Friday, 26 April 2013

Street Talk: Dream The Horse And Carriage Driver.

Today's Street Talk is brought to you by the gorgeous Twitchy from twitchy corner. She's an absolute gem of a lady with a heart of gold; a mum to two kids, she's doing her bit to spread autism awareness and acceptance. She translates that into 'wanting to see more laughter and kindness in the world'. Thanks Twitchy for today's post - I for one, loved it. Peace. Linda x


This Street Talk turned out to be a bit of an adventure. Dream was my second interview for the day as my first interview didn’t head down a road I could’ve predicted. I chanced upon an intriguing and receptive character at a tram stop in colourful St. Kilda. The chat began well enough to the point I just hopped on the tram to finish the interview. But it quickly morphed into an awesome partial expose on the seedy underbelly of the St. Kilda crime and drug-dealing scene! Informative as that was, my interviewee was identifiable; not apparently as savvy to the blog concept as first indicated. I had to do the right thing. As we parted ways, I found myself with an unusable interview but now in the Melbourne CBD. 

From the Tram Window. This is all I can show you from Interview One.

This is how I discovered Dream, standing at her post opposite the Town Hall on the corner of Collins and Swanston, with her fairytale horse-drawn carriage.

How long have you been doing this and how did you get your start?

I’ve been working with the horses and carriages two years now. I used to work in retail nearby. There was a French girl who was doing this. I was interested so I met her and asked how she got the job. She said she used to work on farms in France and that she just walked up to the boss on the street asking for a position. That made me think and the more I thought about it, the more I really wanted to do it too! But I had no experience. None at all. It didn’t stop me. I still wanted it.

(A tourist interrupts to ask for directions to the nearest post office. Dream cheerily assists.)

I asked the boss and I was honest. He asked me if I had worked with, or ridden horses before. PFFFT! (She gestures with a swipe.) In Thailand, I rode elephants, not horses!! (She laughs.) I had his attention. I told him I will work hard, so please train me, I will do it for free. He agreed and said it would take five to six months. I kept my full time retail job and trained seven to eight hours every Saturday and Sunday, learning all parts of the job. I worked seven days a week the whole time! But I’m so happy I did.

Tell me about your work day.
A work day is about ten or eleven hours, up to thirteen on a weekend. I start at the yards to feed, clean, groom and harness the horses before coming here to take rides. (Rides are not charged per person, they are per carriage.)

I meet the boss who’s interested in what we are doing; I explain and thank him for Dream’s time. At this point a council officer issues a traffic infringement notice for Dream’s carriage. Being third in a row, it’s over the line. Dream’s boss is not happy. He leans over and says under his breath: ”Tell ‘em the Council’s trying to get rid of us.”

Do you have favourite horses and do you work with the same ones or rotate them? (I stroke one, her sides are surprisingly soft, more like felt than hair).

Yes, Laura is famous for her softness! We do rotate them, but I love Laura and Dougie here, they were the first pair I worked with.

Can you tell me a little bit more about yourself from your time before this job?

In Thailand I worked at a free tourist magazine for the Japanese, sourcing pictures.  I came to Australia four years ago with my Australian partner. Unfortunately it did not work out. I hoped to find employment in similar Japanese work but here you have to be fluent and I am not. So I waitressed, worked at Crown Casino, then I got my retail job. I thought about going back to Thailand but I already had my permanent residency and I really wanted this job. If it hadn’t worked out I would’ve gone back. But two years later, here I am, and loving it!

As I take my shot, Laura ruffles her big, plumed head into her petite handler who laughs, obscured by pink horsefeathers. I take another shot, thank Dream and say goodbye.

Oh Horsefeathers!

Beautiful Dream. With Dougie and Laura


Friday Street Talk is an unfolding art project. I'm so grateful and blown away that people say yes to talking with me, trusting me with some snippets of who they are. 

Previous Street talks:

1. Noelene the Young
2. Megan the Mouse
3. Harpal the Australian
4. Darren the Artist
5. Jo the Interesting
6. John the Telstra Guy 
7. Michael the Photographer
8. Peg the Lady
9. Jeff the Preacher Man
10. Andres the Cobbler
11. Honey the Prostitute
12. Mark the Masseur
13. You the Blog Reader

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Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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