Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day 2008

As I have mentioned before, I have strong connections with the church. My great grandfather was a vicar, and so was his half brother. My father studied to be a priest, but changed his mind. Pretty much all my relations on that side of my family are strong committed church goers - over the years many of them have moved between catholicism and C of E, and in some cases, back again. I was bought up catholic and never believed it for a minute. At my first opportunity, at ten years old when my Mum left and took us all with her, I quit.

I never missed religion - I don't like it.

It seems incredible to me that such organisations can be developed from the life of one person, and somehow create such bizarre logic about life, and make such wild promises about what happens after death. Christianity amazes me. I don't mind people being christians by the way - that's up to them - I'm fine with people believing whatever they want to believe. My father is a devout christian and I have utmost respect for him - he is a truly good person and he gets a huge amount of peace from his religion. I know there are countless millions more people the same way.

Myself, I'm not going to base my life on a possible reward or punishment when I die. To me it seems a bit more relevant to concentrate on what's happening while I am alive. My hunch is that when we die we just go back to where we came from and that's that. Our bodies are composted, our minds are just thoughts - what are thoughts anyway, they don't actually exist physically so I suspect they just go, a bit like a light bulb goes out when you turn the switch off - and our spirit, soul, life energy, or whatever you want to call it, just goes back into the pot from where it came.

I don't mind any of that - I'll be mighty surprised if it's any other way! Like my dear mother in law used to say to me, 'I'll come back and tell you if it's any different'.

Have a nice Xmas - hope you all get the presents you want, and here's hoping all the crazy people who go round causing shit, somehow get more sensible.

Love and Peace.

PS Btw, George believed in re-incarnation.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Xmas to all

If you are a christian, a muslim, a bhuddist, or belong to any religion, if you are an atheist, if you hate religion, if you have a guru, if you don't have a guru, if you are not interested in anything about this kind of stuff, if you are happy to let people have their beliefs as long as they don't bug other people, if you are not happy to let people have their beliefs, if you wish everyone would just fuck off and leave you alone, if you sincerly enjoy everything about Xmas, even the bloody Xmas songs, if you believe in God, even though you have only an imagined idea of what he is, if you believe in God because you think you definitely know what he is, or if you don't give a shit, if you wish the world was a better place, if you think the world is perfect, if you are depressed, elated, or hanging in there on the middle path, if you are young or old, if you have your whole life in front of you, or if you are near to death, if you are fat, thin, ugly, beautiful, hungry, full, sweet, sour, funny, serious, rich, poor, successful or an absolute loser, if you are black, white or coffee coloured, if you are gay, bi, or hetero, if you are happily married, happily single or if you are stuck in some degree of nightmare, if you are nice to be with, if you are a pain in the arse or if you just like taking it up the arse, or if you are something else completely different that is not on this list - Have a happy Xmas if you can, and if you can't, well, good luck in your life.

Life isn't always easy - an old guy I knew quite a few years ago used to say to me, 'let's send our goodwill and good wishes to all living beings'.

Love and peace.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bloody Blogger

Can you see the comments option on my previous post, cos I can't. I've tried reposting it and it puts it there, and then when I delete the previous post, the comments function bloody well disappears. GRRRRRRRRRRR

I've been listening to this band all week - it's been fun

So let me just describe the rules of Leni’s challenge, which I accepted. By the way, it took me hours but I loved doing it.

1. Post your picture.

2. Choose a favourite band/artist.

3. Answer the questions with titles of the songs of the favourite band/artist.

4. Choose 4 persons who you think might accept the challenge.

* * *

1. My picture - Me with my horse

2. Artist: The Rolling Stones are one of my favourite bands because when I was young they said what I wanted to hear. But as I've got older I listen to a lot more of this little band. I’ve chosen these nine songs – some for the titles and some for the content.

3. Questions:

a. Man or woman - Nowhere man

b. Describe yourself - The fool on the hill

c. What people think about you - The fool on the hill

d. Describe your last relationship - Yesterday

e. Describe the current status of your relationship - And I love her

f. Where would you like to be right now - Here, there and everywhere

g. What do you think about love - She’s (love) so heavy

h. What is your life like - The long and winding road

i. What would you ask for if you had a wish - Flying (freedom)

j. Write down a wise sentence - Tomorrow never knows

The 4 people of my choice whom I challenge - I have decided not to choose anyone, but please, if you would like to take up the challenge, then I choose you.

Love to all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Books - yep, they're out in the soddin shed!

Ok, I'm going to work my way down the list and the first thing is books. I haven't read one for a while - I hate them. Actually I'm lying there, I have been reading a little book about a horse, written by a friend of mine. I say 'a little book', it's actually quite long, nearly 300 pages, and with very small type, so I'm guessing near 100,000 words.

The author is an Irish gal called Elaine Heney and she writes in what you might call an Irish style. Lots of short stories about life as well as horses, and some nice explanations of how she deals with various situations she gets into with her horse. If you meet El in real life you can hardly understand what she is saying - I think she comes from some remote part of Ireland that has lost touch with the modern world. I'm kind of reading the book hearing her speaking in her accent at the same time - so it's like talking to El and having subtitles, which actually I could do with when I talk to her in real life.

But what I really wanted to talk about, and what I also really like about this book is that it is self published. Hooray for El I say.
* * *

My wife has worked in the publishing world since before I met her (obviously I would have stopped her if I had met her before), and over the years I have come to despise books. Honest books are few and far between, and when you find one it is truly a joy. It doesn't happen often. Most honest books don't make it past the costing stage of the publishing process, and most don't ever see the light of day. Some of us are so desperate to get our names in print we compromise. We allow the publishers to use our ideas and bastardise them into some hideous commercial production, even down to having the title changed.

Some brave souls publish their books themselves and most of those books end up sitting in cardboard boxes out in the shed. I have 350 copies of my first book sitting out there myself. Sarah advised me to publish 500 but me, the eternal bloody optimist, went for a 1000.

My second book was actually commisioned by a publisher. My commisioning editor is a good friend and she allowed me to write my book as I wanted it to be. It was published a few years ago and I am happy to say, I love that little book. I am really grateful that I was given the chance to write it and if I'm honest, I have almost made my career out of it.

My third book sits languishing on my desktop. It's a great little book but it is about as commercial as I am. I originally planned to publish it through, which is a fantastic idea for self-publishing. You can get your book published and printed one copy at a time which hopefully ends the '350 in the shed' situation once and for all. I stalled in the production stages though - you have to produce the book in a pdf file which means you have to have adobe acrobat, I think (am I right?).

So don't back off from writing. The published writers aren't necessarily any better, in fact in a lot of cases they are obviously worse. It's kind of the same as blogging - in a lot of cases the bloggers are better than the paid journalists, and I guess that's why some journalists don't like bloggers. But what I am trying to say here is this - don't ever think writing is the preserve of the 'special few'!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Will the credit crunch affect my pension plan - will it Bollocks!

OK, desperate times need desperate measures. I have to rebuild my readership. So I think we'll take a little break from matters equine for the time being, and focus on subjects that are more common to most ordinary people.

So, here is a brief list of my worldly interests for me to choose from.

Books - no, I don't do books - used to, but got bored with them.

