Friday, March 07, 2008

More News than New Idea

Too sinusy to post tonight, it's all I can do to prod the remote control. I've decided that when I have sinusitis I am reduced to the genetic composition of a man . . . Hysterectomy is a doddle compared to feeling your teeth throb! Fortunately, my draft library is prolific . . so as they say on the culinary shows . . here's one I prepared earlier!

There are those who check the web, read newspapers, watch the morning tabloid news or thumb through those gossip magazines such as New Idea but I kid you not, you can learn a lot from farriers . . those brown and burley guys who spend their entire day bent in a 45 degree angle, swathed in leather pinnies, sweat dripping from their eyebrows, trimming horse hooves and applying cold shoes with a deft hammer.

I've had the same guys visiting our boys for about 15 years. A father and son combination of "Master Farriers". One well into his sixties is now taking it easy after a hernia operation . . .and The new master, Jeff his son . . probably late 40's tends to be the regular Saturday morning visitor along with his rather surley son who has none of his father' or grandfather's people skills.

But our Jeff is a diamond in the rough with milk bottle-bottom glasses. Well muscled and tanned but a beer belly and a peak cap, blue singlet, trademark leather apron and a love of ski boats with blown donks (over powerful engines apparently). I learned a lot about engines from TheMaster. Even more about skiing, barefoot or otherwise. Even more about the pollution in the Hawkesbury . . .not a place one would want to have a gaping wound apparently due to the phosphates leached into the river from local turf farmers . . seriously, I know of someone who lost a leg, not due to the cut he sustained falling from a waterski but the infection generated by the putrid water - a great incentive not to come off your skis apparently.

I learned that the principal vet in our local equine veterinary clinic is a child abuser (well take that with a grain of salt!), that horse racing is fixed and that jockey's have attitude. Not unlike ponies only unfortunately, farriers can't whack a jockey in the ribs with a hammer if they're obstreperous. I learned that he's pussywhipped and forced to strip and shower before being allowed in the house. He likes it that way and would belt the living Jesus out of anyone who treated him or his poorly. I learned that Monaro's are the coolest cars in the world, but only if they're red with GT stripes (red cars go faster apparently) and that a swift hammer to the ribs is the best way to calm a beligirant pony. I learned that there are over 22 different types of standard horse shoe designed for work, racing in all conditions, eventing, trekking, pulling, endurance, dressage . . . I learned that he has feet the same size as DrummerBoy when he kindly gave us a fantastic pair of 'as new' motocross boots for a mere $50!

I also learned that the girl down the road left her husband because he used to hit her. That the owner of the warmblood over the hill has a disabled daughter. That he had a horse that lived to be 45 years old and that daily doses of Voltarin keep back pain at bay. He's an outrageous gossip, talks a million miles an hour while he's working and gives me a Christmas calendar each year. I know that at 10.00am tomorrow morning, I will be standing in a slippery, muddy patch thanks to overnight downpours, or a hot dusty one depending on the weather, listening to tales of blown donks and speed skis, who's up who and loving everything about it.

Oh, and happy birthday Maddie, sorry I can't make it tonight but I would be poor company . . big hugs! Now you're a tweeny!


ian said...

Are they never called smiths now? I used to love the rustic English term 'smithy' for a farrier's yard.

Nick said...

Refreshing to hear of these traditional craftsmen who're really good at their job, as opposed to all the half-trained upstarts who try to bluff their way through. Startled to hear the Hawkesbury's so polluted - naturally the tourist brochures present it as pristine wilderness for potential boat trippers.

Anonymous said...

I just learnt what a 'farrier' is!

Get better and enjoy your weekend Baino. Sinus sufferer myself ... :(

Terence McDanger said...

Felix Randal was a farrier in a poem by Gerald Manley Hopkins. I did this at school so I know.

It was a shite poem and I never got Hopkins, but at least Hopkins helps me understand Baino and that's what's important.

Emperor Ropi said...

Happy birthday to her

Baino said...

