Jackie Parry – author


6 Comments

Writing Competition

Short Story Writing Competition

I won this month!

June’s travel writing competition, that Robert Fear hosts, attracted many talented writers. This morning I received notification that I won this month.

They are all short stories related to travel – some of the yarns will surprise you, all will delight you.

Here’s a copy of my story, click here to read the others, you won’t be disappointed.

“You’re finally settling down?” Friends are intrigued.
“Well, no. We still travel but on home land, not foreign.” We explain.

I’ve discovered that travel is your mind’s view, not just your eyes’. Our own park-land replaces far-flung cultures. We still explore exotic communities, only this location fits better, like a warm, floppy jumper.

Now, the tender whicker from a happy horse saying g’day replaces the mellow swish of parting ocean waves.

The travel-music of boisterous, hull-pounding seas is usurped by sixteen strong hooves thundering against native grasses, feisty back-legs hurled in the air just for the hell of it! Their hoof-beats are my heart-beats.

Before, when watching thick fog roll over the vast plains of salt water to swallow us into its chilly wisps, my shoulders rose up to my ears as I tensed sensing unseen dangers. Now, as the mist claims our valley I calmly ignore the night-time brisk that nips at my extremities, and I witness the white swirls settle as a waterfall would slide into a river.

There’s no town illumination to dampen the cosmic display. The clear nights reveal mystifying galaxies that hang above us with such clarity that a sharp intake of breath could draw them in. The blackness is so silent we whisper, fearful that the glass stars may shatter.

Fragrant black coffee wafts through our tiny, temporary home, the steam rising in sync with the morning mist. The tang of sweet smelling grass, earthy mud, sun-cream, grainy horse feed, burning logs, damp socks – are the aromas of fulfillment.

The mileage may be limited, but not my journey or freedom. Seventy acres of undulating heaven needs care, as do we. The steep-hill-exercise will keep us fit and strong long into our dotage. We take care of the land, it takes care of us.

As I take in the surroundings, I notice the vibrant bush fights for supremacy along the ridges and tall trees become custodian to flitting birds; a playground of leafy limbs for our feathery friends.

Proud gums come alive with squawks and chirps. Rainbow lorikeets flash by, flapping fire-red, ocean-blue and deep-sea green; in a pause between the cacophony the Kookaburras cut the stillness with a hearty cackle, are they laughing at us?

The creek hums a lullaby as it roams along pink and grey rocks painting them a shiny black. The clear icy water strays along the sandy bed carving new paths after flood rain, pushing at reeds that wave a farewell.

We’re creating our own travel history on romantic moors and enticing peaks. I’m awash with besotted intrigue – what’s around the next corner? Is that a new tree? Beautiful weeds are classed as noxious. I fight for control pulling, bagging, burning the grasses that want to take over but are not permitted. It’s hard labour that keeps my butt tight with effort, just like the constant moving on a sailboat during our sea voyages.

On the land, marauding wombats scratch cavernous holes under the cover of darkness, leading into a labyrinth of tunnels, like giant rabbit warrens. Beneath the scorching sun, wedged-tailed eagles swoop on air currents, their splendid tableau unique to them. Ants scurry within their mounded battlefields ready to take on a giant human at a moment’s notice.

Evening comes too fast, but we greet her with a cool beer and dirt-smudged faces. My hands feel the stretch of dryness and the sting of cracks, sore muscles remind me that I’ve achieved middle-age, my torn, grubby clothes don’t matter because I wear a bright, satisfied smile.

Travel changes you. You change while everything back at home stays the same. Here, at our home, there’s a surprising synchronicity – time, place and people are changing together. Noel and I are in harmony. A perfect choir of love.

But as with each journey, my soul is reshaped. I’ve bid farewell to places where I know I’ll miss the people and the lands, but also a part of me because I’ll never be that way again.

