The affray in which my gamekeeper was involved was too important a subject to admit of sharing a blog with anything. However & meanwhile, when we returned from Norway, we found there were two new members of his family: a pair of rescued Shetland ponies. These were rescued by Houston the farrier from somewhere (it strikes one from time to time that people are even more prone to complete fantasy about keeping horses than they are about dogs — one of the ponies up the road spent the first four years of his life living imprisoned in a disused meat packer’s fridge, with no exercise at all; when the gamekeeper’s mum took him on, his rug had become welded to his back, and he still has the scars from its eventual removal). Anyway, back to the Shelties. They have laminitis, and because their feet are sore, the poor little creatures are trying to walk on their heels, which is quite difficult if you are human and very difficult if you are a horse. It gives them a most peculiar gait. They were brought out to meet us last night, and very appealing they are. Little Thelwell ponies, round creatures with fringes, barrel shaped bodies, knobbly knees and tiny feet like coffee cups. One comes up to my waist, if I may be said to have one, to my circumference, as it were, the other doesn’t. They are both tan-and-white, and they seem to be of pleasant temperament, at any rate, they are quite calm, and they don’t bite, kick, or have hysterics, and they seem pleased to be cuddled by Miss T. The most appealing thing about them is that they are devoted to one another, and cannot be separated; they stare into each other’s eyes for hours, communing in some mysterious equine fashion. Houston hasn’t space for them both, and they need somewhere they can live together like the Ladies of Llangollen — he will pay their vet bills and look after their poor feet, which will, with appropriate care, get better, and they will live at Burnside. Perhaps in our back field? It would be nice to look out and see the little things.