The Cowboy Wore Glasses – Part Two
PART TWO …. In which Andy moves to the country, makes new friends, runs for his life and has a sinking feeling.
“Happy birthday darling…now come over here by the fire..I need to tell you something” Andy’s mother was about to utter the words that were to change his life completely.
“We are moving to the country”.
She went on to explain to him that the landlord of their little flat wanted it for his daughter who was getting married. As Andy’s dad had decided to stay on in the navy and money was tight she thought it would be better for both of them If she found a job that had accommodation included and had taken the position of housekeeper to a farmer and his wife. This also involved being a nanny to their two little boys who were about the same age as Andy. He wasn’t too upset, this was an adventure, this was another step towards his dream of being a cowboy.
“Will they have horses on the farm mum?” was the first question he asked.
When the day came Andy could hardly contain his excitement as they clickity clacked along in an old steam train through a million miles of green fields. There were trees growing absolutely everywhere and not a bomb site or ruined house to be seen.
When the farmer picked Andy and his mum up from the tiny station deep in the heart of Kent, Andy had his first ever ride in a real motor car and when they eventually pulled into the farmyard Andy thought he had died and gone to heaven. There were ducks in a large muddy pond, sheep and cows grazing in the fields, tumbledown barns, sheds galore and sturdy whitewashed pigsties. To cap it all…looking curiously over the bottom half of a stable door ..WAS A HORSE.
Andy helped the farmer unload the luggage from the car. As they carried the cases up the path to the farmhouse, there seemed to be chickens running around everywhere and a flock of white geese flapped their wings and, cackling like mad, scurried out of their way.
This was to be the start of Andy’s enduring love for the old style countryside that remained in his heart throughout the years. He rode on horse drawn hay carts, old binders and tractors. He went ferreting with the farm hands and thoroughly enjoyed the rabbit stew and home made bread that they all consumed after a successful afternoons netting. Andy suddenly had lots of father figures who were only too pleased to initiate him into many country ways. Simon and Jamie, the farmers sons were great company and being of a similar age they all grew, learnt, got into trouble and went everywhere together.
These were halcyon days for Andy. Even some near misses with the dangerous side of country life couldn’t dampen his growing love for the countryside. There were three horses on the farm. Two fairly old cart horses and one really old retired race horse that walked with a pronounced limp. The race horse was Andy’s favourite. His name was Swiftly, and the boys were allowed to ride him bareback in the home fields behind the barn. They would lead him next to a large fallen tree trunk and using it as a sort of mounting block they’d all clamber aboard one behind the other and become cowboys looking for hostile Indians as they plodded along through the fields.
On one such expedition they had come to a halt by the fence that separated their farm from the next farm and the boys could see loads of white dots about half way across the neighbouring field. Having all agreed that the white dots were field mushrooms Andy volunteered to get over the fence and go and pick them. All went well until Andy had half filled his tucked in t-shirt with mushrooms. Suddenly Simon and Jamie started to shout warning cries and looking round he was horrified to see an exceedingly large bull thundering across the field from a copse of trees straight towards him. It was touch and go but Andy managed to arrive at the fence one step ahead of the bull and with a leap that would have done justice to an Olympic athlete he cleared the fence and landed face down just in front of a startled Swiftly. To make matters worse, the bull then thrust his head over the fence and emitted a loud roaring bellow in Swiftly’s face. This was just too much for their faithful steed and with a snort he reared up depositing Simon and Jamie in a heap on the grass then turning on his heel he galloped off towards the farm buildings and safety. Apart from a few bruises and being a bit shaken up the boys were fine..the mushrooms however were not.
Boys will be boys, and when they were not being cowboys they turned their thoughts briefly to the Spanish Main. They built a pirate ship out of old pallets and discarded oil drums all held together very haphazardly with bits of string and wire. Having filched a pillow case out of the airing cupboard to make a crude skull and crossbones flag, the intrepid pirates set sail on the large duck pond in search of treasure galleons. With much oohing and arrring they had just about got to the middle of the pond before the string and wire unravelled and the whole construction drifted apart dumping them in the water. The ensuing commotion..boys shouting for help and confused ducks quacking, flapping and darting too and fro,soon brought some of the men to their rescue and three very muddy little pirates decided that being cowboys would probably be a lot safer.
NEXT TIME…Andy gets involved in a labour saving scheme, and the boys have their first brush with the demon drink.
© Martin Silvester 18/9/15
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