Music - no, not really, although I do listen to the odd CD in the car

TV - no not really, although I do enjoy HIGNFY and the odd comedy.

Fashion - don't get me started - I just don't get it!

Gardening - yes, I am a fanatical organic gardener, but it doesn't make for exciting blog posts. Although take a look at these veg I harvested today. No man made chemicals are used in my garden - better for us, better for wildlife and better for the planet.

The internet - yes I admit it - I spend far too long in cyberspace, mainly playing a boardgame I am addicted to. I was heavily into Second Life until I realised I was the only normal person in there - actually I did meet one other nearly normal person in there and we are still very good friends.

DIY - Fuck Off!

Motoring - Oh yes, so many happy hours out there in the garage restoring my old V8 etc etc...

My family - jeez, what a bunch! No seriously, I love them but I am a bit of a crap family man - I make very little effort but thankfully they are mostly ok with that.

My life - Yep, really interested in that, mainly focus on trying to enjoy it, or to be more truthful, I focus on it not turning into a pile of shit. I know that's not totally in my control but I try to do what I can.

My pension - I do have a pension plan. If I run out of cash I'm off round to my mate Vicus's house - he'll feed me, or at least his Mrs will.

My blog - eeeeeeeeeeeeek dunno what to do with that!

My horses - noooooo, this isn't about them.

Women - I absolutely love them, but I am married, so other women right now, no can do!

So there you have it - most of my life in one blog post. Wanna trade it, or any parts of it? What have you got to offer? I'm always open to doing a deal!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

If the horse is leaning on the bit, it's already over!

For a while now, in fact quite a few years, I have pretty much known how to make most horses feel ok while I am on the ground with them. But the big challenge for me has been how to do it while they are being ridden. I have searched and searched, asked and asked, watched trainers who I really like, even looked in books, but I have never been able to really pinpoint what the actual key is to to the mind of the ridden horse.

I have had a few theories along the way - things like how we feel, what we take to the horse in terms of our confidence (or fear) and so on. I thought I was on to something when I saw the effect on some horses of relaxing the poll. But then I saw that horses can do that and still be tight physically, and in their minds - relaxing the poll kind of disarms the horse but it doesn't actually get the change I want, and also the overbending issue really is wrong.

I have watched people ride their horses round and round saying things like, 'there we are, that part was good', meanwhile on the rest of the circuit the horse practises a load of stuff you don't want it to do. That's what I'm seeing now as 'pot luck' horsemanship, because now I am convinced that training the horse and how the horse feels, should and can be, completely in our hands (good sort of a pun there I'd say).

So, how to do it, that's the question? Well, the first thing to take on board is that it's no quick fix, it's not a patch up job. What it is is a deconstruct and rebuild job, or if it's a young horse, it's a 'get it right from the start' job. And yes, it's all about our hands and the horse's mouth. Of course this is all assuming you have some kind of working relationship with your horse, and I mean by that I guess, some kind of idea that the horse is there ready to work for you. After that, well, I'm not going into the details here, but just to say we have changed a horse around that we were on the verge of telling the owner, we couldn't do. It's about getting the horse's mouth right, and getting the horse in balance - that's the secret. And, it feels good for the human too!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

When the student is ready, the buffalo will appear

Thanks to Row for the title of this post.

I was teaching this guy a few weeks ago. We were getting on fine but he must have picked up on the fact that I wasn't quite telling it how it was. He turned to me and said, 'Look Tom, I've paid my money so tell me the truth ok. I'm rubbish aren't I'.

That got me to thinking about teaching. It is a subject I am very interested in anyway, and I have watched a lot of people over the years trying to pass on information to their students in various different ways.

There is a bit of a tradition among a section of American horse trainers that they are slightly blunt, almost rude, or sometimes, downright rude to their clients. This is justified by the argument that you have paid your money so you deserve to be told how it is. I once heard a trainer tell this girl, 'You think you have good hands don't you, but your hands are rubbish. Your horse will hate your hands.' I don't like this approach at all - and I'm not so sure it's about helping the student learn, so much as making the teacher feel Big and Powerful. But on the other hand, and this is where I do worry a bit, I know I like people to like me, so it's not good tactics for me to make myself obnoxious, even if I do feel it is the best way to pass on the information my client is paying me for.

I am getting better at telling the truth. If I think it will help then I will say it, but I do still go out of my way to be as polite as possible. It's just a terrible ingrained habit that we English people have.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I didn't write this

...the purpose of horsemanship is not to be nice to the horse. It is not to be gentle with the horse. It is not to be different from some older and traditional ways, whatever those are. Horsemanship has one purpose, and that is for the human to make herself CLEAR to the horse. For when the horse gets clarity, he also gains inner peace; and there is no other way for him to gain that peace when in human company. Thus, to be clear is the greatest gift we can give the horse, the true face of charity and compassion. Clarity is the thing we owe the horse for the privilege of handling him.

But I agree with it 100%.

Friday, October 31, 2008

This is true - honest!

I'm just recovering from the worst flu I ever had - do you know I wouldn't have cared if I died back there a day or two ago. Anyway, I'm almost back.
Thank you for your comments on my last post - I utterly respect your views, and with particular reference to Breakfast and Erica, I know you both have some investment in the word natural - all I am saying is sometimes things need to be said and some kind of balance needs to be kept. I know I shoot my mouth off but some things wind me up.


Overheard at a recent clinic in the UK, and this is true!

Spectator - 'When you were working with that horse, I saw a buffalo and and an Indian in the arena with you'

Trainer - 'I'm not surprised by that - I get a lot of help from the Native Americans with my horsemanship'


Now come on - call me old fashioned, but shouldn't the correct answer have been, 'Jeez, you need to get psychiatric help, you are barking mad!'

But seriously, this is the kind of stuff people take to their horses - I don't like it, and I imagine the horses think it's pretty wild too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A history of horse training 1980 - 2008

In the 80s the leisure horse world was taken over by the big stars - good horse people who had developed systems and methods and then gone ahead to market them. Now almost 30 years later most of these guys are still going strong and it is not unusual when you meet someone new to horses, that they begin by telling you, "I'm into so and so, I practise his methods", or, "I am going through so and so's programme''.

The established horseworld wasn't really touched by these new stars - they were happy with the way they were getting things done, and their lifetimes of history carried them through. I am one of the people new to horses and my historical interest is in the new 'leisure' horse world that has rapidly expanded during this time.

One of the reasons I find this whole thing so fascinating is that during the 25 years or so that I have been working with horses, the absolutely best horses I have ridden have always come from conventional, or old established ways of horsemanship. So what does this say about the new stuff - well, it's pretty confused, or at least most of the people involved in it are.

And here is why. There is a disasterous link between all the new stuff and the socio-political situation in the western world of this period. It's called, 'The New Age', and it doesn't work so well for horses. In fact I would go so far as to say, they don't like it. So why has something happened so strongly even though it's pretty obvious to a lot of people that it isn't working out. Well, mainly because it's a pretty good opportunity for a few people to make a load of money. If you can come up with a 'new' way of training horses that fits in nicely with what some would call a more enlightened view of life, and you have some marketing skills, then you are in business.

