Virtual St Mary's Institute for Historical Research

Where St. Mary's Staff and Historians live virtually.

Virtual St Mary's Institute for Historical Research

Where St. Mary's Staff and Historians live virtually.

The St Mary’s Concert

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat.

I haven’t had any adventures recently as Turk and I have been grounded since we went to visit the Tennis Club. The Secretary of the Club complained to Dr Bairstow that we had ruined their Summer Tournament and he advised my PA to make sure I “kept a low profile” whatever that means. My PA agreed as she said we had turned up “ rolling drunk” Well really! I dispute that. We only tasted the Pimms and it was so nice that naturally we were happy. Nothing wrong with that at all and as for a low profile! Well, no celebrity has one of those.

I was kept confined to my stable for a week which was very boring but at last my PA relented as she said she was far to busy to keep checking up on me. It seemed that something called a Bank Holiday was coming up and we were going to have a Concert on the South Lawn near the lake. Maintenance, Technical and Security were busy building a stage and putting in lights and the Kitchen were cooking a feast. Everyone else was busy finding enough tables and chairs and putting up decorations and the musicians were busy practicing. Dr Bairstow had invited a lot of important people in an effort to prove that St Mary’s is a most respectable academic establishment. Ha, ha, ha ,ha ,ha! I don’t think so!

Some extra musicians were coming from Rushford and everyone seemed thrilled that a professional conductor called Markus Von Braun was going to rehearse the orchestra and conduct on the evening. Everyone said he was very good looking and they couldn’t wait to see him. Not everyone was thrilled about the concert being held outside and there was a lot of muttering about “might rain” “catch our deaths” and “bitten to death by midges” but luckily it turned out to be a beautiful hot day.

The famous conductor was due to arrive early for the rehearsal and at 8 am everyone who wanted to se him was waiting by the front door. My PA had more or less thrown my breakfast at me and rushed off so I decided breakfast could wait and followed her. I hid behind a big bush and waited. Soon there was the sound of a car being driven at speed up the drive and black car with blacked out windows appeared. I thought it was going to keep going right into the hall but at the last minute it swerved dramatically, throwing up a spray of gravel, and came to a halt. The car door opened and out stepped the conductor. He had very fair hair, which he kept sweeping back with his hand, and he was wearing a black leather jacket and black trousers. He waved to everyone and then disappeared through the door.

He didn’t seem all that special to me but my PA and the SAPs seemed thrilled. Soon the sound of music floated out of the windows and the rehearsal began. It didn’t seem to be going well as the music kept stopping and a voice could be heard shouting “No, no! Follow my beat. Again and try to be in tune this time!” Gradually everyone began to drift away as the shouting got louder and the music got worse. I trotted back to my stable and ate my breakfast and then went to find Turk to see if he wanted to go to look at the stage. To our surprise there were people there putting up a kind of shelter to one side of the stage.

“Well, I just hope this is good enough for his lordship. Can’t mix with anyone at the interval. Needs his own private rest area and special food”

“I hear he’s been a nightmare at the rehearsal. Insulted everyone and made three people cry. Says he’s never worked with such dreadful amateurs in his life”

Once the shelter was done they wandered off and Turk and I went back to the stables for a snack and a rest before the concert which we intended to attend and maybe grab some food if we were lucky. It was not a peaceful afternoon. Lots of people came to complain about the conductor and everyone was busy borrowing curling tongs, make up, and everything they needed to look their best for the evening. My PA told me firmly that it was not suitable for me and that I would be bored. Naturally I took no notice of her. It sounded to me as though it might be more interesting than she expected.

Promptly at seven o’clock everyone was sitting waiting and Turk and I were standing hidden in the trees. We could see tables loaded with lovely food and lots of bottles lined up with rows of glasses. There was quite a long wait and then the conductor strode onto the stage and bowed extravagantly. He had put on a white shirt and jacket with a pink carnation. Everyone clapped politely but Turk snorted loudly because he had heard how people had been upset at the rehearsal. It seemed that the concert would begin with a piece the conductor had written for the occasion called “Evening by the Lake”. The orchestra did not look very excited and a few of them looked quite scared. The audience settled themselves and I could see people on the back rows getting out packs of cards, books and even putting in earbuds as they got ready for a long evening. The music began and it was.........interesting. The orchestra seemed to be working very hard but I couldn’t tell if they were playing in tune or not.

My PA had been right about it being boring. Turk and I looked at each other and began to creep towards the special shelter to see what was in there. Vortigern suddenly appeared beside us and the three of us made our way inside. There was a small table with a plate of sandwiches and a bottle of something with a gold shiny top and an amazing strawberry meringue cake. It looked lovely. We looked at each other and I could tell we were all thinking the same thing. One person couldn’t possibly eat all that and it would be a shame to waste it.

Some of the sandwiches were smoked salmon which Vortigern was very happy to eat and Turk and I shared the cucumber ones. We decided to share the strawberry meringue with Vortigern just eating the cream of which there was lots. The trouble with things like that is they do seem to get everywhere. Vortigern’s face and whiskers had turned cream coloured, Turk had meringue crumbs all over his nose and my face felt very sticky. I was just about to suggest that we went to lake to wash it off when I realised that the music had stopped and footsteps were approaching.

Vortigern vanished into a corner but there was nowhere that Turk or I could hide. It was the conductor looking furious. When he saw us he let out a loud yell and at once I could hear other people coming. The first person to arrive was my PA followed by the SAPS and some of the stable’s staff. The conductors face was bright red and he strode angrily towards my PA. She backed nervously away as he began to shout. “This place is a madhouse. No one appreciates good music and the place is overrun with wild animals”

My PA began to apologise but he wouldn't listen and shouted even louder. I could see my PA getting more and more upset. I moved to stand next to her taking care to wipe my sticky face against his jacket as I did.

“Is this wretched beast yours? I’ll make sure you lose your job and I’ll have that creature shot for this” My PA’ s face crumpled and tears began to pour down her cheeks. That did it! How dare he upset my PA. I lowered my head ready to charge. The conductor looked nervously around. On one side was a crowd of angry looking people and on the other Turk was swishing his tail and showing his teeth. The only way he could go was towards the lake.

I must say he was pretty fast but not as fast as me. I stayed on his heels until he was at the very edge of the water and then I got him right behind the knees. He did a most impressive somersault and disappeared below the surface. When he came up spluttering he began to swim towards the bank but his troubles were not yet over. A group of swans had appeared and they quickly surrounded him.

The more he splashed the closer they got until I saw one reach out and grab something. The conductor gave a shout of rage and tried to grab it but the swans were moving off with their trophy. Suddenly I realised what they had taken. The famous floppy fair hair was a wig and the conductor was almost bald. As he climbed out of the water I heard shouts of laughter and he began to run towards the house. Soon we heard loud revving noises and the black car disappeared at speed down the drive.

At that moment Dr Bairstow appeared from the crowd and began to speak. “It would be a pity to allow this to ruin the evening. Do return to the excellent buffet and then our concert will resume with a new conductor. I believe the Technical Department have a surprise for us too” After that we had a great time. I was given lots of treats and even a couple of sips of something called Prosecco which made me sneeze. The concert resumed with something called the 1812 Overture which was really exciting. The surprise turned out to be fireworks to accompany the music and they let me bang one of the drums so my PA was wrong. It was anything but a boring evening!

by Jo Robinson SAP

PLINY NEWS

As it's my birthday tomorrow and I was apparently doing everyones head in.my pa said she was using her national trust membership to get me out of their hair,( I think they want to organize my surprise party )and took me somewhere called Shugborough Hall.She must have been really happy because she let me in her car.

When I got there I was happy to see a farm. I love to see my fellow friends but there wasnt a goat in sight. So in a huff I wandered off leaving my daft pa to look for me, so i made myself known as l am a celebrity and should be seen .I saw some swans obviously admiring me so I went and spoke to them poor swans who imformed me that they dont climb trees and arnt allowed In the building. Well I never. I told them to ask for asylum at st Mary's as our swans have more fun torturing the humans. Well it's their own fault for turning them blue.

Then I saw the entrance to the house and decided to see what it was like inside. I climbed the stairs and went in and went towards a very interesting display of plants. They looked so tasty I thought they must have known I was coming and left me a snack. I had just taken one bite when I heard a woman who obviously recognised me and as she was shaking and yelling at her friends and they started running towards me. I was shocked she had never heard of me and it wasn't my snack.Well now I know what the swans meant about temperamental humans . She led me out screaming who does this goat belong to? Me! Just a goat! Doesn’t she know I have my own merchandise, so I went outside to a delicious looking garden.

Ah this must be for me and again some human started yelling . These people are really inhospitable to celebrity.I met some geese who told me they were always like that. By now I was missing my pa (don't tell her) she af least appiciates my brilliance so she must be worried. I found her eating a ice cream without ME. well that was the last straw so I head butted her an knicked her ice cream and felt better.

After she had dusted herself off she was about to yell when she looked up and saw angry people running towards us, “what have you done now? Oh hell run pliny” she cried and off we went down the road. She only stopped running when she went wierd and into a trance outside something called a second hand bookshop. I tried to pull her back but she was in a trance muttering books books so I let her go and followed her on to see what the fuss was about.

It looked like the library but for sale. I looked over to see my pa buying a book by jodi taylor about the main building. I did tell her she already had it and on that electronic reading thing but she brought it anyway muttering we never leave anyone behind. She then did something wierd and said she was giving it to a friend to educate her. Why would you buy something to give away. I was bored by now so looked for a book on myself. Apparently there isn't one how rude. I was desperate to get home now to start to compose one. So off we went. after a huge bucket of tea and my favourite vegetable mix I settle down to decide what I want my pa to put in to my life story because I dare not leave it to her she wouldn't know how to accurately show my brilliance so until next time.

PLINY 

by Rachel Dawson PA

Our Visit to the Garden Centre.

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

I have noticed quite a lot of new faces at St Mary‘s recently so I thought I would introduce myself. My name is Pliny and I am the Official Regimental Goat. I represent Saint Mary‘s at important events like Royal Weddings where I am allowed to wear my very best coat. I go to lots of other events too and often have adventures. Everyone around Rushford knows me and they usually wave and say hello although I have heard a few of them say” Its that ........ goat again. I think they’re the ones who are jealous of my fame!

I have my very own PA to look after me as befits a celebrity and she is helped by the SAPS (Small Animals People). My best friends are Turk, Angus and Vortigern and we often get together for a chat. Turk has taught me all kinds of useful things including how to unbolt my stable door. My PA has recently come back from sick leave and I was very pleased to see her. No one else can make a decent bucket of tea! I was so happy that I followed her everywhere although she said she could manage without my help. I knew she was pleased really so I took no notice and I went with her as she completed her chores.

Every morning she sweeps out my stable and uses a wheelbarrow to take the rubbish to the manure heap. Today I went with her and when we got there she went to have a chat with the stable staff and left me with the wheelbarrow. It was quite boring just waiting so I decided to see what it was like to sit in the wheelbarrow. It was actually quite comfortable so I lay down and dozed for awhile. When my PA got back she wanted me to get out but I was too comfortable and so I refused. She shrugged and began to push the barrow with me in it. It was fun although she looked a bit red in the face and the wheel began to squeak and wobble. As we went down the hill to my stable we began to go faster and suddenly the wheel broke, the barrow tipped over and I fell out.

Luckily I wasn’t hurt but the barrow was wrecked. “That was your fault, Pliny, you great lump. Now look at the barrow and I’ve got blisters from trying to stop it running away with you. We’ll have to ask for some money to buy a new one” Well really! I am not a great lump. I am just the right size for a handsome goat. My PA was really cross and stamped off towards the offices without even pausing to give me a treat to soothe my shattered nerves.

I went back to my stable to see if there were any snacks in my bucket and was lucky enough to find a couple of bits of carrot. Presently I heard my PA come back and start chatting with the SAPS. “They’ve said I can go to the Garden Centre as it’s quite near and choose a new barrow. There’s a nice cafe there so we could have tea and cakes before we come back.” A trip out! Tea and cakes! I didn’t need to hear any more. As soon as I knew lunch was over I went and stood by the SAPS old car ready to go. Of course we had the usual argument about whether or not I could go with them. I don’t know why they bother! I always win and soon we were whizzing off down the drive with me sitting in my favourite seat behind the driver.

It wasn’t long before we were finding a shady spot to park and my PA I left the window slightly open for me. Hah! Just what I hoped she’d do. I waited until they had gone in and then I pushed my nose hard on the window nearest to me and it slid down quite easily. It didn’t take me long to wriggle out and I set off towards the door. I had never been to a garden centre before and I was very curious to know what it was like.

They had one of those magic doors that open for you to go in. I like doors like that so I went in and out a few times to make sure that it was working properly. I’ve seen a door like that before at the library and I asked my PA to have one fitted in my stable. I must remind her about it and ask why it hasn’t been done yet. It would be so convenient for me when I’m going on adventures.

The first part of the garden centre seemed to be a kind of shop with furniture and tools and pots and vases but I couldn’t see any wheelbarrows. What I could see, however, was a doorway and when I went through it there were plants everywhere. It was amazing. I wandered up and down the rows sampling things here and there until I found the herbs. I had quite a snack in that part and it was delicious. I have been hearing the children’s voices for a while and as I left the herb section I spotted an archway leading to a playground.

I love playgrounds! They have one for the dogs at St Mary‘s and I’m sometimes allowed to play in there. There were quite a few children in this one and when they saw me they came crowding around despite a few of the mothers calling “Don’t touch it”and “Mind you don’t get bitten” The cheek of it! Of course I wouldn’t bite anyone although I have noticed that small children are quite often worth licking as they often smell and taste of things like ice cream and chocolate.

Once everyone had decided I was safe the children and I had a great time and it was only after we’d been playing for quite a while that I remembered that my PA had mentioned tea and cakes. Herbs are tasty but cake is better. I decided I’d better find the café so I waved my hoof at the children and set off back through the plants. This time I found a different door into the shop and I could see in the distance some tables and chairs with people eating and drinking.

I set off towards them weaving my way through racks of jackets and hats and a whole shelf of wellies and that’s when I saw them. A whole stand of brightly coloured gloves! I remembered my PA complaining of having blisters and I thought at once that a pair of those would be just the thing for her. There was a nice purple pair which I felt sure she would like so I reached up to get them. It was a bit of a stretch but I’m quite tall when I stand on my hind legs and I managed to grab them in my teeth. The stand seemed to be a bit wobbly but I’d got them now and I began to trot towards the tables. Behind me there was a crash and a voice shouting “Come back here”

I could see my PA and the SAPS by now so I carried on trotting towards them. I thought if I hurried there might be some cake left for me. As I reached them I could see I was just in time. They were pouring themselves second cups of tea and there were two cakes left on the plate. I could hear someone running behind me and my PA glanced around startled by the noise. “ Pliny! What are you doing in here and what’s that in your mouth?” I dropped the gloves on her lap and then a voice said “Excuse me madam. Is this your goat? I’m afraid he’s stolen a pair of gardening gloves”.

My PA went very red and said of course she’d pay for them and asked if I’d done any damage. When the manager said I’d knocked over a whole stand of gloves the SAPS said they would go and pick everything up. My PA began to apologise but the manager said nothing was broken so everything was fine and she and my PA began to chat.There didn’t seem to be anything I could do so I helped myself to the cakes and very nice they were too!

When the SAPS came back the manager escorted us to the till and my PA paid for the gloves and the wheelbarrow they’d chosen. You’d think they would have let me choose. I’m the one who will be riding in it after all! My PA grumbled all the way back to St Marys and said I was an absolute pest and that from now on I wouldn’t be allowed to go out in the car. Hmm! Well we’ll have to see about that. I bet she doesn’t really mean it. After all I did get her a lovely pair of gloves.

by Jo Robinson  SAP

A Visit to the Tennis Club

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

The weather has been lovely and sunny all week and my PA and the SAPS have spent all week sitting outside and watching MY television. They have been watching tennis and getting very excited about someone they call Roger. I watched a little bit but it doesn’t seem to be as exciting as croquet. They use something called rackets and not those big wooden hammers. They play by hitting the ball to one another over a fence. Sometimes the ball does not go over and then someone runs on and picks it up. I bet I could do that.

It seems to go on for a long time and my food has been late almost every day. Yesterday I had to knock my PA off her chair to remind her that I was hungry. She didn’t give me my usual bucket of tea but some ginger beer instead. I quite liked it but it made me sneeze. She was busy drinking something called Pimms which looks very nice and has lots of fruit in it. She said it wasn’t suitable for me. I bet it tastes nice like that apple stuff they drink and won’t share with me. They can be very mean at times.

It was very hot today and they turned up wearing the skimpiest outfits. I hardly knew where to look. The stable staff turned up too also looking as though they were going to the beach. I just hope Dr Bairstow doesn’t see them! It was very boring and nobody took any notice of me until I stood in front of the television and then they all shouted the rudest things at me and told me to go away. Well really! It is my television they’re watching. I decided to go and find Turk and see if he wanted to do something more exciting. He was standing under a tree in a patch of shade swishing his tail. When I told him what had happened he said that it was the same every year and that we would get no sense out of them until the whole thing had finished.

He told me that there was a Tennis Club in Rushford and that he thought tennis might be more exciting in real life. I always like a trip to Rushford so we set off at once. It didn’t take us very long to get there as we went over the fields. Turk can jump over all the fences and hedges and I can usually wriggle through. When we got to the tennis club there didn’t seem to be anyone around but we could hear people talking on the other side of the hedge. Near the entrance was a wooden building and the doors were open. When we looked inside we saw a table with plates of sandwiches and cakes and some big jugs of liquid with lots of fruit in it. It looked just like the Pimms my PA had been drinking. Turk looked at me and I knew what he was thinking. Nobody would miss a sandwich or two if we had a little taste would they?

The sandwiches were cucumber and really delicious and we ate rather more than we had meant to but Turk said not to worry and pushed the empty plate onto the floor. We decided we’d better not eat any cake but I was determined to taste the Pimms. It was hard to get any of the fruit as my nose kept pushing it down and Turk couldn’t get his nose in at all so in the end we tipped a jug over. It tasted a bit strange but we soon got used to it and finished it all. Turk wanted to have the second jug as well but I could hear people clapping and I wanted to see what was happening so I persuaded him to leave it.

We left the shed and went towards the hedge and as we rounded the corner there it was. A tennis court with four people playing and others watching! There was even a man sitting up on one of those tower things I’d seen on television. They were hitting the ball to one another and as we watched it hit the fence in the middle. Amazingly no one ran on to pick it up but of course I knew what to do. I ran quickly and picked the ball up. To my surprise my legs felt quite wobbly so perhaps drinking so much Pimms hadn’t been a good idea.

Despite that I was still quicker than the people round the court and I set off to give the ball to one of the players. Instead of taking it off me she screamed and threw her racket at me. Really some people are so ungrateful! I set off to give it to someone else but when I looked round all was confusion with some people running and lots of shouting. The man on the special tower seemed to be moving across the court and when I looked I saw that Turk was itching his tail on it and that was making it move. I heard someone say that they were going to call the Police so I thought we’d better leave because Dr Bairstow doesn’t like it when they turn up at St Mary’s.

I started to run as quickly as I could and I could hear Turk thundering along behind me. We ran through the fields with Turk snorting and bucking as he ran and we were soon back at St Mary’s. No one had managed to keep up with us so it looked as though we were safe. We were both quite tired and Turk said his legs felt funny too so we lay down in his stable and fell fast asleep until my PA came to find me and woke us up. “You lazy pair. Fancy sleeping all afternoon.” She said. Turk and I smiled at one another. I won’t tell and I don’t think he will either!

by Jo Robinson SAP

A message from Pliny to all his fans.

I am feeling most disgruntled. One of the SAPS has just told me that she is going to a place called York to meet Madam Jodi Taylor and have a posh afternoon tea and she is not taking me!

Well really! I can do posh and I like afternoon tea but she says she is adamant about it. I think that means no chance. She says that they won’t be serving tea in buckets and that my idea of afternoon tea would be a whole plate of sandwiches followed by a whole plate of cakes which would be embarrassing for her. Then as if that wasn’t bad enough she announced that she had bought a replica of me and would be taking that to represent VSM. What an insult! As if it could represent my charm and natural charisma. It’s only a stuffed toy and a small one at that!

Not only is it a midget but it has horns! She knows I very seldom wear my detachable horns. I find they make my head itch and anyway if I really want to knock someone over I find my head is quite hard enough to do the job. My only consolation is that she is going to buy the new book and she says she will read it to me when she gets back.

I am expecting there to be at least one goat in the new adventure as Madam Taylor met me at the opening of the Taylor Winfrey Hall and can’t fail to have been impressed by my masterful chewing through of the ceremonial ribbon. If any of you want to visit a lonely goat who has been cruelly abandoned I will be in my stable as usual. Goat treats will be very acceptable should you wish to bring a gift.

The Pet Show

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

As you all know there are lots of animals at St Mary‘s. Some are pets, some, like Turk help to train people (mainly how to fall off and then walk miles home) and some work in Security like Genghis and Attila. They are both muscular and athletic with very big teeth and for some reason they laugh at me and think I am a sissy. They don’t seem to realise how tough life is as a modern celebrity. I always have to be neat and clean with my hair brushed and my hooves polished ready to represent St Mary’s at any moment where they can just swagger around in their studded collars looking powerful and menacing.

One morning a leaflet was delivered to the Small Animal Department asking for entries to the Rushford Pet Show. The SAPS were very excited and started talking at once about which pet owners should be asked to take their pets along. As well as the specialist breed classes there were some fun events and Finn the wolfhound would be entered in the tallest dog competition while others would go into classes like dog with the waggiest tail. All the owners were keen to join In and the kitchen staff wanted to enter Vortigern. The only class they felt he could be entered was “cat with the longest tail” as he’s not a pedigree and he’s bright orange and rather plump. Vortigern said he was unique and not easily categorised. Turk laughed and said “You mean you’re just a moggy” Vortigern marched off in a huff.

I was disappointed to discover that there were no classes for goats but my PA said she would take me to watch if I agreed to wear my harness and lead and stay with her at all times. I soon discovered pets were not the only animals taking part. Angus told me that her friend Moomin and some of the other birds of prey would be on display and Ghengis and Attila called especially to tell me that they were doing a display on chasing and catching a suspect. They seemed very pleased about it and said they were doing special exercises to strengthen their jaws and teeth ready for the performance. I would have thought they had strong enough teeth already as they look quite sinister when they smile but apparently they have to grab the suspects arm and “bring him down” which they feel needs extra bite and grip.

On the day Small Animals was busy from early morning with owners bathing and grooming their pets ready for the show. Naturally I insisted on being groomed too. I can’t make a personal appearance without looking my best. The dogs were all very excited and the barking was deafening. The cats seemed rather less thrilled and a few were refusing to come out of their cages and get into the travelling boxes. At last everyone began to get into their cars and drive off. One of the last to leave with Vortigern who was crouching in the largest travelling cage and looking distinctly grumpy. He hissed when he saw me and said if I laughed at him he would never speak to me again.

When everyone had gone my PA locked up and we all got into the SAPS car. They don’t even bother suggesting that I go in the boot anymore so I made myself comfortable on the back seat. Just as we were ready to leave there was a loud toot and a smart Land Rover swept past with Genghis and Attila sitting in the back. Once the SAPS old car had been persuaded to start we followed some way behind. When we got to Rushford it took us a while to park and then we had to walk quite a long way back to the Village Hall so events were underway by the time we got there.

