Welcome to the Grumbler’s festive review of the year just past. Some of you might feel that I am talking more crap than usual; This is true. In my defence I should like to vouchsafe that I have, owing to what may possibly be a ‘herniated disc’ in my back, been partaking of a significant quantity of codeine this past week. Those of you familiar with the side effects of this particular recreational analgesic might appreciate, therefore, that the shit has to find a way out somehow…
The year 2018 started, for the Grumbler and family, in an unusually sick fashion. For those who can count fewer than twenty five summers on this blighted ball of rock, I do NOT mean to convey any sense of excellence nor awesomeness. While Mrs Grumber’s utility was already impaired by her temporary sojourn as a unidexter (a bad, very bad, knee) it was, along with that of the two Grumblettes, further impaired when all three of them succumbed to the ‘flu, which my honourable brother-in-law most generously brought[PS1] to infect us over Christmas. Looking on the bright side, this offered me the chance to extend my time away from the office and get to know our horses (and both ends of their diet) quite a lot better.
Later in the spring it got cold enough outside to freeze the balls off a brass monkey – or at least to freeze the local water mains which then, with depressing predictability, burst. Grumbler towers was lucky on two counts – we were without mains water for only three days or so (others suffered for more than a week) and we also have a stream from which we could keep the animals watered. We filled up a big tank and took it out and about to folks who had animals but no water. One of them was so grateful that they gave us a bottle of wine as a thank you… turning water into wine, that kind of thing can get you a reputation but, if there were any truth in it we would not, by this time, already have lost Stephen Hawking, Ken Dodd, Jim Bowen and Bill Maynard.
In April your Grumbler had five minutes of fame courtesy of Absolute Radio’s breakfast show, on which I recounted the story of when I had to dig out the dog-toilet. I was trying and, in fact succeeded, to win the prize of a year’s Sky Q subscription. Had I been paying more attention I would NOT have been surprised, on air, with the news that I had also won a sky diving experience (as I am a fatbastard, my pal Mr Doogan is going to jump out of a perfectly good aircraft on my behalf).
Desperate sadness ushered in May when our lovely mare Theia lost her foal, nine months through her eleven month pregnancy. Baby Rocket was a lovely little black filly, and I laid her to rest in one of the fields. The month improved with a visit to the great escape festival for me with Codger and Kid, and I completed a long anticipated erection for Mrs Grumbler – with the assistance of the flu-carrying in-law. We now have a Poytunnel.
In June, Derek and Clive moved into our new pig palace, and Mrs Grumbler and I moved into a caravan at the Yard. Paranoid after the loss of Rocket, we weren’t taking any chances where our mare Duchess was concerned and she rewarded us at the end of the month with the very lovely Baby Jet, our first foal.
July witnessed the Grumbler’s latest attempt at suicide by stupidity, managing to drop a twelve foot high steel post rammer, missing the back of the head by about two inches. Later in the month we took two horses and three dogs to the GBPRE show where the lovely Ebano became champion 4 year old Stallion, lots of people fell in love with Basil, Arfa and Tink, and the wind wrecked our caravan awning. Told Mrs Grumber she shouldn’t have et them beans…
August. Grumblefest, Mrs Grumbler’s half century, our sixteenth wedding anniversary. A good month!
September, The Grumblettes went on holiday to Spain, to work at a very well regarded horse yard for a couple of weeks. We were absolutely delighted, couldn’t believe, in fact, that we had managed to score them such an inexpensive and utterly appropriate holiday!
October, the lovely Hela (a gorgeous P.R.E. mare) joined us from a very well regarded horse yard in Spain. Turns out it wasn’t such a cheap holiday after all… We celebrated by visiting the Autumn beer festival at the Spa Valley railway with friends.
Nothing particularly noteworthy happened in November. December waved bye bye to Derek and Clive but brought with it the gorgeous little Pammy, who we think is a Patterdale/Bull Terrier cross. She brings our pup count to six which some folk might think is a lot, but she’s too cute to have left at the rescue home over Christmas. And here I am, with a prolapsed disc in my back, just as incapacitated as Mrs Grumbler was at the start of the year.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year all, in lieu of cards, we shall be dropping a few pictures of Her Majesty off at the AllSorts Dog Rescue.
Paul, Michelle, Kirsty, Katy, Rowley, Ted, Basil, Arfa, Tink, Pammy, Hela, Moses, Wilma, Winston, Harry, Duchess, Baby Jet, Eric, Ernie, Grace, Holly, Gamble, Batty/Shahnaz, Theia, Tarquin, Ace, Ebby, Silver, ‘Tino, Charlie, Mouse, Khali, Hedwig, Socks, Pants/Patch, George, Mildred, Jo, Boris and Stanley