A Veterinary Herbalist’s Travel Vlog

Lakota and the Theault Proteo 5 Switch

Lakota’s Horsebox – The Theault Proteo 5 Switch

Beware of out-of-the-norm or reckless behaviour!

Don’t spend lots of money post-trauma ‘they’ say.  Don’t make emotional decisions, ‘others’ say. 

I’ve done it 3 times, and each have been the best movement-out-of-stasis decisions of my life!

Two have been vehicle purchases. Both were hankering after a red caravan, complete with draught horse, I once saw exploring the coastal roads of County Kerry. Oh! To explore those magical places in true holiday time.  You see, I was heavily influenced as a kid by Enid Blyton’s books in which she portrays the idyllic lifestyles of country and caravan life.  I think my desire for an idyllic dreamy life in a caravan became more real as the first time I saw a red caravan was on my first trip to Ireland, I was with a ‘box-ticking’ guy.  There was definitely no holiday time on that adventure, particularly when he started with counting calories of his first aeroplane meal!

My Spanish made 4WD took me away from the place of trauma, loss and immense sorrow.  I found it by chance one day as I was returning to the ship to which I had been posted after being on an errand.  The red said a loud “Hello” from where it was parked in front of the car sales lot.  Then I was hobbling into the sales office with crutches in tow and signing on the dotted line. I wasn’t letting any logistics, box ticking errand get in the way this time. 

The 4WD lived on the wharf for a time replacing the bicycle that I had been using to navigate both the top and bottom corners of Australia. At times it felt like the ocean just dumped me ashore and I was switched in place from a grey metal box to a moving red one.  There were commitments that held me in place on that ship. It was like I would always need to be solving problems, or continually striving to solve them, that transitioning from sea life to idyllic life seems to be an unattainable anathema.


Then, in some curly, harsh twisting of fate, before the allocated time, I was expunged out of the grey box.  My mum, me and a few eagles flying in for company, were traversing the breadth of the bottom of Australia in the red 4WD. Not a caravan. But,  red all the same.  And, I grew to love this red one and where we went.


The red 4WD took me to find my home away from home.  A willow glen in the place of tall trees.  A street nestled in a town named so because it too, was nestled in a place of tall trees according to the Aboriginal name given to the town. I remember hiding around the corner of the house after the walk through while I cried with joy at finding such a perfect heart-place.  At the same time my friend counselled me not to show emotion when negotiating the price whilst giving me a hug. This home has held me for 18 years, as long as anywhere I have lived before.

This home has led/is leading me on some magical at often scary journeys – all from the comfort of being behind ‘Captain Dobbin-like’ windows. The Australian poet Kenneth Slessor gave me a lasting metaphor for the stuckness periods of my life with his poem about a sea captain retired from the sea. Captain Dobbin sailed a brick villa, Laburnum Villa being retired from the sea and life, only able to see what once he lived in a fog hung in his windows.


Oh! An “OH WOW!” aside: Laburnum genus is part of the pea family, as is the Crotalaria genus. Bear with me as we take a quick trip to May 2010 when I had a Bach Flowers assignment due. I’m big on epiphanies and synchronicities, so this will be worth it, I promise.

Not long after saying goodbye to my family and heading off in the opposite direction to my normal route (not by conscious choice) back to my willow glen, I encountered a striking yellow flower on the side of the road.  Having made the split decision to stop and photograph it, with a quick check of the rear vision mirror, I pulled over.  I looked up through the windscreen and into the mesmerising yellow flowers that were Crotalaria lunata

That chance encounter revealed a flower essence being of both the sun and the moon.  A flower essence for change.

There is yet another layer of fog, portrayed in ironic contrast for Captain Dobbin living in Laburnum Villa.  Kenneth Slessor chose a botanical genus that has the alternative name of Golden Rain.  A light sunny shower is completely absent in the depiction of dreary fog and stasis in Captain Dobbin’s retired life.

January 2011 marked my retirement from the sea and the beginning of exploring the layers that would become my practice of herbal medicine.  And my living of life.

Now is the time

It’s time again now to move from the stasis of pain and not wanting to feel pain. Another vehicle, still reminiscing after the idyllic life of compactness and movement, complete with horse and dog smells. This time, white in colour and able to carry my horse (and my dogs) to wherever we wish to go.  My first wish is to home, my home of homes, to my mum and family. And on travels to be with the kindred spirits o’ mine.