As it was a nice day Moomin and his friends were sitting on perches outside with lots of people crowding around taking pictures and admiring them. On the other side of the hall there was a little fairground organ playing jolly music and a sweet stall, a burger stand and the tea stall. Naturally my PA and the SAPS wanted cups of tea and they bought one for me too. The lady behind the counter very kindly put mine in a dish that so it would cool quickly and be easy to drink. Some people are very thoughtful and kind. I wish I could say the same for the man at the sweet stall. I was only looking and I didn’t mean to knock over the jar of mint imperials so there was no need to call me a rude name like that! I must say mint imperials are very tasty they’re almost as good as Mint Cake and I was sorry to have to leave some on the floor as my PA hurried me away.

We decided to go inside next and watch the dog show. One end of the hall had rows of cat cages and I could see that some had coloured rosettes fastened to them. As we walked past them I saw that quite a few of the St Mary’s cats had won rosettes and I wondered how Vortigern had got on. He does have a long tail so he must have stood a chance of winning. Right at the end of the row was a cage with a big rosette on it and inside was Vortigern. He was lying curled up with his tail wrapped around his body and his back turned firmly towards the front of the cage. There was a handwritten label attached to the wire which my PA read out for me. It said “Winner Grumpiest Cat in Show”. It was clear that he didn’t want company so we walked on to the other end of the hall and found seats ready to watch the dog show.

The St Mary’s dogs did very well. Finn easily won the tallest dog competition and Pugsley the pug won the dog with the curliest tail. When the classes were over an announcement was made to say that the security dog display would be held outside. We were keen to see it so we went out to watch. Attila and Genghis was sitting to attention at the start of a set of obstacles.

There was a fence to jump, a seesaw, a ramp to climb and a plank to cross and a tunnel to go through. It looked just like the agility course that I had tried at dog training except that at the end of the tunnel there was a big bundle of twigs made to look like a bush and beyond that a ladder was resting against a wall made of wooden blocks. I couldn’t think what that was for. When everyone had gathered to watch first Genghis and then Attila was sent off to start the course. They went so fast I could hardly believe it. They quickly approached the tunnel and as first Genghis and then Attila went in a man dressed in dark clothes and a woolly hat like a burglar suddenly rushed from behind the fake bush and began to run towards the ladder. First Ghengis and then Attila burst out of the tunnel and began to chase him. The man reached the top and jumped down and began to run again. I was amazed to see that both Ghengis and Attila could climb the ladder. They jumped down from the wall and soon caught up with the man Genghis grabbed his arm and Attila tripped him up and then they both stood guard over him until they were called off. As Ghengis and Attila did a lap of honour and the crowd clapped and cheered, I saw my friend Jenny talking to the burglar, who I now recognised as one of our new trainees. He was nodding and then he turned and went to hide in the pretend bush again.

Jenny hurried towards me and whispered “Come on Pliny. Lets show Security how to do it.” She bent down and quickly unclipped my lead and the next thing I knew she was leading me towards the start of the obstacle course. The crowd began to laugh and clap and we stood still for a moment and I bowed. There was a loud cheer and then we began to run. I’ve done these kind of obstacles before and found them easy. Jenny ran alongside me encouraging me and I ran faster than I’ve ever done before. As I came out of the tunnel I saw the trainee halfway up the ladder and climbing fast. I’ve climbed a ladder before and this one wasn’t as high as the one the builders had on the scaffolding so I was able to get the top of the wall quite easily.

The wall was quite wide so I paused for moment on top of it and looked around. I could see Genghis and Attila watching me and showing all their teeth so I waved my hoof at them before I jumped off the wall. Jenny was waiting for me and shouted “Come on Pliny. Let’s catch him.” Soon we were right on the trainee’s heels. I put my head down and charged. I hit him behind his knees and he crumpled in a heap on the ground. I quickly put my front hooves on his back so he couldn’t get up.

Jenny was jumping up and down waving her arms around and the crowd was cheering and taking photographs. Ghengis and Attila were looking furious. I heard a voice say “Oi! Get him off me. You didn’t say he’d butt me like that.” For a moment I had forgotten I was standing on the trainee. I hastily stepped off him and Jenny helped him up. The crowd gave him a special cheer as he limped away.

My PA appeared with my lead and clipped it on. “You two are a menace” she said but then she bent down and hugged me and whispered “Well done Pliny. I don’t think Security will be laughing at you again” We drove back to Saint Mary’s singing “We are the champions”and I was given a delicious tea with extra apples. My PA had bought me some mint imperials as a treat so we shared them while we waited for the other animals to return.

Vortigern was one of the last but he was not feeling talkative and stalked off back to the kitchen as soon as he was let out of the cage. When the local paper came later in the week I was on the front page with the headline “Galloping Goat Gets His Man” and a photograph of me pinning the trainee down with my hooves. I shall get my PA to add it to my scrapbook of press cuttings. Ghengis and Attila will be furious.

by Jo Robinson SAP

Look out! He’s behind you!

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

I haven’t had any adventures recently and it’s all been a bit boring. Christmas is over, the SAPS are all on diets so there are no biscuits around and my PA has gone off sick. I haven’t had a decent bucket of tea since as she is the only one who knows just how I like it. I hope she comes back soon. Surely she must be missing me?

The SAPS have all been snappy and bad tempered recently. I think it’s the lack of biscuits and cake that has caused it so I was pleased when I heard them planning an outing to Rushford. Maybe that will cheer them up. They were busy looking at the newspaper and talking about something called a pantomime. I didn’t know what they meant at first but as I listened I realised it was a kind of play with music and dancing. This year it was Cinderella and the magic coach was going to be pulled by someone called “Snowball the Amazing Performing Pony”. It sounded very interesting. I wondered how you get a job as a performing pony. I felt sure I could do something like that. I am an experienced performer who once took part in “Riverdance” you know.

The pantomime was finishing at the end of January so the SAPS decided they would get tickets for Saturday and began to plan what they would wear. Apparently there were two performances on Saturday and they decided to go to the evening one. I listened very carefully because I had decided to go and see the performing pony and I knew I would be able to creep away easily in the afternoon before anyone came along to lock me in for the night. The SAPS are tiresomely conscientious about doing that as they said my PA would never forgive them if I “got away” from them. Got away indeed! That makes it sound like I’m an ordinary animal instead of an independent celebrity goat!

I began to plan what I would do. I know how to get to Rushford and I know how to get into the theatre following my Riverdance experience so it should be easy enough. On Saturday I ate my lunch and then pretended to be asleep until I heard the SAPS leaving to go for their lunches then I quickly pulled back the bolt on my door and set off. I know lots of shortcuts through fields and a few gardens so I soon reached the theatre. It was easy to get in through the side door and soon I was standing at the side of the stage watching.

I know the story quite well as my PA has read it to me so I knew at once they were acting out the part where the Ugly Sisters were dressing for the ball. They were very funny as they argued about the clothes and got tangled up in them and emerged wearing things upside down or back to front. There was lots of shouting and cheering from the audience. I couldn’t see any sign of the performing pony so I decided to creep round the back of the scenery to see if I could find him.

I found myself in a corridor with lots of doors, some of them with labels and shiny stars on them. At the end was one with the door partly open and when I peeped in there was a very small pony wearing a pink plume on his head and a gold sparkly harness. In the corner I could see a carriage shaped like a pumpkin but covered in jewels and glitter. I pushed the door wider and went in. The pony stopped eating hay and glared at me.

“Go away. I don’t do autographs”

“I was looking for Snowball. Is that you?”

“Certainly not. That’s just my stage name”

“Stage name?”

“Yes they insist on it. They say the children like it. My name is Norman and that ought to be good enough for anyone but they say everyone expects a cute name and this year they’ve chosen Snowball. Do I look like a Snowball to you?”

“Don’t you like your job then?”

“Like it! Would you like having to wear this stupid plume and having your hair full of glitter all the time? Would you like having to trot on stage every night pulling a glittery cart? That Cinderella’s no light weight either!”

I opened my mouth to say that I thought it sounded exciting but then I had a good idea. “How would you like to escape and visit some other horses and ponies?”

“Well of course I’d like it but I can’t just leave. The show must go on and how would Cinderella go to the ball without me? It would alter the whole story”

“Leave it to me. I’ll take your place and you can have the afternoon off.”

It took a little while to persuade him but at last Norman agreed. I told him how to get to St Mary’s stables and told him to ask for Turk when he got there. Then I bit off that stupid plume and I showed him how to get out of the theatre. I waved him off and then raced back inside. It must be getting near the part where the Fairy Godmother’s magic produced the carriage for Cinderella and I needed to be ready. The fact that I had no harness was a bit of a problem but the carriage was quite light and I was able to pull it with my teeth. The trouble was I could only go backwards but you can’t have everything and I was sure it would be alright. Norman has said that someone usually came to get him but I was afraid the wouldn’t let me go on so I didn’t wait but dragged the cart up to the side of the stage.

Peering cautiously round the scenery I saw that Cinderella was already in her beautiful ball gown. I was just in time. The Fairy Godmother was just beginning to wave her wand around over a large orange pumpkin.

“Oh magic pumpkin hear my spell

Do your job and do it well

You must vanish without a trace

And a beautiful carriage will take your place.”

There was a flash and a bang and the pumpkin vanished. It was my cue to go on stage. I grabbed the carriage and began to pull. As I emerged into the lights a great roar of laughter rose from the audience and they began to chant “He’s behind you”

I must have come in on the wrong side as both Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother were looking the other way. When the crowd shouted they both turned to look. Cinderella looked horrified but the Fairy Godmother was made of sterner stuff and quickly chanted

“My magic spell has gone awry

It’s enough to make me sit down and cry

I ordered a carriage and a magic pony

But what we’ve got is a bit of a phoney “

I let go of the cart and bowed to the audience. The Fairy Godmother waved her wand again and pretended to chase me round the stage. It was good fun and the audience joined in shouting, cheering and laughing. At last I let her catch me and lead me to the carriage as Cinderella got in. 

“Well Sir Goat you’ll have to be the one

You must set off or the night will be gone

Gallop your fastest all the way to the castle

Get Cinders there without any hassle

She must meet the Prince dressed in all her glory

Then they’ll fall in love and complete our story”

As she spoke she managed to tie me to the cart so that I could go forwards properly and when she said “gallop your fastest” I set off as fast as I could. It was a pity that Cinderella wasn’t prepared for the sudden movement but how was I to know she wasn’t holding on and was going to fall backwards with her legs in the air? The audience loved it and shrieked with laughter. Cinderella did not see the joke and when we reached the wings she jumped out of the carriage and called me “a hideous clumsy beast” before rushing off to get her costume and wig adjusted as they were both rather rumpled.

I was just wondering how to untie myself when the stage manager appeared. “I might have known it was you. Pliny isn’t it? I remember you from Riverdance. Come with me and I’ll ring St Mary’s.”

We waited outside and soon the SAPS car appeared. They had managed to get Norman in the back and the manager was very relieved to see him. “Thanks. I’ve had a great time.” He called as he was led away. “You friend Turk has taught me all kinds of tricks” Hmmm. I bet he has!

by Jo Robinson SAP

The Christmas Fair

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

I was just waking up the other day when the post van arrived. It usually only goes to the office so I wondered what was being delivered and who it was for. I didn’t have to wait long to find out. My PA soon appeared with a very large card and it was addressed to me! When my PA read it out it was an invitation to be the guest of honour at the school Christmas fair. I wanted to go, of course, even though she looked very doubtful about the idea. “You do know you’ll have to be on your very best behaviour don’t you? Father Christmas will be there and you know only good goats get presents.”

I know all about Father Christmas. Last year he brought me lots of goat treats and my own football. It was a shame that it went in the lake when I head-butted it and that the swans, thinking they were under attack, burst it with their beaks but I did enjoy unwrapping the parcel. I could hardly wait for Saturday. Guest of honour! I would be able to wear my best coat and I would probably get my photograph in the newspaper again.

I was up early on Saturday morning ready for my special grooming and hoof polishing. I had to wait quite a long time as my PA said the Fair didn’t begin until 2 o’clock but at last I was dressed in my best coat. I was pleased to see that she had decorated my head collar with tinsel and holly. It was a bit prickly but it looked very Christmassy. All the children were waiting when we got to the school and there was a big cheer as I walked in.

The hall look beautiful with twinkly lights and decorations everywhere. There was a big Christmas tree and lots of little stalls with things to buy. I was taken up onto the stage to stand with the headteacher while he made a speech welcoming everyone and describing me as a special guest. Everyone clapped and I bowed and then the sale was declared open. My PA and I began to look round the stalls which were very interesting.

There were all sorts of things to buy and games to play. My PA won a bottle of tomato ketchup. She had hoped to win a bottle of wine but I’m sure the ketchup will be handy when we have a barbecue. There was a big tub of sawdust and you could pay to put your hand in to try to find a prize. My PA said I couldn’t have a go as I haven’t got any hands but I put my nose in and found a bag of sweets. It made me sneeze a lot but it was worth it as the sweets were very tasty.

A group of children came up to ask if I could go and play with them and my PA said I could as long as I remembered my promise to be good. We went off into the corner and had a fun time with some balloons. I do like balloons but they seem to be very fragile! When they had all popped the children said they were going to find their parents so they could go to see Father Christmas and I began to look around for my PA. There was no sign of her but I could hear cups clattering in the next room so I was sure she would be in there getting a cup of tea.

I decided to have a closer look at the Christmas tree on my way to find her. It looked lovely with lots of decorations and lights. When I got nearer I could see that some of the decorations looked like little walking sticks and there was a lovely smell of mint coming from them. I reached out to sniff one and it fell off onto the ground near my feet and broke into bits. I tasted it cautiously and it was mint! Nobody would want it now that it was on the floor so I decided that the best thing to do would be to eat it. Then I thought I had better check all round the tree to see if anymore had fallen off. It was quite a squeeze to get behind the tree but it was a good thing I checked as there were quite a few more little walking sticks on the floor. I was just stretching to reach one that was right in the corner when I realised that the tree didn’t look as straight as it had before and it seemed to be swaying. I didn’t want to be squashed by a prickly tree so I squeezed out and dodged into the empty classroom next door.

When I looked around I realised that there were screens and red curtains at one end of the room and I could hear voices and Christmassy music. I trotted towards the curtains and peeped round them and there was Father Christmas sitting on a big glittery chair with a sack of presents next to him! I watched as an elf came in bringing two children with her. I’ve always imagined elves are quite small but this one was rather large and it’s ears looked as though they were on elastic. Father Christmas talked to the children and gave them each a gift and the elf showed them the way out.

As she turned she spotted me and gave a scream. “For goodness sake, Brenda. It’s only a goat” said Father Christmas and he reached out to grab my head collar and pull me through the curtains. “Leave the horrid thing alone and maybe it will wander off” said the elf whose ears were now dangling near her chin.

Well really! Horrid thing indeed. At least I wasn’t wearing false ears. Actually now I looked closely Father Christmas looked as though his beard was held on with elastic as well. I reached out and grabbed the end of the beard and it came off in my teeth. Father Christmas staggered back and said something that didn’t sound at all like “Ho! Ho! Ho!”

At that moment the door opened and my PA appeared. She looked a bit startled when she saw me with a beard in my mouth but she took it off me and gave it back saying “I think it will be alright once the end dries out. I’m so sorry we have disturbed you. Come along Pliny, it’s time we went home.” We left as quickly as we could and it was only when we reached Saint Mary’s drive that my PA stopped and began to laugh.

“Oh Pliny! I suppose it was you who knocked the tree over too. Poor Father Christmas! Fancy having his beard stolen by a goat”

I wasn’t a bit sorry. I had unmasked an imposter! The real Father Christmas would never wear a false beard and I know he will be bringing me some surprises on Christmas Eve because I have been a very good goat.

by Jo Robinson SAP

My Visit to the Market

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

Everyone at St Mary’s seems to have enjoyed the Harvest Celebration and some people carried on celebrating long after the event had finished. I won’t name any names but my breakfast was significantly later than usual the following day so you can probably guess who I mean. I thought my part in the fund raising had gone well so you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that Finn and Deirdre, the wolfhounds, had raised the most money. They were very modest about it and didn’t boast but I hope that Ghengis and Attila don’t find out or I shall never hear the end of it.

Despite being “tired” as they described it or “hung over” as I would call it my PA and the SAPS were determined to go out for the afternoon to visit a nearby town which had a Farmer’s Market and craft event going on alongside its usual livestock sale. I heard them discussing which jewellery stall they wanted to visit to buy some new things to wear on their next night out. It sounded like fun so when they began to get ready I went and stood next to the car and waited for the door to be opened for me. “I don’t remember saying you could come.” said my PA. I looked pleadingly at her and of course she gave in. She can’t resist me when I look sad. She made me put on my harness and said I would have to stay close by at all times but she opened the car door for me and I sat on the back seat in my usual place. According to the SAPS nobody else wants to sit there as it smells of goat. I can’t think why anyone would object as I find it smells very homelike but humans are odd about things like that.

It was a beautiful Autumn day and we whizzed through drifts of dry leaves on the road. We began to see signs for the market and soon we were in a queue of traffic edging our way into a carpark. On the other side of the track was an area full of tractors and trailers and horseboxes and Land Rovers which my PA said belonged to people that were buying and selling animals. Once we had parked the car my PA clicked my lead onto my harness and I was off! “Slow down, Pliny” called my PA but I was anxious to see everything and pulled her along as fast as I could. Soon we reached the first of the stalls and there I had to stop as they had seen a display of earrings and nothing would move them on until they had had a good look at every pair. Would you believe it, they didn’t buy any after we had been there ages? If this was how it was going to be I could see it was going to be a long and boring afternoon. The next few stalls were all selling food and didn’t delay us for long although they did stop to buy some fudge which they very kindly shared with me. It was very tasty though not as good as mint cake. As we turned a corner however my heart sank. The next stall had silk scarves! I knew they would be there ages while they all put them on and argued about colours. Sure enough the stall holder produced a mirror and they began trying them on.

I was very bored even though quite a few people stopped to stroke me and a nice little boy gave me a chewy piece of toffee. Once I had managed to get all the sticky toffee off my lips and teeth I thought it was time we moved on so I began to pull on my lead. “Stop wriggling about, Pliny. I’m trying to decide whether to buy this scarf” said my PA. She was gazing in the mirror and was wearing a scarf patterned with sheep! Sheep! Well really! Sometimes I think she has no taste at all. She was so busy tweaking the ends of the scarf into different positions that she had dropped the end of the lead and was keeping her foot on it but not really paying much attention to me. I began to wriggle to see if I could get my harness off the lead. The harness seemedto be slacker than usual so perhaps my pulling had stretched the straps. I carefully lifted one leg and managed to get it out of the straps. After that it was easy to get my other leg out and walking backwards made the harness slip off over my head. I was free and my PA and the SAPS hadn’t noticed a thing.

I hurried away as fast as I could and quickly rounded the corner before anyone noticed I was gone. I decided to keep moving in case they were following me so I dodged in and out of all the people until I found myself at the edge of the stalls. Ahead of me was a road leading to a big concrete building. On the other side of the road were lots of pens most of which were full of animals. It looked interesting and I wondered if there were any goats. I trotted across the road and began to look around.

The first few pens were full of cows. There seemed to be lots of different colours and sizes and in the end pen were some very hairy orange ones. People at St Mary’s call them wee coos but I don’t know why. They seemed quite big to me. The next row of pens seem to be full of all kinds of sheep and the one after that pigs. I didn’t have time to look at anything else because two strong arms suddenly grabbed me and a voice called “Hey George! We’ve got a loose one here. Open a pen for me will you?”

Before I could struggle free I was carried to a pen and dumped inside and the door was firmly shut and bolted. “ Where did he come from then?” asked one of the men. “Don’t know. Didn’t think there were any goats today” said the other. “Oh well! He can go in after the sheep. Don’t think they’ll get much for him though. There won’t be any goat buyers here.”

I didn’t know what they were talking about. Go in after the sheep? Was it like the County show? If so I would do my best marching and try to win another rosette but what did they mean by buyers? The men wandered off and presently I saw them herding groups of cows into the building. I could hear someone who sounded like an announcer talking loudly and very quickly inside the building. Soon Land Rovers and trailers and trucks began to move out of the parking area towards the back of the building. Then they began to reappear and move slowly off towards the exit. I could hear mooing from inside them and I suddenly realised what was happening. The animals were being sold and taken off to their new homes.

Surely they weren’t going to sell me? What would my PA do without me? Who would they choose to replace me as a mascot for St Mary’s? A few people were wandering round the pens obviously choosing what to buy and among them I recognised the nice boy who had given me a toffee. Perhaps he could help me get away. I began to bleat loudly and I saw him say something to his dad. They began to walk towards me and I put my hooves up on the bars and gave them my best smile. The boy put his hand out to me and I began to lick it. It still smelt and tasted of toffee. “Isn’t he lovely, Dad. Can we buy him? You said I could have a pet.”

No, no, no! I didn’t want them to buy me! I only wanted them to let me out so that I could find my PA. “He’s not really a pet is he though?” said the man. “Still if that’s what you want I’ll go and have a word with someone about it. I suppose he can live in the paddock with the horses.” The man walked off and I saw him talking to the man who’d caught me and put me in the pen. There was a lot of discussion and hand waving and then I saw some money changing hands.

“Nobody seems to know who the owner is and he’s not been entered for sale so we can take him. I’ve left some money in case the owner turns up later” The little boy was thrilled and began to open the door of the pen. I was horrified! He seemed to be a very nice little boy but I belong at St Mary’s and I wanted to go home. Just as I was about to try to run away a voice shouted “Stop, please. That’s our goat” It was my PA and the SAPS running towards us very red-faced and panting.

“Are you really his owners? I’ve left some money to pay for him “ said the man. My PA began a long explanation of what had happened and all about my job at St Mary’s. I watched the little boy and as the story went on his lips began to tremble and a tear ran down his cheek. I gently licked his face. At that he flung his arms round my neck and began to sob. It was dreadful but at that moment one of the SAPS stepped forward with her phone and bent down to the little boy. “Would you like to see some pictures of my dogs? They’re called Finn and Deirdre and they going to have some puppies soon. You could have one if your dad says it’s okay”

The little boy stopped crying and began to look at the pictures. Everyone heaved huge sighs of relief and began to smile. Arrangements were made for a visit to see Finn and Deirdre, my harness was put on and we were able to say goodbye. I did my best bow and the little boy gave me another toffee.

We set off back to the car and my PA began to lecture me about what she called my “outrageous behaviour” and “lack of judgement.” I would have answered back but unfortunately my jaws were stuck together with toffee. I’ll just wait until we’re back at St Mary’s and then I’ll tell her how ridiculous she looks in that sheep patterned scarf. I’m not the only one who sometimes makes unfortunate choices and displays a lack of judgement!

by Jo Robinson SAP

A message from Pliny for Jenny Blackmore

Dear Fellow Adventurer,

It has come to my attention that you are going to visit Deb Danielson and her goats. I’m surprised you didn’t think to invite me! I like travelling and although I haven’t been on a plane I hear they show movies and give you food and drinks. I suppose they might not have had any goat treats or Kendal Mint Cake but I would have coped. Anyway it’s too late now as you are going tomorrow.

I hope you will give my love to the goats and tell them I have missed them. It hasn’t been the same without them flat... um I mean admiring my stories. Sadly I have not yet received my knighthood but Her Majesty has been quite busy with weddings and babies. I expect she’ll get round to it soon. I would like you to tell them all about our visit to Ancient Rome and how I was the star of the chariot race. Didn’t we have fun?

