Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hello! This is the Devil Again With a Few Closing Words...

I've been lying around in the background watching and listening to Ben and Ruth while they follow my scent trail around the US and Canada, seeking to discover the roots of MY music, the blues. They unexpectedly met me, as you may remember from a previous blog, leaving some small bones of inspiration, catching them in a small juke joint in Louisiana, where rock 'n' roll was being played. 

Yes!...and it hasn't escaped me, being a French Bulldog, (everyone sees me as a red human with horns and a forked tail,... grunt... insulting) that Ben has been saying some pretty pesky things about the French, yahhhh, snort!, they're the French, whaddya expect...why do you think the blues and the offshoots of its litter is connected to me?!

Folks. People say that the Blues is my music because of the deal I made with Robert Johnson back at the Crossroads. Ben and Ruth  heard the echos of the deal for fame and immortality traded for my trademark and recognition. Maybe... Some say that my music is just a metaphor for cheating in a relationship, a bad boss, or evil in the world...snarl...really? Charlie Patten did sing, "Devil Sent the Rain Blues," and Lonnie Johnson, "Devil's Got the Blues," Peetie Wheatstraw, "Devil's Son-in-Law," and of course Robert Johnson sang, "Cross Road Blues and Hell Hound On My Trail," and much more. I've really just been a comforting companion, trotting along near their feet to reflect their hearts' desires and emotions.

Some church folks have claimed that my music has influenced its members to stray from the flock, sanctified men and women leaving to follow my heartfelt howls. Others have blamed their sexual adventures, exploits, discomfort, guilt, and embarrassment on my influence. I'm just barking to make sure people are aware of their intentions and to keep the intrusion of confusing thoughts out...doin' my job, that's all.

People lead me on a metaphorical leash, laying blame for their deeds and misdeeds, but in fact I'm just the trickster, awakening options and experiences in life, allowing them to make the best choices to become complete people. Take it from me, folks, life is not all one-sided and what is one's tasty bone is another's dried tasteless white skeleton...Stop whining!

The blues emerged from the South where Ben and Ruth spent a lot of time digging into my roots and smelling the hardships and struggles that people experienced. This history is written in my music. The irony here is that  while the blues is primarily associated to me, so have jazz and rock 'n' roll been! Does it seem strange that the sound reflecting the deepest emotion of humanity has my name attached?

I'm just a playful reminder that you like to play, people...and it can be fun!

The blues brings people in touch with themselves and their primal instincts, for which I am famed and blamed, but I'm just a dog, doin' what's natural. I can't help but bark about injustice and inequality, and my bite has helped many to wake up and change their world to better the pack. 

Ben and Ruth stumbled upon me during their travels, listening to my music which resonates from and to the heart of humanity. They have traveled from deep in the South, meeting those displaced from their country and forced to find a new life in a greatly demanding and changing world. They have lived in the houses of those enslaved to enrich the lives of others, mistreated and considered inhuman...boy, I can relate to this! 

They traveled the same roads where many walked for days, weeks, months, years to find comfort and sympathy. I've followed them from one-lane roads in the Bayou onto the busy, traffic-clogged streets of the inner cities, walking the sidewalks that great songwriters traveled in sole-less shoes and penny-less pockets. I've crossed rivers with them and stood at the crossroads to remind them of the place where conscience and consciousness resides. I've made sudden stops and U-turns on deserted country roads to discover remnant World War II German prisoner-of-war camps, listened while the echos of long dead barely remembered musical strains passed into time. 

My music remains a constant reminder of vigilance, to be always alert to one's senses, to the hearts and minds of those crying out to be heard. I gotta say, friends, as man's best friend, despite my reputation, this has been and will be a great journey...have to take a walk now...down that long highway...see you there...

Even Grizzlies get the Blues

Our drive through the Canadian Rockies into Lake Louise was with great anticipation of seeing bears, as we once did in Alaska thirteen years ago. 

During our drive along Trans-Canada 1 in the Banff, Canada region, we could see that both sides of the road were carefully fenced off and every mile or so there were wild life crossovers and under-crossings, fenced to allow for the safe movement of wildlife from one side of the highway to the other.

