Can you ride a horse through the park?

I am constantly amazed with my own statistics. Though I’m also amazed at how I miss milestones. For instance, I recently passed 2.5 million words on this blog. The total was 2,484,065 words on July 20 this year. Whatever, that’s a lot of writing, mostly my own. They are contained within 4,333 posts. Actually, 4334 if I include this one. For something that started as a way of recording our holidays, it has taken on a life of its own.

I think the most amazing thing is how I still write, every day. I am not known for persevering at things, particularly regular things, so the fact that I still write every day after more than a decade, is pretty much a shock. I often wonder what I find to write about.

Take today, for instance. Being a Wednesday, I went shopping.

After shopping I went to Starbucks where I chatted with Katy as she made my latte. She asked me if I’d walked in. I said that I don’t drive so I don’t really have a choice.

Katy suggested the bus but I turned my nose up at that suggestion, saying I don’t care for the idea of sitting, masked and isolated while being driven around by a masked driver, surrounded by people too scared to breath.

I then wondered whether it was allowed for people to ride a horse through the park. Katy thought this was probably okay, but she wasn’t sure how I’d go once I reached Castle Street and Long Garden Walk. I did suggest that there was a perfectly serviceable hitching rail outside Waitrose. Though the horses would probably have to share it with a dog or two.

Walking home, I wondered if it would be possible. Mind you, I’d need a stable in the back garden. And a horse. And quite a few horse riding lessons. I quickly dismissed the idea, thinking it made more sense to stick with Shank’s pony rather than a real one.

Back at home (possibly the most written phrase in this blog) I noticed that Nicktor had put some of his photographs of the Alresford game on his Flickr account. Unusually, for Nicktor, there were only a few. This possibly says more about the game than some change of habit from Nicktor.

I don’t generally like photographs of myself but Nicktor took this one of me last night which I think is great.

Mirinda reckons it looks a bit like a still from a Scandi crime drama. I reckon it’s delightfully moody and highlights my beard perfectly.

Speaking of Mirinda, she managed to finish work at a reasonable hour, and so we took the girls to Frensham which, given the heatwave we are currently experiencing (30° on my office outside thermometer) was full of kids paddling in the Pond. The delightful squeals and safely distanced swans were delightful.

It’s great that there are still some people unconcerned with The Great Fear, allowing their children to behave like normal kids.

I made Messina style lamb for dinner and, not for the first time, Mirinda raved about it as if she’d never had it before.

Today, this happened

Today, in 1831 and in the House of Commons in London, Colonel Evans, the gallant gentleman MP, presented a petition from a Mr and Mrs Deacle. He had been accused of not presenting the petition as soon as he received it but, he claimed, he presented it as soon as he was back in the House. Which was today.

The Deacles, a farming family from Owlesbury in Hampshire, were victims of the Swing Riots the previous year. A ‘modern’ threshing machine owned by Thomas Deacle had been taken out into a field, set upon and destroyed by the rioters. Obviously the family felt not a little bit concerned for their safety. Though they didn’t figure their safety would be compromised by the authorities.

During the riots, and because the army wasn’t doing anything to help, Thomas Deacle and a couple of local farmers, decided the best way forward was to talk to the rampaging mob and buy them off with a couple of shillings in increased wages. This would only work, said the rioters, if the farmers would go and demand the same from other farmers who were not so generous.

Following this, Thomas Deacle, and his wife Caroline, were arrested and, they claimed, manhandled by William Bingham Baring in the course of the arrest. They were arrested because the Hampshire Magistrates, incorrectly as it happens, accused them of aiding and abetting the rioters.

The charge against Caroline Deacle was that she had ridden a grey horse at the head of a bunch of rioters, leading them to destruction, inferno and pillage.

While the use of handcuffs was deemed unnecessary by the Court, Baring thought they were essential. It was also considered necessary to carry Caroline Deacle across the yard and plonk her unceremoniously into a “…cart without springs until a post-chaise could be procured…” Baring is also said to have hit Thomas with a stick. Presumably not at the same time.

Poor Caroline collapsed in court and was, subsequently, not charged with anything. I guess the image of a Boudica riding at the head of a rampaging army did not quite go with the poor farmer’s wife collapsing at the thought of a court case.

Thomas, on the other hand, was charged for having a hand in the riots. He stood in the dock to be judged. Except the court couldn’t find any witnesses and ended up throwing the case out of court. So, a big waste of everyone’s time.

According to Hansard, MP Fyshe Palmer said that, Thomas and Caroline Deacle were victims of circumstance. The Swing Riots had surprised the Magistrates of various counties and their actions were all a bit haphazard and based on reflex rather than facts. Mr Palmer said that the Deacles demands for some sort of restitution for what they had been put through, were only right and correct.

Eventually the matter was returned to the Courts who decided that the Deacles should be paid £50 in compensation for what they were forced to go through at the hands of Justice.

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