 

Sadly my beautiful Cleopatra went back to Rome. I think that floaty lady they call the GOT helped her. She said she missed seeing the gladiators and that the men at St Mary’s just didn’t compare. Something about too many clothes and not enough hand to hand combat? I do hope you will invite the American goats to visit again. Tell them I would not be too proud to share my stable even though I know they are not used to the celebrity life style I lead. After all it isn’t long since I opened the Taylor Winfrey Hall with my fellow celebrity Madam Jodi Taylor.

It was ,of course, an honour to be on the same stage as such a distinguished author but I think my contribution in biting through the ribbon was what made the occasion such a success. I hope you enjoy your visit and send me some postcards. My PA will read them to me and then stick them up in my stable.

Love Pliny, Official Regimental Goat

 

Halloween

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

It has been very quiet recently at St Mary’s and nothing much has happened except for the usual explosions and people falling in the lake et cetera. I haven’t been on any adventures for a couple of weeks but then today I heard my PA and the SAPS giggling and chatting about something called Halloween. I didn’t know what they meant so when my friends came round that evening I asked them if they knew. “Oh Halloween” snorted Turk. “It happens every year and they all get very excited about it. They dress up and play tricks on each other.”

“I’m going to find somewhere to hide” said Vortigern gloomily. “If I don’t some fool is sure to try to dye me black and expect me to sit on a broomstick while they run round the lawn pretending to fly”

“That’s nothing. Last year I had an idiot dressed as the Headless Horseman expecting me to gallop round while they made Woooo noises”, said Turk.

“And did you?” I asked, thinking it sounded like good fun.

“Well I certainly galloped” , said Turk, showing all his teeth as he grinned. “I broke my own record in getting from the stables to the lake in 30 seconds”

“I’ve heard they’re going to have a competition for the best fancy dress. The wardrobe ladies are all busy making witch costumes” said Angus.

“Better watch out! Who knows what they’ll dress you as” laughed Turk as he strolled off for his evening snack.

It sounded quite exciting to me especially when I heard one of the SAPS saying she was going to buy the sweets for the evening. Marshmallow ghosts, chocolate pumpkins and sugar fangs were mentioned and I’m sure I’ll like all of those. I really thought it was going to be something I would enjoy until the next day when my PA turned up with my costume for me to try on. It was bright orange with a black face and a green ruff round my neck!I felt completely stupid and when the SAPS came to look they fell about laughing and said I looked “very cute”

Well really! I am most certainly not CUTE. It completely undermines my position as Regimental Goat if people are going to laugh when they see me. I decided to deal with the situation as quickly as I could so I put my head down and ran as fast as I could into the trees near the lake. I moved quickly as far away as I could and then I went to the edge of the water to look for the swans. It wasn’t long before they saw me and came paddling towards me.

At first they were inclined to laugh but when I reminded them how they had felt when they were blue they agreed to help me. I stood back while they climbed out of the water and began to walk up and down and dig with their beaks and splash water until they had made a large mud patch. It was perfect. I waited until they had got back in the water and then I lay down and began to roll. It was cold and squishy and there was a funny smell which made me think that the cygnets had added a little something to the mix but it was a perfect way to ruin that silly costume. I didn’t stop rolling until the swans said they couldn’t see any orange at all. Then I thanked the swans and set off home. I was wet, muddy and smelly but I knew nobody would ever see me in that silly costume again.

When my PA saw me she was FURIOUS! She had to cut the costume off and hastily put it in a plastic bag to throw away. She gave me a bath grumbling all the time about goats who were “ungrateful” and had no sense of humour and she didn’t give me any goat treats after my supper. I was sorry I had annoyed her but not a bit sorry that the costume was ruined.

The following morning I was woken by a rumbling noise and when I looked outside a pick up truck was just driving away, leaving a huge pile of pumpkins by the stables. Surely they should have been delivered to the kitchen? I let myself out of the stable and went to look. There was every size of pumpkin you could imagine. I pushed a small one with my hoof and it rolled like a ball into another pumpkin causing the pile to slip sideways. I was just going to do it again to see if I could make the whole pile fall over when Turk and Angus arrived. I told them about my game but Turk laughed and said “Don’t waste your time playing with them. They’re good to eat”

Angus and I found them a bit tough but Turk very kindly stamped on a few small ones and they broke open. They were very tasty just as he had said. At that moment a lady appeared from the stables carrying a halter. “Come on, Turk. You know what happened last time you stuffed yourself with fruit and vegetables. I was up all night with you. Time to go home.” Turk tried to trot away but his foot slipped on a bit of pumpkin and she grabbed his mane and quickly put on the halter.

As she led him away I heard my PA calling my name and saw her walking towards me. “What are you up to now? You mustn’t wreck the pumpkins. We need them for the lantern competition.” As we walked back to the stable she explained what the lanterns were like and how every department tried to win the competition. I thought I would enjoy Halloween especially now I didn’t have to wear a stupid costume so you can imagine how I felt when she told me that there was another costume waiting for me.

Thankfully the SAPS had got a wizard costume together for me and it was really quite smart. I felt sure nobody would laugh at me this time. Later that evening they brought the pumpkin to show me. When they lit the candle I had a big surprise. They had carved a picture of me! We’re sure to win the competition now!

by Jo Robinson SAP

Harvest Celebration

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

We have had an exciting weekend at St Mary‘s. Lots of new recruits have joined us recently and that has meant that T.W. Hall has had to be extended. Dr Bairstow said , after a lot of muttering about rising costs, that we would have to raise some money to pay for it all so a lady called Barb suggested a Harvest Celebration. I like Barb because she’s in charge of the kitchen and gives me treats whenever I call in. Very tasty they are too!

Each department has planned activities to entertain the guests and to raise some money. Small animals are going to run a Pet Zone but my role is to be the Official Ambassador for St Mary’s. Of course I’m going to wear my Royal Wedding coat and have my hooves polished but my PA insists that I will have to wear a rope attached to my head collar. I don’t know where she gets the idea that I need to be tethered to her. She says it’s to keep me safe but I think it’s just a way of stopping me from enjoying myself. I have noticed that children like me so I have decided to sell photographs with hoof print autographs and my PA has had some badges made that say I ❤️ Pliny. That should make lots of money and for a small extra fee people will be able to have their photos taken with me. I’m sure I shall raise plenty of money. Finn and Deirdre, our wolfhounds, have had some panniers made for them so that people can put money in them as they walk around. I would never do something like that but they seem quite happy about it. Apparently they’ve done it before to raise money for the RSPCA and they were the champion collectors for their area.

The great day arrived and I was up early ready for a thorough grooming. My PA said I couldn’t put my coat on until the last minute as I would only get muddy or roll or something. Well really! What sort of goat does she take me for? I know how important it is for a celebrity to look good. At last the time came for me to make my grand entrance and I must say I thought I looked immaculate. My PA said I had better make sure I behaved, then she took hold of my rope and we set off towards the South Lawn. There were people everywhere so I did my best Royal Wedding March and quite a lot of people clapped as I went by.

We had a small stall and the SAPS were there to sell my badges and signed photos and I was kept busy posing with people who wanted selfies Our collecting box was getting nice and full. I could see Finn and Deirdre in the distance surrounded by people so obviously they were doing well too.

Soon we had sold out of everything so my PA and the SAPS said we could look around at all the other things that were happening. I had been smelling lovely things for a while and now I saw why. The kitchen ladies had been busy and there was a long table covered in wonderful things to eat. There were fruit pies and little carrot cakes and two big Harvest Celebration cakes and every kind of delicious snack that you could think of. In the middle was a Harvest loaf made to look like a sheaf of corn. It turned out that one of the SAPS had made it. I was amazed because she has never yet managed to make me a decent bucket of tea and she has been known to forget to chop my apples and carrots how I like them. I shall have to be firmer with her in future.

The sight of all the food and people queueing for drinks made the SAPS decide they would like drinks and food too so they found a bench and put down their coats and began to argue about who should go and choose the food. At last they decided that they would all go so that they could get the widest possible choice of food and they asked my PA to queue for the drinks. My PA looked at me rather doubtfully and then obviously made up her mind to risk leaving me. She hooked my rope round one of the legs of the bench and said “I’m trusting you not to wander off. I’ll only be over there and I can see you from the queue. Behave yourself and we’ll let you have some of the food to try” Off she went and I really did try to be good but that was just so much going on. I knew that the donkeys were giving rides and I wanted to see how popular they were. I wanted to see the Pets Zone too and most of all I wanted to know what was causing all the cheering I could hear. I could see my PA chatting to people as she waited for the tea and the SAPS were busy seeing how much food they could cram on to their plates. They didn’t seem to be paying particular attention to me so I cautiously began to edge away.

It’s quite difficult to move quietly and quickly when you’re attached to a bench but fortunately a group of children saw me struggling and very kindly unclipped my rope and I was free. I thanked the children with a bow and then hurried off towards the cheering. There seemed to be two activities going on so I wriggled through the crowds until I could see the first one. At first I couldn’t think what was going on as a line of people were waving axes around. Were they going to fight? Then one person stepped forward and threw their axe towards a target. There was a lot of cheering and booing and groaning as the axe hit the target and bounced off it onto the floor. It was obviously a competition as lots of rude remarks were shouted at each person took their turn. I felt sure someone from St Mary’s would win so I moved onto the next activity where something very strange was going on.

There was a big box full of wellies and as I watched a person picked up a welly stood behind the line and threw it as hard as they could. I have some wellies myself and I don’t much like wearing them but I have never imagined throwing them. While I was thinking about it a few more people took their turns and then I realised. It was a game like the one the SAPS play when they throw balls and sticks for the dogs.The only problem seemed to be no one was collecting the wellies and taking them back to the box. They would soon begin to run out of wellies to throw so I decided I would help. I trotted over and picked up the nearest welly ready to take it back to the box. At once people began to shout and roar at me and I dropped the welly in confusion. I was only trying to help. One of the historians came and took hold of my head collar and said “Come on, Pliny. You mustn’t move the wellies until the measuring has been done.” Measuring? Why would anyone want to measure a welly? Humans are so weird. Well, if they didn’t want my help I would find something else to do.

I trotted off past the donkeys who seemed to be very busy although one of them said it wasn’t as good as Brighton. The Pet Zone was crowded with children all wanting to stroke the animals so that was a success too. In the distance I could see someone sitting under a tree. As I got closer I could see it was Sam the Falconer and she was trying to persuade Moomin to come down from where he was sitting on a high branch. Clearly owls do not enjoy Harvest Celebrations. In the distance I could hear loud banging which I knew was Turk kicking his stable door because he wasn’t allowed to take part. Doctor Bairstow had said that the insurance premium for Turk’s riders would wipe out all the profits from the afternoon.

Suddenly there was a smell of burning and smoke began to drift from the trees along the drive. I guessed at once that my friend Jenny was up to her tricks. I could see people on their phones calling the Fire Brigade and sure enough there was Jenny just disappearing into the crowd. I didn’t bother to wait to see what happened because they never let me get close to the fire engine for some strange reason.

I had begun to feel hungry so I decided to find my way back to the food. There were people everywhere and it took quite some time. I met three very kind children at different times who gave me their ice creams to eat. It’s funny but as soon as I lick a child’s ice cream the parents always say “Give it to the nice goat. I think he’s hungry. We’ll get you another” I felt sure that my PA and the SAPS would be getting anxious about me as I had been gone for quite a while but when I finally spotted them they were eating, drinking and laughing as though they hadn’t a care in the world. “Oh there you are!” said my PA. “We’ve been taking bets on how long it would be before you turned up for some food. We saved you a selection”

For a moment I felt quite cross. Didn’t they care about my safety? I was just about to stamp my hoof at them when I took a second look at the food. It looked delicious and I was hungry. I decided that I would forgive them this time but they had better not ignore my whereabouts another time.

by Jo Robinson SAP

Pliny news

Well I have been a little down since my American friends left, bieng the only goat in this madhouse, turk has other horses the swans have each other and vortigen has the whole kitchen staff, I only have that dopey human servant who insists on bieng called a Pa, and the other saps who pop in. So what could I do?

Then turk came up with a great idea Internet dating. So I swiped my servants phone and searched for Billy goat looking for a nanny now that brought up some interesting things best not mentioned really. So I looked up for goats looking for love. And I discovered that there was a local meet and greet at the Falconberg Arms, anyway I signed up using my pa’s credit card (we wont tell her). What was I looking for in a date, must be beautiful, and clever, long lashes and good markings. I posted my profile age. Occupation exceptional regimental goat. Looks handsome. Likes walking, eating, having adventures. Of course I got loads of hits but I choose a gorgeous nanny long lashes fabulous markings long tail called mini, which must be short for minerva, its definitely fate. So I arranged a date at the falcon burg and informed my servant I needed her to take me and of course groom me correctly. I gave her a list of required items. Coat shining shampoo, hoof black, goat musk smell. Breath mints in case of a bit of smooching, loud gagging noises from my pa then she must have swallowed a fly. And I wanted a new coat and bow tie. When she complained I reminded her of the tankini and I have photos to bribe her with and a mention of putting them on Instagram, that shut her up.

Anyway the day approached and I got the full pamper treatment from her and Jo. My hoofs were painted black, my coat was gleaming I had my new bow tie on but no coat but it is hot so I will forgive that. I looked mint. I asked her how we were getting there she said her car. Rediculous it's 20 years old. She was annoyed she said did I know that her car was once classed as the poor man's rolls Royce. I said it was now just a poor woman's car. We will walk then she said. Better than your car so we walked in silence.

As we got to the pub there was lots of goats. My pa said I'm going for a drink and she met the other owners. They started drinking and laughing so I went off to find mini. She was everything she said she was. So I told her all about myself, my upcoming knighthood, my heroic rescue of vortigen. And of course my time at the Royal wedding. When we realised our escorts were too drunk to notice we snuck off to see the Horse Whisperer at the local cinema, now that was some comedy. No horse can be tamed by a human must recommend it to Turk. On the walk back I listened about her life eating, walking round her enclosure and she actually respected and loved her  owner. And it was just Mini she didn't even know who minerva was how could I have a relationship with her. So when we got back I told her that it had been fun but we had nothing in common. And get this she said I was a bighead and self absorbed and should be grateful to my pa, so she was obviously not as educated as I am. So we parted ways.

I found my pa asleep and drooling I left her there and walked home. Discussed it with turk he agreed I need to look for a more appropriate goat who lives in my circle of greatness so will understand me and to try uniform goats dotcom. When my pa got back she asked how it went I told her she was boring and I was too special for her, she walked off laughing. I ate my evening meal and watched a boxset of one man and his dog. It’s my favourite comedy as those sheep are daft letting dogs boss them around. I decided I don't need anyone else. I have my friends and slave and no one can understand this disaster zone I live in so I think I just need a holiday.

Bye for now my acolytes Pliny

by Rachel Dawson P.A

Pliny's Page

FAQS by Pliny

1. Who or what is GOT?

She is the floaty lady I see from time to time usually watching my friend Jenny Blackmore. Everyone says she’s very strict but usually she just laughs at my adventures.

2. How can I be a good member of VSM?

I do this by representing VSM at important events like Royal Weddings. I welcome visitors like Madam Jodi Taylor who I recognise as a fellow celebrity.

3. If someone offends me what can I do?

I just put my head down and charge. If you can get people just behind their knees they tend to go down like skittles. If you can arrange to be by the lake or the stable muck heap so much the better.

4. Can we talk about real life on here?

Of course! My life as a celebrity is fascinating and I enjoy talking about it.

5. How can I have the most fun at VSM?

Learn how to open your stable door. Make friends with Turk. Explore and have adventures like me. Make friends with Barb Ruddle. She’s in charge of the kitchen and makes delicious treats.

6. Where can I learn about VSM?

I am a goat and can’t read so I have a PA to do that sort of thing for me.

7. Why can’t I get into Dr Bairstow’s Office?

I’m sure I could if I tried but usually he comes to me to discuss my adventures.

8. Who can make a jump?

I have been on jumps but mostly I just wait to see who comes back unconscious, soaking wet or on fire. Sometimes I bet on the outcome with Turk. I’ve won a lot of carrots like that.

9. Are Jodi Taylor’s characters included in VSM?

My PA reads their adventures to me but they don’t usually appear at VSM. I expect it’s because we’ve got enough nutters already.

10. Can I transfer from one section to another?

I have my own staff in my own section but you are welcome to join Small Animals. We always need new sla... workers. If you bring mints or goat treats you will be especially welcome.

11. Is it compulsory to join a jump?

I have been on jumps but it’s usually because I have been goatnapped. I prefer to choose my own adventures.

Pliny is Virtual St Mary's Regimental Goat. He is well loved and cared for by  his PA Rachel Dawson and Jo Robinson from the Small Animal Department or SAP.  His latest adventure will always be at the top of the page.

My Job Search

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

 

As you all know I am the Official Regimental Goat of St Mary’s and a famous celebrity. Recently I haven’t made many personal appearances but I always have to be ready to meet my fans and my PA works hard brushing me, polishing my hooves and preparing my baths. I’m very fond of her and she does her best for me so I was a bit startled when I overheard the SAPS saying that she might have to move to a different department because she couldn’t afford to keep paying for any damage I do. I am quite adventurous it’s true and the odd thing does get damaged or eaten but I didn’t know that it was her money that paid for the damage.

 

I didn’t want her to leave so I decided I would have to try to earn some money to help her. The only problem was what could I do? I thought hard and then I had a bright idea. Famous people get paid to advertise things and I am a famous goat. I remembered that the chocolate shop lady in the Lake District had said I was a good advert for Kendal Mint Cake and that she had taken photos that were printed in the paper. Surely I could find a shop or two in Rushford that would like me to star in their adverts? I knew my PA was going to Rushford with the SAPS to see if the bookshop had any new books about the other St Mary’s so I decided I would go too.

 

The next day I waited until they were all getting into the SAPS old car and then I jumped into the back seat and sat down “We’re only going to the bookshop, Pliny. You know you’re not allowed in there in case you chew the books”

Chew the books! Well really! I am a well brought up goat and I know how to behave. I might have knocked over a display stand once but I would never chew the books. They don’t taste good even if they do have pictures of food on the front. I gave them my best goat stare which I’m told is quite scary and they gave in and we drove to Rushford.

 

When we got there they parked the car and set off for the bookshop leaving the window open a little for me. Normally I would have got into the driving seat and practiced changing gear and steering but today I was anxious to get started on my job hunt. It only took a minute for me to push the window down and wriggle out. I knew my PA and the SAPS would be ages as they are always gone a long time when they go to buy books so I should have time to visit a few shops.

 

The very first shop I saw was wonderful with a big display of fruit and vegetables outside. All the things I like to eat were there and I thought surely they would like to use me in an advertisement. I was just sniffing a box of apples when the man came out of the shop. “What have we here? Dorothy! Come and look at our latest customer.”

A lady appeared in the shop doorway and smiled at me. “I wonder where he’s come from? I’ll get the camera. This should be a good photo to show everyone “

A photo! She’d understood at once what I was there for. The man cut up an apple for me as she was getting the camera which was kind of him. I was very careful not to slobber as I chewed so that I would look my best for the picture.

 

When the lady came back she took lots of pictures and I did my best smile and then bowed.

“He’s a right one isn’t he?” said the man. “And look there’s a tag on his head collar. He’s from St Mary’s. We’d better let them know he’s here. I’ll go and ring them now”

 

That didn’t suit my plan at all so while the lady was looking at her camera I turned and hurried off down the little lane that led to the Market Place. The nice people at the greengrocer’s could send my money to St Mary’s now they knew where I lived. I was anxious to find another job to do.

 

The shop at the end of the lane was a dress shop and they had a lovely dress and a hat with lots of flowers on it in the window. I thought perhaps I could help the dress shop lady. A picture of me wearing the hat would be sure to bring in customers. I opened the door and went in.

 

The lady was busy vacuuming the carpet and didn’t hear me so I decided I would just reach into the window, get the hat, and put it on. I stretched as far as I could and got hold of the brim of the hat with my teeth and that’s when I discovered everything in the window was held in place by some sort of thin thread that was almost invisible. As I pulled on the hat everything in the window slowly collapsed. The dress, a jacket, some gloves, some shoes and the hat now lay in a crumpled heap in the bottom of the window.

 

At that moment I realised that the vacuuming had stopped.There was a loud scream behind me and something hit me hard on my back. When I looked round the shop lady was waving a flowery umbrella at me and shouting “Get out of my shop you horrible animal. Look what you’ve done to my window display. It’s ruined!”

 

I could see that she was very angry and she rushed towards me waving the umbrella in the air as if she was going to hit me again. I dashed out of the door as fast as I could and rushed down the alley at the side of the shop where I was able to hide behind the bins. I heard the shop lady talking to someone and then a man’s voice said “We’d better warn everyone before he wrecks any more shops.”

 

I hadn’t meant to wreck anything but I could see that nobody else would take pictures of me that day so I decided I had better get back to the car. I could try to get another job next time we came to Rushford. I had only just got back into the car when my PA and the SAPS came back with a bag full of book. Apparently our favourite author doesn’t write quickly enough for her fans and there were no new St Mary’s books but they had still managed to buy twelve books between them.

 

For the next few days I watched carefully for the postman expecting to receive one of those things humans use instead of real money, (I think it’s called a check) to pay for my photo shoot at the greengrocers. At last on the fourth day the post van appeared and the postman got out an enormous box addressed to “The St Mary’s Goat” When my PA opened it it was full of fruit and vegetables. There was a card that said “Thanks! Business is up 50%.” My PA couldn’t understand what had happened and nor could I. Where was my money that I thought I had earned?

 

Then one of the SAPS arrived with the local paper. The front page had a picture of the dress shop window with the headline “Savage Goat Wrecks Shop!” My PA gasped in horror but before she could get angry the SAP turned the page and there was a picture of me surrounded by boxes of fruit and vegetables. In big letters underneath it said “Don’t let a goat beat you to the best produce in town. Come to Watson’s Greengrocers. It’s where all the best goats shop!

 

They had used me for an advertisement after all but they must have thought that a goat wouldn’t need money and they’d sent fruit and vegetables instead. Hmmm! Clearly I shall have to think again about my modelling career.

by Jo Robinson SAP

A Walk on the Wild Side

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

 

I have been very good and not visited the building site since I got stuck on the scaffolding. Nothing to do with my PA saying the builders would make me into a goat skin rug if they caught me there again. It was just that I had already explored everything I wanted to see so there was no point in going again. Now the SAPS have been talking about people moving into their new rooms so I might go and have another look.

 

I waited until my PA and the SAPS had gone to lunch and then I let myself out of my stable and trotted off. When I got near the building I could hear music and lots of laughing and a strange bumping noise. When I looked through the door I saw a crowd of people gathered round the staircase all clapping and cheering. Someone was whizzing down the stairs sitting on the large folded cardboard box. It looked like good fun and I decided to come back later and see if I could have a go but for the moment I had caught sight of a bright yellow sofa in the hall with green, pink and purple cushions piled on it.I trotted over to have a look.

 

The cushions were amazing and all covered in beautiful embroidered butterflies and flowers. When I looked closely I saw that the green cushion had a dragon on it. None of them had goats on them but I expect it’s just too difficult to do me justice in embroidery stitches. I jumped onto the sofa and discovered that it was very springy. I love bouncing and I was having a really good time when my foot got caught in one of the cushions and before I knew what was happening feathers began to come out of it. The more I struggled to get my foot out the more feathers began to come out. Suddenly I realised that all the laughing and shouting had stopped and when I looked round everyone was staring at me with the looks of horror on their faces.