Grizzly ambling through undercrossing

Up till fairly recently, the numbers of wildlife killed on the highways were exceptionally high but today, thanks to attentiveness to protective passage, this has dropped significantly. Wildlife is not only using the crossings, but learning their locations, as observation cameras are showing us. One fascinating video even showed wolves hunting by splitting their pack into two halves on each side of the highway and then driving a small herd of caribou across the passageway directly into the waiting jaws of their crafty team members.  

The animal muse of discovery was not with us on our drive in to our hotel near the lake so we took a long and white-knuckled 14-minute tram ride up to a 6,850 foot mountain top where Grizzles live and hang out. We participated in a very informative lecture on the health and safety of the approximately 60 bears that live in the region. They are all tagged and tracked carefully to ensure they are not only protected but are given free rein to completely "own" their environment. As there are so few bears and so many of us shlepping up and down trails, skiing, hiking, driving, and whatever, the bears can be very easily habituated to us. Many of us remember seeing pictures of bears next to touring cars in Yosemite and Yellowstone. People love and hate bears. They are depicted both as monster killers and lovable Pooh Bears and when sighted, people often want to stop their cars and either offer them food or...this will deplete the dumb gene pool...pose their kids in front of them to be killed or maimed...humans! 

There is an educational program afoot to teach us how to live with what our Native American brothers and sisters considered their honored respected family. As you can see from the map below, once upon a time the grizzly ranged over a vast portion of our continent:

Grizzlies are 90% vegetarian and though quite curious, don't stalk us for dinner. They estimate that there are about 25,000 bears left in the entire Canadian/Yukon region, a major reduction from their previous population. They are thought to have descended from Russian Brown Bears about 100,000 years ago and crossed to Alaska across the Bering Strait about 13,000 years ago. Their eyesight is equal to ours contrary to belief, but have noses that are...100,000 times more sensitive than ours!

Which puts us at a distinct disadvantage when trying to hide our Snickers bars! In fact a bear probably knows what we ate last night from a mile away. Generally though, they like berries and the large amount of calories necessary from their intake to survive, thank goodness. Bears have evolved over the thousands of years from the huge creatures that once walked the earth, 

or today we probably wouldn't be here to admire their presence. A poll was taken in the provincial parks of Canada if people would come to visit if they couldn't see bears. Only 15% said they would, so you can see what attraction we feel to our fuzzy brown and black cuddly Teddy Bear-like family?

Our animal conservationists are working full-time to try and reverse the loss of the grizzly and I'm pleased to say they are making headway. Bears are not dumb lumbering creatures, and when they are habituated to us, which is pretty darn easy considering our population explosion on this planet, we try to relocate them. The problem is that even after a movement of hundred of miles they return. Now those are some serious map skills! Another factor is that bears learn to live in their environment. Pretty environmentally sensible, eh? If you move a bear to another place it doesn't do well and wants to go home, so habituated bears often are killed as a last resort. 

Mother Canadian bears raise their young as a pack for up to three years to allow them to learn all the ins and outs of being a bear in that location. This is incredibly important training on the mother's part and here in Lake Louise, a pack of four seemingly full-grown bears are often sighted walking together -- though it's really mom and her three cubs. One mother was seen with her younger cubs in a snow field teaching them to lie on their bellies and toboggan across the snow for fun, which demonstrates what the First Nation people already recognized, they are our brothers and sisters in spirit.

The last grizzly bear seen in California, which has the Griz on its flag, was in 1922, shot in Tulare County.
For those of you who live near San Francisco, you can see the stuffed remains of the last living grizzly bear in California, which was the sitting model for the image on the flag, at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.

Ruth and I never did see those bears during our travels, despite vigilant scanning of the terrain while driving, but we came away from our journey with a deep respect for that "grizzled" furred family that thankfully remained hidden from our sight but not hearts.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Blues lesson from John Lee Hooker into the present

We discovered  this very cool picture at the BB King Museum in Indianola, Mississippi, one of the finest cultural, musical, and historical collections about the blues that we have seen. We studiously copied the chart on the picture behind the display case glass until we were able to find the actual picture, thanks to the power of Google. Guessing from John Lee's young face, his clothing style, and the chart above him, he appears to be approximately 30 years old, which would make the year about 1947. Note that rock 'n' roll doesn't exist and country music, here called "hillbilly," wasn't known as country until the 1940s.

