarian by Nature’s laws ordained.

And the monotony of it, the— yes, the humility of it, even, never once roused complaint in his patient soul.

But what did cause resentment was the indubitable fact that his diet was restricted to the unfermented type of vegetation.

Chaff, for instance; chaff, chaff, chaff. Crunch, crunch, crunch. No snap, crackle, and pop; just plain, crunch, crunch, crunch.

There was an element in the daily life of Pete that disturbed the old warrior muchly.

An element? Hardly. Almost it was an aura.

Everywhere he went, he smelt it, that aura; for actually, though he did not know it, yeast was the very essence of his daily life for Pete. He smelt it at his work, at rest, in his dreams—for old horses do dream.

Yeast!

And yeast has engendered a thirst in many a good man, an unquenchable thirst for—yeast. An irritating, insinuating, invigorating, inspiriting—ah, that, was it, an inspiriting desire.

For Pete in his young days had been SOMETHING.

And in those halcyon days he had quaffed the nut-brown ale, gallons of it.

As Prince – Peter, the topweight, he had gracefully cavorted to the cheers of the multitude and scornfully ignored the scowls of vengeful “barvons.” Then the smell of the tan was his aura, and beer was the nectar of Mammon, a reward for services rendered.

Later, much later, forgotten by his many spouses of the seasons that had flown by, forgotten, almost, by those for whom he had won small fortunes, his memorial merely a hyphenated allusion in sundry race-books, he had yet held his own with the others on the bakery rounds.

But nowadays the fellows at the brewery over the road from the bakehouse had taken to casting aspersions and crusts of their lunch in his direction, and referred to him as “Old Pete, the Hat Rack.”

How were they to know that, as Prince Peter, he had helped to make their industry? He had trained on barrels of beer. It had been his inspiration.

But who would buy a bucket of beer for the old chap now? He was but a pan-handler among his kind!

At the thought, resentment welled in his vast gullet to quench his thirst.

But-his cup of bitterness was replete when he saw those mudgudgeon brewers’ horses served their eight buckets of beer each day at noon. Eight buckets each. Placed in a line; and the lazy, sleek, slobbery sloths would – swab six, stamp a hoof in the middle of the seventh, bury their muzzles in the eighth, and blow it to the sky in bubbles.

Disgusting! Not the manners, but the waste.

Eight buckets of beer; and he would win the Cunnamulla Cup—had won it, in fact.

But, who remembered? He neighed in disgust, and blew the chaff out of his nosebag. So the driver, taking this as a sign that Pete had had enough, removed the nosebag before he had half finished his meal.

“Just a plug; how would he know?” thought Pete. “Never mind, it was dry tack, anyhow!”

But Pete was wrong in one particular. Bill, the driver, was not “just a plug.” He had a heart for the old horse, and never hastened to put the bit of servitude back into his mouth.

Which was indiscreet, indeed, in view of the fact that, the stables being at the bakehouse, there was always that aura, that haunting, yeasty, aura.

Came the day when the brewer’s man was late on his run and Old Pete finished early.

The ostler had placed sixteen buckets of beer, in two rows of eight, on the footpath, awaiting the return of the waggon. On the other side of the street Bill had buried Old Pete’s head in -his nosebag, and left him to crunch, crunch, crunch! Which, he did.

The brewery waggon did not arrive. The beer was going flat in the buckets – over the way. , .

Old Pete flicked a fly from his haunches, merely a matter of habit, for he had no mind for the fly; his thoughts were elsewhere…over the road.

Sixteen buckets of beer and him munching chaff! No; he must; dispel the thought. Gone were the days.

It was about the time when Bill helped the baker draw the batch. As the ovens opened, the smell rushed forth like a spirit new-released from Hades.

That aura! What tunes it played in the memory box of Old Pete as it assailed his sensitive, quivering nostrils.

The old horse staggered in the face of temptation, actually staggered at the knees; his head fell mutely, the nosebag touched, the ground and slowly fell off. Then, he was over the road in a jiffy, the bit- jangling uselessly from his jaws. Over the road and into those buckets…one, two, three,., sharp-firing; four, five, six, quick time; seven, eight, nine, ten—not out and six to go. Eleven, he was slowing up. Then, deliberately, twelve; thirteen for bakers’ luck and fourteen, fif-t-e-e-n.’ Smack went his hoof through the bottom of the sixteenth bucket to show his independence.

They called him Old Pete! Him! His mane bristled with indignation, his withers itched, his sides quivered as though at the spur. Well, he’d show them, if burst he would!