In the modern leisure horseworld there is a generic term, 'natural horsemanship'. It is actually meaningless because it is no more natural than all the other horsemanship that by default, it implies is unnatural, but it sounds good doesn't it.

I guess what I'm saying is, don't be sucked in to a load of commercial hype. Good horsemanship has been going on since man and horse met.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Responsible Blogging

I have a friend who trains horses. She's not as good as me (or as humble obviously), but she is way more successful in terms of earning a living. So what I have started doing is, when I am in certain situations where I could maybe improve my business, I ask, 'so what would X**** be doing now?' She would be networking furiously with a keen eye on not leaving until she has some more business is in the bag. Then I look at what I am doing, which is nothing, and I think, 'Bollocks, I really can't be arsed'. Then I go home and say such wise/smug things as, 'my work alone should be enough'.

So anyway, that got me thinking about my blog. It's unwisely linked to my website. On the blog I trawl the depths of the human mind, trying to interest people in subjects they don't want to talk about. I try to inspire people to 'get real' about their human existence. Now, what would X**** be doing with this blog. Well, I can tell you. She would be constructing and maintaining the legend that she is. There would be no flies on her - people would believe that yes, at least there is one person in the world who is bloody well perfect.

I recently did a presentation at a large gathering of professional people. It was amazing - they actually had time in the schedule set aside for 'networking'. It was like this huge pit of people all jostling for connections that would further their careers. I'm sorry, and I know that's how the world works and all that, but I just felt it was all a bit gross really. The problem with this system is that what happens then is whoever is the best in the bearpit, then becomes the most successful in business. Now, that can't be right, can it?

In my own naive little world I can't help thinking that we should stand back and objectively look at what people are doing and truly evaluate what is best, and use that.

Anyway, what would X**** be doing with this blogpost - well, one things for sure, she wouldn't press the 'publish post' button on it, I can guarantee that.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sex - part one

OK, the great subject most of us prefer not to talk about, including me!

Jeez it's hard to talk about sex - it feels like it's my business and actually I'm starting to think it is really.

I worked out I have had sex approx 2500 times (so far) with six different women (so far) and from that I have fathered six kids. In 1972 a fortune teller in Old Delhi told me I would father seven kids - it's looking unlikely.

The other day I spoke to one of the girls I had sex with, and guess what, she couldn't bloody well remember it (cue uproarious laughter, and wondering if any of the other five can either). Let me tell you that both times we had sex, we were both very drunk indeed. I remember climbing out of her college bedroom window in the early hours, as at that time they were doing spot checks on the girls rooms. The other time we were both in a single sleeping bag under the stars mmmmmmmmmmmmm. I do have to admit that neither occasion is memorable for the quality of the action.

At the same college one of my friends hid a girl under the blankets and survived a spot check from the sex police - eeeeeeee what a laugh we had in those far off days.

My early life is more memorable for the girls I should have had sex with rather than the ones I did have sex with. It is a long and illustrious list! I blame my catholic upbringing for burdening me with this idea that one at a time is enough. Amazingly, I have always been faithful to the woman I am with - should I be proud of that, or am I just pathetic.

Once I worked for this very attractive and very rich lady. She and her husband, who was a huge gangster type guy, ran several sex clubs in London. One day I was working on the pond in the garden when she came up and started coming on to me. She was pretty hot, and could really turn on the charm. It's a bit like when you are gonna die I guess - your whole life runs through your mind in a flash at that point. This could be my best opportunity ever or the dumbest thing I ever did, and jeez, I'd surely get killed if I did it. She must have thought I was the most crap guy she had ever met - I didn't even take it when it was offered on a plate. In fact I'm surprised she didn't have me killed for that! Phew - I can remember those moments real strong.

I got paid £20 cash for four hours work, three days a week, at that place - I thought I'd landed in heaven!


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Relationships - part two

Here is a bit more on relationships. It's part of the build up to the next two much awaited instalments of the trilogy.

So twice in my life I have said that I will stay with my partner for my whole life come what may. They both said it to me too. Well, the first one bailed out after a few years - I was shocked. In retrospect I was naive in the extreme. And guess what, I went and made the 'for life' promise again a year or two later. That one is working out pretty good so far.

What's my point? Well, I would never do it again. It's ridiculous to say you are going to do something for life. Who knows what may happen? Your partner may change their view of life, or so might you. You may have made a misjudgement when you made the commitment, or you may just think, 'shit, I've only got one life, I don't want to spend it living with that miserable bastard'.

No, I'm sorry but I think marriage is a silly idea. I heard somewhere that it was invented to keep some order in society. Just another of those rules to prop up the undisciplined populace - but look at the chaos the failure of marriage causes. Maybe if we were brought up to view things differently, like for example, women have kids and most times the fathers stick around to help look after them, in some way or other, then we wouldn't be burdened by the ridiculous expectation that marriage puts upon us.

Do you know why you should live with another person - maybe cos you love them!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sex, relationships and love

This is part one of the trilogy - it's relationships okay, sex and love are coming later.

This is a picture of me and my friend Vicus. Some of you may know him from elsewhere. We have known each other for 39 years. We first met when I briefly attended a teacher training college, in the vain hope that I could somehow get a career and be 'normal'. Alas, or perhaps thank god, I realised it would never work out, and three weeks into the course I left. The absolute clincher for me was when this tutor instructed me to pretend I was in a 3' high glass box, and I thought, 'you fucking twat!', and I never returned, except to the canteen where every morning they served a fantastic poached egg on toast.
In the late 60s me and Vicus took acid together on more than one occasion, and generally overdid it with other minor drugs, until Vicus decided a clear head would be more helpful to his search for reality. A couple of years later I reached the same conclusion - mind you that doesn't preclude the odd foray into altered conciousness at family weddings and the like.

What has this to do with relationships - well, it's a relationship of sorts isn't it. I don't like having too many friends - that might be code for 'no-one wants to be my friend so I'll make it look like it's my idea'. I learnt pretty early on that you don't want to be dependent on some other person who's gonna run off with some other sod any time they feel like it. That hurts! If anyone gets too friendly I move. I used to think I was weird - now I know I am.
I don't mind being friends with Vicus, cos he is too lazy to be much of a pain. We never spend more than a couple of days together anyway - he's funny for a while then he gets boring and talks about classical music and fucking authors who I have never heard of.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Inner Horse

This post is going to make sense to approximately one reader. Sorry to my other one - my next post will be about love, relationships, and sex, so hang in there.

There are so many theories about training horses, and funnily enough, they are all right in some way, or they are all right for someone somewhere. But the real truth about horses is beyond a theory. There is something in the horse, which man can capture, and when he does, he can nurture it, and it can turn into the most powerful thing.

This thing is the inner horse.

Get the use of this and you will never need to mess again with all the tricks and methods that we can spend a lifetime buying/selling/learning. Sometimes I truly feel the power of the horse's spirit, and it's availability to me.

