Now Kitty after the ear incident was not a very nice horse. I’m pleased to report her change of nature didn’t last long and she soon returned to being a horse who had no problem being ridden bareback by up to and including four children at the same time. Obviously only in her free time after the days work was over.
But at the time of this tale she was still in a very dark place which coincidentally was also where dad was stabling her. She wasn’t a friend to man or beast so she was allocated special accommodation on her own. Camps Farm bordered a lane known as the Track Lane. Really a farm track, which then became a rough road to a quarry, then for a time was a railway line and then back to a farm track. Except for May 9th each year when thousands of people would use it to get to The Track for the Muratti Cup game.
We don’t have trains in Guernsey so why did it become a railway? It was the Germans that did it when they built a circular railway to take food and other supplies the huge number of bunkers they built in the area. The Germans have played a great part in my life which is strange because I didn’t meet many until 1995. The Germans invaded Guernsey in 1940 and occupied us until 1945. I wasn’t born until 9 years later but the war was still very real for Mum, Dad and Ann who had experienced it right up close and they passed their feelings onto me. Plus of course every film I watched in black and white was about the war.
The war dominated my early years. Mum spoke of it often and everywhere there were signs of the German Occupation. A fun pursuit was to mooch around the bunkers and strong points scavenging anything that bigger boys hadn’t found or didn’t want in the years immediately after liberation. I wasn’t one of the generation who were frisked every morning at Primary school and had their bayonets and hand grenades confiscated nor was I able to buy a 2/6d pistol, 3.6d if it was loaded from an entrepreneurial school friend but odd finds were still possible.
On a nice summer day before I started school I was fishing for sticklebacks in a stream half way down the Track lane. The fish were hard to catch but I did find several stripper clips of five 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridges. Of course as a 5 year old I only recognised them as bullets. Bullets seemed more fun than fish so I hopped out of the stream, an action that would be totally beyond me now, searching for a big rock.
I bashed the rock on the bullets but they didn’t go off. Not enough resistance. Next I buried the bullets face down in the lane and bashed them on the end. It was then that Dad came to see what I was doing. He didn’t approve. He rarely ever punished me, that was mum’s department, but I vividly recall being punished that day.
Halfway between the stream and Camps Farm was a big granite walled barn. It stood by itself on the edge of a field and we used it for all sorts of things like hay, pigs and even one year a barn dance. This was Kitty’s detention cell for being a bad girl.
The Spanish Inspector was taken down to the barn to see the horse. Not before a strong request for him to expletive off and mind his own expletive business had been made. Dad could be very persuasive but the Spaniard, true to the oath he had sworn to the GSPCA (assuming there is such an oath) stood his ground bravely.
I don’t know exactly who was around on the farm that day but there was usually a goodly number. Being right on the edge of Town and Country and surrounded by States Houses Camps Farm was a magnet for kids. As soon as they came home from school they would grab a piece of bread, slap some sugar on it and munching the snack would run to the farm. Sometimes they were useful as extra hands when moving cows from field to field or watering or feeding them. Most of the time they just sky larked about. All got dirty, some got slightly injured but all who came to the farm went back home that night stinking to high heaven.
I am therefore imagining Dad, the Spanish Inspector and a small group of children trooping down the lane to the Barn. The barn was really a substantial building with large wooden doors. Kitty was loose inside and had it all to wander about and ponder her future behaviour.
Dad unbolted the door and opened it enough for the brave inspector to squeeze himself through. The door was immediately closed and bolted as dad then went off to inspect something at the far end of the field which needed his immediate attention. He went far enough away to be able to justifiably pretend he couldn’t hear the screams and calls for help.
After say 20 minutes of ignoring several children telling him that the Inspector needed help dad returned to the barn and opened the door. There was Kitty and there was the Spanish Inspector clinging to a rafter which luckily was high enough to be out of her reach. Dad never knew how the Inspector managed to reach the rafter but assumed he had represented Spain in the Olympics as a high jumper before he came to Guernsey.
He slipped a bridle on the French Mare and tied her up securely. The GSPCA man had more difficulty getting down than he had getting up but his feet eventually touched the ground. Nothing was said. The Inspector left and nothing more was heard about the incident.
Soon after Kitty’s more placid nature returned no doubt totally due to the efforts of the animal loving Spanish GSPCA Inspector.