I wonder what part of me I’ll leave in which corner of our natural Disneyland. And what new thoughts and outlooks I’ll collect to replace what I’ve left behind; refreshing my layers with a view for every occasion.

Wonderful view

View for every occasion

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Horses, Boats, Writers, Travel, and Stories from the Heart

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’

Dutch barge Lily moored at Mustadfors

Dutch barge Lily moored at Mustadfors

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.

The horse shoe symbol on the side of the lift bridge

The horse shoe symbol on the side of the lift bridge

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.

The entrance to the former horse shoe nail manufacturers

The entrance to the former horse shoe nail manufacturers

Mustadfors lift bridge

Mustadfors lift bridge

Mustadfors lock on the Dalslands Canal

Mustadfors lock on the Dalslands Canal

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.

Home, 5 horses nearby and our tents

Home, 5 horses nearby and our tents

Friends
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.

jackie p

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.

Boating with Buster – The life & times of a barge beagle will be a story you’ll want to read. Follow Alison here and/or here and try to be patient, it is a work in progress.

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.

And here’s our Dutch Barge (for sale) you can have a good look around here….

Rouge Corsair is for sale!

Rouge Corsair is for sale!


14 Comments

Big News

A few weeks ago I mentioned, on a blog here, that I had a big announcement.

I’ve let the cat out of the bag in messages on Facebook, here and there… but now the “ad” is done, it’s official.

What Ad?
The ad for our Dutch barge, she’s for sale (Rouge Corsair).

Rouge Corsair - 1920s Dutch Barge

Rouge Corsair – 1920s Dutch Barge

Why?
We are heading back to Australia.

Why?
For many reasons, but as we were contemplating a change, the guy that has three of our horses offered them back. With a big skip and a little tear, we agreed (well, I agreed and then told Noel what I had done!).

So, we’ll be reunited with Charlie, Ned, and Dom.

Sweet Dommie

Sweet Dommie

Ned and Charlie

Ned and Charlie

Why?
Well, they’re our family, and if you’ve read A Standard Journey, 5 horses, 2 people, and 1 tent, you’ll understand the bond we created while living together and relying on each other in the bush together.

Congratulations!
Lately, I’ve received some lovely emails from professional horse trainers who use a holistic approach – they congratulated us on what we achieved. So, when we get back we’ll build on that work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tent!
So now we’ve finished the complete renovation on our barge and have a nice home, we’ll be heading back to a field and a tent… yes, really…

But! I’m one happy girl!


Leave a comment

Barefoot and Fancy-Free

Our horse trek through the Australian bush had the foundations of freedom and independence. Not only were our five boys barefoot but they were bit-less too, i.e.we rode in rope halters – the packing horses were led via halters too. (You can read more about that here).

Dom, Stevie (ridden) and Spirit at the back

Dom, Stevie (ridden) and Spirit at the back

We encountered not one problem with this ethos, except more road work than we envisaged and, therefore, more use of the boots. The bit-less idea worked beautifully. Although I did purchase a specific halter with more leverage for Charlie and his ‘suitcase-sized’ head that he put to good use when he spotted juicy grass!

Charlie, in his halter with extra leverage!

Charlie, in his halter with extra leverage!

I didn’t carry out endless research on barefoot riding, it just seemed to make sense. So, I was intrigued to recently read Linda Chamberlain’s A Barefoot Journey: The story of one woman’s fight against horse shoes.

Boots!

Boots!

Linda’s true story is about her fight against horse shoes. She feared metal shoes were harming horses. In this light-hearted account she tells how she battled with her farrier, coped with derision from other riders and saved a horse from slaughter. Mistakes, falls and triumphs are recorded against the background of a divided equine world which was defending the tradition of shoeing…with prosecutions.

Cover_Barefoot_3 (1)

We fostered an incredible bond with our boys (five Standardbreds) and I now believe the start of that remarkable journey was removing their shoes as soon as they came to us.

Happy, healthy boys!