More and more as I go on working with horses I aim my work at connecting with the inner horse, rather than fixing the symptons of the disconnect. Actually with practise it becomes easier to spot the opportunities - here is an example. I was working with this horse that every time you went to put the bridle on, it threw it's head in the air. It was quite dangerous. So what could I have done. Well, I could have used advance and retreat, or I could have just hung in there with the bridle until the horse thought, 'oh, sod it, ok!', or I could have used clicker training (the most extreme example of working with the 'outer horse'), or I could have taken loads of time to build things up between me and the horse until he trusted me enough with the bridle. There are many other 'ways' I'm sure.

I was in a public situation so I was pretty exposed, what with instant internet reports and all, but I thought, well, what is the correct way to do this. It might not be pretty and it might not be to everyones taste but I did it anyway. I just let the horse know that I didn't approve of him throwing his head every time he objected to something I was doing. It was easy - as he threw his head, I just backed him up with some fairly intense energy. Three times he did it before he just stood there and let me put his bridle on - job done!

How is this the inner horse? Well, I didn't train him to do an external action - I changed his mind about me and what he thought he could do and not do around me.

It's not always that easy, but if I can see a way I take it.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Horse trainer psychology - part one

Today's picture is of Splodge's head

I am more concerned with the psychological affects on me of what I am doing, more than I am with what I do. This is mainly because early on in my life I found the going pretty tough at times and I realised that for me, the name of the game was survival.

So now, everything I do, I try to set it up to give me as little psychological stress as possible. A good example of this is my vegetable garden. For years I have fought against nature in the form of slugs, snails, butterflies, and all, and eventually I realised if I am going to continue gardening and maintain my sanity then maybe I need to get organised with some defenses. Now I don't get half the knock-backs I used to get, and I really enjoy getting out there and seeing my plants not all being destroyed by greedy slimey monsters.

So how about the psychology of horse training? Well, I am working on this too. Remember here I am talking about how it psychologically affects me, not about the psychology of the horse. Obviously horses are different to vegetables (although some would disagree) in that horses are affected by your psychological state. It is important to present to the horse a sound state of mind, which in itself is a good incentive to organise your life in a way that promotes this. Horses are not impressed by erratic human behaviour - qualities such as impatience, anger, frustration, and so on do not really help. Horses work well when you are in a calm and balanced frame of mind.

But there is another side to this too. Horsework, at least in my experience, does not always progress in a steady way. Sometimes things move forwards very easily and other times things almost seem to move backwards. It is important to just keep going, and important not to get too involved in evaluating the day by day experience. I try to look at things over a period of time.

* * *

Monday, August 25, 2008

The story of Splodge, cont'd

So what's happened to Splodge - well, soooooooooooooo much.

When I first bought her I was pretty much told by everyone she was an upside down horse and I would never get her to go right. Well, I didn't care at the time - my view was that if she goes where I want to go what the hell more do I want from her. That's still my view really, but I do admit I have got a little more picky about how I want to go where I want to go. Basically what I have added in is that I want her to be concentrating on the job in hand and not have her mind wandering around checking out for lions and tigers or whatever.

So anyway, searching for a way to quieten my horse's mind has led me to all sorts of stuff that I have heard people talking about, but I have never really thought might apply to me and my horsemanship. But it does! Over the last few years I have been studying how the horse's body works, and how the horse's mind works, and as a consequence, to a degree how the horses spirit works too. And a bit like us, it's all linked together.

As hard as I am trying to keep this subject simple, you can already see that it would be easy to write a book about it.

So back to Splodge. I went riding on her yesterday and my oh my she was good. We went up on Easdon Tor with Sarah riding Winston (our new little pony), and as is my way I spent a lot of the ride studying Splodge's mental state. She wasn't perfect but she was good. She got very slightly worried by a herd of ponies about quarter of a mile away from us, and once or twice she was a 'bit rushy' on the downward slopes. But what pleased me the most was that when she rushed she leant into the bit a little and when I asked her not to she quit leaning, rebalanced herself and slowed right down to the speed I wanted to go.

Sometimes it seems like a long old road training a horse, but rides like that feel good!

I know that isn't the story I was going to tell, but somehow that story isn't going to work without a bit of background info about the work I am doing with my horse - I will get to the story in a bit, I promise.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Once upon a time there was a cross horse trainer...

So I don't know if you know this or not, but I earn my living as a horse trainer. I don't earn much of a living - enough to eat and keep from going into debt. I really enjoy my work and I've got this funny idea that by not making a successful business my priority I can totally focus on my work.

Today I was riding Splodge in the school and I was thinking to myself, jeez, what do I know about horses - not much really, and yet I have been teaching horsemanship for nearly ten years now. Does anyone else feel like this about what they do? I learn so much every day and yet I still feel like I don't know much - It's a big subject.

Anyway, the other day I got sucked into contributing to a thread on a Discussion Group. I've been on there before and it's always been very friendly, so I guess maybe I let my guard down. We were having a very nice, and imformative discussion about various training methods, and as I always try to be about everything, I was being very open and honest about how I work.

Yep, you've guessed it - before long I was being cast as the devil trainer who is cruel to horses, admittedly by some people who don't know me and have never watched me work, but somehow it got to me a bit. On the great spectrum of what happens to horses in this world I promise you I am not by any means the worst. If these guys are so concerned about horses why don't they focus their efforts on the REALLY BAD stuff that goes on out there. Actually horses really like me and are generally pretty happy with the dealings they have with me, and actually from my perspective I am far from a bad trainer.

The thread got closed before I could answer the allegations, but anyway, here are a couple of things people said about me.
Sorry but Good luck to the horses is all I can say.
by Rachel

'The one picture that absolutely rocked me was of the poor black horse having to cope with someone dealing in such a way with his mouth....and the reason supplied? To unlock a brace in his poll. There are other ways to do it. Thats all. Hmmmm.....Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't it the practitioner who said he didn't use gadgets to exert pressure? Just some food for thought......please take as that.
by Apachepony
I also see that fundamentally, myself, and a few others, are a million miles away from this way of handling horses. There have been many points raised that I would once have debated on and on. But then it becomes about ego , and ego has no place with the horse. So, in the interests of peace, I will say thank you very much, I have learned an awful lot from this thread, and sadly not much of it was about the horse
by Apachepony
For what it's worth I may as well add my piece while I'm here.....For me it is all about perception. The HORSES perception not ours. It's about HOW they learn what it is we want them to learn. Clearly horses do learn their lessons with you Tom but it's the HOW that is important to me and the horses. Tom, you say your not pulling, the horse is and whereas this may be true, the result for the horse is still pain in the mouth untill he has learnt what is required of him. You also say you don't use pressure halters... there seemed to be a lot of thin rope halters in the photos. Whether they tighten round the head or not, when you put pressure on any thing made of thin rope, they hurt a d**n site more than ordinary head collars....thats how they work so quickly. They may make us look like great horsemen that we can solve long duration behaviours in an afternoon, but all the horse learns is " Jesus!! unless I do X, I'm gonna get a searing pain behind the ears, right where a host of optical nerves lie!!" And Kas....snap shot, moment in time, it may be but it's still very harsh and when there are better and kinder ways this sort of stuff, in my opinion, is unneccasary
by Julie
Thanks for your comments you guys. I absolutely respect your right to say and do whatever you like, but I really don't like your rudeness - I hope you don't take that to your horses.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Horse stuff!