“My sofa! My beautiful cushions! They’re covered in muddy hoofprints. I only left it there because I couldn’t use the stairs and now it’s all been ruined by that wretched goat. I don’t know why we keep him. Horrible beast! He’s nothing but trouble “

 

At that everyone began to mutter and nod their heads. I couldn’t see anyone smiling at all. The door opened and one of the SAPS came in.

“I see he’s in trouble again “she said. “Come on Pliny. We’re going back to your stable “

“Wait a minute. Who’s going to pay to have my sofa cleaned? Where is Rachel? She’s supposed to look after him “

“She wouldn’t come” said the SAP. “She said she’s had enough of him and she’s thinking of applying for a transfer to another department”

I was shocked. My PA didn’t care about me anymore and was going to leave me? Everyone was annoyed with me!? When I got back to my stable the SAP banged the door shut and stalked off angrily saying she was going to see what could be done about the sofa and to behave myself while she was gone. When I looked there was no fresh food for me and hardly any water in my bucket. I sat down on my bed and thought hard. If nobody at St Mary’s wanted me around any more I would have to find somewhere else to live.

Once I had decided what to do I looked round my stable but there was nothing I could carry with me so I would have to leave my duvet, my bed and my television. I felt quite sad. I had only been having fun and now it seems everyone thought I was a nuisance! I had better set off at once and try to find a new home. I opened my stable door and set off down the drive. At the end I paused for a moment and looked back at St Mary‘s then I trotted off towards Rushford.

 

I walked briskly along and was soon near the Falconberg Arms. I wondered if they would like a nice quiet goat as a pet but then I remembered that the landlord was cross with me for roaring round the car park with Jenny on the motorbike we borrowed, so it was no good going there.The school wasn’t far away and the children like me but it was the holidays and there would be no one there. Then I remembered someone saying that wild goats lived on the moors near Rushford. Of course! They’d be sure to welcome a famous explorer like me.I bet they had all sorts of adventures without anyone shouting at them and calling them horrible beasts. I would go and find the wild goats and see if I could live with them.

 

I wasn’t sure of the way to the moors but it wouldn’t be near the shops so I trotted as fast as I could along the road out of town. The road began to rise and I could see some hills with purple stuff growing on them. Could that be the moors I wondered? Then I noticed a sort of gap in the wall with some rather odd looking steps made of wood and a wooden signpost with some words on it that said R_______ W__. I guessed that the R must be Rushford so perhaps the W stood for walk. When I climbed over the funny steps there was a path ahead of me leading up the hill. I walked and walked and getting higher and higher.

 

Soon I found myself walking through one of the patches of purple flowers. They were growing on some very tough springy plants and there were bees everywhere. I was getting quite tired and I was beginning to wonder if there really were any wild goats when I had a pattering of hooves and a group of kids came running down the hill. They stopped when they saw me and looked as though they might run away.

“Wait! Please don’t run away. My name is Pliny and I was hoping I could come to live with your herd”

They giggled a bit when they heard my name but then the biggest one stepped forward. “I’m Bracken but we can’t say if you can stay. You’ll have to come with us to find Hereward. He is in charge of the herd”

With that they turned and began to scamper back up the hill. I did my best to keep up but I had already walked a long way. They began to get ahead of me and soon they vanished over the brow of the hill. I could see a huge rock ahead of me with the path winding round the base of it. As I drew level with it there was a clattering sound and the biggest goat I’ve ever seen appeared. He didn’t look at all friendly.

“So you’re the one who wants to join my herd? You don’t look very strong and is that polish on your hooves?”

Well really! How rude! At least I was well groomed and hadn’t got muddy hooves and twigs and leaves in my hair! I was beginning to feel quite cross but I thought I’d better not annoy him because I really did want to join the herd and have some friends to live with.

 

Hereward walked right round me staring closely at me and then he spoke again. “What’s that glittery stuff in your hair? And you smell strange “

I tried to explain that everything at St Mary‘s has glitter on it and I most certainly didn’t smell strange as I had only had a bath that morning but he burst out laughing and said “If you want to stay you have to accept a challenge. We charge each other and if I knock you down you have to leave. If you knock me down you can stay “

 

What could I do? I had to accept the challenge as I had nowhere else to go. We stood facing each other ten paces apart and Hereward counted to three and then we charged. It was soon over and I was left lying in a daze on the path while Hereward strode away, laughing, back to his herd.

 

I climbed slowly to my feet and looked around. By now it was beginning to go dark and I couldn’t see any sign of any houses. I had followed the kids for quite a long way and now I didn’t know which way to go. I decided that I had to move in case Hereward came back and so I began to walk carefully downhill. Soon it was very dark and big spots of rain began to fall. I decided I had better stop and wait for morning when I might be able to find the way.I found a big bush and lay down next to it. It was very prickly but it kept some of the rain off. I felt very miserable and cold. I remembered how cosy it was in my stable especially when my PA and the SAPS shared chocolate with me and told me exciting stories about the other St Mary‘s. What if I never found my way off the moors? What if I went to St Mary‘s and they wouldn’t let me in? I tried to go to sleep but I was too cold and wet.

 

Suddenly I thought I heard a voice calling my name. Perhaps it was only the wind or worse still Hereward was looking for me? I decided I’d better stand up and be ready to run. My legs ached from all the walking and my head ached from being hit by Hereward. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to run even if I needed to but then I heard it again. It was a voice and it was calling my name! When I looked carefully I could just see a faint light on the hillside below. Someone was looking for me! I was saved! I began to limp slowly towards the little light and as I got nearer I recognised my PA’s voice. I gave my loudest bleat and moved as quickly as I could towards her. “Pliny! You silly goat. Whatever are you doing all the way up here? We’ve been looking for you for hours.”

She flung her arms around me and gave me a big hug. When I flinched she shone the torch on me

“Why have you got a cut and a big lump on your head? We’d better take you home and get you warm and dry. I’ll just let everyone know I’ve found you”

She stood up and flashed her torch three times and at once lots of other little lights shone out of the darkness. She led me slowly and carefully down the hill. The SAPS car was waiting on the road and they had brought my fleece blanket. We drove quickly back to St Mary’s followed by lots of other cars. It seemed that almost everyone had been out looking for me. Perhaps they did like me after all!

 

My stable was warm and dry and I felt much better once I’d had a bucket of tea with honey. When I went to get on my bed there was a surprise for me. There was a new cushion decorated with a goat.

“There you are, Pliny. We know you didn’t mean to wreck the sofa and the cushions. Everyone was very worried when you were lost. Don’t run away again.”

I got on my duvet and sighed happily. I expect it’s exciting to be a wild goat but life is much better at St Mary’s with my friends and I won’t leave again. Well at least not until I think of another adventure anyway.

By Jo Robinson SAP

My Birthday Celebrations

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

 

My PA and the SAPS have been whispering together and saying things like “he’ll love it”and I was very curious to know what they were planning. Today I found out. It’s my birthday next week and I am going to be four. They had decided to give me a party this weekend so everyone could come.

 

I asked Turk if he wanted to come but he said he was going to get an early night as he was sure that someone would end up in his stable in the middle of the night and as the snoring always woke him up he intended to sleep while he could. Vortigern said he knew it was no use him coming because all the dancing and singing would frighten every mouse within five miles so he was going to spend a quiet evening asleep by the kitchen range. Angus, however, was very keen and said she would see if any of the birds of prey would like to come as she has been getting quite friendly with some of them. I just hope she doesn’t bring the vulture as he looks as though he might eat all food and possibly fancy a taste of goat as well.

 

My PA and the SAPS got busy decorating my stable and as it was a lovely day they set up tables outside. They had lots of strings of lights to put up but after I had got them tangled round my legs and a few bulbs got accidentally broken they said I couldn’t help any more. I decided to go to the kitchen to see what they were making for the party but they wouldn’t let me in as they were decorating a birthday cake for me and it was to be a surprise. They did give me some goat treats though so my journey wasn’t wasted.

 

I wandered back towards my stable but I could see that they were still arguing about where to hang the lights so I walked on down to the lake. I haven’t seen much of the swans recently as they have been too busy with their cygnets to want to chat. They all seem to be growing fast and I was pleased to see that the adults were all mostly white with just the odd sparkle of glitter on their plumage. They were very interested in all my news and when I explained about the party they said they quite understood and that if it was too loud they would evacuate the lake and move into the library.

 

By now it was getting late and I felt it was time to begin my party preparations. After all as I was guest of honour I must look my very best. When I got back to my stable my bath was ready and I was able to soak in lavender scented warm water. When I was clean my PA dried me with a warm towel and brushed me and polished my hooves. I had thought I would wear my sparkly bow tie but instead she produced a special party hat for me. When I stepped outside everything looked lovely. The lights were on and the tables were filled with lovely food.

 

Soon other people began to arrive all dressed in their best. Angus and her friend, Moomin the barn owl, arrived wearing party hats and fluttered up onto my stable door to get a good view. I wasn’t sure what Moomin would eat unless he was partial to sausages or chicken but I knew that Angus would enjoy the sandwiches and cakes. Someone arrived with the sound system and soon the tables were full of people eating and drinking happily while music played. I had a lovely time eating all kinds of delicious things and someone in Security let me have a bottle of the Apple stuff that begins with C. I can see why they like it so much although after I had drunk it I seemed to keep tripping over things rather a lot.

 

When everyone had eaten as much as they could my PA clapped her hands for everyone to be quiet and the kitchen staff brought in the cake. It really was a surprise because they had made me a Billy Goats Gruff cake. Everyone clapped and they sang Happy Bithday to me.While the cake was being cut I was given my presents. I had a basket of fruit and vegetables from the Grounds Staff, my own copy of the Billy Goats Gruff from the library staff, Wardrobe had made me a goat cushion for my bed and there was quite a big long shaped parcel from Security. When I opened it it was my very own skateboard. I’ve been watching a skateboarding goat on YouTube and I’ve always wanted to try it. My PA muttered something that sounded like “you must be mad” but I was very pleased.

 

I was so pleased that I gave my very best bow to thank everybody. I wobbled a bit as I stood up and everyone laughed. Then the fun really began as the music was turned up and everyone began to dance. We did the Conga and the Birdie Song, which Angus and Moomin enjoyed, and then we began the Okey Cokey. I like the bit where everyone rushes into the middle and back but my PA took me out after the first chorus. She said I was much too rough and people didn’t like being butted by a goat. I think she was wrong about that because all the people who had fallen over were still lying on the ground laughing or being helped up by their friends.

 

When everyone was exhausted from laughing and dancing we switched to karaoke. To my surprise not everyone at St Mary‘s is tone deaf and some of the singers were really good. After a while someone asked for the Timewarp and everyone joined in. I like the actions to that one so I joined in too. By now it was getting very late and a few people had already fallen asleep at the tables where they had been having seconds or in some cases thirds and fourths of the remaining food. Someone said “let’s have volunteers for one last song” and the SAPS and my PA took me with them and we sang “I will always love you”. I am a very good singer, which is more than can be said about them, but we got lots of cheers.

 

It took quite some time for everyone to leave but at last I was able to go to bed taking my new cushion with me. I was looking forward to the following day when I would be able to try out my skateboard. I just knew I would be good at it. I had been studying technique on the YouTube clips so I knew just what to do.

 

I was up nice and early the next morning so that I could start skateboarding as soon as I had eaten my breakfast. My PA and the SAPS were all complaining of headaches but they cheered up when they had had 2 cups of strong tea each. My PA suggested that we went to a quiet part of the car park for my first try with the skateboard so off we went. Quite a crowd of people had turned out to watch although some were still wearing their party clothes from the night before and one or two were being propped up by their friends. Some bets were being taken over whether or not I would be able to do it but I was sure I could. My PA agreed a distance for me to skate with the gamblers and I was ready to go. The SAPS lined up my skateboard for me, I put my front hooves on it and pushed off with my back legs and I did it! I easily skated the distance agreed and everyone clapped and cheered and money began to change hands. Then someone called “Let’s see what he does on the way back. Come on, Pliny. How fast can you go?”

 

I like a challenge and I was sure I could go faster so I waited until the SAPS had straightened up my skateboard and this time I pushed off hard. A cheer went up as I flew along with my ears flapping in the breeze but suddenly I realised that the board was not going straight. It was heading towards where the cars were parked. People began to run as I hurtled towards them and I realised that I would have to get off. I jumped to one side and as I did my hoof caught the end of the board and it flipped up in the air. I landed safely but the board flew on until it hit the side of a very large important looking dark red car. It had a badge with wings on either side of a big B.

 

Everyone froze and there was a loud gasp. My PA had her hands over her eyes and the SAPS were hugging one another. The car had a large scratch on one of the front doors and my board was lying next to it.

“Oh Pliny! This is a disaster” whispered my PA who seemed to have lost her voice.

 

There was the sound of a window opening and a voice said “It’s good to see so many staff up bright and early but perhaps you could now devote some time to your real jobs”

 

Everyone began to hurry off. One of the SAPS picked up my board and a she did so she wiped her hand over the scratch on the car. It did not go away. My PA took hold of my head collar and we began to walk away.

 

“Perhaps when you have returned Pliny to his stable you will present yourself in my office at your earliest convenience?” said the voice and we heard the window close.

 

It was a gloomy group who returned to the stable. The SAPS were horrified by what had happened and my PA seemed quite stunned. “Never mind, Pliny” she said. “It wasn’t really your fault”

She told the SAPS to let me help with the clearing up after the party and then she hurried off. We finished off my birthday cake in an effort to cheer ourselves up and began to tidy up.

 

My PA seem to be gone a very long time but at last we saw her coming and she was actually smiling. It seemed that Dr Bairstow had watched the whole thing and knew it wasn’t all her fault. He had decided that the gamblers who had told me to go faster would be asked to give their betting money towards repairing the car and he wanted her to give my skateboard to Mrs Partridge for safekeeping.

I was sad about the skateboard but I’m sure I’ll soon find something else to do. I might ask my friend, Jenny, what she recommends.

by Jo Robinson SAP

The Star of the Show

By Pliny OfficialRegimental Goat

Life is always busy and certainly never dull at St Mary’s. Every so often there is great excitement when they go off on jumps. I don’t know what jumps are but they usually come back covered in bruises or soaking wet and new animals sometimes appear. Sometimes a person they call the GoT sends them back but some of them, like the donkeys, we keep. Don’t ask me why because they never seem to do anything except eat and make horrible noises while I have adventures and represent St Mary’s at important events.

 

Of course not everyone is involved in jumps. My PA never goes on one because she is far too busy looking after me and accompanying me on my official engagements. The SAPS are usually busy exercising dogs, getting cats out of trees and chasing ferrets. Occasionally, however, they deserve a treat and they go off to Rushford to the cinema or for a meal.

 

A few weeks ago they were very excited to hear that something called “Riverdance” was coming to the Rushford theatre. It seems that it’s nothing to do with water but is people singing and dancing. They booked their tickets and could talk of nothing but music, costumes and dancing. It did sound interesting but my PA said it wasn’t suitable for goats and that I must stay at home. It will be boring staying here on my own so I will have to think of something else to do while they are away.

 

At last the night arrived and they came to see me before they left. They were all dressed up and wearing that funny coloured stuff on their faces. One of the SAPS was wearing perfume that made me sneeze and they were all wearing what they called “killer heels”. If you ask me they probably will be killed or injured as none of them seem to be able to walk properly in their fancy shoes. It’s a good job they don’t wear them for work or I’d never get bathed or fed.

 

They went off laughing and talking to catch the bus leaving me alone. It’s true they had turned on my television and left me some goat treats but still it would be a long lonely evening. I was just going to settle down on my duvet when I noticed that in the rush to catch the bus they had forgotten to bolt my door. Now I could have some fun too. I wondered what to do and then it came to me. Of course! I could go to Rushford and watch Riverdance too.

 

The bus to Rushford stops at the end of the drive so I hurried down there. The first bus had already gone but as it was a dark, rainy evening there were a few people waiting for the next one. I hid behind a bush until the bus arrived and then while people were paying and arguing with the driver about something called “change for a twenty” I sneaked up the steps and hid under a seat. After an exchange of insults with the driver everyone sat down and the bus set off.

 

Once we reached the Falconberg Arms everyone got off an went into the pub. The bus driver was just about to drive off when he noticed me. He turned off the engine and walked towards me. “Those nutters from St Mary’s left you here didn’t they.? Well, they’re not leaving me with a goat. Come here!”

He tried to grab my head collar but I was too quick for him. I dodged round him and scrambled down the steps. I didn’t want anyone from St Mary’s to see me. They might take me home and I was determined to have my night out. I ran as fast as I could towards Rushford. The driver ran a little way after me but then gave up and went back to the bus. I knew he still might see me so I hid in the ditch until the bus went by then I climbed back onto the road and walked on.

 

Although a few cars went by nobody seemed to notice me. It wouldn’t be long before I reached Rushford and then I could find the theatre. Just as I was thinking that things were going well a police car came hurtling round the corner with its lights flashing. It gave me such a shock that I stood quite still. It stopped with a squeal of brakes and two policemen got out.

“It’s a goat! We’d better get it into a field so it doesn’t cause an accident but we’ll have to come back later and sort it out after we’ve dealt with that break in.”

 

Before I knew it one of them had grabbed my head collar and the other was opening the gate to a field. I tried to struggle free but they were too strong for me and I was pushed into the field, the gate was shut and they drove off at speed. I stood quite still and looked around. The field had high hedges and some wire fencing but I hoped I might find somewhere to squeeze through. I began to walk along the hedge nearest the road and just as I was beginning to think I was trapped I spotted a small gap. It looked as though a fox or badger had made it. I began to use my hooves to make it bigger. It took a while but at last I squeezed through. I began to trot as fast as I could. I hoped I wouldn’t be too late to see the show.

 

When I got into the town I began to look for the theatre. It turned out to be easy to find as there were lights along the front and a big poster with a picture of people dancing. I was very excited as I trotted up the steps but then I discovered that the doors were shut fast and I couldn’t get in. Surely I hadn’t come all this way for nothing? I could hear music playing inside so the show hadn’t finished. I decided to see if there was another way in. As I walked down the narrow alley at the side of the theatre a door swung open and a man came out carrying some rubbish sacks. He went towards the big bins and while his back was turned I nipped into the building.

 

I could still hear music so I began to go up some stairs towards it. The music stopped as I got to the top and to my surprise everything was dark. I could dimly see some people standing quite still in a big open space. I began to walk towards them and then lights began to come on one by one. As each person was lit up they began to dance and then they moved into a long line. I moved a little closer to see better. It was fascinating. Their legs were all moving at the same time and they were jumping, tapping and stamping at great speed. At that moment the girl nearest to me saw me and her face changed. Somehow in my excitement I had got nearer and nearer to the dancers and now the bright lights were on me too. There was only one thing to do. I began to stamp and kick my legs up as though I was dancing.

 

I could hear laughing from somewhere and that’s when I realised that lots of people were watching us and clapping to the music. The music got faster and the dancers formed a circle with two people in the middle. I wasn’t going to be left out so I dodged between the dancer’s legs until I was in the middle too. The man and the girl were doing some very complicated dancing when they saw me. At first I thought they were angry but then the man laughed and danced towards me. He picked up my front hooves so that I was on my hind legs and twirled me round and round while the girl danced round us. The music got louder and faster and then suddenly stopped. Just in time too as I was beginning to get dizzy.

There was a moment of silence and then a great roar of clapping and cheering. The dancers all formed a line with the two main dancers and me at the front and they all bowed. I did my best bow too and the cheering got even louder. A man came on stage with some flowers for the main dancer and she very kindly gave one to me. I must say it was very tasty. The crowd laughed and clapped again as we all bowed and then some big curtains came down and the show was over.

 

It was then that I noticed my PA and the SAPS standing at the side. Once the curtains were closed my PA came forward and took a very firm grip on my head collar while she said how sorry she was that I had ruined the finale. The dancers all laughed and said it was the most interesting show they had done for a long time and I could dance with them any time.

 

My PA led me out of the theatre and began to discuss with the SAPS how we could get home. Of course they couldn’t walk because of the “killer heels” so they decided they would have to go on the busWe waited ages for it to come and then the driver didn’t want to let me on.

“Is this a joke?” He said crossly. “I’ve already been left with a goat once tonight and I’m not falling for it again”

After a lot of pleading and a few tears from one of the SAPS he relented and let us on. As the bus neared the Falconberg Arms the driver had to swerve to avoid a parked police car. It was dark by now but we could just see two policemen with torches searching for something in a field.

 

“Oh look. I wonder what they are looking for”said my PA.

The following week the Rushford Reporter had the headline “Dancing Goat Steals The Show” and there was a picture of me taking my bow with the dancers. I shall get my PA to make a scrap book of my press cuttings. She might even be able to put my adventures on Facebook.

by Jo Robinson SAP

My visit to the kitchen garden.

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

 

    As it has been such a good Summer lots of delicious fruit and vegetables have been coming my way from the Grounds Staff. I have heard my PA and the SAPS saying how beautiful the gardens are. I’ve never been allowed to go in the gardens although I have sampled the plants in the urns on the terrace.

Angus told me that it’s impossible to get into the kitchen garden as the gate is kept locked. Vortigern assures us that he can get in over the wall any time he wants but he doesn’t bother because he doesn’t like fruit and vegetables. Angus rolled her eyes at this so I wonder if it’s true.

 

Turk came ambling along as we were talking, swishing his tail at the flies and grumbling about how hot it was in the stables. When he heard what we were talking about he laughed and said “Oh there’s another entrance near the stables. It’s where they wheel barrows of manure in from the muck heap”

At that I pricked up my ears and Angus looked as interested as it’s possible to to look with such a feathery face. “Do you think you could show us the way?” I asked.

 

Vortigern said he would rather stay in my stable as he was sure there were mice somewhere about but the rest of us set off towards the stables. It was such a hot day that most people were down by the lake so there was nobody to stop us. Turk led the way towards a high wall and there half hidden by ivy was a wooden gate. It had a round handle which Turk grabbed with his teeth. He twisted it sideways, there was a loud click and the door swung open.

         

We were in the kitchen garden and it was amazing. There were brick paths and neat beds full of all kinds of fruit and vegetables. There was a big greenhouse full of cucumbers and tomatoes and there were even hanging baskets with tomatoes tumbling out of them.

 

Angus took one look and then fluttered over to the lettuce bed where she began scratching and murmuring to herself about grubs and worms. I had seen a row of canes with wires stretched between them and tall plants growing up them with scarlet flowers. When I got closer I could see long pods among the leaves and flowers. Beans! I like beans so I helped myself to the nearest ones. They were excellent but I couldn’t quite reach the top ones so I reared up on my hind legs and put my front legs on the wires. All was well for a while and I munched happily away until I suddenly realised that the canes were beginning to lean sideways. I thought perhaps I’d better get down and just as I did the whole row fell over. Quite a lot of the bean plants were broken and it looked a bit of a mess but how was I to know that something like that would happen. I expect they bought cheap canes.

 

I looked around to see what the others were doing. Angus was still busy scratching in the lettuce bed and having a lovely time. The bed didn’t look quite as neat as before and there was a lot of soil and quite a few lettuce plants lying on the path. Turk, meanwhile, was nibbling at the tomatoes in the hanging baskets. He’s tall so he can reach easily but I did notice he was carelessly pulling the plants out as he chewed. The path around him was covered in bits of leaf and squashed tomatoes that he had walked on.

