Wednesday 15 August 2012

The doghouse - erm, the horsehouse - Tommy

Until the late 1950s, our milk was delivered by Mr Jones by horse and cart.  One day, he proudly told my mother that he was buying an electric milk float for his deliveries.  "What about Tommy?" she asked keenly.  Tommy, 24 years old (oh darlings, he was the horse), was going to the knacker's yard.  Well, you can imagine.  Mummy gave an impassioned speech about the years of service, the awfulness of the end, the duty to a faithful servant.  And indeed, by the end of it we had acquired an elderly horse.

So, some outbuildings were converted to a stable and annex for feedbins and so on.  And a saddle and bridle were bought, but it turned out that Tommy wasn't prepared to be ridden.  When introduced to me, he tried to eat my hair, which was sort of hay-coloured, admittedly.  So he was just a pet.

When he'd eaten all the grass in the paddock, he was walked a mile to friends' paddock - oh, they were the parents of Peter, with whom I went to Corfu recently (with his wife, don't get excited, lovely man but no).  One day, he (Tommy, not Peter, do keep up) trod on Mummy's foot.  Her toe never really quite recovered and nor did her nearly new Italian shoe.

A friend, known to me as Uncle Cyril (I'll add the only other anecdote I remember about Uncle Cyril in a minute), once fed Tommy a very large carrot, one of those rejected by Mr Weavers as not to be put in the horticultural show, but pretty damn impressive anyway.  It was too much for him and gave him colic.  He had to be walked and walked, because if he'd been allowed to lie down he'd have rolled, and a twisted gut would have been the end of him.

He lived to be 30, old Tommy. I don't remember that much about him, but I do remember that he enjoyed his pint of Guinness on a Sunday morning.  It had been his treat on his day off, and we kept it up.  I've got some Guinness in the fridge.  Next time I pour a glass, I'll raise it to good old Tommy.

Uncle Cyril and his wife whose name I can't recall at present lived in Gorleston.  One day, he took me and Wink and quite possibly a few friends to the cinema to see an Elvis Presley film.  This was in the '60s and it was faintly embarrassing as the Beatles had already rather superseded Elvis in popularity - but balding, middle-aged Uncle Cyril sang along.  Poor man, he was certainly a lot younger than I am now and I granny-dance, let's face it - but we cringed.  I hope he didn't realise.  Children can be so cruel.


Ms Scarlet said...

I am up and still awake, not because of colic, but indigestion [I think], maybe I should walk and walk?!

Z said...

I'll walk with you, Scarlet.

Ms Scarlet said...

Thank you! It was a long night!

Z said...

Poor you. I was awake for 3 or 4 hours myself, but at least I didn't have indigestion.

Unknown said...

That made me smile! x

Liz said...

Another lovely rememberance. It's the way you tell 'em.

luckyzmom said...


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