Don't worry, she's only having a sleep

* * *
"Hi Tom, I've got a horse here that you should really come and take a look at". It was Vicky on the phone and as usual she was trying to sell me a horse.

"So what's so special about this one", I answered rather cynically.

"Well, come and see her, you will love her. She has such a lovely temperament and the guy says if I don't sell her soon he wants her back. I really don't want her to go back to the dealer guy, please come and see her".

"Ok ok, I'll come and see her, but she better be good".

"She is good Tom, I promise, you will love her, she's called Splodge".

"Splodge! for fucks sake, what kind of a name is that!"

* * *

So that afternoon we drove over to Vicky's to take a look at Splodge. I've known Vicky for a few years. She is good horsewoman. Not good in the conventional sense, but she gets horses going really well, and they seem to like her, which counts for a lot in my book. I like the way she rides - sort of a bit wild really. So her horses are used to most things that are going to come their way.

Splodge turned out to be a pretty strange looking horse. One of my friends later suggested I file the front of her head off to make her less ugly. She also had a bit of high wither and a sunken back, like she had maybe been sat on too young. Anyway, I got Sarah to ride her because she can tell pretty quickly if the horse is going to be any good for us or not. She liked her and that was enough for me. After a bit of messing about we eventually bought her and now five years later she is my main horse.

I recently bought a Black Rhino western saddle for her which works really well for both of us.
So what's the point of this story. Well, over the last few days me and Splodge lost our way a bit, and now we are working on getting back on track. I'll tell all in the next post if you are interested (suggested response here is, ooooooooooooh yes please).

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Vote NOW!

This blogging thing, I'm not sure what to do with it. I looked back over some of my stuff and it is really quite good, but recently I have to admit, it has been shite! I know some people blog on about having sore kidneys, piles or impotence (amazingly I have none of these complaints), but I kind of feel that my blog should somehow be more than just a record of me me me me!

Please vote for any one of the following ideas.

1) Pretend I am dying from cancer and blog about my remaining few months on earth.

2) Pretend I am a gay guy with two kids, trapped in an unhappy marriage.

3) Pretend I am an absolute stud going for the record presently held by Gene Simmons.

4) Pretend I am having a wild affair with the lady of the manor up the road.

5) Pretend I am on the run from the police since escaping jail for drug offences in the 70s

6) Use the blog to advance my career as a horse trainer.

7) Put up a post telling everyone to Fuck off

8) Fuck off myself

Whichever idea gets most votes, or if anyone comes up with a better idea, I will put it into action.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The most precious thing there is!

Go on, guess!
OK, I'll give you a clue - without it you will be dead.

I once read a book about Bhuddism. There was one thing in it I particularly liked.
This is just my take on it, not the literal translation.

There are four Graces.
First, having a human body.
Second, wanting to know why you have one.
Third, finding out why you have one.
Fourth, doing it.

And NO, it's not sex!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The best sex I ever had, (and it was with a nun)!

So you don't read my blog when I discuss environmental issues or world peace. But this you are interested in!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Football!

In a desperate attempt to up the ratings I am going to resort to football. Sex, drugs and rock and roll just don't seem to make it anymore.
I want to start by saying I haven't supported the English team for years. We have had (and Vicus, I know you have a philosophical dilemma with the word 'we', in relation to sports teams, so I guess you are out of this discussion) a series of mediocre managers without the balls to drop rubbish, high profile players. We have played in a style that is unbelievably dull, unambitious, and shows no sign of actually wanting to win a game by trying to score goals. And I'm sorry, English though I am, I can't support that crap.
So I always end up supporting the most adventurous attacking teams. Holland is always one of them, and Portugal, Spain and this year, even Russia. So in this competition I am down to supporting Spain. I know they weren't that special against Italy, but it's difficult to play against that kind of negative approach. That's why England's games are always so crap - shit football breeds shit football, and it's not pretty or clever.
By the way, when we get a manager who decides it's time to play good attractive attacking football, of course I will support our national team.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Busy Busy Busy!

Jeez I'm tired.
I am self-employed and not much good at business. I know, it's a disasterous combination, but I just am totally unable to work for someone else doing some totally irrelevant stuff.
So what I do is, when the work is there, I work. And for some reason, the last few of months the work has been there. And it looks like being that way for a month or two yet.
I have always had this thing that if I am any good the work will come. I never want to hype what I do. I never want people to think I am something I am not. I kind of know me and Sarah are good at what we do, but you never really know do you!
The other thing is the work we do - I have this belief that it depends on a professional attitude. By that I mean the quality of the work has to be the priority, so I kind of never want the purpose of the work to be to make money - the work has to be done because it is the correct thing to do. That must not be compromised.
So anyway, serious shit yeah! And being tired is because we are busy, so something must be right I guess.
Gotta go sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzz 10 hours needed minimum, and only seven left tonight aaaaaagh!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

My Ideal Day by Tom Slobhard

10 hours sleeping
3 minutes sex
2 hours cooking and eating
3 hours on my computer
2 hours watching a good film on telly
1 hours watching good quality comedy on telly
1 hours coffee break in the morning chatting with friends
1 hours gardening
2 hours horsework
1 hours sort of meditating
1 hours doing odd jobs/pottering

See I knew it, there is just not enough time in the day!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Shithouses I have used - Nos. 43, 44 and 45

No 43 - Glastonbury 1971 - a six foot deep trench roughly dug out with a JCB, with scaffold boards to squat/sit on. This was fairly bad - lots of really choking smells, and sights to behold beyond your wildest imagination. And needless to say, the odd hippy having to climb out after having lost balance during the evacuation process. Not somewhere to visit at the height of your trip.

No 44 - Mehrauli, Delhi 1971 - These ancient loos in a buddhist monastry were truly magnificent. Eight feet high hollow concrete cubes with a eight inch square hole in the centre of the top. They were situated in a beautiful walled compound and while squatting over the hole, in the glorious dawn sunlight, you were just high enough to see the magnificent old temples that are just everywhere in that area.
Monks had been shitting in these holes for centuries and mysteriously, they never seemed to fill up. There was no smell, and the best thing was, after you finished crapping, a mongoose came along and went down the hole to see if there was anything of value left behind (in my case, at the time I had bad ameobic dysentry , so I guess he left pretty dissappointed.

No 45 - Vagator Beach, Goa 1972 - These were my favourite loos of all time. Way ahead of the game, this was permaculture in action Big Time. The loos were small dark cells, providing a nice cool refuge from the baking hot Goan sun. You just hung your arse over this ledge and shat. As your turds hit the deck outside, you could hear the satisfied grunts of the Goan pigs enjoying the latest offerings, yum yum.
And yes, the locals did eat pork.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Old Hippy Speaks

I had this idea that maybe it's about time I said what I think. Maybe I have been playing Mr Reasonable for a bit too long. So have I got the balls, that's the question, and will it do any good, and does it matter anyway? These, and other deep philosophical questions will be explored in depth in due course.

Forty years ago we knew this crazy consumerist society was a load of shit, going nowhere. We worked out that happiness was not linked to materialism. And we worked out that plundering the planet for short term greed would be a disaster sooner rather than later. So now here we are again, and no fucker listened, and guess what, they're still not listening. You educated twats, you power hungry idiots, you thick suckers, you cannot keep taking from a finite supply - it will run out!