 

At that moment Vortigern came strolling in. He was twitching his tail from side to side and looking grumpy so I guessed he hadn’t caught any mice.

“I know they’re there but you and Turk clomping around make them hide”

 

Well really! I do not clomp around. Turk may be a little heavy hoofed but I have very dainty feet. Just look at the way I can creep about when I don’t want anyone to see me. I was just about to tell Vortigern how outraged I was when he flattened himself down and began to creep forwards. A pair of wood pigeons had just landed on the wall and he obviously thought he would catch one. I decided to leave him to it and looked around for the others.

 

I thought at first that Angus had gone home but then I saw that she had made herself a comfy dust bath in the lettuce bed and was happily crooning to herself while she fluttered around throwing soil everywhere. Turk had moved on to investigating a bed of carrots quite near to where the pigeons were cooing and bowing to one another on the wall. I like carrots so I decided to go and pull some up too.

 

I had barely got the first carrot in my mouth when Vortigern made his move on the pigeons and made a sudden wild leap towards the top of the wall. Of course he didn’t get anywhere near catching them and I’m sure I could hear them laughing as they flew off. Vortigern landed in an undignified sprawl on top of a pile of plant pots that were stacked against the wall. Lots of things happened at once. There was a terrible crash as the pots fell over, a loud yowl as Vortigern picked himself up and ran across the garden and a terrific thump as Turk jumped nervously and crashed into a pair of big wooden gates.

 

Much to my surprise the gates swung open. They had only been bolted and the weight of a large horse crashing into them was enough to break the bolt.

In the distance I heard another yowl and a loud squawk. Obviously Vortigern had run straight into Angus and her dust bath. Turk looked at me and I could see he was a bit ashamed of being so easily startled so I said “Well done. You’ve opened the gates to the flower garden. Shall we go in?”

 

The garden was just as beautiful as my PA had said. There were beds full of roses and many other kinds of flowers. There was a lovely green lawn and in one corner a fountain. Turk hurried forwards, lay down on the lawn and began to roll enthusiastically waving his legs in the air. I decided to go and look at the fountain. It was nothing like the one I had seen at Chatsworth but it was very nice and I was able to have a refreshing drink.

 

There was a tall hedge between the garden and the house and it was while I was having my drink that I heard the crunch of footsteps on gravel and a voice said “I’m sure I heard a crash from the kitchen garden. I hope the squirrels haven’t broken anything.” Suddenly I realised what a mess we had made and I wondered what to do. Turk was still rolling on the grass and obviously hadn’t heard. I tried to attract his attention but he was enjoying himself too much to notice. The footsteps were getting closer so I hid behind the fountain. A voice said

“Turk you big lump. What are you doing here?”

There was a grunting sound as Turk got himself the right way up and got to his feet. There was a great wail

“Oh no! Come and look at the kitchen garden. All our hard work! What a mess!”

This seemed like a good time to go back to my stable so I crept off and got behind the hedge. Looking back I could see Turk prancing round in circles with two people trying to catch him while he laughed at them. I must say there was some impressive use of bad language. Nobody had even noticed me so I trotted home.

 

Later that night when my PA came to feed me she said “Sorry Pliny. No carrots tonight. Turk has wrecked the kitchen garden. I can’t think how he did so much damage on his own.”

Hmm! I wonder if I should tell her what really happened.

by Jo Robinson SAP

Obedience Class

by Rachel Dawson PA

Pliny news

Well I’m outraged absolutely outraged, Yesterday I heard my pa complaining to the saps that she didn't get her £500 deposit back on the camper van, because of me using the beds as a trampoline after eating mint cake while we were on holiday my argument is if beds aren't meant to be jumped on why are they are springy. Then a Sap tells her I set the alarm off in the main building she went off muttering that she is going to sort it out.

 

Well this morning she came in with the harness and that dreaded lead and said we are going for a walk.The saps were watching and sniggering so I stuck my head up and thought of a nice little trip to the Falconberg Arms. The lady behind the bar likes me she gives me crisps. But we didn't we went past it to the village hall. When we got there it was full of humans and dogs, must be a public appearance and why wasn't I told I must look my best for these things.

 

Then a woman come in wearing a blue jumper saying pup rescue dog training on the back oh well my fame gets everywhere so didn't bother. Until she said would the owners stand up and introduce there dog's looked at me and went erm mm animal. Something  wierd was going on, it got to our turn and my pa introduced herself as Rachel (didn't know that she was called that, to be fair to me she answers to Hay you), and this is pliny St Mary's regimental goat. Great she said shall we get on with the obedience part of the class, what obedience me! outraged no way!!!!. The dog next to me said it will be fun.

 

So I will see what happens first the women said let's walk your pet round the room well I'm excellent at that so I thought I would show how its done. The woman said get your animal to sit. I was tired so I sat down and my pa said good pliny and gave me a carrot stick oh no she thinks I'm behaving. Next excersise calling your animal, each owner went to end of the room and called there dog, I cheered the slow ones, then it was my turn first I ignored her then I wandered off and ate a plant, next call I went to talk to a big dog. By now my pa was on her knees pleading for me to come I was so embarrassed I went outside.

 

The woman running it said "OK then let's have some fun on the obstacle course."

I watched the dogs running and jumping, then it was my turn. I went into this tunnel and I was nice so I decided to have a nap. My pa had to climb in and get me and I wasn't impressed at all. The woman in charge says perhaps you should leave. While my pa was paying and apologising for me I went home and put my hooves up.

 

About an hour later my pa turned up smelling of alcohol and fed me said you are impossible. Well, let's face it, it's your own fault fancy taking me, the famous goat, to a obedience class. She padlocked my door and the other saps came up and asked how it went she threw her arms up said " I give up he's uncontrollable."

My work here is done Pliny 25 pa 0 I'm sorry my report is late as my stupid pa deleted it she said by accident I'm not sure.

Bye for now my acolytes. Pliny Official Regimental Goat

Exploring St Mary’s

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

 

Things have been a bit dull since I came back from my lovely holiday. I heard my PA tell the SAPS that she needed another holiday to get over it. I hope she remembers to take me if she goes away again. I really enjoyed myself at the waterfall and on my boat rides but the best thing of all was the Kendal Mint Cake. My PA says I can’t have any more as I’m a “nightmare” when I eat it. I’ve looked everywhere I can think of but I can’t find where she’s hidden it. I hope she hasn’t given it to Turk!

 

My head collar has begun to come unstitched so my PA said she was going to take it to be mended. As soon as she’d gone I let myself out of my stable and looked around for something exciting to do. I’ve never been inside St Mary’s except when I went to Sick Bay so I decided to try to get in to have a look round. It always sounds very interesting when people talk about it although Jenny told me it’s no use trying to get into the place called Hawking as a man called Jay keeps it locked up.

 

I was in luck. The front door was ajar and I was able to push it open. I saw a big room with people drinking mugs of tea and waving papers around and shouting at one another. Nobody seemed to notice me so I went in. Ahead of me was a wooden staircase so I decided to go up there first. Quite a few doors lead off the landing. I cautiously pushed one gently and a voice yelled ”Don’t open the door you idiot. You’ll let the smoke out”

Smoke? Was there a fire? There was certainly a very strange smell but the smoke I could see was blue! I decided to move on.

 

When I opened the next door I saw a cross looking lady with very curly hair sitting behind a desk.

“What do you want? It’s like working in a mad house. Chickens! Goats! No wonder I can’t get on with my work”

She got to her feet, picked up a file and marched off down the stairs. Well really! How rude!

 

I moved on and peeped into the next room. It was big but crowded with racks of clothes. There was every colour and style you could think of and in the middle of it all sat a group of ladies all busy sewing. One person had a pile of feathers in front of her and seemed to be making a hat. She half turned and said “Whoever you are either come in or go out but don’t stand in the doorway. These feathers will be everywhere if you don’t stop making a draft” I decided to go somewhere else. I only wear my coats so I’m not very interested in clothes and I’m certainly not going to wear a feathery hat. Angus might be insulted.

 

I could see a corridor leading off the landing so I decided to explore that way next. At the end there were two metal doors with a button next to them. When I pressed it with my nose the doors opened and I recognised what it was. It was the little room that goes up and down. My PA called it a lift. I trotted inside but the lift didn’t move and the doors stayed open. I looked around and saw lots more buttons. Which one should I press? One was red with a big word beginning with E written on it. It was obviously the most important one so I pressed it. The lift still didn’t move but a very loud bell began to ring. I decided that the lift must be broken so I went down the stairs instead. When I got to the bottom everyone was rushing around and shouting about “bloody alarms”. One person was trying to get everyone to leave but nobody was taking any notice. I could see a corridor with a sort of little signpost sticking out of the wall. I’m not very good at reading but I could see a K. Could that be the way to the Kitchen?

 

I trotted off to find out and I was right. It was the kitchen but there didn’t seem to be anyone about. They make all sorts of lovely things in the kitchens so I began to look around for some cake or maybe some chocolate tiffin. I couldn’t see any but there was a huge pan on the stove and a lovely smell was coming from it. I pushed the lid of the pan with my nose and it fell off with a loud clatter. When I stood up on my hind legs I could see that the pan was full of all kinds of vegetables bubbling away. They looked delicious but a bit hot. I took a big sniff and was just wondering how I could get some out when there was a loud shriek behind me. “Pliny! Leave the soup alone. I hope you haven’t dribbled into it.”

I looked around and there were all the kitchen staff looking quite cross. I quickly got all my hooves on the ground ready to run but they were all too busy looking into the pan and discussing if anyone would notice that they were eating “goat spit soup” or if they should make a new pan of it. I decided I had better leave while they were busy talking so I crept out into the corridor and there I spotted another door.

 

Maybe I could find a way out without going back to the hall. Behind the door was an enormous room filled with shelf after shelf of books. I like books. My PA and the SAPS often read to me and I have been to the Library in Rushford. I guessed that this must be the library that Turk had told me about although there didn’t seem to be any swans about. In fact there didn’t seem to be anyone there so I decided to have a good look round.

 

The tall bookshelves made it seem as though there were lots of little rooms inside the big one. There were chairs and sofas and cushions and it all seemed very comfortable. In one of the little rooms there was a table with a kettle, lots of mugs and a big biscuit box. I pushed at the lid and nibbled it to see if it would open. I was just about to give up when the tin slid off the table, landed upside down on the floor and lots of biscuits fell out. I was in luck! They were my favourite chocolate Hobnobs. Once I had eaten as many as I could I began to look for a way out and that’s when I got a shock. There was someone there after all. Someone was lying on a pile of cushions in a corner surrounded by piles of books with an empty mug and a lot of crumbs on the floor beside her. I waited for her to jump up and tell me off but when I looked more closely I saw she was fast asleep. Time to go before she woke up!

 

There didn’t seem to be another door but one of the long windows was open so it was easy to climb out. I could still hear the alarm and lots of shouting going on so I trotted back to my stable for some peace and quiet. When my PA came back with my head collar she said that “some idiot” had pressed the emergency button in the lift and that the evening meal was going to be late because the soup wasn’t ready.

 

The library ladies were trying to persuade the kitchen staff to lend them Vortigern because they were convinced they had a plague of mice as a lot of their biscuits had disappeared even though someone had been in the library doing research all afternoon. I wonder why humans are so excitable and I wonder why they shout such a lot? I gave my PA my best smile and she made me a lovely bucket of tea. Things are never dull for long at St Mary’s!

by Jo Robinson SAP

My Holiday in the Lake District

by Pliny Official Regimental Goat

Part One

I have been quite sad recently or “moping around” as my PA very unsympathetically described it. Sometimes I despair of her! I have had a lot to put up with recently. First my friends went back to America so there is no one to listen to my stories and then the internet dating was no good. I suppose there aren’t many goats of my status around so I have given up on that idea.

 

Today though my PA told me that something exciting is happening at last. We are going on holiday! She says she is taking me because no one else will agree to look after me as they can’t afford the deductions from wages but I know it’s because she can’t bear to be away from me for long. She has borrowed a motor home from a friend and we are going somewhere called the Lake District. It sounds very interesting. I want to go on a boat but my PA said “over her dead body”. I think that means maybe we will.

 

The motor home is very smart and there are two beds so that means my PA won’t have to sleep on the floor. She says I can’t take my duvet as it’s too smelly but she has bought me a fleece blanket so I expect that will be quite comfortable. There is a little kitchen and bathroom and lots of cupboards which the kitchen staff have kindly filled with food including lots of goat treats. My PA has bought me a harness to wear which clips onto the seat belt so I can sit in the front and see where we’re going.

 

On the morning we were leaving I woke up at 4 am because I was so excited. I had a long wait as my PA said she wasn’t leaving a minute before 9 so that we would “miss the traffic”. I wasn’t too sure about that remark. It made it sound as though she expected to hit things. At last she put on my harness and we were ready to go.

 

As usual lots of people had come to see us leave and as we drove off they all fell about laughing and pointed at the back of the motor home. Once we were out of sight my PA stopped and went to look what they were laughing at. She came back with a banner with sparkly writing on it that said “Pliny on Tour”. She was very cross and said it made us look ridiculous but I thought it was rather good. We whizzed along and it was good fun being high up. You can see right over the walls and hedges.

 

Soon we got onto a very wide road which my PA said was called the M6. It was fun speeding along. We passed lots of big trucks and I waved my hoof at the drivers until my PA told me to stop. I don’t know why! Some of the drivers flashed their lights and some waved back with their fingers so they obviously realised that a celebrity was overtaking them. There was nothing much to do after that so I fell asleep.

 

When I woke we had turned of the motorway and were in a car park. My PA said we were at something called a Service Station and she thought it was time I stretched my legs. When I got out she grabbed my harness and clipped a lead onto it. A LEAD! It was even worse than a rope but she said I wouldn’t be able to walk around safely without it so I had to agree to it. In some ways it was even more annoying than a rope as it clipped on in the middle of my back and I wasn’t sure I could reach it to chew it. We soon found a nice grassy bit to walk on and as usual I caused a sensation. Lots of people gave me things to eat and asked my name and where we were going.

 

After a while my PA said it was time to go so she put me back in the motor home while she went to buy some sweets for the rest of the journey.All sorts of people came to talk to me as she had left the window open so I wasn’t at all bored. When she came back she had bought something called Kendal Mint Cake. To my surprise it wasn’t cake at all but a bar of very sweet, crispy, minty stuff. My PA said it’s very famous and climbers and explorers take it with them on expeditions to give them energy. I was keen to try some as I am an explorer and it might be useful on my adventures. It was very sweet and very minty. She said I could only have a little piece as I would be jumping around in my seat if I had too much.

 

Soon we were on our way again heading for a place called Ullswater which is a big lake. Perhaps this would be where I would get my boat trip? My PA said we would find somewhere to park and go for a walk and then tomorrow we would do some exploring. I enjoyed my walk even though I had to wear that stupid lead again. We walked along the edge of the lake and I was allowed to splash around in the shallow bits. My PA even took off her boots and socks and paddled. We splashed water at one another and she got cross because she said I had soaked her. It was really good fun.

 

When we got back to our motor home we had a delicious meal. There are some seriously good cooks in our kitchens. After I had a little bit more Mint Cake and then I snuggled up on my bed with my blanket and my PA began to look through things she called “guide books”. They looked boring to me so I went to sleep.

 

When I woke up my PA was cooking bacon butties and making tea. I am very fond of bacon butties although she says they are not at all the kind thing goats should eat. Well I don’t think she should drink that apple stuff that begins with a c as it always makes her fall asleep. Bacon butties and tea just set me up nicely for the day. I persuaded her to give me two and a large bowl of tea and then I ate a couple of apples to please her. After that I was ready for anything.

 

My PA had planned a busy day. First we were going to see a famous waterfall called Aira Force. We trundled along until we got to the car park. It seemed to be very popular and there were lots of cars and mini buses. My PA said I must stay close to her so I didn’t get lost and we set off to follow the trail. There were lots of other people on the path so my PA wouldn’t let me lead the way as I usually do. The waterfall was very exciting to look at and my PA began to take photos. It was quite tricky to do while she was holding my lead so she tied me to a nearby bush. It was boring standing there while she fiddled about with her camera so I gave a sharp tug and a bit of the bush broke off so I could move away. I could see a bridge over the water and I wanted to see what the waterfall looked like from there.

 

Ahead of me was a group of people with a couple of dogs all chatting happily together. At the back of the group was a little girl. I thought she looked a bit lonely so I trotted to catch up and walked alongside her. She smiled at me and picked up the end of my lead which was trailing along behind me. She disentangled the broken bit of bush and threw it away and we walked on together. The view from the bridge was very good. I could see my PA puffing up the hill looking very hot and cross so I waved my hoof at her. She didn’t look a bit pleased to see me and she didn’t wave back. I expect she was annoyed that I had got there first.

 

The group I was with began to walk down towards the car park. I had seen all I wanted to see so I decided to go with them. My PA would catch up eventually and the little girl was sharing her chocolate buttons with me so it seemed a shame not to go. Everyone got into their cars and began to drive away. The little girl waved to me and I waved back. I walked slowly back to the motor home but of course it was locked so I sat down in the shade and waited. I didn’t have to wait long before my PA came running across the car park. “Thank goodness you’re safe. I’ve told you not to go off on your own. Anything could have happened to you.” We were both very thirsty so we had a snack and a drink before we set off to drive to Keswick.

 

I was quite excited as my PA had told me there was a lake there called Derwentwater and I was certain there would be boats. We found a place to park and set off towards the shops. We discovered that it was market day so my PA said we would buy some vegetables for my supper. We soon found the right stall and while she was choosing what to buy I looked around. Nearby was an amazing shop with chocolates and sweets displayed in the window. The doors were open and I could smell delicious smells. One in particular seemed very familiar. Kendal Mint Cake!

 

My PA was busy paying for the shopping so I gave a hard jerk on the lead, it slipped through her fingers and I set off at a fast trot to the shop. The doors were open so I went in and it was amazing. There were shelves and tables and counters everywhere all filled with every kind of chocolate or biscuit or sweet you could imagine. A few people tried to grab my harness but I am good at avoiding being caught and I soon found the table with the Mint Cake. I was just choosing which bar to eat first when a voice said “Pliny! No!” My PA had caught up with me and so had the manager of the shop.

 

My PA did lots of apologising and explained that I loved Mint Cake. The manager was very nice and said it was alright because I hadn’t done any damage. Then she asked if I would pose for a photograph as it would be a good advertisement for the shop and for the Mint Cake. What a nice person and of course she had recognised me as a celebrity goat. So I posed with the manager and she held a big bar of Mint Cake. When the photographs were finished the manager gave my PA a big box of goodies for us to take on our journey and she gave me my very own basket of Mint Cake.

 

It took us ages to get out of the shop as so many people wanted to pat me and stroke me but finally we were able to walk back to our motor home. Once we were inside my PA said “How do you do it, Pliny. You behave so badly and everyone forgives you. I give up!” I hoped we would go down to the lake next for my boat ride but my PA said we were driving off to a place called Cockermouth as she was exhausted by what she called my “antics”. Well really! As if I hadn’t just got her a free box of biscuits and chocolate. How ungrateful! To be continued.........

My Holiday in the Lake District

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

Part Two

After a good nights sleep and another delicious breakfast I was ready for anything. Cockermouth turned out to be a very interesting town. We had a good walk round and saw the birth place of William Wordsworth. My PA said he was a famous poet and she recited a poem about daffodils. It would have been better if it had been about goats but he doesn’t seem to have written one of those.

 

When we had eaten our lunch my PA said we would go and look at the sea. I liked that idea. I’ve been to the seaside before and it was good fun. I wondered if there would be a roundabout. Maybe my PA would take me on it! Imagine my surprise when we got to Maryport. It’s not at all like the seaside I visited before. My PA explained that it has something called a harbour and in the past it was busy with ships carrying coal.

 

There is lots of history to learn about but she didn’t think I would like it so she left me in the motor home with some tasty apples and carrots and a little piece of Mint Cake while she went to find out all about it. While she was away I had a good look round but she had hidden the treats the chocolate shop lady had given us which was a pity. She doesn’t trust me at all! I only wanted to count how many pieces of Mint Cake were left. I went and sat in the driving seat for a while. I’m sure I could do it but she had taken the keys with her so I couldn’t start the engine.

 

When she came back she was very excited and began telling me about Romans and walls and forts. It was all quite boring and she hadn’t found out anything about boat trips. Once she noticed I was yawning she said perhaps we’d better set off back towards Keswick so we could find somewhere to spend the night. On the way we drove right past Bassenthwaite Lake and I could see lots of people in little boats. My PA said they were kayaks but she didn’t stop so I could have a go. Ah well! Maybe tomorrow I would get my boat trip.

 

The following morning my PA said we were going to drive to Lake Windermere which is the biggest lake in England. She said we would go across the lake because she wanted to go to a place called Sawrey. Across the lake? Was there a bridge? My PA explained that there was something called a ferry that we could travel on and that it’s a kind of boat that can carry cars. “There you are, Pliny” she said “You’ll get your boat trip but you’ll be quite safe sitting in the motor home”

 

We drove towards the ferry while my PA explained that she wanted to visit Beatrix Potters house and she told me the story about Peter Rabbit. We turned onto the road to the ferry but in front of us was a big queue of cars and we had to stop. There was a sign which my PA said told us that we would have to wait half an hour. “I’ll go and get us some ice cream. The time will soon go"

 

She went off, leaving the window open for me, and I watched lots of people walking by. There were people with big back packs, people with dogs and even people with bikes. It was quite interesting but I wished I could get out and walk around. I started to wriggle about to see if I could get out of my harness and to my surprise there was a sudden click and it came unfastened from the seat belt. It was easy to jump out of the window and I was free to trot off down the road towards the lake. I saw the ice cream van and my PA was just paying. She didn’t notice me go past.

 

Now I could see the water and the ferry coming towards me. It slowed, the ramp pushed up to the road, the gates opened and cars began to drive off. There was a place where people could walk off and once they had gone others began to walk on and I went with them. I wanted to see what was at the other end of the ferry. To my surprise there was another ramp with gates so the cars could drive straight off when they reached the other side. I went as close to the edge as I could and looked at the water. It looked cold and quite deep. I could feel the ferry moving gently up and down. Suddenly there was a throbbing noise and the ferry began to move. I hurried back the way I’d come but it was too late. We were already moving away from the shore and I couldn’t get off. I could see my PA standing waving her arms around but there was nothing she could do.

 

A man appeared and said “Now where have you come from? Well there’s nothing we can do. You’ll just have to stay on board until we make the return trip. Someone will be waiting for you I’m sure.” As there was nothing I could do I decided to enjoy the trip. The man was very nice and gave me a biscuit and it was very interesting watching how things worked. There weren’t as many cars waiting on the other side and we were soon on our way back. I suddenly wondered if my PA might have been so cross that she hadn’t waited for me but as we neared the shore I could see the motor home waiting in the queue.

 

Once the ferry had stopped the cars drove off and more began to drive on. The motor home was the very last one. The ferry began to move and I saw my PA apologising to the man and paying him. I began to walk slowly towards her. I hoped she wouldn’t be too cross but to my surprise she was laughing. “Only you could stow away on a car ferry. Now you’ve had three boat trips perhaps you’ll be happy.”

