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Articles By Mike Rooth

Late Uncle and more Horse Stories

There is a saying,over here at any rate,that "There's nowt as queer as folk".My late uncle,if not queer,was distinctly odd.Technology was always a closed book to Uncle Jack,and consequently,not only did he not trust it,he considered it was out to get him.He had the reputation that he would go anywhere on a horse,at least as a youth,jumping impossible obstacles(and coming frequent croppers).However,when it came to motor vehicles,the man was a menace.At the first sign of a hiccup,real or imaginary,his reaction was"Get out and push."In the end,the only thing he would ride in was his son's(my cousin of the sticky out ears)VW Beetle,of which George had a procession,ending up with the 1500 version. He had been persuaded that the Beetle,and only the Beetle, and furthermore only *Georges* Beetles,were reliable.Of course this traded off the other way,too.I once listened to Georges account of an horrific(in his view) journey, the worst aspect of which was"That there wasnt an AA box for miles!"

Jack distrusted,probably with good cause,the medical profession.As a consequence,the local vet went into hiding whenever Jack was about.He neednt have bothered, although his hiding *was* the result of bitter experience. Jack looked after himself.On rising each morning(this according to my cousin)the bathroom noises went as follows.

(Sounds of water filling a glass)
Shhhh Shhh Shhh.
Glug,glug,glug.
Shhh Shhh Shhh.
Glug glug glug.

When you consider that the Shhhh sounds were *handfulls* of Epsom salts,the man should have lived forever.When he eventually ended up in hospital,(history doesnt record how they managed *that* one,although I suspect the vet may have been involved,and a quantity of equine tranquiliser),the surgeon who had operated on him,went to see him the day after.

"Morning Mr Rooth"
"What the bloody hell do *you* want?"(Ever polite you notice)
"I just want ask you whether you are taking some sort of treatment"
"No,dont know what you're talking about"
"Well,its just curiosity,really,only when I operated on you,well,I dont quite know how to put this,but I've never actually met *anyone* with insides *that* colour before".
"What the bloody hell's wrong with my insides?"
"They're *yellow*".

When the time came to bury the old boy,the funeral duly left his house,with father and self in the second car back in the procession. The cemetary was (and still is) on a hill.It was snowing.Hearses are *not* Land Rovers.Yep,we got out and pushed.Attendees at other funerals looked in amazement at four or five people shoving this hearse up the hill,howling with laughter.

You remember,perhaps,my account of preparing to depart for a gymkhana,some months ago.When this account was inserted into the OVLR newsletter,my daughter read it.*Her* recollection was that she did all the work and we just hung around......However,when one arrives,one aims for a place at the ringside.That way you can sit in the driving seat and watch.Well,its bound to rain. Its interesting to watch the other suck.....er people as they arrive.Almost without exception,those with lorries look worried. the damned machines havent even been started up for weeks,and as a consequence sound like bags of nails,are light on braking effort,the suspension is iffy,and the horses are by the sound of it,about to get out.On the move,and *not* down the ramp designed for the purpose.A lot of folk hook up the family car for the outing,and father has a distinct air of strain.Whilst possibly due to the effects of a hurried breakfast,this is more likely to be caused by his trying to imagine the effects of a ton of horseflesh on his clutch,brakes,bank balance... He didnt *know* he was bringing Penelope from-up-the-road as well,*and* her great fat fifteen hand show pony,dear Amanda had omitted to tell him she'd offered the lift.This type will dump the trailer,get into the car and depart immediately,licking his chops in anticipation of the amount he can quaff at the pub,uninterrupted by having to lay of for Sunday Lunch,which he didnt want anyway.Mother isnt so keen.
The Land Rover folk trundle in,by and large totally unstressed, recognising other,similarly equipped,rigs in the English Manner. This consists of not appearing to look.The face is kept in the straight ahead position,peripheral vision being relied upon to take in every detail of your setup.Of course,having parked,we all wander around,hands in pockets,doing much the same thing,ie sizing up the other Rovers,while appearing to look at something else. The Urban Cowboy is due for his comeuppance at these do's. He's got two or three overweight kids,a brand new trailer,ponies he bought on price alone("cost three grand this one,but worth every penny")and a Mitshubishi Shogun LWB,covered in chrome, and absolutely sodding well useless at towing.For a start, everyone ignores him.Which doesnt please.When he starts his "cost three grand" bit he is treated to a bout of extreme politeness.This is also English,and doesnt please either. The English treat those they dont like with scrupulous politeness,and never stop insulting their friends.His ponies (of course) are completely nasty uncontrollable 12.2 gymkhana ponies,and his kids,who,he thinks *look* the part, couldnt ride a rocking horse.The Land Rover crowd look down their noses at him.When the time comes for him to go,not having set the horses world by its ears,in fact having made a complete chump of himself,his rig is too long for him to reverse out.He expects the scruffy old S111 behind him to move.Instead he is treated to a driving lesson by the driver of said S111,who politely tells him what to do,and proves to the assembled multitude,that a)It was perfectly possible in the first place,and b)What a shame it is he hasnt got the proper vehicle for the job(Aformentioned battered S111). Exit stout party.

A word,finally,about the Jodphur,stretch,young ladies for the use of,pairs,many.Cor!This garment leaves little,though just enough,to the imagination.Imagine if you can, a field of nubile young backsides,displayed to the world over every jump,and in addition on a hot day,show jackets are discarded in favour of shirts,bloody-nearly-transparent,young ladies for the use of.NOW you know why you move heaven and earth to get a ring side parking place.Steams your specs up summat awful!

 

   
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