Today I listened to this total arsehole trying to explain that the only way to feed the ever expanding population of human beings was to mechanise and industrialise global agriculture. Jeez, There is so much land being under-utilised and so many people doing pointless jobs - why doesn't anyone put two and two together and start encouraging people to use the land correctly to grow good food as it is meant to be grown. Have you any idea how much food you can grow on a small patch of land if you do it properly - I can tell you, it's a lot! And I'll tell you why no-one is encouraging it, it's simple - there is no way they can make obscene profits from local living, but guess what, they can from huge great enterprises, where they can steal cheap labour and keep land ownership in the hands of the few.

'Oh, I don't want to grow food, I don't want to get my hands dirty, I want to earn obscene amounts of money doing stuff that absolutely doesn't need doing - and I want to buy fast cars and fancy watches, and suits made by poncy designers'.

Oh Please Guys! it's getting near time when you have to grow up and get real!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Signing Out

No, don't panic! I'm not abandoning my blog, not just yet anyway.
Last night I watched the gorgeous Pamela Stevenson interview Gene Simmons. I actually like most of what I've seen of this guy, but I would say he is a bit of a challenge, and I think she did pretty well under the onslaught of his 'alpha male' behaviour.
So over 35 years or so this guy says he has shagged 4800 women - that's near enough three a week. Naturally enough, the gorgeous one wanted to find out how this has affected and formed his views about women. It was quite shocking really, or at least I found it so. He pretty much just sees woman as targets - in a way I guess maybe all of us men do too, but the difference is he goes for it. Pamela was great though - every advance he made she just dead panned him, and stood her ground.
Anyway, what has this got to do with 'signing out'? Nothing really, except it made me look at the way I have lived my life, and where I have got to now, and what I am doing, and what is up ahead, and so on and so on. So no different to a normal day for me really.
Could I just do my garden, ride my horse, and live quietly with my wife? If I do this would I lose my 'male pride' between now and when I die, and who gives a f*** if I do?
Do I need a project? Do I need to make some impact on this world? Do I need to prove I stand out from the bunch?
Not really do I - so can I sign out!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Defining moments in life - No.14

The first time I had sex I couldn't believe something that good didn't actually cost me anything.
That's not totally true, it did cost me something - I had to go into our local barber's, and in front of a line of old men waiting to get their 'short back and sides', I had to ask for a packet of Durex (in the UK they weren't called condoms back then). In those days you couldn't just go and quietly hide them under the cornflakes packet in your supermarket shopping basket. I slinked in there and the guy said, 'So what do you want then?' I died a thousand deaths as I could feel all these old men thinking, 'Oi, you're too young to need those, and you're not married either, you dirty hippy!
After a while I sussed out that one of the local garages had a vending machine in their loo that sold condoms, albeit at twice the price, but I didn't care. Anything to be spared running the gauntlet of the local barber's, phew!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008



Sunday, April 06, 2008

Of Horses

Annie – OK, let’s get started. The first question I’d like to ask is this: I’m really not clear what natural horsemanship is?

Tom – No, nor am I. Maybe you need to ask someone who practises it.

Annie – I thought that’s what you did? You do something different to other people don’t you?

Tom – Well, not really. If you look back through old horse books, you can see that there is not much going on now that didn’t go on then. It seems to me that a lot of people who strive to improve their horsemanship end up with very similar realisations.

Annie – What realisations?

Tom – Well, central to everything is the need for a relaxed horse. That is the first and foremost job that needs to be done. Trying to teach or work with an unrelaxed horse is neither effective or enjoyable.

Annie – So how do you recommend we get the horse to relax?

Tom – My first priority is to provide the horse with the mental security that he needs. Get the horse’s attention, then provide clear boundaries of personal space and be in control of the movement. If you think about it, this is often 180 degrees opposite to what a lot of owners give their horses. Once you have that established, then you need to practise being consistent and clear in your instructions. Horses do not relax with grey areas and mixed messages.

Annie – Is this something you can do pretty quickly?

Tom – It varies from horse to horse. Some horses will immediately accept the situation and be only too happy to trust me. Others may have more difficulty: maybe because of some history or perhaps occasionally their temperament, they just may not be able to make that decision to trust so easily. In those situations, I continue to present to the horse a simple offer of security and consistency, and the job takes however long it takes.

Annie – So does your theory work with every horse? How long would you carry on before you gave up on a horse, for example?

Tom – It’s not really ‘my theory’ – but anyway, most horses will come round sooner or later. Some horses have very good reasons not to believe that a human has their best interests at heart – I have met a few where I have thought, ‘No, it’s too dangerous and not worth it’, but there’s usually someone who will give them a go.

Annie – I’ve heard you say that you no longer work with problem horses. Surely anyone can work with horses that don’t have problems?

Tom – What I sometimes say is this: life is not forever, so do the work you enjoy doing. I’ve met too many people struggling on, out of some sense of duty and against all the odds, with totally inappropriate horses. Enjoy your horse, that’s all I’m saying. Right now, one of my horses has several fairly difficult issues, some may say problems, but I am enjoying working with her, so that’s fine.

Annie – Can you talk a bit about the way you work with horses? I’ve watched you work and listened to you comment as you go, and you do have some fairly strong ideas about how things should be.

Tom – I have a fairly strong paradigm, that’s true. I don’t like to see confused horses, so it is important their owners are not confused, that’s for sure. I have a clear job that I want my horse to do. Put simply, I want my horse to be able to take me safely where I want to go, how I want him to go and at the speed I want to go – that is my aim. I want my horse to do the work – why have a dog and bark yourself, that’s the way I see it. When I watch some riders, they seem to be doing all the work – my idea is to sit and relax and use the horse’s energy, not mine. Surprisingly, horses know how to do pretty much all the things we ask of them – they can walk, stop, trot, canter, etc, without us showing them how, they’ve been at it since they were foals. If you are working hard to get all this, then I’d be thinking maybe you have trained your horse to do some things the opposite way to what I would have done. You see some people pulling around on the horse’s mouth, or holding on tight to the reins, and driving the horse into the bit – I don’t get all that. I absolutely start from the point of view: if it’s a struggle, it’s most probably wrong.

Annie – So are you saying you should just let your horse go along all strung out? You know people aren’t going to go for that.

Tom – No, I’m not saying that at all, but what I am saying is that a horse should be able to balance itself. There are plenty of good horse people who can ride their horses nicely without micro-managing them. How can you train your horse to understand the bit if you’re forever hanging on to it? He will never learn – or perhaps what I should say is that what he will learn is to tolerate the illogical pressure which, for some reason he doesn’t understand, you are putting in his mouth.

Annie – I’m sorry, can you explain what you mean there about the bit?

Tom – Sure. I don’t want to train my horse to pull or lean on the bit. I want him to relax with the bit so that we can communicate through it. Maybe the difference is I want my horse to understand pressure and release. I don’t want to feel a ton of weight – or really any weight – in my hands. For one thing, if I have to use my muscles to hold up my horse – well, that’s me doing the work. Also, for those riders who want to collect up their horse or whatever you want to call it, if your horse is relaxed and soft with the bit then you can pick him up any time you like. These are my aims, this is what I am working towards. I want my horse to be so good that if a really accomplished rider comes along I can hand them the horse and they will think, ‘Yes, Tom, you have made a good start here. This horse is a pleasure, and from this point I will easily be able to take things on to a higher level’.