Happy, healthy boys! This is the team I went trail riding with – Spirit, Dom, Stevie, Charlie and Ned

Here’s the review I have written for Linda’s book. Her book’s on Amazon, here.

Review for: A Barefoot Journey

A true story combining her experience and the technical proof that barefoot is what, as horse lovers, we all should be doing.

My boys’ shoes were removed as soon as they got to us. Truly, though, I didn’t understand the magnitude of the damage shoes can do. I wanted them barefoot for the trail riding we were doing – we didn’t have bits in their mouths either, the journey was all about freedom. But it’s logical when you think about it. That’s why her friend at the hospital in the story got it. He didn’t know anything about horses, but the barefoot care made perfect sense to him.

Carrie's rotten feet after the shoes fell off (When Linda first took ownership of Carrie)

Carrie’s rotten feet after the shoes fell off (When Linda first took ownership of Carrie)

As well as passionate about horses, I am passionate about sailing. For many years I was barefoot on a boat, for weeks at sea. My feet actually got bigger, they spread, they became tougher – horses’ feet are the same – they’re flexible, not a lump of nothing at the end of their leg.

 Carrie leading the way, getting better

Carrie leading the way, getting better

But my knowledge extend to the depths of Linda’s I am embarrassed to say. I, too, had horses shod when I was younger. Linda’s story is clever in that you learn along with her. She states the believers and the non-believers case. She doesn’t hold back when she encounters problems in her quest to have all her horses barefoot.

Told with searing honesty, some humour (I giggled at Linda’s antics falling off), and technical explanations -simply written, so they don’t put your head in a spin – this is a must read for anyone with horses or thinking about getting one. It’s also for any animal lover and people who just like to hear tales of people doing the right thing – even if it means sleepless nights, a possible jail term, and wild nightmares.

Thank you Linda, you’ve made a controversial subject so plain and simple to understand. This story was told over fifteen years ago and I know the industry is far more open now – but I also know there are some people still against it. It’s a story that’s still relevant today and will be for a long time to come.

A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Linda's second book - which I've just purchased!

Linda’s second book – which I’ve just purchased!


6 Comments

Horseback Adventure

Freedom, horse gear, hard work, and a journey that will stay with you forever

‘You don’t need all that gear, look what motorcyclists take.’ I was shown two small panniers, not much bigger than handbags, hooked on the back of a bike.

This is one of the comments I’ve received on the equipment we carried when we trekked in the Australian bush with five horse; it’s all listed out in the back of the book A Standard Journey, or you can see it all here: via pictures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mid journey, this was after we had whittled down the equipment even more – bare necessities here!

Bike vs Horse
For a start, if you are camping out with your motorbike and you need something, you can hop on your bike and speed off at 80 km to the nearest shops. You can’t do that on a horse that’s just trekked for six to eight hours carrying your world possessions and you!

Secondly, bikes don’t need feeding, grooming, first aid, rugs, boots, saddles, saddle blankets, fencing, electric fence equipment, water buckets, nose bags… and on it goes.

We'd just unloaded here - next job (once the horses were taken care of) was to sort our gear and pitch the tent

We’d just unloaded here – next job (once the horses were taken care of) was to sort our gear and pitch the tent

Personal equipment
I’d say fifty percent of the equipment comprised saddles (riding and pack – five in total) saddle blankets, halters and reins. You can’t get very far without any of this.

We were throwing out the hard panniers and buying back-packs - the saddle is in the camp shop - they are big and heavy

We were throwing out the hard panniers and buying back-packs – the saddle is in the camp shop – they are big and heavy

Forty percent of the gear would be for the horses, the fencing, water buckets, rugs, food, grooming kit, first aid kit…. etc

Our camp - second tent phase! The grey lump near the horses is all the horse gear

Our camp – second tent phase! The grey lump near the horses is all the horse gear

That leaves ten percent for Noel and I. That’s five percent each for clothes, food, cooking gear, first aid kit, tent and… well that was pretty much it!