As he whirled round the corner, hanged if he didn’t hear the old cry again: “Runaway, runaway!”

That’s what they used to shout out there at. Cunnamulla—”He’s run away with the field. Good old Prince Peter! Oh, you bonzer!”

Well, he’d give ’em a go for it.

Into Parramatta-road he swung, heading west, and a motor horn tooted. Motors? Sacrilege! “Get my dust!” he snorted, tossing his old head in contempt.

Peter left the body of the baker’s cart at Lawson, and the shafts fall away at Wentworth Falls.

With one ear well back and the other forward, he crammed oh. the heat; not hard, you – know,. but just hard enough to give that motor socks.

And the crowds along the great thoroughfare roared: “Runaway, runaway!” ‘

Encouragement.That was the spice of life to an old trouper like Pete.

At Burwood a bluebird shot out from a side street and joined in the chase. Vainly the cops tried to head him off. Pete threw his head high and snorted a frothy snort of sheer contempt. Then he clapped the heat full on.

“Gosh, that old cripple’s’ doing, fifty!” gasped Constable Boot in the bluebird.

“Shut up, or you’ll have me crash!” snapped the copper at the wheel.

They flashed through Granville…first the turnout, with Pete in full command: next the bluebird, x with two grim-faced, cops wondering whether they would see their wives or the hospital that night; and. after, them an assortment of vehicles that took up the chase for awhile, and fell out as their engines ran hot.

By sheer luck Pete took the turnoff to the Mountains at Parramatta—or it may have been instinct. The traffic cop there took the rest of the day off.

On the straight to Penrith the pace became too hot for the bluebird. When the needle wavered around seventy going through St. Marys the bluebird drew out and phoned to have the runaway headed off at Penrith.

At Kingswood the first wheel came off, and at Emu Plains the second.

The message to head Pete off at Penrith reached there as he was sailing past Lapstone. (He is heading up the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney)

Pete left the body of the baker’s cart at Lawson, and the shafts fell away at Wentworth Falls. He slipped the harness at Leura.

Hasty messages had been flashed to Katoomba, where Pete’s arrival was anticipated.

Both railway gates were shut and a goods train had been drawn up on the level crossing.

Pete saw this as he came round the turn near the hospital—so clapped on speed.

“Just a brush hurdle!” he snickered. Sparks flew from his shoes as he landed in front of the Carrington and stream of Are rose: from the tar as he skidded to the foot of Katoomba-street.

Both sides of the thoroughfare were lined with people, who roared their encouragement…”Runaway, runaway !”

The old fellow, tossed the foanr to left and right of his: gallant head in sheer enjoyment; What a race! And he had oceans to .spare.

But as he turned off around the falls and headed for Narrow Neck he began to fancy another drink. Fifteen buckets more he reckoned, and he would tackle Govett’s Leap, yes.Upwards!

What Pete did not know was that it was pay day at the mine.

So when he saw Paddy O’Flynn staggering along the bush track with the boys dye-gallon on his shoulders, who was Pete to recognise the ethics that imposed upon Pat a sacred trust to deliver the goods or be damned.

And who was Paddy to know that he stood in the path of a noble soul seeking sanctuary!

“Howly Mercy!” Paddy howled as the shock-maned; wall-eyed, foam-flecked apparition pounded after him. “Glory be, if it ain’t the Bull of Bashan his very self, the craytur!”

Paddy went off at a gallop, with old Pete hard behind.

When it looked as if he were to be crushed beneath the flailing hoofs, Pat

dropped the barrel to bless himself which .was his salvation. He scooted into the bush as Pete propped hard at the obstacle in his path.

Suspiciously he eyed it; then sniffed. That aura! For a fleeting second, a crushing homesickness seized him and he thought—what matter his thoughts?

So Pete spurned the thing – that was like to soften him, stamped on it in his anger— and ‘stove in the end: Glorious, sparkling amber ale, fresh from the wood. And Govett’s Leap was ahead.

The old fellow buried his muzzle right up to – his eyebrows, and drank, drank, drank until he licked the bottom. ”

What was that about Govett’s Leap? Well, maybe—tomorrow!

The sun was setting and his sight grew dim, so he sought a sheltered spot, there, to rest until…

The bakehouse whistle, blew, and Bill, the driver sauntered out to put the bit of’ servitude into the old prad’s mouth. He found Pete, dead in the shafts.

World’s News (Sydney, NSW : 1901 – 1955), Saturday 7 March 1942, page 16

 

 

 

 

All for Love…Friday Fictioneers.

