Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Cart Horse That Made Good (2)

Part (1) refers to the strange legend that Drogheda, the winner of the 1898 Grand National, was found pulling a cab by his trainer, and also draws attention to a letter refuting that as fact.

While searching for info I found this interesting page about Manifesto, a contemporary of Drogheda who won the Grand National twice.

In 1898 Manifesto was injured and Drogheda won the National. In 1899 Drogheda was injured and Manifesto won his second National.
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

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The Cart Horse That Made Good (1)

I used to back horses, which led to a conversation with a colleague when we were walking to the Underground station one day. I mentioned that there were legends of a horse which had been found pulling a milk cart by a trainer, which then went on to win a big race. His response was “Drogheda!”

He told me a “family history” of one of his relatives, a racehorse trainer, who had found a horse pulling a cab and subsequently bought it. The horse was called Drogheda, and went on to win the Grand National.

I was impressed – over the years I’d heard this legend of “the cart horse that made good”, but never met anyone who could name the horse.

I had no reason to doubt his information, so I was about to use it for an interesting blog post – but I wanted to quote a few facts, like the year the horse won the Grand National (1898), so I started to fish around on the web.

Wikipedia was not a good starting point, but a search produced this rather startling letter written to the Drogheda Independent in 1951, refuting the fact that Drogheda was the “cab horse”.

From that first-hand evidence, we might guess that the story of Drogheda once being a carthorse passed into legend from an aside comment made by George Gradwell many years before – but was this just an ironic “bit of Blarney”, or perhaps he was actually referring to another horse that had been talked about in the conversation?

We will never know . . . in this life.

Modern Technology Is Not All About Progress (1)

Time was, in England and France, that many houses were thatched, and in France they were often made of straw. Mechanisation of harvesting meant that the straw was no longer in the straight lengths needed for thatching.
Houses made of straw became a lot easier to make with straw bales, but progress in baling technology has meant that farmers prefer to use BIG balers that produce large round bales.

Nowadays, thatchers are rare in England, and very few use straw, which they have to obtain from places where they still harvest traditionally. There are a few heritage farms in England, but the straw may sometimes have to be obtained from places like Lithuania!
Also, many thatchers work with reeds, which are becoming hard to get because of people with progressive attitudes declaring the places where the reeds grow to be nature reserves. More “progress”.

People wanting to build houses from straw are mostly re-baling the large round bales into smaller rectangular bales, using baling machines that have not been in production since the 1960s. There are a few farmers that still use their old balers to make rectangular bales the old way, and find they can sell the straw for a lot more money than when it is in big round bales.

Of course, the world is mostly a better place for the improvements in harvesting methods since the days when men and scythes were what you needed. Mechanical harvesting keeps prices down. But this is just one example of arts which are dying out because of modern methods.

She Caught The Train

SHE CAUGHT THE TRAIN

I went out last night, it was noon when I come home

I was looking for my baby, no doubt that she was gone

She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone,

She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone,

She caught the train and she’s gone,

My loving babe

Friend of mine told me that he saw her when she left

She had a bottle and a suitcase, and she was not by herself

She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone,

She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone,

She caught the train and she’s gone,

My loving babe

My baby packed her suitcase and she started to the train

That’s really enough trouble to drive a poor man insane

She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone,

She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone,

She caught the train and she’s gone,

My loving babe

You never can say what a woman will make you do

I’m going to find that woman if it’s the last thing that I do

She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone,

She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone,

She caught the train and she’s gone,

My loving babe

When I find that women I’m going to show her my forty-four

And when I get her back home, I’ll bet you she don’t leave no more

She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone,

She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone,

She caught the train and she’s gone,

My loving babe

I wrote this song about five years ago as a multipurpose blues lyric intended for use when making demo recordings. This weekend I’m going to sing a version in public for the first time …
Copyright Baxthorpe 2008.

The Great Padtoeski

I came across the Great Padtoeski by accident, but he’s worth a look. His unique talent was playing the piano with his toes, while simultaneously playing other instruments with his hands, and sometimes singing!

Thank you, Leeds Museums and Galleries blog for bringing him to my attention. One can waste hours in innocent amusement perusing your blog.

It’s not the Google Zebra, it’s TWO Penguins

Yesterday Matt Cutts posted a blog message to the world telling us about the next Penguin 2.0 update and something about Panda, provisionally, maybe, by video because that’s the way Google works today.

When he gives out this sort of info we always get an ambiguous message, but if you pay close attention you will find out what the penguins will peck next.

Whereas Matt’s message is vague and ambiguous, I have noticed in the past that a message of this nature usually indicates a Google review in the very near future, so I’m predicting one this week end. Possibly starting on Thursday because he posted on Monday.

Look out, there’s a monster coming …