A Tail of Our Horses by John Lee - Read Online
A Tail of Our Horses
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let me introduce us, we are the lee family and we are totally horse free.

well, when i say we are horse free I really refer to my wife lyn and i; my daughter on the other hand still suffers from the horse sickness.

my daughter has been seriously afflicted with this disease since the age of four; she became infected suddenly, no warnings, one minute a perfectly normal four year old child and the next horribly addicted to horses.

this is a terrible illness that is very harmful to one’s bank account. it starts with a subtle yearning for one’s own horse, perhaps starting with a lovely welsh mountain pony, but this soon leads to bigger and bigger horses, until one day we suddenly found ourselves the proud owners of a giraffe.

please sit back and relax and journey with us down the road to bankruptcy.

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A Tail of Our Horses - John Lee

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Prologue

Let me introduce us, we are the Lee family and we are totally horse free.

Well, when I say we are horse free I really refer to my wife Lyn and I; my daughter on the other hand still suffers from the horse sickness.

My daughter has been seriously afflicted with this disease since the age of four; she became infected suddenly, no warnings, one minute a perfectly normal four year old child, and the next horribly addicted to horses.

This is a terrible illness that is very harmful to one’s bank account. It starts with a subtle yearning for one’s own horse, perhaps starting with a lovely Welsh Mountain pony, but this soon leads to bigger and bigger horses, until one day we suddenly found ourselves the proud owners of a giraffe.

Please sit back and relax and journey with us down the road to bankruptcy.

Special Thanks To

My lovely daughter Cara, and my lovely wife Lynnie, for allowing me to share with you, our story of owning one’s own horse, and all the trials and tribulations that go with it.

Extra special thanks to Helen Townes, for assisting with my second book, A tail of our Horses.

Contents

Prologue

Special Thanks

The Afflicted

Getting There

Jumping Jacks (Killer Ants)

Countrification

Nan and Pop

OK, I'm getting to the horses, but first . . .

My lovely wife, The Crusty Demon

Grandpa

Direct Debit

Our first encounter with the Equine Vet

Colic

The Gentlemanly pursuit of horsey riding

My horse riding expertise

And now back to Grandpa

An unfortunate incident

My Daughter becomes severely infected

Moonlight

Goodbye to Flowerdale

Strath Creek

Getting the horses organised

Things were starting to settle down

A couple of incidents on the same day

Little Silver

The Strath Creek Sports Day

Hang the Expense

Moonlight's very first event

Molly

An unforgettable accident

Make welcome Gentle John

Gentle John's time to move on

Comet

Moonlight's mishap

Tamar Park Exquisite (Babe)

Let's get Babe pregnant

Gemma

Cara has a re-union with Gemma

We say farewell to Grandpa

We say farewell to little Silver

Lofty

Pony club with Lofty

Shut your big mouth John

Almost a nasty accident

Lofty goes for show jumping training

Lyn's father, Pop, and my dear old Mum

Chocky Muffin

Introducing Sally

Cilla and baby Miracle

Let's build some more stables

Practical joke

Gates

I am sorry but I must digress for a moment …

Life is full of surprises

Both of our kids move to Queensland

.oOo.

Our Road Trip

(Bonus Extra Book)

Prologue

Special thanks

My Parents

The Caravan

Our Cars

Melbourne to Ballarat

Lynnie, I think my parents are about to die …

Lynne's little adventure

Ballarat Base Hospital

We set off for far away Adelaide

Scuse me Dad, but we appear to have lost the ladies

Our first camp site in Adelaide

The bed incident

Adelaide to Ceduna

Oh! My gawd, I think I'm going to be sick

Lynnie, is that an earthquake?

Mundrabilla to Norseman

Norseman to Perth

Time to go home

Lynnie, let's play a trick on the olds

We part company

Oh! Shit, is that all there is?

Home sweet home

The Afflicted

Horse affected people: on the left John Lee, the author, who now has a constant look of bewilderment, and a drooping smile line. The author's lovely wife, Lyn, on the right, now has a fixed staring gaze, and one eye has become so beautiful the other one can’t stop looking at it.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and my lovely wife.

My name is John Lee. I am fifty six years old going on ninety, my wife Lyn is two years younger – she is approaching eighty-eight. I say going on ninety because horses have a tendency to age a person. I initially blamed our daughter Cara for infecting us with the horse disease, though after a somewhat heated argument we discovered that my wife and I were responsible for the initial infection.

I have a little pop top caravan that doubles as a time machine; we call it the Tardis – come with us as we travel back to 1984, to a little hamlet called Flowerdale.