Hi Ian: Farriers aren't blacksmiths. Smithy's used to do the lot from horse shoes to wrought iron ballustrades. Farriering (I think that's what it is) is strictly an equine trade. Three years at TAFE, apprenticeship the whole lot. Our blokes only do cold shoeing. No furness. I used to love taking ponies to the smithy as a child, all that steam and bellows. (mmm sounds a bit like me on a bad day!)

Nick: it's a dying trade sadly, way too hard on the back. I can't see Farrier junior taking over somehow. He's got the muscle but not the attitude. The Hawkesbury is a HUGE river so it's mainly the area around Windsor/Penrith/Camden which is affected largely by agricultural phosphate and runoff and lowered waterline due to years of drought. All this rain should help clean it up! It's actually very pristine in many areas so please book you're boat trip. We hired a clipper for a weekend once around Brooklyn and the Central Coast - fantastic, highly recommend it.

Thanks Anony: Well birds don't need shoes! Actually neither do our boys, they just get a manicure. I feel much better this morning despite being woken by that MASSIVE storm last night and water running down the INSIDE of my French doors! Sinus is a new thing for me . . seems to happen at the conclusion of a head cold.

Terrence: I'm a friend of GMH ever since a stunningly handsome student teacher took us for poetry! Never forgot Grandeur of God. He used adjectives as verbs (Hopkins not God) which I found quite interesting "It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;" stuck in my head for many years (I like shiny things) Aww thanks chicken! He who understands me is . . . probably going to be disappointed! hahah.

Awww: Thanks Ropi. Our little Maddie Moo was 10 yesterday. Now officially a tween! I'll pass on my germs today!

ian said...

I never knew there was a difference!
How do they do cold shoeing? Do they have sets of standard size shoes? I suppose it should have been obvious that the forge is not used - it would be a bit hard to take it around in the back of the van. Sorry, brain not working!

Baino said...

Ian: Yep. Lots of different shapes and sizes. Still involves a lot of bashing and tweaking on the anvil with a hammer and because they're not burned into the hoof, they tend not to last as long. Some farriers have a portable gas powered mini-furnace but usually only worth cranking up if they have a number of horses to shoe in any one session. Our boys are paddock bound so they just get a clean,clip and file.

steph said...

"Sinus is a new thing for me . . "

Aren't you LUCKY! :D

Baino, if I had to guess... the antibiotic you were given prior to surgery, has probably temporarily altered your immunity and left you prone to new bugs. You could try taking a few probiotic drinks to replenish your normal flora and fauna :D

The best remedy I can offer to clear your head is a simple saline solution (salt and water) used as a nasal douche. Pour it into the palm of your hand and sniff it up into your nose. It's more effective than any over-the-counter remedy.

Hope you're feeling better by this stage anyhow? Sorry - I've been a bit out of touch with the world this week and still flat on my back tapping this into a laptop :-(

Baino said...

Steph: Thanks so much that all makes sense. I've had two 'colds' since November which is really unusual for me. I'm a once every three years girl. I feel pretty good today thanks but I must admit, colds seem to affect me longer than before. I was floored for two days . . hysterectomy only took three before I was doing laps around the car park! Thanks so much. I've heard of the saline sniff! Yakult? Yuckult. . . I might try a tablet or scoff loads of yoghurt! Cheers:)

steph said...

Cheers Baino

Glad to hear you're on the mend.

Yakult (or as you say Yuckolt :D) was the very name I was trying to think of. My GP says it's the only one worth taking so I top up after every course of antibiotics - but I don't recommend sniffing it up your nose ;-)

Thriftcriminal said...

Eeek sinus issues. The worst I ever had was on a flight from UK to Ireland. As the plane landed I was convinced my molar was about to explode.

steph said...


I get that problem every time I go for a walk in cold the nerve ending are super sensitive following repeated surgery. I have to wrap a scarf around my nose and mouth to warm the air I breathe.

In fact one ENT surgeon I used to attend, got such bad sinus pain himself when flying that he named it after me as the 'Steph' problem. I'm famous! but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons :-(