The Speaker’s Coach attracted my interest when I arrived at Chiswell Street. In my opinion it needed some work done to it. Panels were split, and the pictures were in need of touch up. I got some quotes, and the cheapest (and good make do) job was for £30,000. The trouble was where to find the money, because someone in Whitbread, in the past, had signed that we would keep, and maintain it. I contacted the Speaker’s office, and suggested that the deal could hardly mean “and pay for it!” After a bit of debate, they relented. Dealing with the coach builders 'was interesting' , mainly because the explained to me how they were going to do the job. They had the technology to LIFT the paintings off the panels, replace the panels, and put back the pictures!
I agreed with John that we should have a go at breeding some of our own
horses. Others would own the mares, but we would have the stallion.
Lady was with us while she foaled.
The scheme collapsed, because the stallion we had was found to have a
honey comb bone defect.
He had to be de-registered for breeding.
I remember Alison Payne, and Catherine Bullen, and going to Knightsbridge with John to check out the stabling for George. He bothered to taste the food George would have, so I teased him that he should go to the soldiers’ mess to taste the food 'you' with John Sparks and Ray Charlesworth would be eating.
Did you know that the nursery rhyme “Ride a Cock Horse” to see a fine lady---, derives from a girl with the surname Fiennes? That name is very upper class now.
I had a special relationship with George. Some time before the ride, he had
split one of his hooves. The vet said he would have to be put down, and John
had to get permission from me. Knowing nothing about horses let me think
outside the norm. I asked John what happened if he split a toe nail.
Let it grow out, he said. So I said George was to go to the soft grounds
of Essex, have his hoof clasped by John Walker, and let the hoof grow out!
I seem to remember the poor animal was
diagnosed with cancer not long after
Alison’s ride.I always admired the
way you men groomed the horses for
their last journey