The fun part of studying a drawing like this 70 years later, is making the additions to the flow chart.

The blues previous to about the mid-1950s was called "race music," then its moniker was changed to "rhythm and blues," to  reach out to a larger audience. Rock-and-Roll was a direct offshoot from this and hillbilly/rockabilly, so we can make the mental line drawing there. Thank goodness rock didn't carry forward the name "race" music, as this seems terribly anachronistic today. It's funny that what was considered mainstream back then is now rock 'n' roll.

So where does rap or hip-hop go on this chart, and where did they originate? Well...looking at our chart, there are strong connections to rip-rap and field hollers, or work songs. We do know that in the 1970s, rap became a form of African American teenager street art; and this early, simpler style is considered "old school" in contrast to the more complex rap of today.

Some of  this music owes its roots to reggae from Jamaica, which by the way, gets its name from a slang word that means loose woman: "streggae." It seems that reggae got its start sometime in the 1960s, partly from the power of Jamaicans listening to American clear channel radio, playing rhythm and blues, jazz, rock 'n' roll, and country. (Do you remember my blog about the good ol' days of the power of clear channel radio?!) African influences also were strong in creating the reggae sound.

John Lee Hooker, in the 1940s, would have been blown away at how multi-cultural musical genres combined in such magical ways. The music even came back to the "popular" circuit in the 60s and 70s through the Beatles in the song, "Oh-Blah-Di, Oh-Blah-Da," and Three Dog Night's, "Black and White."

So much can and should be written about the reggae branch of our tree, but I'll have to let it slide for now...back to rap...the word "rap" was the hip way to express the simple act of speaking in the 1960s; it didn't come into use musically for another decade. Rap used to be called "Disco Rap," until Keith Cowboy was teasing a friend somewhere in the mists of the funky 70s, who was going into the army. Keith rapped out "hip/hop/hip/hop," mimicking the cadence of soldiers marching. That, they say, is history...

Speaking of history, one of the first examples of rap in modern rock/folk music was the song "Subterranean Homesick Blues" by Bob Dylan, written in 1965. I've included a video link here which cannot be directly embedded due to copyright issues...oh! and who do you see in a cameo side shot in this film?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

From Land of 10K to 100K Lakes, Birthing 10G

When we arrive in Duluth, Minnesota, the birthplace of Bob Dylan, I can't help but notice the labeling on the license plates, "Land of 10,000 Lakes," and ponder the implications of this to us. When you think of 10K lakes, what comes to mind? How about this sound? Yup! You guessed it, that dreaded sound we hear in our  ears to inform us that we are about to become food for vampires. More on this in a bit...

Our stop for the evening is Fitger's Inn,

which was a historic brewery that closed in the mid-70s and reopened in the 80s, tastefully converted into hotel, restaurants, shops, and brew house. As you can see, this complex sits on the tip of the edge of Lake Superior and will be our jumping off point to cross Upper Minnesota into International Falls/Fort Frances, the US and Canadian border.

There are many crossings into Canada, some large, some very small. Ours is fairly small, small enough in fact to provide entertainment for the border crossing officials. If you read Ruth's previous blog you will get the point of what I mean. One thing she didn't mention, though, was after they questioned us when we drove up to the kiosk and were told to park and enter the building, they called me up to the window.

The stern-faced woman said that after running my passport and background check, they found our blog and wondered why I had so many negative things to say about the French? I was escorted into a back room and interrogated by a beefy, flack-jacketed, crew-cutted, moose-sized official. In my attempts to be friendly, I asked them in my broken high school-remembered French, "Pourquoi est-ce qu'un pays avec des relations bilaterales avec le R-U, a la reine mere sur se savise, et partager un soversign mutuel, une telle fidelite au Francais qui est colonie ils one conquis?" (Translation: "Why does a country with bi-lateral relations with the UK, has the Queen Mother on its currency, and shares a mutual sovereign, have such loyalty to the French, whose colony they conquered?")

This got me an extra half hour of time with Mr. Moose, Sir!

Finally we were freed into the bleak Fort Frances streets and I only drove five miles out of the way, still in shock.