Annie – I understand what you are saying, Tom. My last question is this. Why do you like working with horses?

Tom – Because, Annie, when I feel my horse working with me, 100% concentrated and focused on the job, soft and relaxed within himself, happy in his work, that is a good feeling. The potential at that point feels almost infinite!

Tom's book ‘Be With Your Horse’, and details of his clinics are available at

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Prem Rawat - my teacher

Thirty five years ago I was living in the hills in a remote part of Wales. I had survived the glorious years of the late 60s, been to India, and returned to see the hippy dream of a society based on love, in tatters. I sought refuge in the quiet of the countryside.
I kind of knew by this time, that the secret to a successful life was inside myself - or to put that in a less 'spiritual' way, how I feel is all important - if I feel good, then life is fine. But as you probably know, feeling good is not always an easy option - it can come and go, and life can send some real tough times our way too.
I knew quite a lot about Indian philosophy by this time, and a lot of the theory rang true with my own experience. I pored over the scriptures, and practised yoga and meditation. I ate what I considered a very pure diet, and I adhered to a fairly tight moral code. I tried to accept what life sent my way, which wasn't always easy. I had some kind of understanding of the theory of the laws of karma, and I figured if I stopped acting in my own interest and allowed my life to take its course, liberation would be along shortly.
Now I look back at my noble efforts - I am not going to mock them ( please feel free if you would like to) but boy, am I glad that I don't live my life by those theories now.
Two years earlier Prem Rawat had come to the west. I had seen him speak at Glastonbury festival in 1971. I had also met some of his students in India, but at that time I wanted to pursue my own way. In April of 1973 I travelled down to London and received the techniques of what he calls 'Knowledge'.
That afternoon I left the house in Muswell Hill where the Knowledge session had taken place and I knew that I had just found out something pretty important. The guy that was with me said, 'Well, that was a waste of a day, wasn't it?', but I was flying.
Since then I have practised Knowledge pretty much every day, and I thoroughly enjoy it. I found it hard at first - I didn't really experience much when I first started, but as the years have gone by I began to experience more - I grew to look forward to the feeling and appreciate the simplicity of life that it gives me. Many of my friends who received knowledge all those years ago have since quit practising, but I've kept going. I love the way it puts me in the moment, and I love the way it helps keep things in perspective for me. The feeling I got on that first day, where I finally had the realisation that my mind and thoughts are not me - that experience has done me proud so far.
I don't tend to tell people about Prem Rawat and Knowledge. Once or twice I have, but it's all a bit close to home for me if you know what I mean. Some people get upset by it, and think it's a religion or a cult. I don't see it that way, there's no commitment like that - it's just a way of feeling good, that works for me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Land for Sale

My eldest son Paul lives with his family in the Pyrenees, or near them. They own some land there and are doing up a ruin of a house to live in. To help finance the project they are trying to sell some of the land and another ruin. I just received this email from Paul.

We've just had a very uncomfortable few days with a couple of guests who'd come to look at the ruin and the land. Sarah ended up nearly chucking them out and said she'd rather work seven days a week for years than have them as neighbours. The woman was a bloody awful sanctimonious New Ager, absolutely no respect at all. I prefer "ordinary" people; fuck, I prefer people with really big tellies and who wash their cars on Sunday mornings!

Anyway, we've got some other people interested including a pretty sound French guy who'd make a good neighbour I think. We've set the "hippy filter" to maximum strength now - anyone named after a tree, a rock, a pagan festival or a heavenly body is out for a fucking start! Someone e-mailed us this morning saying that they loved the advert, but would wait a couple of months & if it was still unsold that might be the time! Fuck off! Her name was Saphire apparently. I should have put "fruitcakes need not apply" at the bottom of the ad!

How the hell did something so good as the original hippy ideal turn into such a nightmare. We've got kids round here called fucking Leaf and Tree - for fuck's sake. What next eh!

Friday, March 07, 2008

The meat on your plate

Hello, I have just been born. I am a female lamb so if I grow well and make a good sheep it will be a few years before I am electrically stunned, hung on a hook and have my throat slit. My brothers have about eight months before that happens to them.

I live on an organic farm, so while I am alive my life will be about as good as it gets for a sheep. Sweet unfertilised grass, no medicines or vaccines, a pretty cool owner who does his best to keep my stress levels to a minimum. At least when I am killed my meat will be pure and sweet, as God intended it to be. Sure it will cost more for you to buy bits of me, but hey, it's worth it just to know that you are not supporting the multi-national chemical industry, and also to know that you are not polluting your body and the planet. Quite important - dontcha think!

Kind Regards

A N Other-Sheep

I can't believe these survived. We went out last night at 11.00 in terrible weather, and found this first timer ewe at the top of the field with her waters broken. We got all the sheep in and I caught her and put her in a pen. I felt to see if the lamb was in the correct postion - I could feel the feet, so we decided to come back in an hour. When I got back at 1.30 she had the tiniest pair of twins I've ever seen. They were alive and she was interested in them, but I couldn't face waiting to see if they drank, so I went back to bed. This morning there they were, very tiny but very alive.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Life - a step by step guide

Sorry Guys, this blog is temporarily doing my nut in. So I am going to carry on with my policy of writing for the sake of it, and seeing what manifests. The rules are that you must not delete, except of course for typos. So, it's a dangerous game to play. Of course you will never know if I have cheated, but believe me I won't. If these fingers take me into the darkest corners of my mind, then so be it, you poor sods are either gonna have to click to another page, or read on, compare my madness to yours, and relax in the knowledge that you are not alone.

Some times I go for really long times feeling really good. Enjoying what is actually a very easy life, at least easy in comparison to the lives most people have. I don't work at a meaningless job, I actually do pretty much what I enjoy doing, working outside with horses - it's fun. I am not poor, and I eat well. I live in a nice house in a nice place. My neighbours are cool. I have a nice family. So far in my life I have good health. Once when I was young I got into some desperately heavy shit in my head, but since then, by the grace of god, I have done ok, at least, I have survived. I know that the thoughts can go anywhere, and I know not to take too much notice. I know to enjoy the feeling of life, and appreciate and be greatful for it.

It's easy to to get complacent. I try not to.

And then every once in a while things get difficult, in my head. I know the drill now - ride it out. Don't do anything important, or at least don't make decisions based on how I feel at this time. And soon something will snap me out of it. I guess for some folks maybe not - but usually for me a few days and I'm back into the good stuff. I go out and dig a few ditches, tidy up a few places - meaningless shit that keeps me out of trouble.

Yesterday my horses were so sweet. We have three mares that we are working on right now, and every day things move along. We do this thing where we want every step of the way to be perfect. The reason for this is that firstly, you don't want to put work on top of anything that isn't good; and secondly, it just makes it harder anyway. If you build your horse from the base up, and get each piece of the job in place correctly, then the theory is that you can make a great horse. It suits me, because I am not technically so great, but I am quite good at one step at a time.