 

I was quite tired so I wasn’t too disappointed when she said goats weren’t allowed at Hilltop which is what Beatrix Potter’s house is called. I fell fast asleep on my bed and didn’t wake up until she came back. She had had a lovely time and had bought a cuddly Peter Rabbit. I don’t know why she wants that when she has me to cuddle! This was our last holiday night so my PA bought fish and chips and a bottle of that apple stuff for a treat and she made me a big bowl of oats with carrot and apple. Then she allowed me to have two bits of Mint Cake although she said I didn’t really deserve treats.

 

In the morning we set off for home. We whizzed down the motorway and it didn’t seem long before we were driving in the gates of St Mary’s. There was a banner over my stable saying “Welcome Home Pliny”. My bed had fresh straw and the SAPS had washed my duvet. They were very pleased when they saw the big box of chocolate and biscuits we had been given.

hat night my friends came to see me and I was able to offer them some Mint Cake while I told them about my adventures. Turk loved it and was able to have some extra bits because neither Angus nor Vortigern would touch it. Angus said it made her beak feel funny and Vortigern was in a bad mood because he still hasn’t caught the mouse that he thinks lives in my stable. He’s promised to keep on trying.

 

My PA is going to help me send a message and some photos to my American friends. I hope they can come to visit soon so I can take them to the chocolate shop and the ferry. I do like holidays. I hope we can go again soon.

by Jo Robinson SAP

A Letter Home

by Hazel, Alice, Sadie, Scotchy and Tango

Good whatever-time-of-the-day, VSM’s! I received a letter from my goats this morning. It’s written by Hazel. (I can tell because she always calls me MAAAA!) Posting below as someone may want to warn the proper authorities….

 

Dear MAAAA! Our most gracious and handsome host, Pliny, has shown us so many interesting things here. We have ridden in a truck and gone on picnics and eaten cake. (So much cake!) Pliny keeps giving us what he calls biscuits. We were rather confused at first because they are not at all like the biscuits you give us at home. They taste like cookies! Upon our return we’d prefer that all our biscuits taste like cookies, please.

 Pliny says that you are something called a PA. I have trouble yelling that, especially when my mouth is filled with the biscuit cookies so I’ve talked to the rest of the herd and they say I should continue to call you MAAAA as long as you agree to provide us with the biscuit cookies upon our return. There are other people persons here who Pliny calls SAPS, who seem to assist the PA but also do the bidding of other small animals. They all do a lot of the same things you do, except they take us for rides in a truck. We like the truck and Pliny says we are to request one immediately upon our return. He says that, as we have now rubbed noses with a goat who is practically royalty we deserve only the best. We have discussed this and agree.

There are also lady people who visit us and make us all sparkly with something they called glitter. It does not taste as good as the biscuit cookies but we all look very beautiful! Pliny says we are meant to sparkle and that you are to go out and purchase this thing called glitter right away.

We have learned many other useful things on our visit, such as the importance of making friends with a horse. Our horse friend, Turk, can open locked stalls, which is very important since the PA and SAP people persons keep forgetting to unlock ours before they go to bed. We know that you forget this often as well, so we suggest you get us a horse. A horse like Turk would be of great assistance to all of us. We have asked him if he would like to come back with us but he says he still has important work to do at St. Mary’s.

We tried to make friends with some rather large birds called Those Damned Swans. Most of them seem rather preoccupied with flying into trees and in and out of the building. Some were blue for a while and then they were pink and then they were blue again. Those were the really grumpy ones. It is better to stay away from them. The white ones are much nicer. We have made quite good friends with one of the big white ones who calls himself Basil. Basil has been on adventures too and his stories have helped us to not miss home so much. He visits us with a very small Those Damned Swan whom he calls Rufus. On the nights when Turk is too busy to unlock our stall we listen to Basil tell of the picnics he has attended and the cakes he has tasted! We agree with small Rufus that adventures are top notch and everyone should have them. Especially when they include cake! And biscuit cookies!

The PA and the SAPs seemed to be worried about us at first because they thought we would be frightened by all the things that go BOOM and BANG here. (Probably because the loud noises get Those Damned Swans all stirred up.) I guess they don’t realize how often BOOMS and BANGS happens at our house and how much we enjoy it. We surprised Pliny with fireworks we brought from home. (The ones you had in the box by the barn.) We don’t know where they are but Pliny says he prefers to remain on something he calls the “down low” and has given them to Turk. Pliny says Turk “knows people” and has assured him that there will be a beautiful send off for us when we go. Do you “know people” who can get more fireworks on the “down low” when we get home? We really should have thought to save some there and not brought the whole box. We like fireworks. You should go get more.

And speaking of home, that brings me to the most important news. We will be leaving here and arriving home soon! We had wanted to stay longer but Alice, Sadie and I couldn’t decide which one of us should stay and marry Pliny. He is quite dreamy! We know Scotchy and Tango also think the world of him because they call him Sir Horse’s Arse. Doesn’t that sound like a noble title? They started calling him that after he said he can’t marry any of us because he is destined to marry royalty. We are heartbroken but are supporting each other and wish him well. Pliny says to watch for his wedding as it should be televised as all royal weddings are televised. Do we have a televise? If not, Pliny says we should get a big one. He says we are to come inside for this event and that there should be a very large cake provided. We told him we would and to please wave to us when he walks down the aisle.

I’d better go now, MAAAAAA. The SAPs have arrived with a very pretty wooden box. It is huge! Maybe it is a going away gift filled with the biscuit cookies! Wait….they are telling us we have to get inside the box before we can go on another truck ride? Well, that seems rude and I see there are no biscuit cookies in here at all. But it does look beautiful as the glitter girls have decorated it so sparkly! They say we will be leaving at dark. That is good since fireworks are so much prettier after dark! I hope they don’t forget! I hope someone remembers the biscuit cookies so we can snack on the way home. I am giving this letter to our friend Turk now with instructions to make sure it gets to you quickly so you can greet us at the airport. Bring biscuit cookies.

See you soon MAAAA!

Love from the traveling Crazy Critter Goats! Hazel, Alice, Sadie, Scotchy & Tango

by Deb Danielson

My visit to Rushford Library. By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

It’s a couple of weeks now since I had my accident and I am feeling much better. It was fun having lots of visitors and treats but now I’m beginning to get a bit bored. My PA has been reading me books which she says she gets from the library and I would like to know what this library is like. Angus says they have very nice tea and biscuits but there is often a queue as the swans like it in there.

 

Turk told me that there is a library in Rushford that he doesn’t think the swans know about. He knows because it’s next to the postbox that he pretends he’s afraid of so that he can throw his rider and come home alone. Last time he jumped about so much that he bumped into a lady on the pavement and made her drop her library books. I decided that a visit to the library would be a good first trip out for me as it’s not too far for me to walk and they might have some of those books my PA has been reading to me. They are all about another place called St Mary’s and they are very exciting although in my opinion they would do better if they had a couple of goats on the staff.

 

Vortigern and Angus said they would come too so that they could check if the tea and biscuits were any good so we waited until after lunch when everything was quiet and then I opened my stable door, using the trick Turk taught me to pull the bolt, and we set off.

 

Angus rode on my back but Vortigern preferred to stalk along peering into hedges and occasionally wacking dead leaves around with his paws. It was a pleasant walk and I was pleased to find that my legs didn’t ache at all. Angus chattered away but Vortigern didn’t say much and soon he dived into a gap in the hedge and disappeared. Angus said he was after a rabbit. I don’t know why he bothers because he never eats anything he catches and they won’t let him take it in the kitchen after the last time when he let a live mouse go and everyone screamed and yelled at him. He said they were ungrateful but I can see it must be upsetting when you are peacefully making toad in the hole and a mouse runs over your foot. It took them ages to clean up all that spilt batter.      

 

Soon Angus and I reached Rushford and looked around for the Library. It was easy to see the postbox and there were hoof prints on the pavement which showed that Turk had been there. The Library was just behind the postbox so we headed for the door. We had a big surprise because the door swung open as we got near it. It made me jump back and as soon as I did the door closed again. I cautiously moved forward again and it opened. I could do with a door like that on my stable. I shall tell my PA to organise one for me!  

 

           We stepped inside and looked around. There were lots of pushchairs and buggies near the door and in the distance I could see a lady sitting down with lots of children around her. They were all saying a rhyme and waving their hands around. It looked very interesting so I crept nearer. The rhyme was about a spider in the rain and the children seemed to be really enjoying it. I crept closer and closer and lay down at the back hoping not to be seen. All would have been well but a child noticed me and shouted out “Look Mummy. Horsey!” Horsey? Well really! You would think parents would teach their children how to recognise a goat wouldn’t you?

 

All the children began to push to try to stroke me and a few of the mothers looked quite scared. Angus panicked and fluttered up to perch on a bookcase which caused a few people to scream. The library lady stood up and clapped her hands.

“How lucky we are today. A lovely goat and a hen have come to listen to a story with us”

 

Everyone began to sit down again and the librarian led me to the front to stand near her chair. As she did so another librarian came and looked at the tag on my head collar and I heard her mutter “St Mary’s. I might have known. I’ll go and phone them.”

She seemed a bit cross but the other lady smiled and said “I know just the right story for today. It’s called The Three Billy Goats Gruff”

 

She produced a book and a big ugly puppet. The children shouted out “The troll! It’s the Troll” The story was excellent and I acted it out as she read it. First I made myself really small, then middle sized and then I raised my chin and tried to look as big as possible. Each time a goat crossed the bridge the children all called out “Trip trap! Trip trap!” And I marched and stamped my feet. It was such an exciting story that when Great Big Billy Goat Gruff charged at the Troll I forgot it wasn’t real and charged at the puppet. I tossed it up towards the ceiling and accidentally knocked the lady off her chair. Fortunately she wasn’t hurt but I did feel a bit guilty. The children all laughed and she did too.

 

Then she said “Now I think it’s time we all had some juice and biscuits” Biscuits! Oh good! Angus came down from the bookcase to have a few biscuit crumbs. The children had ginger biscuits but we were given some lovely crunchy things called Chocolate Hobnobs. They were very tasty. I shall tell my PA to get some for me.

 

Just as we finished the doors swung open and in came my PA. She did a lot of talking to the librarians and said “I promise it won’t happen again” The nice lady said it had been lovely for the children and that I must come again because I was a very good actor. My PA took hold of my head collar, Angus jumped on my back and we left as the children waved and called goodbye. I’m sure I heard someone say “Bye bye, horsey”

 

My PA lectured me all the way home and said I was a “bad influence on Angus”. Nonsense! Angus had a brilliant time watching a great actor and she’s discovered that she likes Hobnobs. It’s a pity that I didn’t have time to choose any books but I can do that on my next visit.

by Jo Robinson SAP

 

Wild night out

By Rachel Dawson

Pliny news
Well I have a tale for you my fans
My servant put a bolt on my door and Turk worked out how to open it up. My servant unfortunately caught Turk opening it up with his mouth, and she went mumbling off talking about a padlock.

 

I decided to take myself out of the way for a bit although it was getting dark anyway I was eating a nice bit of hedge when a gang of men who were dressed as knights were going past called to they started talking to me and next think I knew was they lent over the gate and they said they were going to a stag party. Now I know humans are stupid but I thought they would realise they were dealing with an incredibly handsome goat not a stag.

 

Anyway they put me on a minibus and we ended up somewhere called Blackpool and they said they were going to the nearest bar that had karaoke. They fetched beer which I didn't like so they got me water. seriously so I stole the beer.The men got up singing some song called wonder wall, I decided to give them a chorus of the goat sleeps tonight then as they were watching football three goats on the shirt the whole bar was singing with me and cheering along.

 

They then went to the beach where there were some donkeys giving children rides. I was surprised they didn't throw them off but they said they liked it, but would like a day off so when they went back to there stable I followed them and let them out, cheers pliny my hero we will be back before morning.


Anyway I went back to the guys who were going to a club the doorman didn't want to let me in until I told him I was a special guest at the Royal wedding and was awaiting a knighthood the other guy said I remember him he's a celeb.

 

So we drank more beer and I danced with loads of girls and got loads of numbers as they were impressed I met Prince Harry. The club closed at 3am so we left singing he's getting married in the morning and the police came up, one said he's wanted for eating Royal flowers so I said to the guys run and we did the police chased but we managed to avoid them.

The guys wanted something called a kebab well I wanted one but one guy laughed and said it could be canabalism. So got me a veggie one it was lovely and spicy anyway we got back on the minibus and the guys opened more beer and we got back as it was getting light, I was wearing a night's costume and streamers round my horns, the men said they would put me back as they all climbed out the minibus they fell into a heap laughing so the driver put me back in to the field

 

I wandered back to my home to find my saps and my servant panicking, my servant hugged me and said pliny I was so worried about you I thought I'd lost you your wonderful smile is all I live for ok what she actually said was where the hell have you been you little sod and you stink like a brewery and what the hell have you been eating. Get in your barn I'm going to run you a bath and then I'm going to padlock your barn until you sober up.
Anyway I had a great time so if anyone wants a goat night I'm available just bring bolt cutters
Bye for now
Pliny

 My Motorbike Adventure

by Pliny Official Regimental Goat

 

My PA has been quite huffy recently. She says she doesn’t know how I can behave so badly and everyone forgives me when she just gets “Deduction from Wages” forms to fill in. It seems fair to me. After all I bring fame to the Small Animals Department and all she has to do is feed me, keep me looking smart and accompany me to my public appearances. Anyway goats don’t get wages so I can’t have deductions can I?

 

She has been extra careful about bolting my door recently so I was very pleased when I discovered, one afternoon, that she had not pushed the bolt all the way across. It didn’t take me long to undo it and to step out into the sunshine. I decided to walk along the front of the building and then go down to the lake to visit the swans. There are some big stone urns on the terrace and the Grounds Keepers must have been very busy as they were filled with beautiful plants and flowers. Well how could I resist? I just had to sample a few. I had just reached the last one and was choosing my favourite bits when I caught sight of someone standing gazing at something in the car park.

 

It was Jenny, the one who looks after the swans and she was gazing at a motorbike which had a sort of little carriage attached to the side. To my surprise she didn’t try to catch me and take me back to my stable but smiled and said “Look at this, Pliny. Isn’t it beautiful? Someone has left the keys.” A smile crossed her face and I recognised it as the sort of smile that I have when I’m going on an adventure.

 

There was a helmet on the seat and she put it on and climbed onto the bike. Then she looked at me and said “Want to come?” Of course I did! I quickly ran round to the little carriage and climbed in. It was quite difficult to get my legs in but I managed it. Jenny started the engine with a loud roar and we were off down the drive in a cloud of dust, scattering pebbles as we swerved from side to side. By the time we got to the end of the drive she had mastered the steering and we shot out of the gates and turned right towards the Village.

 

We seemed to be getting faster and I could feel my ears flapping in the wind. It was very exciting but I did wonder if she knew how to stop. When we reached the Falconberg Arms we swerved into the car park, whizzed round it at speed and the shot out of it back towards St Mary’s. When I looked back I could the landlord waving his arms around and looking very cross. We were still going very fast when the bike began to make spluttering noises and to slow down. Gradually it slowed to a complete stop and the engine cut out.

 

“Oh bugger! We’ve run out of petrol. I’ll have to go and persuade someone to siphon some out of their car. Come on, Pliny. We’ll have to walk back”

 

I wasn’t ready to go home yet. I wanted to see what was going to happen when the owner of the bike found out what we’d done. I refused to get out of the little carriage and at last she said

“OK then. You stay here and look after the bike and don’t get into any mischief” Then she slapped her own forehead and said “What am I saying? You’re Pliny. Mischief is your middle name. Try not to damage anything while I’m gone.”

Personally I’ve always considered Pliny to be a suitable name for a distinguished goat like me but if she thinks I need another name then I suppose Mischief will do.

I sat still for a while enjoying the silence. The bike was fun but very noisy. Soon my legs began to feel very cramped so I got out and looked around. In the distance I could see Jenny marching up the drive. It would be ages before she got back. It occurred to me that I had never turned left outside the gates so I decided to go that way and see what I could find.

 

At first I couldn’t see much over the hedges but presently I came to a fence through which I could see a big field with sheep grazing in it. I was beginning to get hungry so I climbed carefully over the fence and began to nibble. I had hardly eaten my first mouthful when a voice said “Who are you and what are you doing? You don’t belong in my flock.”

 

Standing behind me was a grumpy looking sheepdog. I began to back away and he followed. I turned and began to run. Wow that dog was fast. Ahead of me was a low wall and I took it in one leap. I stumbled a bit on landing but the dog didn’t seem to have followed me. Ahead of me was a pond with some ducks on it and beyond that I could see some stables, pens and barns. I decide to go towards the buildings but just as I started off that dog appeared on top of the wall obviously checking if I had gone.

 

He startled me so much that I jumped forward, slipped and fell into the pond . Before I knew it I was up to my knees in muddy water and surrounded by ducks all laughing and deliberately splashing me. Well really! This is not the sort of treatment I expect. I climbed out onto the bank and shook myself. When I looked down my legs had so much mud on them that I looked as though I was wearing four black shiny wellingtons. Just as I was recovering from the shock of falling into the pond that sneaky dog appeared galloping round the pond towards me. I didn’t waste any time in taking to my heels towards the stables and pens.

 

The dog was so close behind me that I was forced to jump into the nearest pen without checking what was in there. Definitely a mistake! As I got to my feet I saw that I was surrounded by piglets and a very large sow was heading towards me with a mean look in her eyes. What could I do? She was obviously going to charge at me and that horrible dog was probably waiting outside. I heard a bucket rattle and an arm appeared over the side of the pen as food was tipped into the trough. The pigs lost interest in me immediately.

 

Then a voice said “Come on, Moss. It’s your tea time too. The sheep will manage without you for a while”

I was saved! Not only were the pigs busy but the farmer was taking that pestiferous dog with him. I rushed to the door and it only took a moment to slide the bolt open. I must remember to thank Turk for teaching me that trick. I hurried away from the farm towards the road. It was time to see what was happening to the bike.

 

As I got near I realised that quite a crowd of people were there surrounding Jenny and a tall girl with funny spikes in her hair. She seemed to be very cross.

“ My bike! I only left it for a moment because I forgot my money and when I got back it was gone. You idiot! I’ve only just finished restoring it.”

“Sorry” said Jenny. “It was only a bit of fun. I just couldn’t resist trying it out. Pliny thought it was fun too”

“Pliny? PLINY! You’ve had that smelly goat in my lovely bike”

The spikey haired girl looked as though she might explode at any minute.

 

Nobody had noticed me at the back of the group so I decided that now might be a good time to go back to my stable. I trotted off keeping well to the side of the drive hoping no one would notice me. They didn’t, of course, because they were all too busy enjoying the row and taking bets on who would win if it came to a fight. When I got to the top of the drive I looked back and they were still arguing. I’m sure I saw a lady in a grey dress watching and shaking her head. Perhaps my eyes are going funny but she seemed to be floating and when I looked again she had gone.

 

When I got to my stable my PA was waiting for me.

“Look at all this smelly mud. Have you been at the lake playing with the swans again? It’s a good thing I’ve got your bath ready.”

The bath was warm and bubbly just as I like it. While she was scrubbing my muddy legs my PA said

“It’s a pity you wandered off. You missed all the excitement.”

She began to tell me all about the stolen bike. I smiled a little but I don’t think I’ll tell her the full story. I wonder who that floaty lady was? She looked as though she would know everything that happens at St Mary’s!

by Jo Robinson SAP

My visit to Sickbay

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

While I was leading my Trek to Chatsworth and chatting to the Duchess some men came and put up new fencing round the goat enclosure. My PA said it was goat proof fencing and should stop me having any more “little adventures”. I wasn’t at all sure I liked it although it was better than being shut in my stable.

 

The following morning when we were let out I decided to inspect the work. The girls followed me although they said the fence was just like the one they had in America and they liked it because it reminded them of home. I soon found a place where I thought I might be able to climb the fence post and then jump down on the other side. The girls said it was too dangerous but I was sure I could do it. I waited until there was nobody around and then I began to climb. It was a bit tricky but I am a good climber and I soon reached the top. I was just about to jump down when my front hooves slipped and before I knew it I was I was lying on the other side of the fence wondering what had happened.

 

The girls began to shout at the tops of their voices and to run up and down along the side of the fence. Soon my PA and the SAPS came running to see what had happened. They tried to help me up but I couldn’t stand. My PA said I was a “drama queen” but when she saw that I really couldn’t get up she sent one of the SAPS for help. Lots of people came and between them they carried me into the building. They took me into a little room with sliding doors and pressed a button. I was amazed when the room began to move upwards. My PA said it was something called a “lift” and that it was the best way to get me to Sickbay.

The doctor was very kind. He said I had damaged both my front legs and that I would need something called an x-ray. I tried to be brave and remember that I am a famous goat and a role model for others but it was very scary and I might have bleated a little bit. Fortunately my legs were not broken but only badly sprained so the doctor bandaged them tightly and said that I must be kept in my stable to rest and not be allowed to chew the bandages.

 

I was carried back and given an extra deep pile of straw to lie on. My PA said I had been very brave and she sat and held my hoof while I fell asleep. I was very stiff and bruised when I woke up and my legs really hurt. My PA and the SAPS took it in turns to sit with me and we watched Netflix and they read to me. After a couple of days I felt much better and wanted to take off the bandages and go outside but they wouldn’t let me. They said as I was much better I could have some visitors and that would have to do. The girls came first and were very sympathetic. I told them all about the lift and the doctor and they said I was very brave. Then they told me their news. They were going to go back to America. They said they liked it at St Mary’s but they were missing someone they call Maaa and she was missing them. I think she must be their PA.

 

Turk came next but he was a bit depressing as he kept telling me that horses who damaged their legs got put down and I should be thankful that I was a goat! Angus and Vortigern came together and she sang me a chicken lullaby while Vortigern purred the accompaniment. Half way through Vortigern rushed off because he thought he heard a mouse rustling but generally it was very soothing.

 

The following day I had a real surprise as the Post Van came with a bag of letters and cards from the children at the school and they had sent me a floaty balloon with a long string. My PA tied it to my stable doors and told me not to pull it down to taste it as it would pop. Hmm! I decided to wait until she had gone and then see if that was true. Meanwhile the Kitchen Staff were sending me delicious meals and lots of special goat treats to “tempt my appetite”. My PA said she couldn’t see anything wrong with my appetite and it certainly didn’t need tempting but she let me eat everything they sent.

 

The maintenance and technical departments made me a special bed shaped like a car so I could imagine I was having adventures even though I couldn’t go out. All the other departments sent gifts too although my PA said I didn’t really deserve them as it was my own fault I had fallen and she thought I was getting thoroughly spoilt. Even the builders sent me a bag of mini Mars bars and one day a van came up the drive and stopped by my stable. It was Tom and Will who had brought me back from my seaside adventure. They had brought me a duvet to lie on. They said it was because nobody wanted it because it smelled of goat from when I lay on it in the van but I know it was because they know I’m a celebrity goat and deserve the best.

 

After a week I felt much better and most of my bruises had gone although I still had to keep my legs bandaged. That was when I had the most important visitor of all - Dr Bairstow! I was just dozing on my duvet whenI heard a cough and when I looked up there he was with my PA standing nervously beside him. Of course I got up at once! Nobody likes to be lying down when Dr Bairstow is talking to them.