So what's up with the title of this blog, you ask? The license plates are spot on. As we drove along there were lakes everywhere we looked, and upon stopping for a break or rest stop we were instantly deluged by swarms of angry, desperate mosquitoes. At one point, while driving and seeing lakes of infinite sizes and numbers, I commented to Ruth that it is probably a prerequisite that all properties have a lake and boat on them. If you look at a map of the western region of the province of Ontario Canada, you can see that water outnumbers land mass by a huge majority. It's practically one huge lake separated by thin land bridges, and each segment is ruled by its own beaver lodge by the way, Eh! The 10G stands for the 10 billion mosquitoes that lurk to collect tolls from the warm-blooded species in this region. Camping is not in cards for us now, not without bathing in DEET.

We passed through Ontario into the province of Manitoba and very quickly the lakes became more scarce, until all we could see around us was prairie flatness; the crackle of a campfire and the rich smell of the outdoors tickled our nostrils and interest. Just off the Trans-Canada 1 Highway in the tiny town of Moosomin, we pulled into an inviting campground with friendly hosts and a secluded spot away from fellow campers.

Instantly we became aware that we were not alone; the barely-changed relatives of the ninety-million-plus-year-old mosquitoes were there in force. We did what all our ancestors have done since the beginning of our race -- build a big-ass fire -- and smoked those suckers away while enjoying the modern day pleasures of cold cider and beer, until the sun set around 10:30-11 pm.

The next morning had to be planned with surgical precision, as our firewood was depleted. Everything that could be packed or prepped had to be entertained in the tent while the angry mosquito mob hovered expectantly outside the screen doors. No leisure coffee and breakfast, just DEET, Dash 'n' Drive, windows open to expel the one hundred who were seeking a free flight with meals included.

Everything in this blog is true except for one incident...can you guess which one it is?

By the way, don't forget to submit your suggestions on how you would build your Mojo Bag to claim the award! (See: "Got my mojo workin'")

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Leave the gun. Save the cannolis.

Crossed into Canada today. Ben was the poster child for what not to say when crossing an international border:

RCMP: Where are you from?
Ben: Just north of San Francisco.
RCMP: Where are you going?
Ben: Into and around Canada.
RCMP: Sir, you're in Canada. Where are you going?
Ruth: Vancouver, sir.
RCMP: How long will you be in Canada?
Ben: We're traveling around, writing about our travels -- we're writers.
RCMP (sighing): How long will you be in Canada, sir?
Ruth: About 10 days.
RCMP: Are you carrying cigarettes, cigars, tobacco?
Ben: We don't smoke.
RCMP (a little more loudly): Are you carrying any tobacco?
Ruth: No, sir.
RCMP: Are you carrying any firearms, handguns, pepper spray?
Ben: (pause)
Ruth: No, sir!
RCMP: No handguns?
Ben: (pause)
Ruth: Nope, no handguns.
RCMP: OK, pull over and go into the office, please.

They took our passports, said they would "run a background check," and we sat down, staring at the tiny barred cells behind the desk. Mercifully, it was only a few minutes before we were called by name, by a very nice lady. I guess the background check showed that, not only does neither of us have a felony record, but nor do we have even a parking ticket -- and we pay our mortgage on time, too.

Later, Ben said that, when the RCMP asked if we were carrying handguns, he almost told them the whole story -- those of you who know it, enjoy. Those of you who don't -- suffice to say, you can't bring handguns into Canada, doesn't matter if grizzly bears are chewing your toes off as an appetizer to having your liver for dinner, "personal protection isn't a reason to have a gun," as the RCMP told me when I asked. Had Ben actually told the story to the officer at the border, I suspect we'd be in one of those tiny cells still, perhaps banging tin cups on the bars. Now that's the blues.

We drove about three hours to Kenora, Ontario, where we checked into the second round hotel on this trip (think Capitol Records in LA); our strange, wedge-shaped room is on the top floor, just below the pool level, with a view of the lake stretching to infinity.


For dinner, we walked through the driving rain about half a mile to Borelli's, an Italian restaurant on the waterfront. We were soaked. I channeled Simon Pegg in "Star Trek" and the first words out of my mouth when we entered were, "Can I get a towel, please?"

The red lentil soup was a delectable starter, and both the "Italian" and the Caesar salad were among the best of their kind. Then, I had the pasta primavera, loaded with fresh squash, mushrooms, red peppers, and onions in a garlicky-herb oil. Delicious. However, it was nothing compared to Ben's pollo alla funghi, which was a perfectly cooked, lightly-breaded chicken breast, the most tender on the planet, served in a mushroom cream sauce that was THE BEST EVER.

