Monday, November 1, 2010

Gerolstein in Spring

A month now I’ve been back at Gerolstein…
A whole springtime month, filled with the usual kind of spring cleaning, and of course the springtime arrival of the year’s quotient of foals..
The spring cleaning this year has been a little different from the usual … the earthquake left us with no water (temporarily), no sewage, and problems with various drains which, alas, New Zealand workmen seem congenitally unable to work out. Yet still expect to be paid for their failures.

In spite of these little problems, Gerolstein in the spring time greeted me looking as lovely as ever ... one of the first things did was go out and photograph the place, to send to my friends in autumnal Berlin …

The outstanding event of spring is always, however, the ‘little strangers’. It was Sally who foaled the first this year (sire: P-Forty Seven) .. a beautiful little bright boy, whose birth was duly celebrated with pink champagne and who, thus, simply had – for obvious reasons -- to be christened ‘Thomas’ in honour of the two Thomases of Berlin. Thomas is now four weeks old and a joy. He doesn’t walk or run like most foals do ... he bounces. He leaps. And when I tried to photograph him with his mother, he growled and scowled: ‘protecting mother from the paparazzi’ I labelled the resultant picture. Unfortunately, when it was published, my caption was replaced with something less imaginative.

Duchess foaled exactly one week later. And two weeks early. The reason was undoubtedly the size of her Love You foal … Anna was so tall and leggy that for the first day she had enormous trouble getting to her feet to feed. We had to go out every hour and encourage her. Her struggles unfortunately caused ‘bedsores’ and grazes on her legs, so Anna had her first visit from the vet, and now sports a big protective bandage. But, within a few days, her strength grew sufficiently to allow her to sit and stand reasonably elegantly, and to hoon around the paddock with mother..

Gerolstein has a third foal this year, for one of our boarders, Gracie, also produced – with a certain amount of difficulty -- a tiny bundle which doesn’t seem yet to have been given a name. The little filly has had a difficult start to life, but seems to be coming along all right …

The racing scene has been a little less joyous. Elena has run twice: once rather well (5th) and once not so well, and doesn’t seem to be able to recapture the flair of her first run of the season. But maybe she has other things on her mind. Elena has always been the cluckiest lady on the farm and, since I promised her a baby if she won a race – which she has – this week she will be put in foal to Royal Mattjesty. She will run out her racing career as a slightly pregnant lady, and next year she will be able hopefully to cluck over a baby of her own.

With spring, too, our lovely pet peacock has returned from his winter wanderings, and I was woken this morning by his counter-tenorial vocalisms. His favourite perch is the railing outside my bedroom window .. how not, then, be reminded of the song of the immortal Montmorensy about the crow who sang ‘art, art, art’ ..’outside my window’?
‘No, no, I want to sleep some more, please go! .. ‘Looked through my window, couldn’t see the crow, though I could see the day, fine, shining and mine to share…’

Yes, there it is. The day. And the farm … and a heap of farmerish things to do .. so off I go…

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