I took this picture this morning at the Angel
It shows two Carmarthen policemen on duty.
In some ways, it’s an appropriate area, as the statue of Hugh Myddelton, the Welshman, who four hundred years ago, built the New River to give London its first fresh water is at Islington Green, a hundred metres or so away.
I lost a friend yesterday.
I was once told in all seriousness by an old horse coper, that if you think you’ve got a good horse, could you have charged tanks with him, if the Nazis had invaded.
Vague Shot was such a horse! Although, his most notable success, in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot in 1987 under top weight and in heavy going, was before C and I bought him, he brought us a lot of pleasure. He would have been thirty on the first of January next year, but sadly he had to be put down yesterday, because of that killer of many horses; colic.
I think it is true to say, I’ve never seen a racehorse, who was treated with so much affection by those who owned, rode and cared for him. And he always repaid their affection with kindness! I remember once, where the great Steve Cauthen, who’d incidentally ridden him to victory in the Royal Hunt Cup riding for us in the Newbury Spring Cup. Most jockeys have a short chat with the owners and trainers and then they get quickly mounted. But not Steve that day, as he had to have a chat with the horse as well. But then there are jockeys, great jockeys and Steve Cauthen!
I am not the greatest of riders and certainly aren’t now, but one of my strongest memories of riding, was exercising Vague Shot, or Cyril as everyone called him, around the lanes when we lived at Debach. Remember, he was an entire horse, but when I did this, I would have a pony mare called Sally, with an eight-year-old girl aboard, on a lead reign. She would make eyes at him, but he knew his manners and just made sure she was tucked in behind, where she couldn’t taunt him.
In one instance, we met a large grain lorry on a lane with no space to pass. It rather noisily screeched to a halt.
A horse’s standard defence mechanism is to side-step and run away. I just sat tight, making sure the pony was secure, anticipating being dragged sideways through a rather thick hedge.
But Cyril did something, I’ve never seen before or since on a horse. He turned deliberately left towards the hedge, putting himself between the truck and pony. When he was sure that the truck had stopped moving, he deliberately picked his way along the side, leaving just enough space for the pony to his left. He did point his head at the driver as we passed, but I think, he’d already got the message.
I said he was my friend and he was. In times of stress, I would often go out in the dark and find him to tell him my troubles. But I suspect, I wasn’t the only person who did that, as he always listened. This picture was taken a few years ago.
There are those that criticise thoroughbreds, but there can’t have been many horses, who could be judged on a human scale, as highly as Vague Shot. He will be sadly missed by all of his friends. And especially, by one person, who looked after him for over three-quarters of his life.
My two favourite channels, BBC 1 and Radio 5 Live are both broadcasting continuous golf. Now I will watch it in moderation, but I’m not keen to have it rammed into both my eyes and ears.
Admittedly, I have the cricket on Sky and soon the cycling will start, but the sooner the Open golf goes to Sky, the better.
As someone famously said, golf is a good way to ruin a walk.
The Olympic Torch Relay is not even on the red button!