A conversation with the chef was clearly in order; this cream sauce had to be identified. Roberto Borelli came out, and we asked him how he made it. I'll only say it starts with flour, oil, and fresh milk (none of this pasteurized stuff), and "Italian herbs." Chef Roberto claimed he spoke too little English to give us details. We identified oregano and the sweetness that could only be parsley, but this is clearly an assignment we have to delve into. When Ben found out that Roberto was Calabrese, the two of them went into a southern Italian huddle -- their families from two towns right next to each other. I finished off the Valpolicella.

Needless to say, despite being about as full as we could be, we had to have the dessert that Roberto ordered for us, the chocolate-cream-filled cannoli with fresh figs. Oh. My. God.

Canada: Leave the gun. Save the cannolis.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Got my Mojo workin'...

...but it just won't work for you."

Powerful magic...some's got it, some's don't, but it derives from African folklore called "hoodoo," and is usually a bag or amulet containing objects of power or spells which enable the user to affect others. Some might call it the "mojo hand" or "gris-gris" in the Caribbean, as is heard in music or stories. What about this hand, you ask? Well, ancestor respect and recognition is powerful, particularly in West African culture. They would often take the fingers and hand bones of their dead ancestors to connect their spiritual inheritance and family power to the present. This leads us to the next question relating to the use of a "black cat bone," as is mentioned in the title of our blog. We must reveal that all who read this and are connected to its influence are woven into our control! Have you been feeling particularly energized lately?!

It so happens that a black cat is a symbol of both good and bad luck in African cat culture it symbolizes bad luck, however, as one would catch a black cat and immediately boil it in a pot of water at midnight to capture the maximum "juju"...oh no! another reference. Apparently, as I haven't tried this (animal lovers back off), one particular bone of the cat is essential to use and is determined by the personality of the cat and the user. 

We have a black cat in our household and I'm going to tell you right now, up front, that the particular bone I would use would be the neck bone, because this is the bone I would throttle when she bites me if I stroke her in areas she doesn't approve of. But back to my story.

Another way to determine whether the bone you need has the right magic is to throw all the bones in a river and see which one floats upstream. I have to ask at this point, What happens if none of them do? Dang! I guess we need another cat.

"They" also say that if you take a mirror and hold it up to the right black cat bone, it won't reflect. This might explain why our cat looks like a deer in the headlights when I attempt any such crazy action (don't ask!) and takes off like a rocket...or it could be that she could be a wee bit suspicious that I have some retribution for previous bites up my sleeve? It's a never ending "lunge and riposte."

There is another advantage to a black cat bone that I haven't mentioned, and that is if one uses the bones of our furry feline friends, you don't have to dig up those of your family, which simplifies things quite a bit, particularly in 21st century America.

Most southern mojo bags are made with a red material, but they say a seasoned practitioner will coordinate the color based on the intention. Things you don't learn in interior design school. 

A study into the history and etymology of "juju" informs me that it was often used as a spell to ensure that a  Nigerian woman sold into slavery and trafficked in Europe for a life of prostitution, would not escape or break her could be used to affect the outcome of a football game. I love the comprehensiveness of this spell-binding business. There is good juju and bad, like saving a lost kitten -- I might have a problem with this one as their bones look enticingly interesting, or returning a lost...prostitute, let's say, which sits in that grey area.

Let's look at some mojo bags and see what we can concoct!

The first thing that most West African tourists do when they come to America is troll Bourbon Street in New Orleans to get their mojo bags custom made, and the exchange rate is pretty good here as well. These in this photo do lack some authenticity in color and romantic taste.

I have a mojo bag that unfortunately I cannot show you as it would lose its juju, but I'll describe it here. It is made from the:
  • Ballsack of a wild boar
  • Contains a letter of divorce decreeing that all property and earnings be awarded to ex-wife, forever
  • Juju that forces people to stand in the longest line in the supermarket
  • Energy attracting Republican friends
  • The scent of the cologne of the most annoying people in public
  • The venom of the Inland Taipan Snake, the most deadly in the world
  • Venom from 100 irritating mosquitoes
  • The 10 best thank-you speeches from Miss America Contests
Now it's time to hear from you!  Build your Mojo Bag. Send your requirements/ ingredients and we will choose the best one to publish in the forthcoming book.