Watching the horses outside in the snow, Joan tried to be thankful. “Every day write down three things you’re thankful for.”

It wasn’t working.

All she could think about was shifting gears and driving her life in reverse.

What was she thinking marrying a Yankee sailor she hardly knew?

It was Sydney, 1942 and he’d swept her right off her feet.

They were still in love but Silverton, Colorado could never be home. There wasn’t a beach in sight and she hated the snow.

Now, mother had passed and she couldn’t get back.

Why did love always demand it all?

Rowena Curtin

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers. This week’s photo prompt was taken by  Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. You can click through to the linky here.

Royal Sydney Easter Show…Now & Then.

 

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On Easter Monday, the family headed off to the Royal Sydney Easter Show.

What is considered an annual event for many Sydney families, certainly when I was growing up, has been an insurmountable mountain for us in the past. While there were many parents zooming around with littlies in strollers, with a very active son and a disabled mother, it wasn’t a possibility for us. Then, as he started growing up and more responsible, I was still recovering from chemo Easter 2014 and Easter 2015, I had a broken foot. Given the monumental size of the show and the entry fees, you need to be fit…or in a chair. So, for us to even consider going to The Show, it meant crossing that proverbial mountain but also is a positive reflection on how well I’ve been going. Yippee!

When I was knee high to a grasshopper, going to the Easter Show was an annual event. We caught the train into Central Station where we met my Dad in Eddy Avenue after work. Then, we caught the bus through Surry Hills with its the rundown terrace houses and alleyways all sandwiched together until we finally arrived at the Royal Agricultural Showground (RAS), next to the Sydney Cricket Ground. There were Kewpie dolls glittering on sticks, the Laughing Clowns with their haunting smiles, the animals, rides on the Dodgems and the Ferris Wheel and the palatial Show Bag Hall..the kids’ equivalent of Mecca. I still remember Mum watching the rest of us fight it out on the dodgem cars weighed down by the show bags we had to get long before time to go home. Lollies, chocolate bars and magic tricks, the show bags were sensational!!

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When you’re a kid, you don’t really think of yourself as part of history. Or, ever consider that what you know as “The Show” is something transient, fleeting and an ever-changing chameleon. After all, for your short life, it has always been.

Yet, it hasn’t.

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The RM Williams Truck.

The  Royal Sydney Easter Show is the largest event held in Australia, and the sixth largest in the world. The first Easter Show was held in 1823 by the newly formed Agricultural Society of New South Wales, with the aim of encouraging the colony’s rural industries. The site was at Parramatta, 24 kilometres west of the town of Sydney, and the display included horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry. In 1869, the venue was moved from Parramatta to Prince Alfred Park until 1881 when the NSW Government provided land at Moore Park where the show was held for 116 years. In 1998, the Show moved to a new showground within the Sydney Olympic Park  at Homebush Bay.

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How did the humble Dagwood Dog (Pluto Pup) become an Easter Show must?

So, when we took the kids to the show on Monday, it was in a completely different venue and Geoff and I have only been there once before back in 2002. I know you expect change in that time but it doesn’t mean you like it or that everything has changed. They might not have the cart but they still have the horse, the dodgem cars and the Laughing Clowns. For better or worse, the Kewpie dolls seem to be long gone. Being such a part of Ray Lawler’s play: The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, they had a significance which went way beyond just being something commercial at The Show. ,

However, much of the format hasn’t changed. There were the Floral Displays, Agricultural Displays from various Districts , Rollercoaster, Cake Decorating, and the Dog Show.

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Is this a dog or a cake?

There’s also another feature of the show, which hasn’t changed. That is the crowds. The showground was absolutely packed! We didn’t lose the kids or each other, which was an absolute miracle because that usually happens on a fairly ordinary outing. Bearing this in mind, both kids had both our mobile numbers written on their hand in permanent marker. They were also handing out wristbands out there. The lost child at the show is just as common as the smiling child clutching their show bags.

 

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Celebrity Chef  Fast Ed showing us how to make pizza.He had an enlightening discussion with a young boy about the important distinction between “caramelised” and “burnt”.

Being the largest event in Australia, Fast Ed wasn’t the only celebrity we met up with . Indeed, just as I suspected, Elvis is still alive!

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I also met up with Fomer Australian Prime Minister incognito but still recognizable,wearing his trade mark “budgie-smugglers” or Speedo’s.

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Photographed with Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

After everything we said and did at the show, the last photograph had to go to the Ferris Wheel.

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What are your favourite memories of going to a show?

xx Rowena