Anyway folks, hang in there, there will be a joke coming along soon.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Unspontaneous Combustion

When I click that 'new post' button, and I have absolutely no idea what I am going to write... Boy I don't like that feeling. Relying on spontaneous creativity - not something I'm known for in this life. But hey, I'll give it a go, and for once I won't allow this blog to deviate into the unsavoury areas of life where my mind so often leads me. I will attempt to steer it manfully towards a few of the wholesome subjects that I am familiar with. If the post is a disaster, well, never mind, at least it buries the psychotherapy one which really didn't get the response I was hoping for.

I know everyone prefers light hearted satirical banter, but sometimes it's just not in me. And if I only write when I feel like that I probably wouldn't have written a word since John shagged Edwina (thank you Vicus for reminding me of the golden era).

I don't want to write about those famous twats. The media kind of gives us the impression that they are all that is going on, and we are not happening. In reality, we are happening, and they are too, but not in the way they think. They are happening in the same way we are - living their lives, the same as us. I once met a famous person (well, actually I have met several). I love it when I do because I always pretend I don't know they are 'special', and they kind of have that look in their eye, 'Don't you know who I am?'.

That's the point you tosser, I know exactly who you are - you're just a bloke, the same as me!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Psychotherapy, or should I just stick my head up my arse?

I'm sorry but I've had it with all that bollocks, not that I know anything about it, or have ever been anywhere near it, which I am sure you will agree, makes me eminently qualified to write on the subject. Around us they have something called buddhist psychotherapy - someone should tell them that what the Buddha was on about was getting beyond your mind, not messing about in it.

I was chatting to a girl the other day and she was telling me most of what she was having to deal with was caused in the womb, at her birth, and during the first three years of her life. As usual with all these therapies, you have to get worse before you get better, which is quite handy really, especially if you happen to be the therapist charging how ever many bucks a session to encourage someone to talk a load of bollocks.

What I want to know is this, why, if you are feeling bad, would you want to go and start digging around in a pile of shit (your mind) and make yourself feel worse. And just in case you haven't realised, here's a little bit of information I'll give you for free - your mind has no end, it's a can of worms, undo one knot and there is another - that is not a great place to go to feel good. Far better I would say, find something that makes you feel good, and that takes your focus away from your mind, and frees you up from it.

So you know me, or maybe you don't, but I would never slag something off without giving some practical alternative, so here it is. One thing you could try is go and have a good shag. That sometimes helps. But if you can't do that, or if you truly want to be really free, then find the energy that keeps you alive - that will make you feel good, guaranteed!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Scary Moments with Lesbians - No14, an occasional series

Don't get me wrong, I actually like lesbians, I've got loads of pictures of them upstairs (ok, I borrowed that joke from my friend, it's funny isn't it!).
Now the thing is for most of my life I have lived out in the country. While I am looking at the flowers in the hedgerows, all sorts of important modern cultural developments completely pass me by. For example, I remember the exact moment when I realised that Mr Plod wasn't just a really nice chap who was there to keep me safe from baddies and tell me the way to some place when I'm lost. One day the plods came round to our place searching for drugs, ransacked the whole house and generally tried to drive us out of town - I know I was only a kid but I was truly shocked - I was and still am sooooooo naive about stuff like that.
Anyway, back to the lesbians. I was in love with a girl who was an art student in Bath and, desperate to see her, I was hitching a ride to the westcountry. This big old Transit van pulled up, the passenger door opened, a girl got out and I jumped in the back. The floor in the back of the van was covered with mattresses and there was a young kid in there, so I just started talking to her about her toys and it all seemed fine. Then I started to listen to the conversation that was going on up front - my oh my, I'd never heard anything like it before in my life. These two girls so hated men it wasn't true. I started to realise that the way that I viewed girls was just so completely BAD I was gonna be lucky to get out of this van alive.
And then they started to grill me, and I was so scared... I tried my best to let them know that first and foremost I viewed everyone as a human being, but they seemed to just know, and proceed to tell me, that the way I was looking at women was politically totally unacceptable. Oh my, oh my, I was in the shit, trapped in the back of van and being terrorised by two extremely militant man-hating lesbians.
Well, I am quite lucky in a way, in that I am quite good at smarming my way out of difficult situations, and after a while I managed to charm my way into their well buried hearts. They pulled over in this big layby and let me go. There was a little van there selling refreshments so I got myself a coffee, sat down under a tree, got my tobacco out and had a smoke. A few minutes later I was ready to face the world again. Phew, that was close!!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Art of Living - part 16

Well the thing is, I do give this a lot of thought, so fair do's I'm gonna write about it. Of course I realise, as my good friend Vicus has pointed out to me on more than one occasion, if you want to get plenty of comments, sex, tits and arses is definitely the way to go. Lists of things sometimes work well too!
But the path of compromise is not for me - I will not shy away from the important fact that we are alive, just to make a successful blog. So here are a few tips I have picked up along the way - try some of them out if you like and see how it goes, but don't blame me if you end up a miserable cynic, alone at your keyboard in a darkened room.

So here is my list.
1) Don't interfere in other peoples lives, and in return expect them not to interfere in yours.
2) Eat good healthy food, preferably organic.
3) Always say nice things to girls - they love it.
4) Try not to worry about money - it comes and goes, and it is not the source of happiness.
5) Live now, if you can.
6) Don't get caught up in all that bollocks about pensions.
7) Mute all adverts and despise famous people who advertise tacky supermarkets.
8) Try not to give a fuck what people think of you.
9) Make feeling good within yourself your priority.
10) Don't take advice from old hippies.

This list was compiled with virtually no thought whatsoever, and comes with no guarantees.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Art of Dying - Part 2

Many many years ago I read this book about an Indian saint. The one thing I remember is that this saint was so desperate to understand what his life was about, that he decided he would rule out everything it wasn't about, and see what was left after that. He used to wander around saying, 'Neti, neti' (not this, not this). So for example, he would come across something in the world that promised him some satisfaction and he would either do it, or think about it, and decide, no, that's not it, and then he would move onto the next thing.

I never really forgot about that book, or to be more accurate, my memory of it.

Several years later I was working as a builder on a big project turning a house into a hotel. As it turned out the guy who owned the place had a heart attack and died while we were working there. As he lay dying his last words were 'Don't forget to tell Brian about the vent axia'.

Now, that's what I'm talking about here - how everything in life is relative. Just how important was the vent axia? For me, I've never been able to make it that important, because I know in the end the vent axia is neither here nor there. And that is what I mean when I say maybe there is some value in practising the art of dying. Get ready cos it's coming - that moment when the truth dawns will arrive. Neti neti will stare us in the face.

* * *
This morning I was sitting down as I usually do, and observing the thought patterns going through my mind. I could see that I had a choice to pursue those thoughts, or abandon them. One topic after another came into my mind, and each time I did my best to leave it behind. Beyond those thoughts is nothing.

Nothing matters - nothing ever happens - nothing is forever - It feels good!

PS - no drugs were used before or during the writing of this post.
PPS - if you are living your life for the afterlife, this post won't make any sense whatsoever. Sorry!