Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jack The Locksmith

Having had what was something of a pleasant winter day yesterday (surely an oxymoron), we are being made to pay for it today with a non-stop snowstorm. As Bertie Wooster once said to Jeeves, just when you think everything is going splendidly, fate is lurking around the corner with a set of brass knuckles.

Jack and I did our three second tour of the run-in, just long enough for a blast of snow to hit Jack square in the face. We beat a hasty retreat, Jack shaking the precipitation from his formidable eyebrows. "Huh", he said, "I shoulda just stood in bed." Ungrammatical, but cuts right to the heart of the whole winter ordeal . We supervised the chambermaiding, Jack licked the dog's winter coat until it was sticky and Sally watched all from the safety of her den. Breathing heavily in that unpleasant way she has, the woman trundled out with the wheelbarrow.

Jack was standing near the door and as the woman pulled it shut behind her, he gave it an extra hard shove. He hates the idea of cold air getting in. The woman plodded off with the wheelbarrow but when she returned she discovered that Jack has somehow caused the door to stick fast and nothing she did could turn the mechanism. There was some muffled thumping and cursing as she fiddled with it and I'm afraid some uncomplimentary things were said about donkeys in general. "Good thing I locked her out", said Jack, " s'obvious she's gone loco."

Her face appeared in the tack room window; no one should have to look at an apparition like that. It was very red and blotchy but we couldn't tell if the cause was frostbite or fury. She tried to lift the window, forgetting that she had locked it in the fall. Then she went to the back doors, but having no implements to work with, was unsuccessful in making a dent in the ice and snow using only her hands and feet.

We used her absence to sidle into the tack room and that's when the horrible face reappeared. She rapped on the glass and said all sorts of frankly threatening things but we just stared at her and politely pretended not to hear. Thankfully the face disappeared again. Jack sampled some of Sally's dry food and declared he preferred the squishy, smelly stuff. I put my head in what turned out to be a bag of the white powder she spreads on the floors of our rooms. A day later the sneezing is beginning to subside somewhat.

We heard a tremendous banging and crashing at the door and she burst in, looking like an early Neanderthal and clutching a chunk of ice in her hand. She had used it to release the lock mechanism - I've heard of this sort of tool-making amongst the higher primates but had no idea she was that evolved. We backed hastily out of the tack room, Jack scattering mouthfuls of cat kibble and self sneezing violently. She spoke at length in garbled and shrewish tones - we bustled into our rooms and stared at the floor until she ran out of breath. It was worth every minute of the inevitable lecture.

She has fixed the door mechanism but Jack vows to rework it into a more user-friendly state for donkeys. I don't doubt he will; he is a true artisan with endless patience.


Dougie Donk said...

Oh my, Jack is truely an exemplar for a young donkey. I am but four, so cannot hope to attain his level of brilliance for some time, but a boy MUST have something to aspire to!

I too have tested, but was not fond of cat kibble. However, our hounds introduced me to the fruit of the horse chestnut tree during the autumn - they called these fruits "conkers". I thought they were rather pleasant, but they made the woman scream about "poison" Is she correct, or may I indulge myself again this autumn?

billie said...

LOL - I loved the description of the woman "on the outside looking in" at you and Jack, innocent bystanders in the feed room.

I am away from my Team R&R until Sunday, and am missing them terribly. Before I left Redford had given up braying an early morning rooster call and was having great fun impersonating a truck horn and making me think a delivery had arrived.

I suspect this trick could eventually be employed for covert operations, so I'm watching it closely!

ponymaid said...

Dougie, I had no idea you were of such tender years. A mere donkey stripling. I'm not entirely sure on the chestnut front but it seems to me I have heard something about them being responsible for serious cases of the collywobbles. Best to not actually eat the things, but you can pretend to - it will give your woman a stimulating rush of adrenalin when she sees you and cause her to rush around flailing her arms.

Billie, I can tell you are pining for your donkeys. It's always wise to take them with you wherever you go. And Redford's burgeoning talent could be very helpful in rousing others at an early hour, especially if they are not familiar with the dulcet tones of a young donkey.

Nachodonkey said...

I would love to have been a fly on the tack room wall. Ha, ha ha!! Nacho is a very well behaved donkey...probably because he is only two and only has the horses to emulate. He would be well able to squeeze through the fence and get into the shelter for the hay but prefers not to. Parker, his next door neighbour is still a little aloof and all he has taught Nacho to do is to make an ungodly squeek at feeding time.

The only thing Nacho does for amusement is to wait until I take my horse-chasing German Shepherd on leash past him to go to the woods. With the dog well under control Nacho will charge up behind him and throw himself on the ground and roll right in front of Rocky. I then have an insane 100 lb dog with a lust for blood in his eyes dragging me towards the helpless? donkey. After I am able to hulk him out of the paddock Nacho gets up and walks away. I swear he is smirking.

Have you tried spraying the latch with cooking spray to prevent freezing?

ponymaid said...

Nachodonkey- I hear there was some most unpleasant surgery done to your private person recently. I have terrible flashbacks to my own identical surgery and hope you are well on the road to recovery. Rolling in front of a canine is an excellent way to raise your morale (and some dust_ - just be sure your human has it well under control. You must begin to work on your lock-picking skills - two is an excellent age to start aquiring this important art. As you can see, after four plus decades, Jack has the touch of a safe-cracker.

Nachodonkey said...

After asking the local vet about "the operation" the description of how they would have to restrain a donkey - as they have a tendency to kick as I found out first hand - I decided to send him to a facility that uses general anaesthetic. My daughter's horse desperately needed the same operation so they went together. As far as they knew, they went on a road trip, had a nap and came home the next day. As Nacho had not been handled at all for the first year and was very wary of people, the least amount of trauma, the better. So please don't talk out loud about the process because as far as he is concerned it never happened.

Rumour has it that a big birthday party has been planned for the Sheaff???