Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Heavy Horse Show, where help never comes

Tear over to Stonham Barns in Suffolk because Tiger wants to.

I deny the kid has me wrapped round her fingers. I deny it completely.

But she says she might see a Suffolk Punch! Do you know how rare these breeds are? Once they were everywhere - every field, paddock, farm, and probably in your front room. So obviously we have to go.

Only I draw the line at her entreaties that we get an actual horse. NO WAY. I am too mean to lodge the beast in stables and, apart from Dig's office, we have nowhere to put it. The back garden is where I fantasise I might grow an actual flower, one day, maybe when I am retired.

I consider that if we come to Stonham Barns to see them, that might be enough.

Unfortunately (for me), I am not enamoured by horses. They are big and scary and might eat me. Consequently, this is as close as I come to the event before I turn round and go and hide in the car for three hours, praying it would end.*

But I am a woman who must find good in everything! Even the condition of horse phobia in a field.

It was worth it. Not only for Tiger's horse satisfaction, but for the copy of Newspapers in Suffolk Part II from 1801 to 1825 by Pip and Joy Wright, which I bought at the car boot sale just before I hid in the car.

This little book of local history is fascinating. Here, have a cutting from the Suffolk Chronicle 23 June 1810 to show how life in Suffolk probably never changes, one year to the next:
A Quack Doctor has stationed himself, for these three weeks past, at the Bull public-house, at Bacton, in this county, and excites among the 'great vulgar and the small', more interest than usually accompanies the exercise of such effrontery and imposture. He is attended every day by 100 patients, or more, some of whom travel even in post-chaises, and many in one horse carriages to receive his filthy remedies, to be imposed upon by his medical jargon, and benefited by his drunken inspirations - He makes, we understand, no charges, but, by working upon the credulous imaginations of his patients, he often wrings from the wretched, as a gift, that mite which is wanted to purchase them bread. Why sleep the parish stocks? Do not these persons, whose business it is to stop this fraud, know that by tacitly permitting, they become parties in the imposture?

*To the person parked next to me. When you glanced in, please be reassured. I was not dead. I had merely nodded off.


Fiona said...

"Why sleep the parish stocks?" is a triffically useful rhetorical question.

Katie Pybus said...

"Filthy remedies." ?