Welcome aboard the Tardis, prepare for a trip down memory lane. Learn how man’s second best friend, the horse, can turn a completely normal person loopy

Getting there

Nestled in the hills and valleys, surrounded by towering gum trees, tree ferns, and magnificent flowering wattles, sits the lovely township of Flowerdale. Flowerdale is in the State of Victoria Australia and is located approximately 89 kilometres north of Melbourne.

It’s quite a pleasant trip to Flowerdale, passing through the township of Whittlesea. I say passing through because there is no point stopping in at Whittlesea because after 5.00pm nothing moves, the township is bereft of moving objects, no cinemas, no huge shopping centres, in fact you can’t even watch the traffic lights changing, because there are none.

But to its credit though, it does have a nice set of public toilets.

We now wind up the Kinglake hill, round twists and bends, and pass the Kinglake turnoff and the Kinglake West general store, on past Mount Robinson Pine plantation, then down the other side of the mountain past Wallaby Creek, and we now enter the valley of the King Parrot Creek.

It truly is a pleasant trip through this area, especially in late July when magnificent Cootamundra Wattles display their spectacular golden blooms, and flowering cherries contrast with their pale pink collages, during the winter months there is the lovely smell of wood smoke as the locals keep themselves warm, and during the summer months, the equally alluring scent of Eucalyptus from the myriads of Gum trees, but, for all its beauty, this journey can be quite treacherous, depending on the time of day you choose to travel.

I myself worked shift work, nights and afternoons, making this lovely picturesque drive a personal nightmare. To add to my worries I was forced to travel by motorbike, a device I swore I would never ride. I was employed at the time at the Austin Hospital working as an Orderly in the Casualty Department. I saw so many horrific accidents that were the direct results of motorbike riders colliding with various immovable objects. However the ever increasing price of petrol deemed me doomed to ride a motorbike for 14 years, rain hail or shine, summer or winter. Just picture the scene, riding home in the freezing cold, my helmet visor in the up position because of the light mist causing it to fog up, the mist stinging my eyes, when all of a sudden a giant moth with the wingspan of a light aircraft, crashed into my open mouth, splatting itself into the back of my throat. Though this sounds quite gross, it actually tasted quite sweet, but I was unable to catch any more.

The pleasant drive from Whittlesea to Flowerdale now became a nightmarish game of hit and miss especially during wintertime. In the pitch dark everything takes on a different shape; add to this black ice and driving rain, and an unearthly mist that rises from the King Parrot Creek and spreads like a white covering blanket across the road – just high enough mind that I could see over it, but not under it. Throw into the mix the silly solid concrete-like wombat, and the skittish which-way-shall-I-jump grey kangaroos and black wallabies, and the odd large deer or two, and it all makes for an interesting drive.

But let’s go back to a lovely sunny daylight trip: as we wind through the valley we pass Zeppy’s chook farm, and rounding a few more bends we come upon the location of Silver Creek Road. Isn’t that a lovely address, Silver Creek Road, Flowerdale?

We turn left into Silver Creek Road and cross the King Parrot Creek. Silver Creek Road at this time was a dirt road, full of large potholes; we wind along this road past St Kevin’s Camp, finally arriving at Lot 10 Silver Creek Road (home sweet home).

Welcome to our first home, a small three bedroom fibro cement house perched precariously on the side of a steep hill. The house was set high on wooden stumps, so high in fact the front veranda had a drop of about ten feet to ground level.

When we first moved into this house our driveway came to an abrupt end at the bottom of the hill.

The house was accessed via 50 steps cut into the side of the hill. Once this first stage of Mount Everest is traversed, you reach base camp, just time enough to catch one's breath, and then it’s time to tackle the ten wooden steps that lead up to the summit.

Our house was set on approximately three quarters of an acre, most of the block steep (goat country), all set amongst towering straight-trunked Mountain Ash trees. The only really useable area of the entire block was the initial road frontage area, and most of this was deemed Crown land.

The house when we first bought it consisted of one master bedroom and another large long thin bedroom which we would later make into two.

The lounge was a large open room with exposed beams, and the entire front section of this room was dressed in floor to ceiling windows. The vista from this room was magnificent; we looked directly across the valley at The Mount Disappointment State Forest.

Digressing momentarily, I think Mount Disappointment State forest was so named because every time you drive through it you never see any wildlife. I recall driving all the way from Melbourne to the state forest arriving there just on dusk. The idea was we would drive slowly through the forest with the hope that we might spot a wombat to show our son Troy.

