2.Village Survival, when life gives you horse manure – plant roses!

Welcome to my fictional blog, if you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to look at my About page before you read on. Also 1.Village Survival, starting from now! is where it all begins!

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So at the end of my last post, Anna (my local best friend) and I were just about to be collared for a PFA meeting (School Parent and Friends Association) after school pick up, but before I tell you about that I’d like to introduce you to a local called Horsewoman. She probably has another name but to me she’s Horsewoman, bear with me – it’s all relevant.
Horsewoman owns a grey horse called Nancy. She lives in the next village and brings her daughter to school on Nancy everyday (you’d think that that would be a health and safety concern wouldn’t you – not in Vertonbridge appaz). Horsewoman’s daughter is called Skyla (short for Skylark) and Skyla is in the same class as my daughter Lottie. They are frenemies, one minute lurving each other and the next not so much! They’re six years old – nuff said. The thing is, my beef with Horsewoman (part 1) is that Lottie often comes home from school smelling of horse and what is more (part 2) Ted (my quite-laid-back husband) and I had to plant a rose garden that we didn’t even want! Let me explain.
Most days, though not every day, I’m not one to exaggerate me! – Nancy the horse seems to drop her load on the road outside our cottage and very often about three feet from our front door. Precision pooing – a jolly great pile of fresh steaming horse poo. It get’s right on my thruppenny bits, but Ted, that quite-laid-back husband of mine is an optimist and refuses to be irked by the smelly steaming doo doo. So, a while back he started collecting the manure up with a shovel and over time making a formidable dung heap behind our garden shed. We had the festering manure – now we just needed the roses we didn’t even want to go with it. Off we marched to the garden centre and spent a pretty penny (great underused expression) on various rose bushes. We planted them in a corner of the garden and I felt a smug sense of satisfaction that I had made use of the dung and therefore had something positive to show for the irritation (of Horsewoman and her horse). That was until the other day when I went into the garden to pick some mint and a gust of wind whipped one of the rose stalks past my face, leaving me with a hefty scratch across my cheek. I could have cried.

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I’ve got a good mind to get to bag up the manure and start selling it from our garden for £2 a pop. Where there’s muck there’s brass! And it might wipe the smirk off Horsewoman’s horsey face especially if I start making a profit from Nancy’s dooings!

So that is Horsewoman and that is my beef, and she links in with the next bit that I said I’d come back to – the rescheduled PFA meeting from the last blog post, so here goes.
Anna (my local best friend) and I had been seen at school pick up by Clare (one of the committee members of the Parents and Friends Association). We weren’t getting out of going to the meeting. That horse wasn’t going back in the stable, yes I’m running with the horsey theme this week. So we sat at the back, like the class troublemakers, so we weren’t so noticeable by Clare (PFA Vice Chair, she investigates all the vice in the PFA, hah I think I’m so funny.) Miami Vice Chair (I’ll stop now). Vice Vice baby (sorry). Lillian the actual head honcho PFA Chairwoman works during the day so she can only come along to the evening meetings which are often held in the village Pub – The Huntsman Inn.  But today was an after school meeting and we were allowing all our children to run amok in the playground – with a large packet of bourbon biscuits (supplied by the PFA) – and in the process really pissing off the school cleaner/caretaker.
Anyway, Anna and I were sitting there waiting for the meeting to commence, nursing cups  of crap PFA tea, when in walked the aforementioned Horsewoman, luckily there were no free seats near to us because as you know I’ve taken umbridge with the woman. I have taken my um to the bridge! Horsewoman was decked out in her usual uniform of faded pink jodpurs, unflattering fleece and sweaty half chaps all liberally sprinkled with horse/dog/cat/guinea pig/and Alpaca hair. She really does have an Alpaca farm, I wasn’t making it up about the Alpaca hair. All those hairs probably provided her with an extra layer of warmth. The PFA gathering was not terribly well attended, just a handful of shanghaied Mums and a couple of career PFA-ers who pitch up at every meeting and are the only thing keeping the institution going if I’m honest. The sad truth is that everybody wants a Christmas Bazaar and a Summer Fayre and of course that old favourite – The Halloween disco, but no one – it seems, apart from the PFA stalwarts and the two Chairwomen can be arrrrrrrsed to help make them happen.
Finally, Clare got the meeting underway with her clipboard in hand and I let my mind drift off and began making a mental list of groceries I needed from the supermarket. We got past the previous meeting’s minutes, apologies from non attendees (there weren’t any) and requests for funding from the teachers. Apparently Miss Quick (Lottie’s teacher) wanted to take her class to the theatre and would the PFA subsidise it? Too right! it would save me shelling out full price so I shot my hand up when it came to the Yays.
Clare moved on to upcoming fundraising events, “I’ve had a new idea for an event,” she said gleefully, “now I don’t know what you are all going to say but…well…my idea is a Curry Night!” This was met with blank faces so Clare ploughed on undaunted and elaborated, “We’ll make three big saucepans of different curries in the school kitchen, two meat options and one veggie with rice and poppadums and deliver it to parents. It’ll be like a Pop Up Curry Take-away….. and all profits to the PFA!”
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Horsewoman. “I could do the deliveries on Nancy.”  Marvellous! Cold Curry that smells of horse – how appetizing! I’ll have a side order of dung with mine! “I know!” she added shriekily, building up to something and sort of jumping out of her chair, “I could dress Nancy up as a white steed and we could call it Curry Knight! Curry Knight – delivered by trusty white steed- curry – joust how you like it,” she added with a crescendo of enthusiasm. Joust how you like it – Seriously, and the knight/night link was beyond tenuous.

Anna’s head was bowed and she was shaking silently next to me – with mirth! I elbowed her sharply (I didn’t want us to get told off by Clare) and she nearly fell off the tiny school chair that she was perching on.
“Now I’ve heard it all,” she whispered from the corner of her mouth.
“Only in Vertonbridge,” I hissed back, my jaw aching from suppressed giggling.
“Hmm, great name,” said Clare, obviously humouring Horsewoman, her eyes darting around pleadingly, looking for input from someone else. Thankfully the moment was interrupted when a small child burst in crying because she’d fallen over in the playground. The small person belonged to one of the PFA stalwarts. Always a relief when it’s not your own child crying!
So the PFA Curry Knight – Curry delivered by Trusty White Steed – joust how you like it! was agreed for one friday evening the following month. Catchy title huh! Whoever designed the poster was going to have riotous fun with that one! Anna was arm twisted into co-ordinating the curries on account of her catering abilities and I was put on rice duties! Other people volunteered for various jobs like advertising and schlepping to the cash and carry. After that, Clare concluded the meeting and looked a bit pale. I’d put money on it that she had half a bottle of Zinfadel at home with her name on it. Anna and I exchanged looks of utter dread, we knew we had to go and extract our over excited, over tired and over sugared children from the playground. I wish I was good at child extraction, you know, after a party or play date. I tried to use my best calm mum voice i.e kind and patient 101 but inside I was screaming.  Just get the hell in the car…..you little……!
So today’s motivationally inspirational saying for life is – actually I don’t really do those but: When someone’s horse sh*ts outside your front door (a lot), build a dung heap and make fertilizer for your roses and then maybe sell it for £2 a bag??!
Just don’t then slash your face on one of the thorns!
More next week.
As you were.
PS New neighbours have moved in opposite and put up a Beware of the Ferret sign in their window, should I be concerned about local house prices falling?

Note to Myself: The one about Horsewoman, dung, roses, and the PFA meeting about Curry Knight.

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