Tuesday, December 30, 2008


"...we will ride, way up high, where the cold winds blow..."
-The Horses, Rickie Lee Jones

right people, you would think that after being away for so long, the words and stories would be swirling out like dervishes. but oh no. The Dreaded Block has happened. again. plain, white and square. if i could just crack the surface. . . . it's all under there....where to start, really.

so once more, i scratch my head. oh heaps of ideas raise their arms with clicking fingers saying mememememememememeeeeeeee. i consider them. one by one. one being the spotty horse move up the hill. another, the second to last night of the year with all its magnificence and sickness. . . . . the horse move wins. and then i think. well, it would be this:




and this:

and then?

nah. yawn yawn for the rest of the non horse loving Universe. my father being one, (Belgians don't count), and maybe you, she thinks alarmingly. my dear father who, time and time again like a stuck record, whenever he hears a decibel vaguely similar to "horse" or "pony" or "let's go riding!" or "equestrian", pipes up gleefully, "Bloody horses. I tell you, man. Dangerous at the back. Dangerous at the front and uncomfortable in the middle..." and then with his nut brown eyes dancing, he balances his empty whisky glass on his head, which is the universal sign to fill it up. you feel like you've won something if you notice first.

i remember, when i was a teenager, absolutely horse mad, him loading my horse before the crack of dawn, the last morning star hanging in there to take me to another show. there was always drama. my mother would stand there shouting, " for christsake ron. calm down. just go away and let us do it!" as my fiery mare would lash out from the front and kick like a zebra from behind. my father would stalk angrily away muttering "Bloody horses!" yet as i tore around another round of looming jumps, completely out of control and beyond terrified, jumping over the moon, he was the one cheering like mad. as i stumbled back onto the grand stand, somehow clutching a rosette (probably for breaking a world record for fastest round ever) he would say,

"heh heh koeks! don't slow down. give it stick! hell. bloody horses eh? dangerous at the blah blah blah blah" and he would be the proudest person on the entire grandstand. beaming. beaming.

which makes me think, maybe this is the reason which drives me to do silly silly things. like the time i swung off the highest mast of a 1910 schooner off the zanzibari coast. to impress the crew? the crew who looked about 12 and their upturned faces the size of peas, from my height. as i perched queerly in the heavens (in my effing bikini), they shouted up to me, " you can do it princess..." "queenie to you darlings," i smirked back at them, as i grabbed the rope and stepped off, grimly forgetting the wise words of the nubile swedish mermaid caterers, "Never do it in your bikini," they crooned...

too late. i plummeted boulder like and tore into the sea, which was hard as a table by the time i reached it, bikini top warply wrapped around my neck, the bikini bottoms covering only half and my hair the wrong way around. i looked up to see my colleague taking photographs. bastard.

but i bet if my dad had been standing up there, he would have been beaming. beaming.

indeed, i am entirely exhilarated by the new horses. entirely. i feel like the luckiest vaquera on the planet....i am the luckiest vaquera on the planet.

and tonight, when i close my eyes, in my soft warm bed, staring at windows jammed full of my lucky stars, listening to the owls and the spotty horses rustling in the yard, i will think of a girl, a woman, perhaps just like me, on the Gaza strip.

Kitchen Board: Tuesday Evening 30 December 2008
Contributors: well, me, gabby, niamh. oh wait. yes. and veronica
Comments: actually, the board should look a whole heap emptier. i have been a busy little fish, you see.
toodely old pip, you. bisous, nostalgic old year ones, last ones xxx j


fush and chips said...

We all had horses as kids, but after some hectic falls, our folks sold the lot, and bought us motorbikes. I like bikes. They're easier to catch than horses, and they listen to you.

Dumdad said...

Don't give me that "writer's block" routine, you rascal! You write like a dream and somehow you convey so much in your stories. Beaming, beaming, I love reading your take on the world which is so far removed from my quiet suburban life.

P.S. I beam, beam at anything and everything my daughter and son do.

Word veri: arkscenz

Arkscenz doesn't mean anything but just like the sound of it!

Janelle said...

bikes tattoo exhaust maker signs on my legs, fush! xx j

well DD i START off blocked..xxx j

Elizabeth said...

I'm glad you sang like desert djinns........
What a splendid holiday
and to come home to such a pretty horse.
Happy new year!
Makes me feel very dull in Manhattan hiding from the cold........

Lori ann said...

I really wish i could share your enthusiasm for horses, but i have to say i am alot more like your Dad, minus the glass on my head! he's cool.

Have fun riding princess/queenie! ;)

xxx Lori
p.s gabbys cute

Janelle said...

elizabeth! dull? DULL? oh nooooo. noooo. pas de tout...your life is sparkly for sure...i LOVE looking at your life. HAPPY NEW YEAR to you too! love x j

heh heh heh lori! yeah. well quite. horsey talk can be extraordinarily dull for those who don't have the passion for them...i know i know. yeah gabby is cute as a button right now...and my dad is charming. charming. xxx j

Val said...

OMG those horses ...swoon! i love horses but not particularly skilled in the riding dept!!!.. or handling.. or anything really just enjoy them. those spotty ones - they are DIFFERENT... haha... its not just the spots!
love Gabby's wings :-)
and can just picture your Dad in those scenes :-)
love love your blog always brightens my day xx thank you

Janelle said...

ah thanks val! they are funny horses aren't they...very different...and great characters...! lovely having them all about i have to say...heaps of love xxx j

Reya Mellicker said...

Your horses are beautiful, and so are your lucky stars and your gorgeous heart. Do you really think this post is the product of someone who is creatively blocked? it flows through you so effortlessly. Wow.

I'm very grateful I don't live in the Gaza strip. Very.

Mama Shujaa said...

The dignity with which you write...thanks for a lovely read this morning.

Janelle said...

reya. ah thanks honey...sometimes i sit in front of the screen and don't know where to start,...and feel blocked....but then i start and slowly slowly it unravels... love love x j

Mama Shujaa! ASANTE SANA DADA!! love and salaams xx janelle

Mud in the City said...

I am just as horse mad and always have been. Only can't have a horse now with my London life. LOVE your spotty horse! Very stylish - and obviously knows it too!

karen said...

Hi Janelle - I do absolutely love the images of your dad, and that bikini episode - & glad you're enjoying your horses! (seems once you got going with this post, the unblocking happened!) Wishing you a wonderfully Happy 2009 in the pink house on the hill! xx

Janelle said...

aren't they stylish? gorgeous and settled in beautifully. xxx j

thanks karen. and to you too. x j

Ernest de Cugnac said...

struth, you are ever so slightly mad, but in the nicest possible way.