This is a short story on travels, boats and horses from a fellow writer and friend, Alison Alderton.
It’s very special.
To find out why you’ll have to read to the end… Here’s Alison’s pretty barge ‘Lily’
What do horse shoe nails and boating have in common? by Alison Alderton
“Not a lot” I hear you reply. Well at first glance perhaps not but recently I drifted into the small town of Mustadfors on Sweden’s Dalsland Canal and made a discovery as well as a link to a friend.
On the lift-bridge by the town’s lock is a horse shoe symbol, it reflects the town’s long association with the production of horse shoe nails. In conversation with the Lock Keeper, he told how the company, which no longer works out of the town, once specialised in light weight nails. These were made from aluminium and used in the race horse industry. With a little research of my own I later discovered these are also used with shoes specially designed for trotting horses.
Horse-trotting has a long history in Sweden; people have competed with their horses since the 19th century and at the nearby Amal’s racetrack there are regular events from April through to September each year.
A boating friend, Jackie Parry recently published a book about her amazing adventures with five ex-trotting horses which she and her husband, Noel rescued from an unknown fate. “A Standard Journey” is an exciting read; about how they sold up and set off with their horses to hack Australia’s Bi-centennial National Trail and brings my visit to the pretty little canal-side town of Mustadfors full circle.
I am thankful for this most unusual discovery which triggered thoughts of a dear friend.
And why is this so special?
Well, Alison’s publisher is keen for her to finish her book on her life with a rather special companion. Yes, there’s Roger, her lovely husband, but there’s also Buster the Beagle.
What I can promise you, knowing the ethos behind the story, is that it will be a book that will stay with you forever – I can hardly wait!
Here are more photos to whet your appetite.