Ride 52 (walk and lead): an Escort for Tommy

Thursday, 30th July, Bickenhall to West Buckland, 12 miles

Tommy and I enjoy a bit of the Herepath today through Thurlbear Wood, part of the Neroche Trail.

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Where we pick up the path again at Netherclay,

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before skirting around Orchard Wood on the bridle path and down the field that meets the lane behind the polo field near Taunton.

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I have arranged a rendezvous with Emma’s sons, Charlie and George, who have kindly agreed to escort us over the motorway today.  While Tommy and I wait in the car park of the Queens Arms in Pitminster, the bar maid kindly brings me half a pint of lager while Tommy dozes beside me.  When the boys arrive, we head towards the M5 motorway and our destination, just the other side.  The last motorway crossing we will need to do.

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I had intended to go under the motorway but as our next pit stop is just over the next bridge, I decide it is worth it to save a detour of a few extra miles.  I call Suzie on my mobile when we get close and she swings into action, summoning her friend, Ruth, to join us with her lovely Welsh pony, Blackie.

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So we have Blackie leading the way across, and Charlie and George either side of Tommy to shield him from the onslaught of thundering traffic whizzing along in both directions below us (something this photograph is hopelessly inadequate to convey).  He jiggles a little but the boys hold him firm, (notice the cyclist coming towards us, the escort I would have normally pressed into service!)

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and no sooner are we across than Tommy is happily installed in a field next to Suzie’s cherished cows and doing what he loves doing best.  Eating grass.  Another journey completed, this time with the help of Charlie, George, Ruth and pony, Blackie.  Thanks guys!

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Later that evening, Suzie and I enjoy a sherry or two with Graham, a delightful retired army officer who has spent most of his working life in India, now a neighbour of Suzie and Patrick’s.  He tells me that in his day, map training for young recruits was to send them off with a map that contained only contour lines and nothing else.  Challenging.  We also indulged his fancy for attributing army ranks to horses and agreed that Tommy would be a Sergeant Major!   Not Officer material.  No, I said, I’m the officer.

2 thoughts on “Ride 52 (walk and lead): an Escort for Tommy

  1. So glad you made it safely across the dreaded M5 bridge.

    It’s downhill all the way now.

    Best wishes for the rest of your pilgrimage.

    Love, Annx

  2. Hi Caro,

    Just a quick note to say how much I am enjoying your blog. I am so pleased to know that you have crossed the motorway!

    I hope that Tommy’s back and your feet are holding up. The wet weather last week must have been soul destroying although when it is very hot this must be just as bad.

    Thanks for the great write up you gave Chance – I am sure he wishes he could come along on your adventure. I drove up the drive today and he galloped up the field at great speed to meet my car at the top and protest loudly about being left in the field without being ridden for a couple of days – I love how he always makes his feelings known – we know each other so well and he knows exactly how to make me feel guilty for not spending time with him.

    Grace has had her surgery but went on hunger strike after surgery in the equine hospital and was very stressed about being away from Hill Farm – she has always been around me since the day she was born and must have been very worried to find herself in such a strange place. I brought her home as soon as they would let her go and spent a couple of days persuading her to eat. Unfortunately the stress has now given her gastric ulcers which will take several weeks to treat. At least she seems to be very happy to be home and is enjoying being made a fuss of. At times like this I am very aware of how precious they are to me. I am sure that your adventure is bonding you with Tommy in the same way.

    My new mare and foal have arrived – both are very lovely and Lacey (the mare) seems to like it here and relaxed in her new home straight away. I like her very much. The foal however is somewhat naughty and very much his own person and I will need to give him plenty of time to work out that ‘manners maketh man’! I think I am going to need plenty of patience with this one.

    Anyway, I will wish you the very best of luck on the next part of your journey – can’t wait for the blog – it seems very constant compared with the rush and ups and downs of modern life.

    All the best,

    Anne xxx

    Sent from Windows Mail

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