I have been out-and-about looking after Jim. I thought I’d let Jim tell his story of what he’d been doing during Lockdown, (see below).
While I was going around the yard I spotted signs and sounds of summer with swallows nesting in Rubie’s stable.
“Hello to my adoring fans, I hope you are all well and looking forward to seeing me again.
My human slave mentioned that I had been furloughed. That caused my ears to prick! Was I now to be racing at the local track? Apparently I was thinking of furlongs, it would seem that the world is in a bit of a pickle and I wouldn’t be driving with my group. Well, that didn’t last long. Human slave decided that I must continue to drive in the field, it has been fun, we have done cones, and I can turn my hooves to a figure of eight and a straight reinback.
Then one day the riding tack appears! It would seem that as I am so marvellous a young lady who has grown out of her pony has come to see me.
Now this is fun; I am totally being fussed over; there are even more kisses and cuddles. I have been hacking through the woods going out with those dopey Welsh Cobs. I still go in the carriage, apparently to keep me ‘ticking over’ as the human slave is keen on this, and I am happy to oblige.
My new girl slave is called Jess and she and her Mum entered me in a riding dressage competition. We all know how much I love a competition, especially when I win.
Perhaps you can all see me performing.
As you can see I am in a very happy place, but I miss you all.
Roll on when we all meet again.”
While I was checking on the Group’s bits and bobs stored prior to lockdown I found somebody who’d made himself very comfortable on the benches!
Man’s best friend has been associated with our family since long before I was born. My roots are in Scotland (just) and from the 1920s to the 1950s my family lived in Cults, at that time a village on the north Deeside Road into Aberdeen. I wasn’t old enough to remember it in great detail but my Dad seemed to have an affinity for calling his dogs “Glen”, usually a border collie and my first story was related to me many times over the years.
In the 1930s my Grandparents lived down the road in the village of Bieldside and their property covered approximately one acre. They had a petrol station and their home was situated on the main road, roughly centred on the boundary. The story goes that Glen had a regular routine. He’d sit on the side of the road until the traffic was clear, cross to the white line and proceed to walk down the line until he reached the property’s boundary whereupon he’d cross back over, do a circuit around the property, cross back to the white line and come back full circle. Apparently all the local drivers knew him and he wouldn’t budge from the white line until he got to where he was going. Aberdeen has grown of course since those halcyon days. Cults and Bieldside are now a full part of the metropolis and “countryside” is much further out-of-town.
My second story concerns another “Glen”. By this time Hilary and I were growing up in the West Midlands and were lucky to have countryside around us in the form of Sutton Park but my story is one from the back garden. My parents had bought a dog, Glen; I think for Hilary. Not a collie this time but a first-cross Foxhound if memory serves. It was fashionable in the late 50s early 60s to have wire boundary fences. We had a French window that looked out across the back garden and an open field (until they built a school). Next door lived a black cat. Well the dog used to go crazy on sight of the cat and insist on going to see it off. He’d never catch it and probably wouldn’t have known what to do with it if he had, but the cat knew this and would sit on her side of the fence quite close, demurely watching as Glen raced up and down the garden. When he stopped she’d very carefully poke one paw through the fence and very slowly, deliberately, clout the dog across the nose. He never learnt and always fell for it every time.
My last story occurred in the late 70s after we’d both left home. Mum and Dad were still living in the West Midlands and they had been invited to stay with Hilary and Paul for a short break. Anyway somehow they ended up shopping at Harrods! The first I knew of this was when they dropped into my work in Slough on their way home where they showed me this gorgeous puppy. A pedigree Border collie named “Glen” of course. The picture is when he was much older but he had a lovely temperament and I think he was always my favourite even if he belonged to my parents and wasn’t mine.
This “Glen” went on to father some puppies, one of which my parents kept. Flicka had a very different character and she demanded much more attention than her Dad!
You may be aware that this week has been designated National Volunteers’ Week and although we have not been able to go about the business of giving our disabled drivers their weekly sessions, those volunteers who are able to have been doing their best to continue their duties to our Group.
There are many things I could say but I have just received a most timely message through RDA UK from our President, HRH the Princess Royal, whose words will resonate with us all, (transcript below with original at the bottom of the page).
Thank you all for your loyalty, enthusiasm and dedication. We shall be back together again in the fullness of time.
In times like this, the contribution of volunteers to communities and organisations is more important than ever. Despite the fact that almost all RDA activity has shut down, I have been encouraged and heartened by people’s determination and willingness to carry on supporting their Groups and the local RDA network. Whether this has been making the effort to stay in touch with others, finding new ways to engage riders and drivers or helping to look after the animals, it is all making a difference to ensure that when we are able to, we can resume our work that enables disabled people enjoy the therapeutic benefits from being around horses, ponies and donkeys.
So in Volunteer Week, I want to say Thank You to you all – we are extremely grateful for all you are doing to support RDA.”