First set up with hard panniers

First set up with hard panniers

Second, and much improved, set up, with back-packs

Second, and much improved, set up, with back-packs

Compromises
We made comprises and worked harder than we ever did in our entire lives. But there were great rewards, we had one mobile phone for emergencies and ninety percent of the time that had no signal. We had no internet, no car to run, no office to sit in. What we had was nature, freedom and five of the most incredible horses you will ever read about.

Freedom

Freedom

Take a look at our photo album of our trip and if you’d like to read the story, here’s the link. You can read an excerpt first if you want…. then the reviews.

Charity
I donate fifty percent of profits to horse charities, here’s a website on  A Helping Hand for Horses.

oh and BTW, I’ve just reduced the ebook price.

What are you waiting for?

What they are saying

‘A hauntingly beautiful book.’

‘This will stick with readers for a long time’

‘The journey was not all they had expected’

‘The trail presented obstacles at every turn’

‘The journey itself makes for incredibly engaging & interesting reading’

‘The details of the trip are fascinating’

‘I couldn’t put it down’

‘The horses are as real and vividly drawn as the humans in this book.’

‘The moments when the horses get “naughty” are hilarious’


5 Comments

An Exhilarating Tale For 99 cents / 99 pence

Let me transport you into the Australian bush….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s only Noel and I and five huge horses!….. We did have a tent too!

Here’s our story of our adopted horses, trail riding for three months without support and a woman who questions her life while she falls in love with horses all over again.

50% of profits of this book will be donated to *horse charities

NO – YOU don’t pay more. I donate to charity from my earnings!

Get wrapped up in this thrilling ride – I’ll take care of the donations

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s what’s being said already:

‘To enjoy this thoroughly, all you need to know about horses is that the head’s the front and the tail’s the back.’

‘For me, this is a book about journeys: why we do them; with whom; how they challenge and change us; why they are so difficult to end.’

‘Even the chapter headings are well-written – eg “Bucking and Farting” and “Here’s My Heart.”’

‘It has some very moving moments of unexpected kindness – human and equine – that stayed with me after I’d finished the book.”

“Heartily recommended”

“A story that will resonate with any animal lover, any adventurer, and anyone

who enjoys reading about ordinary peopleSAMSUNG achieving truly extraordinary things.”

Meet the stars!

The paperback book contains colour pictures and links into another world, but here’s the full photo album here: https://jackieparry.com/photo-album/ – meet the real stars of the story.

Please share – together let’s make a difference!

* Currently, supporting SPPHA – Standard Pleasure and Performance Horses Association and Redwings Horse Sanctuary 

MORE CHARITY ORGANISATIONS WILL BE DONATED TO AS BOOKS SALES CONTINUE


Leave a comment

Unique & Thrilling Journey For A Few Cents / Pence

Saddle up and hold on!

You won’t feel the pain at all – not like we did.

Allow me to transport you into the Australian bush.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s what’s being said already about our story:

“A hauntingly beautiful story.”

“Told with humour and humbleness.”

Let the tears fall as you witness a miracle

“Told with searing honesty.”

“This story will stick with you for a long time.”

“Even the chapter headings are well-written – eg ‘Bucking and Farting’, and ‘Here’s My Heart.'”

You’ll feel no pain, but you will experience ours.

Meet the stars!
The paperback book contains colour pictures, but here’s the full photo album for everyone to enjoy. Meet the real stars of the story.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But wait – there’s more!
I will donate 50% of all profits to help rescue more horses. So please share these words with anyone who enjoys reading about ordinary people achieving truly extraordinary things – any animal lovers, or adventurers too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From 22nd July – 27th July you can purchase the ebook – A Standard Journey for 99 cents / pence (USA/UK) – what more could you ask for?

A Standard Journey front cover v2 reduced