Sunday, 3 January 2010

Trailer Trash

I accumulate nutters like Ari. Since opposites attract, this shows how balanced, sane and reasonable, I am. Ari had Polio as a kid and just wanted to be able to muck around with a pony. Having just broken her good leg, riding wasn't an option, and she had seen the saddlechariot on the net and liked the concept, (not such a nutter then) and asked me to build a vehicle she could drive on her own, in safety, and drive onto with an electric wheelchair.
Ari mentioned this on a forum and got the usual negative stuff and one bet of a £1000 that she couldn't find anyone to build the vehicle before the New Year. On December the 31st, she put a link to photos of herself driving Obama from the Quay in Exeter down to the Double Locks Pub.

Two subsequent comments on the forum caught my eye.
"It looks like someone took tin shears to a golf cart. Notice there's no close up pics or specs. I'd expect to see something like this in the yard of a scary trailer park, next to the station wagon with the roof cut off."
From trailertrash
Now that is pretty perceptive, I'm living in a trailer next to a chopped up transit that I'll take an angle grinder to some day soon and get it out of my way.  To look at a vehicle and work out where the builder lives is cool. But the next comment is sick.
Ari, as I have said suffers from Polio, or to be pedantic Post Polio syndrome. She is in an electric wheelchair, and she is the OP (original poster) referred to in the next comment.
"I think the OP correctly surmises that this post should be in the "rider's with disabilities" forum. Ari, if you kindly alert your own post and ask the mods to move it so none of us has to make an "alert"?
In photos, one hopes that turnout is suitable for public presentation."

Is it just me, or is this totally sick. This is a carriage driving forum and therefore a person with disabilities is inappropriate, and the comment should be removed so normal people don't have to read about disabilities. The snotty comment about "public presentation" is the icing on the cake.

I know that the vehicles I build cause a lot of problems to the traditonal horse world, and their attacks on me have always had a scatter gun approach, ie collateral damage is OK. I have seriously contemplated giving up because I don't want to see those near or dear to me getting hurt. But short of committing suicide and putting Obama down, I'm going to be me, and I am, like it or not, a contentious figure.
I have developed a vehicle that allows the disabled to drive on their own in safety, that a number of disabled people have tested and enjoyed. Should I let prejudice and bigotry destroy something I believe is good?
I hope and pray that by making this public, those who don't like what I do, will attack me, the trailer trash, not the disabled. I'll even tell you which trailer park to find me at, it's Middle Tree, Haldon Hill, just south of Exeter between the A38 and the A380, opposite the racecourse. And my trailer is the one next to the sawn up white transit. And I'm the guy trailing around behind a moustache.

Whips. The excuses for carrying a weapon.

Yes, I know, it's an extension of your arm. So is a sword, dagger, club, spear, sling, bow and arrow, handgonne, kalashnikov, ICBM. And do you know what defines a weapon? An extension of your arm. The phrase armed and dangerous might ring a bell somewhere.

A whip is an extension of your arm which is why it can be defined as and used as a weapon. Of course a feather duster is also an extension of your arm, it helps you reach those inaccessible places, but you don't see many riders carrying feather dusters. That is because they prefer to carry a weapon, rather than a genuine extension of your arm.

In these straightened times, commercial sponsorship may be the only hope for the army and we will see the 13th/18th Fairy Liquid Lancers parading with feather dusters, mops and dishcloths, and my analogy will be stuffed, but until those happy days arrive, ("Terribly sorry prime Minister but we can't just invade Iraq, think what it would do to our corporate image in the Middle East!" Maybe its not such a bad idea afetr all.) we will just have to live with the fact that armies are armed with weapons, and so are horsemen.

Carriage drivers call themselves whips, knights win their spurs, you curb their enthusiasm, kick them into action, rein them back, the language of brutality to horses infects the english language and the english psyche. And whips hurt. Having had the benefit of a really good education, I did at least learn that bamboo canes are bloody painful. Oddly enough the one boy for whom the experience was literally bloody, a couple of strokes and the blood soaked through his pyjamas, didn't mind being beaten because, 1 he only got a couple of strokes before the master lost his nerve, and 2, he had a high pain threshold.
I have just noticed another linguistic oddity, I refer to "strokes with a cane" yet I know that stroking is something different.

Back to whips. Until 18 hundred and something only one man made creation had exceeded the speed of sound, the whip lash. The power of a weapon is a simple multiple of its speed times it's weight. The tip of a lash may not weigh much but it is travelling twice as fast as the legal maximum velocity for a .177 airgun pellet. And it's just an extension of your arm.

Look at shepherds, they control their dogs they other side of the Fell with a whistle. That's because a 3/4 mile extension of the arm just wouldn't fit into the average shepherds cottage. And they seem to cope.

I am not, oddly enough campaigning to ban whips. Partly because bans don't work. You only have to look at foxhunting to see we have preserved all the most ostentatious snobbery and elitism, and got rid of the only true skills, those of the huntsman hunting hounds after a highly intelligent quarry. So I am not interested in banning whips, I just want them to be optional.

You can't take a horse related exam in England without a whip in your hand. The British Driving Society would like to make a whip compulsory for driving horses on the road, and the Pony Club test ten year old children to see they are comfortable holding a whip in either hand.
Ask yourself one question: what has the horse or pony done to deserve this unique status? Take a whip to any other animal in public and see what happens.

Take a whip to Obama and he will kick you and I will give him a carrot as a reward before reporting you to the police. Obama is terrified of whips. 11 hands, 6 years old when I got him and terrified of whips. Why?