Mount Disappointment lived up to its name: whilst driving at 10 kilometres per hour a wombat shot out of the long grass, straight under the front of the car, giving me no time to brake or swerve. There was a mighty crash, and my son’s first view close up of a Wombat was of one lying on its back with its feet in the air.

Later that night I checked my lovely new station wagon for damage, but could see nothing. The next morning our neighbour came over and said I think someone has crashed into your car. On closer inspection we found that the Wombat had hit so hard underneath the front of the car that the front passenger side panel buckled. Imagine my disappointment with Mount Disappointment.

I recall with some amusement my first trip to work and back in our car, a small drive of some 110 kilometres. I had completed afternoon shift and was heading for home at 11 pm. I arrived home at midnight; as I parked the car and turned off the lights, I stepped out into absolute total darkness – the night was so black I couldn’t even see the car, never mind the steps. This was pre-mobile telephone times, and all I could do to get my wife to turn on the outside spotlight was to toot the car horn. It took ages for my wife Lyn and the mother-in-law to come to the front door. This house had been used for many years as a holiday house; as a result of this a large wombat had taken to stomping up and down the front veranda each night – Lynnie and her mum thought someone was trying to break in, and were both petrified.

Directly across the road from our place was the Silver Creek; this is a beautiful mountain stream, with crystal clear drinkable water.

Our lounge room was heated by a large pot belly stove right in the centre of the room; the kitchen meanwhile consisted of a small bench, with an equally small cooking stove.

Our water supply was pumped directly from the Silver Creek to our 3,000 gallon water tank.

The main drawback about this house, apart from the access, was that if one required a shower, it was a physical ordeal to say the least.

Our internal taps had no water pressure; therefore it was necessary to pump water up onto the roof to what is known as a header tank, this allows gravity feed down to the taps and shower. All sounds a little romantic and somewhat countrified, but in reality it was a complete pain in the arse. To have a shower we had to manually do 500 cranks using alternate hands on a wooden pump handle attached to the outside wall. At 5.00am in the morning on a freezing winter’s day, this was not an enviable task.

After three months of this I had biceps like Popeye – first item on the list for change, we need an electric pump.

Jumping Jacks (Killer Ants)

Everything in this house had to be carried up that hill, groceries, gas bottles, my son Troy.

And always things would happen on the way up or down that hill. I recall our first few days there; my dog ran into the bush and was barking madly at something? Me, then being a person from the city, ambled over to see what all the fuss was about, I will never forget that moment as long as I live. The dog had discovered an echidna that was digging up an ants nest. All of a sudden I went berserk screaming at the top of my lungs; my wife Lyn thought I had finally lost the plot, sharp pain from dozens of white hot needles seared through my lower legs, I had been introduced to the humble half inch long Jumping Jack ants (why oh why would God invent those little shits?). I got no sympathy from Lyn, and it took days for the swelling to finally abate. Payback happened within days: Lynnie and I were carrying a large LP gas cylinder up to the house, both of us blissfully unaware that I had walked backwards through a Jumping Jacks nest, Lynnie followed shortly after wearing open shoes or thongs as we call them here. She stepped into a seething mass of angry jumping, biting stinging, and mad things. Immediately heaps of these angry little buggers started biting, and stinging Lynnie. She dropped the gas bottle and hi-tailed it indoors (Karma I believe is what that is called, Lynnie went berserk as I giggled and remained Karma); it served her right.

Countrification

I’m not sure of the timeline for countrification: I think it’s a gradual thing that creeps up on you. It starts with a slowing down of one’s mental faculties; you start to walk slower, talk slower, and seem to spend more time gazing around at the scenery.

One’s appearance starts to change too; it first starts with the beard; this seems to have a mind of its own and spreads like an uncontrolled clump of blackberries. Lyn’s was always neat.

The clothing changed to Blundstone boots and overalls, and the last sign is the wearing of an Akubra hat: this is a wide brimmed hat similar to a cowboy hat, and it’s made from compacted rabbit fur and usually has a leather band around the bottom of it. The excuse for wearing this is the sun, but really it’s just a thing all country folk do. The last nail in the coffin is a subscription to the Weekly Times Newspaper; this is a country paper that tells of all things country, sheep, cows, combine harvesters, tractors and horses, oh shit I’ve said the word and already feel nauseated.

Horses, this is a book about horses we have owned over the years. I know I have to write about them at some point, but for now I will tell you a little more about us, our surrounds and how the illness first began.

We had lived in