Let's listen to the story from Muddy Waters:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Touring the Island with Ben & Jerry

The morning dawned, very early up here in the North, and the sound of hooves on pavement woke me. It was a portent of things to come.

We walked through town (those two blocks Ben mentioned) to Jack's Livery Stable, and met our guide for the day, Jerry. Jerry isn't your usual guide -- he's about six feet tall, dark brown hair, with prominent ears, big brown eyes, a pink nose and flamboyant mustache, and a very placid temperament. He's fond of wearing leather, and showed up draped in leather straps. Oh, did I mention that Jerry is a horse? A really, really big horse?

Our two-person buggy (yes, with a fringe on top, but alas, no cupholders) was hitched up, we were given a map and some rudimentary instructions, and let loose. We started out by jogging along the lakeside, around the northeast side of the island; we were quickly out of town and into the country. Our pace was a steady 3-4 miles per hour. It took less time than I expected to adjust to the slow, steady pace of walking speed. There were no worries about traffic; the only traffic we encountered was people on bikes, many with tots in tow, exclaiming aloud at our "horsey."

Even though Ben was beginning to pride himself on driving every single mile of this trip, I took the reins and guided us to our first stop, which Jerry pretty much knew already, so no problem there. A friendly, taciturn man named Doug held Jerry for us while we stretched our legs. Doug was born on the island, I would guess some 70-odd years ago, educated here, and now loved being here and connecting with the tourists.

Jerry, by the way, was quite the celebrity; every time we passed another carriage or taxi, the driver would cry out, "Jerry! How ya doin', buddy!" Jerry would bow his head in mock humility, let out a snort, and we would acknowledge with graceful waves and move on.

Let me say a bit more about seeing the world at a walking pace. For the first few minutes, you want to slap the reins and take off -- which, by the way, we were welcome to do. But soon the steady, monotonous clip-clop (and yes, it really is "clip-clop") of hooves takes over, the gentle rhythm of the buggy wheels lulling you like a calm, comforting lullaby. You have time to look, really look, at the flowers passing by, notice the shades of purple and yellow,


smell the lilacs, the honeysuckle, the pine trees. Listen to the sound of small waves slapping the pebbled shore. It's hypnotizing. Good thing Jerry was (really) driving although, since he spent his early years as the "left side" of a team, we had to keep a steady pressure to the right.

As a side note, one of the things that hadn't occurred to me was that, in addition to ferrying tourists and locals around in buggies and taxis, horses are used here for all those tasks that we would normally delegate to trucks. We passed a sledge loaded with full garbage cans, and several loaded with furniture, people's belongings, or gardening tools. It's the hidden infrastructure that's not so hidden, especially downwind of those garbage cans.

We climbed the hill past the golf course to the airport(!), through thick woods with spooky footpaths leading off through dark trees, and, after a bit of a discussion with Jerry about turning left to the cemetery, continued to Arch Rock.

We parked and a woman walked up and offered Jerry a drink, which he accepted with alacrity, his slurping sounding exactly as if he were drinking through a huge straw. He went through five gallons of water in about as many seconds, and we were on our way again, this time right behind a huge, rubber-tired wagon (did I mention our tires were wooden?), pulled by a team of three horses. We soon turned off onto a smaller road, much to Jerry's dismay -- he voiced his objections pretty strenuously, but, good guide that he is, gave in.

This smaller road led past some new "cottages" -- and I use the term in the same way the word "cottage" is used in Newport, RI,


and we started downhill, slowly. Jerry already knew that he wasn't allowed to go faster than a walking pace downhill, so the warnings about "keep horse reined in downhill" were superfluous. We passed Fort Mackinac, the Governor's House, and ended up on the road to the Grand Hotel. Like Jerry, we snorted at the signs informing us that, to visit the hotel, the cost would be $10. Really? To see a hotel lobby? Rather like the charge for entering St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Doesn't that just smack a little too much of ... well, isn't that just awfully ... not done?

Jerry thought so, too, and, defiantly adding to the piles on the street, he carried us on down the hill into town and back to the stable.