“Well, Pliny “ he said “It’s good to see that you are much better. Perhaps you might like to reflect on the old saying that curiosity killed the cat or, in your case goat, before you embark on another adventure”

With that he turned and left with my PA trotting alongside and apologising as she went. Well really! What a strange thing to say. I am not curious I merely like exploring. Still, I’ll think about what he said when I plan my next adventure.

by Jo Robinson SAP

Chatsworth House

News Feed

 
 
 

My trek to Chatsworth House
By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

We have a group of American goats visiting us and they are keen to see as much as they can while they are here so my PA has decided they can come on a trek with us. We are going to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire which is the country seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. I don’t know why it’s called a seat unless it’s full of chairs but my PA says it’s very famous and we are lucky to have permission to trek through the park.

The American girls were very excited but I was less keen. Would I be expected to carry those stupid panniers again? I was very relieved when my PA said she and the SAPS would carry the picnic but then to my horror she announced that the girls and I would be travelling in a trailer. A trailer! Me! I don’t think so!

On the day a very smart trailer arrived and was hitched to the SAPS car. The girls all trotted happily in and settled down on the straw but I dug my hooves in. There was a short tussle as my PA tried to get me to walk up the ramp and a few rude words were muttered but in the end I won and was allowed to ride in the car.

When we got to Chatsworth we rattled over something my PA said was a cattle grid which was to keep animals inside the park. Ha! I bet I could get out if I tried. We found a place to park the car and trailer and we all got out. The girls had enjoyed their journey and had eaten a good bit of the straw. We all shook ourselves and stretched and then green ropes were attached to our head collars. Rope again! My PA knows I don’t like being attached to a rope.

Once everyone was ready we set off up the hill. I must say the grass felt lovely under my hooves. I strode briskly along as far ahead as my PA would let me and at the top of the hill I had a surprise. There was a group of animals with funny horns standing under a tree. I stopped and stared. 
“What are you staring at? Haven’t you seen deer before?” said the biggest animal. “Who are you and what are you doing in our park?”

How rude! I felt quite insulted. Didn’t they recognise a distinguished goat when they saw one! I put my head down and was just about to charge at them when my PA came puffing up and stopped me. The deer took one look at the SAPS and the girls and trotted gracefully off towards the river.
“ Pliny really! You can’t go charging at the Duke’s deer like that! said my PA crossly. I couldn’t see why not when they were rude to me but then she suggested that we have our picnic so I decided to deal with the deer later.

The kitchen had excelled themselves and the food was delicious. To my amazement the girls liked cheese and onion crisps although they insisted they were called chips. I’m sure chips are those hot fat things that the Security Section soak in vinegar! Just as we finished eating a very surprising thing happened. A huge jet of water shot up from the lake near the house. My PA said it’s called the Emperor Fountain and the water can go up to two hundred feet into the air. The girls said it was awesome and that they would tell everyone back home about it.

“Let’s go nearer to the house and take some photographs” said one of the SAPS. So we packed up the picnic, not that there was any food left, and set off down the hill towards the river. I could see those rude deer ahead of us but when they saw us coming they jumped into the river and waded across. My PA wouldn’t let me follow them so we went on until we came to the bridge.

When we had crossed it we were almost at the house.! It was huge and the gold decoration sparkled in the sun. There were lots of people about so I did my Royal Wedding March and some of them clapped and cheered. Ha! That will show those deer who is really important round here!

The SAPS said they would go and get some cups of tea so my PA waited with us holding the ropes. The girls settled down under a tree in the shade but I was interested in what there was to see and do. There were some signposts but I am not very good at reading so I listened to what people were saying. It seemed that you could go to the gardens, the house, the cafe, the gift shop, the farm or the adventure playground and there were lots of walks including one to something called the Golden Gates. The garden entrance was the nearest so I decided to go there first. While my PA was looking the other way I quickly bit through my rope and crept off towards the entrance. There was a man there collecting tickets but I waited until a big group of people came along and then I slipped through while he was busy.

Well, it was wonderful! I hardly knew what to look at first. There were amazing sculptures, beautiful flowers, the lake, the fountain and a big greenhousey thing. Then I spotted something really interesting quite close by. It looked like lots of steps leading up to a fancy little house thing but there was water running down it and people paddling. I wanted to see what was in the little house so I stepped into the water and began to climb the steps. I heard someone say “Hey look at that goat! Better tell someone he’s escaped.”

I was having far too much fun to stop and presently I met a group of children who all wanted to stroke me. Then one of them said Hey goat! Race you to the top” They all started to run up the steps and there was a lot of splashing and squealing. Of course I was faster than they were! I am a goat! Just as I was nearly at the top a loud voice shouted “Hey you lot! Stop running! You’ll slip and fall.”

A man was waiting at the top and he grabbed what was left of my rope. “Now where have you come from? You’re not one of ours” 
He soon spotted my tag which says “Property of St Mary’s” and he began to lead me down the hill towards the entrance. “Someone’s bound to be looking for you”

There seemed to be a bit of a row going on near the entrance. My PA was arguing with the ticket man because he wouldn’t let her in to look for me without a ticket. When she saw me being led along she was furious. 
“You absolute menace, Pliny. What have you done this time?”
“Don’t worry. He hasn’t done any damage. He was just playing in the Cascade but I think you ought to keep an eye on him in future”
“Keep an eye on him? You try controlling him! I’d like to see you look after a psycho goat!”

Just as my PA was getting really angry and beginning to shout a lady appeared from the direction of the house and said “What is all the fuss about?”
The two men stood up straighter and one said “I’m sorry, Your Grace. This lady’s goat escaped and was playing in the Cascade”
The lady smiled. “Trust a goat to cause chaos. What is his name? He’s very handsome “
My PA gave a sort of gasp and said “Pliny, Your Grace. He’s our Regimental Goat”

I wish I had been wearing my coat. By now I had realised that this must be the Duchess of Devonshire so I have her my best bow. She laughed, stroked me and said she could see I was a “great character” I think that must mean that I am very special which, of course, I am.

She asked one of the men to go to the cafe and get some apples and carrots and then she chatted to my PA who told her all about our American visitors and the reason for our visit to Chatsworth. She seemed very interested so my PA told her all about my other adventures and she laughed a lot. When the man came back she gave me an apple and a carrot and then said the others were for the girls which made me wonder where they were. At that moment there was a rattling noise and the car and trailer stopped near the gate. It seemed that the SAPS had gone to collect it while my PA was searching for me.

“Well, Pliny, it’s been lovely to meet you” said the Duchess. I lifted my hoof and she shook it. My PA led me to the car and I got in. As we drove off I waved my hoof and the Duchess waved back!

I was quite tired so I dozed on the way back although I could hear lots of talking and words like “embarrassing” and “an absolute menace”. I can’t think who they can have meant. It can’t have been me. After all I shook hooves with a Duchess.

When we were in the goat enclosure that evening we shared the apples and carrots and I told the girls all about meeting the Duchess. They said it was amazing being friends with a celebrity goat. I am going to let them use my tablet later so they can tell their folks all about it. Tomorrow I think I’ll tell them about my trip to the Royal Wedding. I bet that will interest them.

Note: The history of Chatsworth and it’s Gardens is well worth looking up. All the things mentioned are real but if you visit I can’t promise a meeting with either the Duchess or a crazy goat.

 

 
by Jo Robinson SAP
 
 

Pliny News

Mystery of the Missing Goats

by Rachel Dawson PA

It was my servants ( look you know prefer PA) mothers birthday. I generously gave her the day off, on condition that she took me and another humans goats, served by Deb Danielson, on a day out with the other sap Jo Robinson. And that's where it went completely wrong.I should never trust those humans with anything. As punishment for the day off my servant ( I told you pa) had to carry the backpack of food for us.

We left in fine weather followed by singing blue dressed people singing these hoofs are made for walking. Then green dressed people singing I love to go a wandering. Oh they are soooo funny ( not). I told my goat friends Alice, Hazel, Sadie, Scotchy and Tango to ignore them because they are humans not as superior as us.

Anyway we went for a walk by a castle. We had our picnic that the wonderful kitchen staff had made us. Sausage rolls, scotch eggs, sandwiches. I wish they didn't insist so much on cheese and onion crisps. Anyway they got to cake and I confiscated it as we had guests. They started drinking the bottles of something, they fell asleep as usual but to my shame so did I. When I awoke rain was falling as did my saps and Deb Danielson goats were gone. I could have sworn there was a large shed like building missing. Then the saps realised it too.

Oh no they cried they have gone into a pod. So time for some Poirot Pliny investigation. They rushed back to St Marys even though I knew I could solve it. As they went rushing inside I heard Deb Danielson shout “what find my goats now they could be anywhere in the time line”

 I went to talk to turk he knows things. apparently pods are what the blue dressed people use to travel through time but they are not to call it that. Hey who knew they did something so cool and without my help. Apparently they have something called the time police who keep them from bieng reckless (now that's impossible). Apparently the humans have a tracking device on them and then I remembered I'm chipped that means that Alice, Hazel, Sadie, Scotchy and Tango would be too.

So turk and I heard there is a invisible pod in the paint store. The stupid saps had already called the time police. Turk had heard they have fantastic tracking devices. so Turk knew how a pod worked so he went to the paint store to sort the pod out. I snuck up to the time police and stole there equipment and went and grabbed my Pa by her trousers and when she saw what I had under my hat she grabbed Jo Robinson too. We ran off to the paint store.

Turk insisted on coming as he reckons he never has any fun. I was a bit cramped. anyway the saps put the tracker thingy in the flashy computer thingy And we found out they were in Greece in 1000bc. so they said they thought they knew how it worked I wasn't sure as then everything went white.

 

When I looked at the tv there was a festival going on.  both the humans went pale and said oh no its dyonisis festival. I got really excited because I watched a tv show about it they worship goats yay. Turk opted to stay behind. I couldn't wait to get out there. Goats were everywhere with flowers round them and everybody worshipping them It was amazing when someone came up and put flowers in my fur and praised me. wow I love it.

The saps machine beeped and there was some humans sitting crying talking about bieng beaten up by goats. we asked where they were and they pointed to the alter. I heard knife sharpening.I again grabbed my pa by the leg and she realised they were about become a meal. So the saps in costume created a diversion by starting a fight with each other. I ran and led my friends to safety and our saps rushed us back to the pod we had hidden. my Pa ran into the side instead of the door. silly idiot was bleeding from the nose we all piled in.

 

Very crowded now five v.i.p goats the formidable Turk and two saps looking disheveled. But with no where else to go they had to sit on Turk which he muttered to me I will get them back. Everything went white again and we were home. The saps opened the door and turk charged out and chucked the saps in the nearest bush. hysterical we high fived. I asked the four missing goats what had happened they apparently wandered in this building that then went white when it cleared these humans began screaming aparantly they were from a future St Marys visiting the castle by accident they then changed to where they should have been going. When they saw my friends they screamed my friends tried to comfort them they may have injured them slightly so they pushed them out the door. Where as buetiful goats they were worshiped but apparently someone said they would make a good meal. There was alot of drinking and cavorting going on as they lead the goats up the hill. I turned up just in time.

I then led my friends back to their humans who fell to their knees in gratitude and gave us a huge bar of chocolate each. When the saps came back Deb Danielson said as they were covered in scratches and twigs they would forgive them. It had been a very long day so we had a sleep over full on special oats and huge buckets of tea we laughed at our humans and planned our next adventure. Although I warned them I might not always be able to rescue them I am a busy in demand regimental goat of royal decree. So that was Pliny to the rescue. Until next time feel free to come and pay homage to me Pliny your hero

Lost and Found

 

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat.

I am a prisoner! Can you believe it? My PA has put a big bolt on my stable door. She said I was an “embarrassing disgrace” and she was tired of having to pay for the damage I did. The day after I visited the building site a man with a clipboard came round and said I had put back the building work by two days and that I must not be allowed out on my own again. My PA and the SAPS went very red and said “Sorry” a lot and since then I have been in disgrace. I have had no goat treats and they haven’t even watched television with me.

This morning Turk came trotting by on his own. He’d obviously lost his rider again as he was still wearing his saddle and bridle. When he saw me he stopped and asked why I was looking miserable. When I told him about the bolt he said “Is that all? I’ll soon deal with that.” To my surprise he took the bolt in his teeth, waggled it around and it slid to one side. The door opened and I was free! There were faint shouts in the distance so Turk trotted off before his rider appeared.

I took a cautious step outside but there was nobody about. I couldn’t go to the building site so I went the other way. As I turned the corner I could see two men carrying boxes into the building from a van. When the men came out again they had big mugs of tea. One of the Kitchen Staff came out with some pieces of cake. I love cake and I hadn’t had any for ages. I wondered if they would share?
At that moment one of the Admin ladies came out with some papers. “I’m not signing for these. Half the duvets are super king size when they should be single. You’ll have to take them back”
The delivery men looked at each other and sighed. “Put the cake in the van, Tom. We’ll have to eat it later”
The younger man wrapped the cake in some paper from his pocket and took it into the van. The men went inside and I crept forward. Surely they wouldn’t mind me having a little taste? It was rather dark in the van but I could smell the cake. It was behind some parcels but I could squeeze in. The cake was one of the kitchens finest and before I knew it I had eaten it all. I was just about to creep out when the men came back and began to reload the van. There was no way out and before I knew it the doors were closed and the van drove off.

There was nothing I could do so I chewed open a box, got out a duvet and lay down. When the van stopped I would be able to get out and go home. The duvet was very comfortable and soon I fell asleep. When I woke up the van had stopped. “ The Road works really held us up. We can’t get back tonight. The van will be safe enough here in the yard. We can reload it tomorrow.”

The men had gone so I was able to get out and look round. The van was parked in a yard with high walls and big gates but I could see some boxes near the wall so I was able to climb up and then jump down into the road. It seemed to be a very busy place with lots of people around. Most of them were wearing shorts or sundresses and the children had little buckets and spades or nets on long sticks. It all looked very interesting so I decided to look round before I set off home.

I followed a family along the street. The children seemed very excited and were talking about “paddling in the sea”. At the end of the road I stood still in amazement. There was sand everywhere and a short distance away lots of water. The children I had followed rushed across the sand, took off their shoes and began to splash in the water. It looked like fun so I followed them. The water was really cold and it kept rushing at me. The taste was horrible. It was not at all like our lake. Some people were paddling out on boards and then riding back. Some of them even managed to stand up on the board. A little boy let me have a go on his inflatable but it was more difficult to balance than I expected so I only had one go. He was a very nice little boy and he gave me a piece of his sandwich.

I was feeling quite thirsty by now and I couldn’t drink that horrible water so I decided to move away from the sea and try to find a drink. I spotted a little hut with a big ice cream cone on the roof so I set off towards it. An ice cream would be just as good as a drink. There was a queue so I joined the line too. When I got to the front the man was very rude and said “No money, no ice cream”. And everyone laughed. Well really! I am a goat so of course I hadn’t any money.

I decided I’d had enough of the beach so I climbed up some steps to a car park and there I had a bit of luck. There was a lady sitting in her car eating an ice cream. She was a bit surprised when I put my head in at the window but she let me have all the ice cream once I’d licked it. When I’d finished I gave her my best bow and then trotted off towards the music I could hear.

The music was coming from an amazing golden coloured machine. It was moving round and round and on it were big wooden animals going up and down with people riding on them. I stood and watched until it slowed down and stopped. People began to get on and off and I stepped forward to take a turn. The man wouldn’t let me get on! He was quite nice and said it wouldn’t be safe for me but I was very disappointed.

I thought it must be getting late by now so I decided it it was time to go back to St Mary’s. I began to trot away from the sea but then I had a terrible thought. I had been asleep on the journey there so I didn’t know which way to go. I was lost! For a moment I didn’t know what to do but then I remembered that the van was going back to St Mary’s tomorrow. If I could find my way back to it I could hide inside and be taken home.

I walked and walked searching for the yard where the van was parked. By the time I recognised the big gates and high wall my hooves were throbbing. Now all I had to do was get over the wall. Fortunately I spotted some handy wheelie bins and I was able to push one close to the wall and jump up. There was a bit of a crash as the bin fell over and lots of bottles and jars fell out but I was safe in the yard. I heard someone say “Look at all this mess. I suppose you vandals think it’s funny!” I wonder what a vandal is?

The van door was still open so I jumped in and went straight to the duvet. It was bliss to take the weight off my hooves and I soon fell asleep. I was woken by a voice saying “Hey Will. You didn’t lock the van. Hope nothing’s been nicked” The men began to unload and it wasn’t long before they discovered me.

At first they couldn’t believe their eyes and began to discuss taking me to the Police Station but the younger one caught sight of something shiny on my head collar. “It’s a tag. It says Property of St Mary’s “ I was very relieved. No respectable goat wants to be dragged off to the Police Station especially when they haven’t done anything wrong.
“Lucky for you we’re going back there this morning. We’ll just have some breakfast and load up and then we’ll be off”

Tom went off and came back with three large teas, three bacon butties and three sticky buns. I was so hungry I ate all mine and they very kindly gave me some of their’s as well. After that loading the van didn’t take long at all and soon we were ready. They let me sit in the front with them and I watched how Will drove very carefully. You never know when it might come in useful although I don’t think my legs are quite long enough.

At last we got to the entrance to St Mary’s and as we drove up towards the building I began to feel quite excited. I’ve never been away for so long before. I began to wonder if I’d be able to get back to my stable without anyone seeing me. There was no chance of that! As the van stopped the door burst open and out rushed my PA and just about everyone else who works at St Mary’s. Looking up I could just see Dr Bairstow looking down from his office window. I was hugged and kissed (Yuk!) and everyone talked at once. At last Tom and Will were able to explain what had happened and they were offered as much tea and cake as they could manage.

My PA led me back to my stable and as we went in she said “Oh Pliny! I’ve been so worried. I’m so sorry I forgot to bolt your stable door” Hmmm! I don’t think I’ll tell her what really happened. I might need Turk’s help again when I’m ready for another adventure!

 

 

by Jo Robinson SAP

 

 

                                                                              


Submitted by Jo Robinson


By Pliny Official Regimental Goat.

It’s been a few weeks since the Rushfordshire Show but my PA and I have not been on good terms since. She says she’s tired of wondering where I am and that next time I wander off she won’t bother looking for me. Well really! I never just wander off! I have an adventurous spirit and an enquiring mind! I’m not sure what that means but I heard it on the television when I was watching a programme about explorers and I am an explorer.

We’ve been having a lot of building work done at St Mary’s and I do like going to see what’s happening at the site. Sometimes I find the odd packet of sandwiches lying around and they’re always very tasty. For some reason the men in the yellow jackets and funny hats don’t seem to have taken to me and don’t appreciate my visits. I’ve heard them muttering about “that bloody goat” They seem to have a lot of tea breaks and that is what they were doing when I went down there yesterday.

I could see where they had been working because a new path had appeared.I decided to be the first person to walk on it. There was a barrier there but it was easy to jump over it. I wonder if they really know what they’re doing? My hooves sank into the surface and it didn’t feel much like a path at all. It made a fun squelchy noise though so I walked a little further. When I looked back my hooves had made an interesting pattern. I think I might ask Turk and Angus to come and make patterns later. It’s no use asking Vortigern because he hates getting his paws dirty. When I got to the end of the path it looked much better than before.

As my decorative path was finished I decided to see what else was happening. I could hear a radio playing and people talking inside the building. They were talking about something called “plastering”. The only plasters I’ve ever heard of are the ones my PA puts on her blisters after she’s cleaned out the goat enclosure so perhaps they’ve got blisters too. 

A little way ahead of me I could see a pile of large bags so I went to see what they were. They weren’t very interesting but I could see at once that if I stood on them I would be able to see through the windows so I jumped up.! I knew those builders were incompetent! They hadn’t stacked the bags properly and the top one began to slip. I only just managed to jump clear. The bag hit the ground, burst open and a cloud of dusty stuff billowed out. It made me sneeze. I heard a voice say “What’s going on out there?” 

I decided I’d better go so I trotted off round the corner. Behind me I could hear shouting and some very bad language. It was even worse than I heard the SAP say when she dropped the water bucket on her foot. Really humans are very short tempered! Ahead of me I could see a big pile of sand. I love sand! It’s such fun to climb up and slide down. I climbed and slid down quite a few times and it was great fun although the pile didn’t seem quite as tall after a while. I was just about to climb up for one last go when I heard a voice say “There he is. Quick catch him”

The workman were coming round the corner and they didn’t look happy. I looked around. There was a digger blocking the exit so I couldn’t go that way but there was a ladder and some scaffolding against the building so I decided to go up. After all I am a goat and we are famous for our ability to climb. 

It was a bit wobbly on the ladder but once I got to the top the view was great . I could see all the way to the lake so I waved to the swans. Actually that might have been a mistake as it made the scaffolding sway and creak. I heard a voice say “We’ll have to get him down before he makes it collapse.” Voices began to call “Come on, Pliny. Time to go home”

It was a bit wobbly so I decided I would climb down. The trouble was I couldn’t do it. Going up was fine but going down was quite different. 
“He’s stuck. We’ll have to go up and get him. Go on, Dave. I’ll hold the ladder steady”
Dave didn’t seem very keen on that idea and there was a bit of an argument and a lot of shouting about “........goats” but eventually he began to climb. He looked very cross so I began to back away.
“Give him some of your Mars bar. He’ll come for that”
Mars bar! Now that sounded good. I’ve only tasted one once after I found it in my PA’s pocket when she put her coat down near my stable. It was delicious even with the wrapper on. Dave put his hand in his pocket and produced half a Mars bar. I took a step forward and grabbed it and before I knew what was happening Dave had a firm grip on my head collar. He swung me over his shoulder and climbed down. I was so surprised I didn’t even wriggle ( although I did eat the Mars bar). Just as we reached the ground my PA and the SAPS raced round the corner, very red in the face and panting hard.

It was very embarrassing. There I was with my legs dangling and sticky Mars bar all over my face. There was a lot of shouting and I learned some interesting new words before Dave put me down and my PA grabbed my head collar. She marched me off towards my stable and when I looked back the SAPS were being given two big brushes and the builders were pointing at the sand and the burst bag.

My PA said that this was the last time I would be able to go out alone as she was going to put a bolt on my stable door and I wouldn’t be able to get out again. Not go out alone! But that’s how I have adventures and learn new words! I shall have to think seriously about this situation!
 
 
by Jo Robinson SAP
 

 

 
 

St Mary’s at the Rushfordshire County Show

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

 

As many of you know Dr Bairstow wants us to make a better impression on the local community so there was great excitement (well a few people smiled and rolled their eyes) when he announced that he wanted us to take part in the County Show. When people realised that there was the possibility of competition between departments a lot more enthusiasm was shown and bets were taken on whoi would win rosettes. Favourites to win were the Kitchens as there was a “Best Victoria Sponge” class to enter.

 

There was no question, of course, about who would represent Small Animals. My PA said it was my job to show St Mary’s at its best and so I could wear my blue coat with the gold badge. I felt very proud but I am used to appearing at great occasions like Royal Weddings so I knew I could do it well. When we got to the show the St Mary’s tent looked most impressive. There was a smart pen for me and a beautiful quilt representing all the departments on show. I thought it might be for me to lie on if I got tired but my PA said if I touched it there would be no more goat treats for a week. How unfair! I only wanted to lie on it. I wouldn’t have chewed it at all.

 

Everyone seemed to be taking part. My PA told me that R&D had renovated a steam car for the Vintage Car Parade and lots of people were taking part in the Fancy Dress Competition. The Kitchen and Grounds Staff were entering the produce and cake classes and one of the SAPS was entering Finn, her wolfhound, in the dog show. The Wardrobe ladies were taking part in a parade riding on a stagecoach dressed in beautiful period costumes. Everyone else was there to support their friends although they seemed very keen on the fairground rides and the beer tent.

