Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Caught Short

One of the occupational hazards to being a cartoonist is that as soon as someone finds out what it is that you do, they immediately launch into the retelling of something funny that once happened to them and inform you that it would make an amazing cartoon and that I should drop everything I’m doing and pursue it.

Although the stories are invariably funny, they are funny as a one off and as a result would not work as a cartoon strip. But when you look into their expectant eyes, all filed with hope and promise, you realise you haven’t the heart to tell them that their idea just wouldn’t work; that it’s too one dimensional and definitely falls under the category of ‘you had to be there’. And seeing as the vast majority of the human race wasn’t there, it’s a fair guess that it won’t work.

That’s what I should say.

But their needy, whimpering, Bambi eyed and largely pathetic looks lead me into saying, ‘you’re right, what an amazingly funny idea. I’ll draw it up when I’ve got a few moments and see if I can sell it’ They beam and rush off to tell their friends that they’ve just given me a great idea and it’s going to be a worldwide sensation and to remember this night as the night that it all began. Thankfully they usually follow this up by getting blind drunk, falling over, passing out somewhere inconspicuous (like the back seat of a Police car) and promptly forgetting the whole thing, leaving me to get on with the nuts and bolts of getting a life.

But since I started this blog revamp, I’ve realised that this is just such a vehicle for all those wonderful tales: The teller of the tale gets the kudos of having their story recounted and illustrated; and I get an amusing blog post. Everyone, it would seem, is a winner.

So with this in mind I started casting my mind over what I’d been told by friends past and present. And by eight thirty in the evening I’d reached my teenage years and the end of my tether.

There were indeed plenty of tales I could recount but none I was willing to retell here, as I was pretty sure the Police files weren’t closed on at least five of them. So while chatting to Karen about my frustrations she suggested I tell the story that her friend had recounted to us over Christmas. So here it is.

The incident happened some time ago while Karen’s friend (we’ll call her Sue to protect a little more than her innocence) was out riding her horse. She’d gone a little further than she’d actually intended to and had found herself in an unfamiliar field with a panting horse and a sudden urge to go to the toilet (Not the horse. Sue)

'when a yelp of both shock and surprise escaped her lips, the horse did what all easily startled creatures do in situations like this and bolted'

She looked around and saw no bushes that she could crouch behind. She looked further still, but all she could see was rolling field after rolling field with nothing that could afford her the privacy of such a delicate act.

As is always the case, in situations like this, when you realise you can’t go, the urge to go increases exponentially and soon the initial urge grows into a desperation that has you at bursting point. A quick glance around once more told her two things: First, there were definitely no bushes or trees with which to hide behind and second, she was in the middle of nowhere.

The second point made her think.  She thought ‘If I can see no one, then logically there’s no one around to see me’ She looked once again, chose the point at which the sudden arrival of walkers, hikers or fellow riders would most likely be, dismounted her horse and put ‘it’ between herself and that spot.

She then set about the delicate act of pulling her jodhpurs and knickers down while both squatting and holding onto the horses reins at the same time. That done, and set at an unnatural angle, poised as she was between a rock and a thistle, the tension began to escape her body and the trickle became a torrent of blessed relief,  and that was when the incident, upon which this whole story lies, began.

The horse, suddenly aware of the weight distribution no longer being on its back, assumed that this was its down time and decided to get a spot of grazing in before its mistress could leapt astride her back once more and head off to explore pastures new.

Sue, unaware of the horse’s intentions, was using the reins for balancing purposes. So when the horse suddenly dropped its noble brow, sue dropped with it, right onto the previously unnoticed thistle. And when a yelp of both shock and surprise escaped her lips, the horse did what all easily startled creatures do in situations like this and bolted, with Sue still attached to its reins, her knickers around her ankles whilst presumably still attending to the call of nature.

Valiantly Sue tried to disentangle herself from the reins but every time she hit the ground the momentum of the bounce sent her into spin, tangling her up even more, which caused her yelps of pain to increase in both range and volume, and this, in turn, spurred the horse onto even greater speeds and panic.

So imagine  the look on any walker’s face, who happened to be exiting from the dappled shade of the spinney that bordered this field, and into the expanse of open Herefordshire country, bordered as it was by bramble hedge and thorn, only to be confronted by what can best be described as a horse in the white heat of panic, dragging a spinning woman, who had clearly wasted her time straightening her hair that morning, and was gyrating out of control, with her trousers at half mast whilst doing her impersonation of a water sprinkler.

It’s unclear exactly how Sue’s adventure came to an end as her mind, justifiably, has erased most of it through pain. But at some point she must’ve either stopped screaming for mercy or the horse had just ran out of steam. But before that could happen, it had leapt four stone walls, cleared three brambly hedges and forded nine individual streams -- all with Sue still attached and screaming like a banshee. So there Sue lay at journeys end, panting and emitting great clouds of steam. The only thing on Sues mind was to get home, find the savlon, plasters, bandages and a large brandy. The horse, oddly enough was now at peace with the world and the panic driven romp was but a misty memory as it chomped peaceably on some succulent clover it had just discovered. Sue disentangled her hand and let it go before slumping back to the ground---presumably with her knickers still in a come hitherto fashion.

If you have any tales of your own, please feel free to contact me and I will do the honours---I’ll even change your name if you like, I just did for poor old Sue.



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