Horsing Around: a short story from Champagne and Lemonade

Champagne and Lemonade is a collection of short stories including many different genres and with many different topics. The collection includes tales about goldfish, horses and vampires, a policeman dealing with an accident in snowy weather, a cleaner whose day takes a dangerous turn, an unconventional superhero and a young boy whose imagination sees him fighting with pirates. Within the book there are stories which will appeal to all ages.

You will find reviews of all the stories on different blogs over a couple of weeks and as part of that I am reviewing ‘Horsing Around’. In this amusing story we meet the retired residents of a farm. The residents of this farm just happen to be horses! There’s Duke who has worked all his life for the Queen as a guardsman’s mount, Champ an ex-racing horse, beautiful refined ex-circus performer Lightning and Shire horse Nelly who previously pulled a rag-and-bone cart and who tells it like it is! They are horrified to discover that the farmer intends to sell off all his fields and sell the horses to the slaughterhouse. They try to figure out how they can prevent this and come up with a plan to make themselves indispensable. With clearly drawn characters, you could easily be reading about people rather than horses. In fact, you can imagine similar situations with people re-adjusting to life in retirement or in a care home. The horses’ different personalities come across strongly. It’s an age old tale of friends uniting against adversity. It’s the kind of story which could be set in a retirement community, a school yard, a small village or any area of a city. It’s a common enough experience, told in a light-hearted way. I think there is lots that people of all ages could relate to although with references to the horse being sent to the knackers yard and being turned into dog meat, perhaps this isn’t one for the youngest readers! 

Short extract from the story

All their minds drifted as they found themselves reminisc­ing about their pasts. Champ thought about how he would love to be gracing Aintree again; he pictured himself in the winner’s enclosure with the flashing of the cameras, everyone cheering his name and his owner constantly patting him in praise. Nelly imag­ined the treats she would get from pulling her heavy cart full of scrap — carrots and potatoes and at least twice a week her favou­rite — chocolate. Lightning pictured the happy faces of the chil­dren as they watched her performing her tricks. The one she had loved to do best was standing on her hind legs while she swung a hula hoop around her neck; the kids had loved it. Finally, Duke could see the Queen in her carriage with himself proudly at the forefront, his chest sticking out with pride, as the public looked on in awe.

My thanks to Rachel at Authoright for my copy of this book. Champagne and Lemonade will be published by Clink Street Publishing on 5th July 2016. You can order a copy here: Champagne and Lemonade

From the back of the book

Champagne & Lemonade is a delightful collection of eclectic short stories, taking readers on a journey to different times and places, meeting a sparkling cast of well-drawn characters. Nibble the fish is desperate to escape his boring old pond. A new breed of super hero has been born and his name is Bob Cheesecake. Dumpton Hospital’s staff have a somewhat unconventional approach to looking after their patients. Robert Hood is on a mission to save modern England. And just who is the vampire terrorising the neighbourhood from his home at 113A Greenstone Street? From the quixotic to the poignant, John A. D. Hickling’s wild and whimsical tales fizz with fun and are sure to entertain almost everyone! 

About John Hickling

Proud father and grandfather, and jack of all trades John A.D. Hickling currently lives with his family in Nottingham. A lover of music, especially 60’s rock, John has previously recorded two independent albums, appeared in comedy band Space Cadets on Britain’s Got Talent and is an active member of Masque Productions amateur theatre group. His debut book, Champagne & Lemonade (published by Clink Street Publishing June 5th 2016 RRP £6.99 paperback, RRP £3.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores. For more information please visit www.johnchewyhickling.com

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