 

At first lots of people came to see me and to get leaflets from the Admin ladies but when events started in the show rings hardly anyone was about. I was bored so I lay down and closed my eyes. Presently I heard the Admin ladies say they were off to the tea tent and they asked my PA to go too. I heard her say “Well he’s asleep and he’s securely tied so he can’t escape. Ok”

 

Securely tied? Can’t escape? Has she learned nothing from past experiences? It was the work of a moment to chew through the rope. I shook myself to make sure my coat was straight and jumped over the side of the pen. Once outside I looked around to see what looked interesting. Not far away was a very big tent with the entrance roped off. There were no people inside but I could see tables with cakes and vegetables and flowers on them. I like all those so I decided to go there first.

 

It was easy to wriggle in at the back. It was wonderful! I hardly knew where to start but I could smell something I recognised. Victoria Sponge! There was a long table with two rows of cakes on it. I knew at once which was from our Kitchens. It looked delicious. The problem was it was on the back row. I am an intelligent goat, however, so I realised at once that I could stand on my hind legs and put my front legs on the table. I took a huge mouthful. The only problem was it was quite a stretch. The table began to rock and squeak. I stretched a little more and the table began to tip towards me. Luckily I was able to jump out of the way as an avalanche of cakes slid to the floor. What a shoddily made table! I could have been seriously hurt.

 

It was a shame to waste all that cake so I ate a little more and then decided to move on. I sniffed at some beautiful displays of flowers but I was much more interested in a row of baskets all filled with what humans call salad. I knew our Grounds Staff had sent some but I didn’t know which one . In the end I just took my favourite bits from each one. I was getting full when a loud voice said “Now starting in the Main Ring we have the Fancy Dress” That sounded interesting so I hurried off to watch.

 

There seemed to be a lot of entries. At first I didn’t know anyone but then the announcer said “Here we have the Swan Queen”

It was the SAP dressed in a white feathery dress with a little gold crown and leading two swans attached to white ribbons. She looked very pretty but she seemed to be having difficulty getting the swans to walk in the same direction. The crowd all clapped and the swans flapped their wings and broke their ribbons. They headed out of the ring with the SAP running behind.

 

The next entry was St George and the Dragon. St George had a very realistic suit of armour but the real star was the dragon. It was TURK! He was wearing a green costume and was prancing and rearing and snapping his teeth. Just as they reached where I was standing two swans suddenly flew over trailing ribbons behind them. Turk looked at me and I’m sure he winked. He reared and snorted and his hoof hit St George’s helmet. The knight fell down and Turk began to gallop round the ring. A group of St Mary’s people rushed in and carried him out all laughing their heads off and Turk followed them out. Well that was a lot of fun!

 

Then I heard the announcer say “Now starting in Ring 2 the Goat Class”

Goat Class? Why wasn’t I entered? I raced through the crowds and got there just as the last goat was entering the ring so I joined the line and went in too. I did my very best marching that I learned at the Royal Wedding. The judges were picking goats out and taking them to stand in a line in the middle. I raised my chin and marched beautifully but they didn’t pick me.

 

Suddenly the announcer said “we have a loose goat. If he’s yours please collect him from the stewards”

I couldn’t see a loose goat. They were all with their handlers. Then I saw the stewards were coming towards ME! Just as they reached me I heard voices calling “It’s Pliny! Go Pliny! Go Pliny!” It was a group of children from the school with Kevin leading the cheering. I waved my hoof at them and bowed which made the crowd laugh and cheer. The stewards made a grab for my head collar but the announcer had come up holding a microphone. “Well children. Is this your goat?

The children all began to talk at once. I heard them say “famous goat” “Royal Wedding” “can count” and finally Kevin’s shrill voice “and he can spit” At that there was a huge roar of laughter and the Announcer said “Well I think that’s enough to earn him a special rosette even though he’s not really part of the class”

A huge rosette was fastened to my head collar and Kevin was asked to lead me away to find my owner. As we left the ring my PA came rushing up to take me back to the tent. She seemed to be very cross and she said I was “a disgrace to St Mary’s” How unfair when I’ve just been given a special rosette! Sometimes I think she’s jealous of my fame.

 

It seemed we were all leaving the show right away as there had been “a series of disasters” R&D couldn’t get their car to start, the Wardrobe ladies coach had lost a wheel, Finn, the wolfhound, had knocked the judge over and sat on her, St George remained unconscious, the swans had gone home on their own and the cake and produce classes had been cancelled because the displays had been vandalised.

 

We returned home in a depressed silence. Everyone was disgruntled and all bets were off as nobody had won their class. Suddenly the SAP said “But I bet that Small Animals would win a rosette and Pliny has”

Ha! Now perhaps we’ll hear no more about me being a disgrace to St Mary’s. I had saved the day! It did seem a shame that the Kitchen hadn’t won their class though because that sponge cake was delicious!

by Jo Robinson SAP

Report on my visit to the local Primary School

By Pliny, Official Regimental Goat

 

As you all know I had a fantastic time at the Royal Wedding. My PA and the SAPS (Small Animal People) don’t seem to have enjoyed it as much for some reason. I have heard the occasional remark about “an absolute nightmare” but I put that down to them having horrendous hangovers. They all went very quiet and extra pale when they were summoned to Dr Bairstow’s Office and I heard them muttering about “no pay for months”. They were all much happier when they came back.

 

It seems that Dr Bairstow has decided that it’s time to build what he refers to as “closer ties with the local community” The SAPS think that means he’s had too many complaints from the Parish Council but whatever the reason he has decided that groups of us are to visit local organisations. Guess who has been chosen to represent Small Animals? That’s right! ME!!! Of course with my recent triumphant appearance in Windsor and my trekking experience I am the perfect choice to visit the local school. My PA is going to take me with one of the SAPS. For some reason she refuses to go on her own. The other SAP says she is too busy counting the new arrivals among the swans to come. Hmm! I wonder about that. I’m sure I overheard her saying “Good Luck with that. Pliny and small children! Ha, ha, ha.” As she rushed off towards the lake.

 

I like meeting new people so I insisted on having a thorough grooming and hoof polish. My PA would only let me wear my second best coat. It’s a very nice blue but it only has the St Mary’s logo on it and there are no gold stripes. She said the gold stripes are only for very special occasions and surely I didn’t think the Queen would be visiting the school. I don’t see why not! After all she’ll be giving me my knighthood before long although I suppose it is a bit too soon. I expect she’ll still be resting her feet, eating stale cake and waving goodbye to the guests.

 

When it was time to go my PA produced a new rope to put on my head collar. It was blue to match my coat but she knows I don’t approve of ropes. I lead the way and she should follow but she said we couldn’t go at all if I didn’t wear it as I can’t be trusted. What cheek! It wasn’t me who got chased by the Police! I could see that she was adamant so I gave in and we set off with the SAP. It was a lovely walk down the drive and into the lane towards the village and this time there were no idiots singing silly songs. I expect they were all too busy planning their own versions of Meet the Local People. Dr Bairstow can be very persuasive or possibly a better word would be intimidating.

 

When we arrived at the school the Secretary asked us to wait a moment until the teacher had the children sitting down. I heard a voice saying “Now we’ve had lots of different animals visiting us so I wonder who it is today?”

I raised my chin and prepared to make a grand entrance only to hear a voice say “I bet it’s a dragon” followed by lots of laughing.

Then the teacher said loudly “ Of course it’s not dragon . Now sit down, Kevin. Look it’s a very smart goat whose name is Pliny”

My entrance was ruined especially when I heard a voice whispering “Skinny Pliny, Silly Pliny!” Well really! The teacher glared at Kevin and he said sulkily “ Well s’not as good as the snake Mr Mahood brought in or the talking parrot”

 

I decided to ignore him as all the other children were smiling at me and the teacher sighed and said “ Pliny is a very special goat and he’s just come back from the Royal Wedding”

At that all the children began to call out questions about dresses and soldiers and carriages and the Queen. They all sounded so excited. I glanced at Kevin and he crossed his eyes and put his tongue out at me. Well two can play at that game and my tongue is much longer. My PA was horrified and I saw the teacher tell Kevin off.

The teacher clapped her hands and announced that it was time to do some counting. They all began to count to twenty and clap their hands in time so I joined in by stamping my hoof. I’m quite good at counting. I always stamp my hoof five times when my PA is measuring out scoops of food for me. I don’t think she’s very intelligent though as she always stops after three.

 

Soon the teacher announced that it was milk time and she chose two children to give out the cartons. Imagine my shock when I saw that the cartons had pictures of cows on them. COWS! Don’t they know that goats give the best milk? The children seemed be drinking it with enthusiasm although there were loud bubbling noises coming from Kevin’s direction. A little girl came round giving out chocolate finger biscuits. She stopped when she got to me but my PA said I could have one. ONE!! They were delicious so I tapped my hoof and she gave me another.

 

When everyone had finished the teacher said it was playtime so I led the way out. Some little girls took me to a cute little playhouse where they dressed me up for a wedding. I felt a bit silly but they were having a good time. When they began to play with dolls I decided it was time to look for my PA and the SAP. They were having cups of tea with the teachers near the door. I set off across the playground.

 

Suddenly there was a loud “Nee naw, nee naw” noise and a small plastic car driven by Kevin came hurtling towards me. I stood quite still but he didn’t stop. Clearly he meant to knock me over. He obviously knows nothing about goats. I waited until he was really close and then I simply jumped over him and the car. It was a pity that my PA and the SAP we’re rushing to the rescue just at that very moment. I landed on top of them knocking them flat on their backs.

I heard the teacher shouting “That’s enough Kevin. Don’t you dare do that again”

When I looked he was turning the car round for another go! Nobody treats me like that. Before I came to St Mary’s I shared a field with some llamas and they taught me how to spit. I marched towards Kevin clearly taking him by surprise as he stopped moving to see what I was doing. I took aim, fired and got him right on the nose. For a moment he sat still and then he said “That was really cool. Show me how to do it.” I heard horrified gasps and my PA rushed forward to grab my rope.

 

One of the teachers blew her whistle and the children gathered round “I’m sure we’ve all had a lovely time but Pliny has to go home for his lunch now.” The children all clapped and cheered as we hurried through the gate and I heard Kevin’s voice say “Pliny’s the best pet we’ve seen. When can he come again?”

We hurried away from the school at quite a pace and I thought we’d be home in record time but unfortunately the SAP spotted The Falconburg Arms. “I could murder a drink” she said “Yes, me too and some crisps. I’m sure they’ll let us take Pliny into the garden” replied my PA. In next to no time they were sitting at a picnic table with glasses of that apple juice they like so much and bags of those horrible cheese and onion crisps. The landlord very kindly gave me a bucket of water but there was nothing to eat except some flowers in baskets that were hanging from the roof for some strange reason. They were difficult to reach but I’m quite tall when I stand on my hind legs so I managed it eventually.

 

It wasn’t long before the landlord came out with two of those dark coloured bottles. I’m sure the word on them begins with c. They poured their new drinks and it wasn’t long before their voices got louder and they began to giggle. The I heard one say “Never again! He’s an absolute liability” and they turned and frowned at me. What a nerve! Surely they knew I was severely provoked.

 

I looked carefully at them. They were beginning to slouch in their seats and were looking sleepy. This was my cue to leave. There was nothing left to eat in the garden and I was hungry. I looked at the rope. They had tied me to the picnic table but I know how to deal with ropes. One bite and I was free. I edged my way carefully out of the garden. They didn’t notice and I knew that even if they did they wouldn’t be able to catch me.

 

I trotted happily home. There was no one near my stable so I was able to go in without anyone asking what I was doing on my own. I expect the other SAP was still off somewhere cuddling swans. There was a nice full hay net so I had a snack and went to sleep. I expect my PA and the SAP will turn up eventually if they can remember the way!

by Jo Robinson SAP

Pliny is preparing for his trip to the Royal Wedding by reading a book on etiquette. After all you never know who you might meet.

Submitted by Rachel Dawson

The pliny news Royal Wedding special.

As you might remember the small animal dept and I went to the royal wedding.
The weekend started off interesting as they had hired a camper van with a tent thingy at the side. I don't know why she seriously thought I was going in that so after much persuasion, I gave in and had her bed. She went in the tent much better place for her.
Anyway in the morning I was so excited I woke them up at 4 am to which I recieved some interesting language but they understand the importance if my day, they are wierd people they don't get how important I am to the day.
Anyway once I had breakfast of a bucket of oats mixed with raisins and huge bucket of tea touch of honey. The humans ate something called bacon butties which were delicious as I took my server went to make more tea ( just been reminded she Prefers pa I will humour her)
I was then washed and groomed by the three of them the one called jenny washed me, the one called jo brushed me and I insisted she makes it shine muttered something about diva, must have been talking to my Pa, she was polishing my hooves, they then left me to get dreseed themselves I won't bother describing them needless to say they looked clean and un mud splattered at once. They all had ridiculous things on there heads. 
 

We were called to our posts and I was dressed in my finest colours, joined the parade behind some men with instruments with plumes on their heads I was handed over to one of them. 
The saps ( small animal people but saps is perfect to them), went to somewhere near the castle. Without them I was treated with the respect I deserved they kept saluting me, and when we walked past the crowds they were all shouting pliny pliny, the bloke who was walking with me said it was harry but I know better. When we got to the castle we weren't allowed in cheek I mean don't they know who I am.
Anyway all these people turned up and I was horrified to see feathers on thier heads I must see if Angus is ok when I get back, them even worse I saw a white disc on someone's head with five Swan feathers on it I do hope nobody has touched the swans they will be incredibly mad, they were annoyed that I was invited they weren't. As two men appeared in uniform, the crowd started shouting pliny pliny again so I waved my hoof at them. The Queen appeared and I stood to attention which I knew she appreciated I'm expecting a knighthood in the new years honours. 
A woman then turned up in a dress with huge amounts of what looked lile a huge curtain to me, but the saps were ohhing and arming over it personally I think I look better. 
By this time I was bored and peckish I'd only been fed carrots for the last hour. I saw some delicious looking flowers around the door so I just stacked on a few jeesh anyone would have thought I'd eaten something important. Because someone called a policeman asked who I was with I pointed to my saps with my horns, the last I saw of them they were bieng chased by the said policeman I laughed and laughed it was so funny. Left on my own I wandered round bieng adored by the crowd and fed some delicious sandwiches and helped myself to some to.
After I made my way back to the place we were staying my saps were there drinking something fizzy and was saying they deserved for the trauma of escaping the police and they were acting really stupid, they bundled me into the caravan thingy because they didn't want the police people to see me ridiculous surely I would be treat for anyone. 
Woberly my Pa did make me a bucket of tea it was not correct but there was no point talking to her she was swaying and laughing and wasn't focused at all I helped myself to the fabulous food they had packed for the saps and I was pleased that the Mary Berry sponge cake was here so I ate that when I looked out of the caravan the saps were snoring open mouthed drooling so pointless as they were not going to feed me so I left them outside.
This morning there is alot of complaining about headaches and feeling ill, so apparently we are staying until later much judging by the look at them 
So buy for now.
Pliny 

 

 

 
 

The Inaugural Goat Trek

By Pliny Official Regimental Goat

 

Today my Serv ...erm...Personal Assistant announced that we were going to have a “dry run” of my Goat Trek. Not sure what a dry run is. I get the run bit but dry? Does she mean no drinking (unlikely at St Mary’s) or not falling in the lake or it not raining?

 

I must say my PA is good at grooming. When she’d finished I felt ready for anything. I was just admiring myself in my mirror (slightly cracked where ,in a mad moment, I mistook my reflection for a rival) when she produced what looked like a smart red coat. I like red so I was quite willing to put it on. Only then did I discover that it had large pockets. My PA announced that it was not a coat but panniers and that I was going to carry the picnic. CARRY THE PICNIC!!!! ME!!!! I would have protested more but she showed me my share of the picnic and it did look very tasty so I decided against sitting down and refusing to move but I won’t forget this indignity and I’ll get my revenge.

 

At that moment a Small Animal Person appeared. I’ve seen her before running behind two huge dogs as they power walk through the woods. She didn’t look as red in the face as usual or as hot. It turned out that she was coming too. The nerve of these people expecting me to carry not only my own picnic but the human ones as well and there were four dark coloured bottles. They said they were apple juice but I’m not sure about that. I can’t read very well but the word on the labels seemed to begin with c.

 

The SAP ( Small Animal Person) was carrying two baseball caps which they put on. There was no sign of one for me! I waited until my PA bent to tie her lace and then grabbed her hat and put it on. I made sure that I was wearing it the right way round. Unlike her I know how to be stylish.

 

I had thought that I would lead the way and that they would follow but they produced a rope and attached it to my head collar. It’s true it was red to match my panniers but really! A rope! So undignified! It seemed that we were ready to go, so I stepped outside. A large group of people had gathered to see me off so I got ready to bow graciously. Imagine my surprise when they began to sing raucously.

“I love to go a-wandering

Along the mountain track

And as I go I love to sing

My knapsack on my back “

Well really! Then to add insult to injury a rival group began to sing about a lonely goatherd and to make some hideous noise called yodelling. I left at some speed leaving the idiots falling about laughing.

 

Once my PA and the SAP caught up with me I slowed down and would have enjoyed the walk had it not been for the hideous clanking noise caused by the bottles in my panniers. We walked along the side of the lake and then went into the woods. I like woods and the bluebells were very pretty. We soon came across a sign saying “Strictly No Entry. Reprobates Camp”. There was the remains of a camp fire, a burnt tree and lots of shiny stuff everywhere. There were a few disgruntled looking swans shuffling about near the remains of the tree but nobody else in sight. The humans did a bit of giggling and nudging one another but they didn’t explain anything to me so we walked on.

 

I was enjoying the peace and quiet, which made a nice change from St Mary’s, when there was a sudden commotion and a large bay horse burst through the trees. A voice could be heard faintly calling” Turk! You bugger! Get back here” The horse stopped when he saw us. His lip curled and he began to laugh. “What do you look like? Panniers! A red rope!”

What a cheek.! I was much smarter than him. There he stood laughing fit to burst with his saddle hanging to one side and his reins dangling! So undignified! I would have told him a thing or two but he turned and thundered off towards the stables. My humans looked at one another, shrugged and we walked off. Clearly they didn’t see it as their job to catch Turk and I didn’t blame them. I saw the size of his teeth while he was laughing and any crocodile would be jealous I can tell you.

 

We walked on for another twenty minutes or so without further incident if you can believe it and my PA and the SAP began to look for a good place to have a picnic. They chose a nice shady spot and at last they took off my panniers. I gave myself a vigorous shake which made them shriek about dust and hair going in the picnic. I would have have liked to roll on the grass but I was too hungry.

 

I must say the kitchen staff know how to pack a great picnic. I had carrots and apple chopped to the perfect size so there was no need for messy chewing and slobbering and they had made me some delicious little home made goat treats. The humans had sausage rolls and scotch eggs with crisps and something they called Branston. I must say the Branston and cheese and onion crisps were not to my taste at all but they seemed to like them.

 

After they’d eaten just about everything the SAP announced there was a special treat and produced a box containing something they described as a Victoria sponge. They seemed very excited about it being Mary Berry’s recipe with home made strawberry jam. At this point they discovered they had forgotten to bring a knife so they decide to balance it on the box lid and cut it with a spoon. I saw at once that it was going to fall off and I put my hoof on it to stop it. They were FURIOUS!! GERMS were mentioned and GOAT POX which I think they made up. Anyway, they grabbed my rope, dragged me some distance away and tied me to a large bush. Then they went back to argue about how much of the cake they could safely eat and to open the dark coloured bottles.

 

I must admit I did sulk for a while but then I discovered that the bush I was tied to had delicious leaves. I ate for a while and then realised that all had gone quiet. Surely they hadn’t crept away and left me here as some strange form of punishment? When I looked around there they were sprawled out with empty bottles around them fast asleep. Hmmm! I might be able to get my revenge for the day’s humiliations. I looked at my rope. It wasn’t very thick and there’s nothing wrong with my teeth although they’re not quite in Turk’s class of gnashers.

 

It was the work of moments to chew through it. I tiptoed over to check they really were asleep but I needn’t have bothered as they’d begun to snore. The parts of the cake they hadn’t dared eat for fear of GERMS were still there so I hastily ate them. Whoever Mary Berry is she knows how to make a great cake! Those wretched panniers were lying on the grass so I decided that now was my chance to dispose of the horrible things. I was not made to be a beast of burden! I picked them up and quietly tip toed off towards the lake.

 

I was a bit disappointed that they floated when I threw them in but I thought perhaps a passing swan might push them under for me. Anyway I felt quite tired by now so I trotted home. Fortunately the St Mary’s choir for the tone deaf had wandered off to torment someone else so I was able to fall asleep quite easily. I must have slept for several hours until I woke to sniffing and crying noises.

 

A voice was saying “All my fault. I should have stayed awake. Drowned in the lake” That sounded interesting. Which idiot had fallen in this time? I got up and put my head over my stable door. A chorus of voices shrieked “Pliny” There was a gasp and a thump and there was my PA in a faint on the floor. I’ll never understand humans but it’s been an interesting day. On reflection trekking isn’t too bad and the food is certainly good. I might do it again one day.

by Jo Robinson SAP

Pliny the regimental goat has written a newsletter don't ask me how I'm just his slave

 

THE PLINION NEWS By the regimental goat of St Marys

SHOCKING NEWS ABOUT THAT ODD LIBRARY ASSISTANT THAT FEEDS ME

I was taken on a field trip today and unlike the idea that sara mckenna saw in newspaper I rightly sat in the back being driven by that odd library person Rachel. Anyway upon arrival at said weird person home, she let me into her garden and she has shock horror PLASTIC GRASS, so I ate something called a gooseberry bush and a yellow flowered plant called a broom very tasty but the human wasn't impressed though she also has a Dog called Horus so it's the humans fault for not informing me of the facts, I wouldn't have gone to such an odd place.

A DAY IN THE LIFE

Of course you disaster driven people who work in that building must be aching to know what I do all day . Well hear goes.  Well I rise out of my comfy bed to be fed my oats and brushed by my wierd human Rachel. She then goes to work with books apparently I'm not allowed to eat those. I then talk to those swans it's taken some sweet talking but we now have now become friends. I think they are hard done to as some others that work in that odd building called r and d, turned them blue, they go into that library place alot. The swans and I climb the trees and I eat the leaves for lunch.

We then visit the horses one especially called turk. The swans turk and I plot our mischief on you people. Afternoon I watch quizzes called tipping point and the chase. stupid name no one chased anyone anywhere. If my human can drag herself away from those book things she comes and feeds me hay and corn and crumbled biscuits with a bucket of tea. I then watch the Internet programme about goat history. Apparently we were with greek gods and got to be related to them and if my human wasn't so mean she would sign me up to an ancestor site, I enjoyed hearing how we are involved in Greek myth as the animal that suckled loki and pulled Zeus chariot. Beneath us if you ask me. FINALLY I am still waiting for Thirsk to answer about a goat race. I would kick butt. May I thank for sara mckenna for her wonderful flag I'm having one made by wardrobe to put out of my home stall. YOU ARE ALL FREE TO COME AND WORSHIP AT ANYTIME AND BRING CUSTARD CREAMS. Until next time Pliny.

I'm sorry grandeur issues with Pliny!