Having spent a bit of time digging through the history of Alice’s cottage, I was reminded of the scene where Brian panicked seeing Chris among the assembled nobs (other spellings are available) at the Boxing Day shoot, only to be brought up short when he found him in conversation with Lord Elbury - or as Chris knew him, Donald.
Delicious as the scene was, it just occurred to me that Lord E commented on Brian’s smart move at getting a farrier in the family. Why? I don’t think Brian has ever hunted - or ridden at all, for that matter. Lilian borrows a horse whenever she gets bored. I can’t think of any Home Farm / BL equestrian activities. When would Brian ever need a farrier?
Alice and Debbie both had horses; Debbie’s goes on and on, like Bartleby, and she still goes riding on him when she comes home from Hungary for a two-day quarrel with Adam or Brian about something. He must be fairly ancient by now. Ippy? Something like that.
Fair enough, but aren’t they more likely to be kept at the Stables, if their ostensible owners aren’t around to do the routine maintenance? If they’re at HF, why does Lilian always have to go to Shula?
I have always assumed that they were kept at the Stables; otherwise Tolly (that was the name of Debbie’s horse; Ippy was someone else’s) would have died long since of fatty degeneration of the heart or sheer lack of exercise.
Thinking of improbable equines, with all those ponies at Chateau Sniff, won’t Lynda have trouble when they start producing pollen?
Have you been reading The Tough Guide to FantasyLand?
Do ponies produce pollen?
Chris is not only a farrier, but a Blacksmith, and therefore able to knock up a pair of handcuffs or a chastity belt at a moments notice.
Do ponies produce pollen?
These might! I’ll let Chris explain - I believe he wrote the entry in question
No, no, Diana wrote it herself; I merely laughed like a drain.
You should also remember that in The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, Ecology and Economy are the entries one after the other, and are similarly and irreverently treated.
The entry on Horses reads:
Horses are of a breed unique to Fantasyland. They are capable of galloping full-tilt all day without a rest. Sometimes they do not require food or water. They never cast shoes, go lame,or put their hooves down holes, except when the Management deems it necessary, as when the forces of the Dark Lord are only half an hour behind. They never otherwise stumble. Nor do they ever make life difficult for Tourists by biting or kicking their riders or one another. They never resist being mounted or blow out so that their girths slip, or do any of the other things which make horses so chancy in this world, For instance, they never shy and seldom whinny or demand sugar at inopportune moments. But for some reason you cannot hold a conversation while riding them. If you want to say anything to another Tourist (or vice versa) both of you will have to rein to a stop and stand staring out over a Valley while you talk. Apart from this inexplicable quirk, Horses can be used just like bicycles, and usually are. Much research into how these exemplary animals come to exist has resulted in the following: no mare ever comes into season on the Tour and no Stallion ever shows any interest in a mare; and few Horses are described as geldings. It therefore seems probable that they breed by pollination. This theory seems to account for everything, since it is clear that the creatures do behave more like vegetables than mammals. It also explains why the Anglo-Saxon Cossacks and the Desert Nomads appear to have a monopoly on horse-breeding. They alone know how to pollinate them.
See also Horse-Breeding.
Bold type signifies the title of an entry in the book.
I have the permission of Diana Wynne Jones to quote anything of hers that I want to; and if her executors want to make difficulty about it, I know where you live, Mickey.
And because I can, I shall also give you the chapter header for H:
Hard on your port a bit
Down on your right a bit
That’s how to make a hit
Down with the rest of it.
(Barbary Viking Song [footnote])
[footnote] The Management regrets that it was unable to find a Gnomic Utterance that was sufficiently irrelevant. It was forced to resort to doggerel instead.
To maintain Peggy’s corset and rasp her toe nails while he’s there?
Only when they fart. That’s why they should be kept off the clover. Or on, if the object of the exercise is to distract Lyndee from whatever the Grundys are up to.
How very true that is
The pollination theory is also dangerously plausible.
Is Lilian one of his customers? For the handcuffs I mean.