Good­night Colum­nist Tessa Waugh’s hunt­ing di­ary, plus ‘The Ne­spresso ma­chine’

En­tic­ing her chil­dren to ride when the weather is grim proves tricky for Tessa Waugh — and means she has ponies eye­balling her through the kitchen win­dow as they stand by the gate

Horse & Hound - - Contents -

THE ponies are get­ting on my nerves at the mo­ment. They are in a field near the house and ev­ery time I look out of the kitchen win­dow they are stand­ing at the gate, eye­balling me, as if to say, “yoo-hoo, we’re over here, come and do some­thing with us”. It’s in­tru­sive. I wish they would go away and graze or some­thing.

It is a rot­ten time of year for ponies. There isn’t much go­ing on un­til Alec gets back from school for some hunt­ing, and en­tic­ing Mary on board is prov­ing dif­fi­cult when it’s cold/ wet/windy/all of the above. The sheep have eaten most of the grass (very self­ish an­i­mals, sheep), so I’ve been feed­ing the ponies hay and bring­ing them in when the weather is bad.

One evening, to save time, I opened the gate and let them bring them­selves in. Joshy, the old boy (and only sen­si­ble one) trot­ted down the road and straight into his sta­ble, fol­lowed by the new one, Rusty, who could smell food. Typ­i­cally, our res­i­dent “mut­ton” and sex pest, Cus­tard, sashayed (al­beit slightly arthrit­i­cally) in front of Jim as if to say, “fancy a ride, big boy?” be­fore dis­ap­pear­ing be­hind the muck heap with Jim on her tail. He soon came loom­ing out of the dark­ness with the whites of his eyes show­ing and an ex­pres­sion that screamed, “get me away from her”.

THERE was sad news from Wilt­shire this week that got me think­ing about the spe­cial na­ture of hunt­ing. Dave Acre­man, life­long fol­lower of the South and West Wilts, has died af­ter a short strug­gle with can­cer. Dave was a peren­nial on the South and West Wilts scene; recog­nis­able for a sar­to­rial combo of flat cap and black coat, belted up with binder twine.

We weren’t ex­actly friends — most of our con­ver­sa­tions didn’t go be­yond “Aaaarrr Teeessss”; “Morn­ing Dave” — but there was, cer­tainly on my side, a deep re­gard borne out of our shared love of hunt­ing. Dave was there on the last le­gal hunt­ing day when the fox was caught in the twi­light af­ter a fast-paced hunt on Sal­is­bury Plain. It was a very emo­tional day and every­one felt it as we packed up in the twi­light. “Aaarrr Teeesss,” said Dave, and wrapped me in a big bear hug. I won’t for­get that day and I won’t for­get Dave.

‘He soon came loom­ing out of the dark­ness with the whites of his eyes show­ing and an ex­pres­sion that screamed, “get me away from her”’

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