Time again to discover a space to call home as my home away from home is no longer nestled comfortably in tall trees.  There is so much development here now that there are next to no tall trees left.  The town’s name has actually become a bit of a sad, ironic laugh now. Will that be with family, who are my home, or another home away from home?  I don’t know just now.  I am embracing idyllic and seeing where the roads take us. 

Finding Lakota’s horsebox was one of those moments where a deep, warm feeling emanates from your gut. That feeling which suffuses everywhere throughout your body and you just know that it’s soooo right.  It was supposed to be Lakota, Mereenie, Phaeton the cat, Josie and I finding away together after Isabella left us. Lakota and Phaeton apparently had other ideas. They left within a year of Isabella going – without even getting to see the horsebox.

Everything seemed to get stalled in the liminal spaces after I said an excited, confident “Yes” to purchasing a Theault Proteo Switch. Time drifted interminably. Throughout it all the only constant was Theault – the company and their solid horseboxes (which I had evidence of right at Lakota’s agistment property) and a French accent.


At times I wondered, I’m still wondering, if it was all an Otherworld dream. Full of tricksters, challenges and guides. Puzzles to be solved by S-Elf, not systems, procedures, databases or maritime schedules.  The interminable liminal space.  A damnable space that I so strongly wanted to believe was just a hiccup in time, something not to be endured, even nurtured. Something that one just jumped over, barely recognised.  

A damnable space, like those damnable epiphanies that I’m so keen on having, truly experiencing, which make my life mean something other than the fog hung in a window.  

Lakota, come home.

It wasn’t until I knew I had to invite her home (another of the gut feeling things) that time started to creep forward again. 

You see, Lakota had been drifting in time, just as her horsebox had been drifting on the ocean. The horsebox was held in stasis by the vagaries of sea logistics and Australian customs (a stasis that also held my grief for Lakota, Phaeton and Isabella). Those logistics things that use to run like clockwork, making so much logical sense. Like so many of the logical, logistical things that had comprised my life at sea – they were bereft of the sensible and seeming to float away from me.  My life, post sea, which tried to be complete with all my animals, enabling me to try to figure out my life, had created holes so big, I couldn’t jump over them and keep going along the same path.

Now, the need to invite her home made much more sense than a ship bobbing for months off the Australian coast waiting for a channel to be cleared and a berth to become available.

And so, the words were spoken, the feelings felt. Those feelings that had been pushed back down into a stasis of their own. 

“Lakota. come home.”

So she did.  Somehow time allowed my feelings of grief and emptiness to be inexplicably synchronised with events of joy and happiness. The horsebox, which has become to me to be Lakota’s horsebox, came ashore, complete with battle scars, that were, perhaps, of my making for having her wait so long in a large metal box bobbing upon the liminal seas. More illogical logistical errors which made no sense were a part of her arrival on Australian shores, with the horsebox being damaged during delivery to the wharf.  More time delays for the sourcing and fitting of replacement parts.  By the by, I haven’t felt the need to cast blame or berate the strange logistic system that had twisted and turned in its evolution since 2011.  All has been an intricately woven fabric of my energy, grief, joy and longing, moving to a beat of its own.

My guide throughout, French accent and all, was honest and true. Luis is, to me, a bit like True Thomas, the Scot who chose to stay in the Otherworld with the Fae Queen. Having eaten a Fae grown apple offered to Thomas by the Fae Queen, the poet was bound to always speak the truth.

When it comes to Otherworld guides tho’, they will answer the questions you ask. However, they don’t provide a history’s worth of knowledge on navigating the Otherworld. So to it is with buying a French manufactured chassis that is converted to a horsebox by another French company. Some things get lost in translation, some questions are never known to need asking.


To see Lakota’s horsebox come down the driveway and smell the new smells every day and record some cosmetic issues that still need fixing (and talk to the French version of True Thomas some more), all that liminal time is so easily forgotten.  The warm fuzzy ahhh hits me every time I think about the horsebox.  Every time I see Lakota’s image on the side of her horsebox beside Mereenie, it’s just a gooey, melty moment inside my solar plexus!

The lesson in the flower essence of Crotalaria lunata, is to bring about change, a change for which you are ready.  To be ready, means to acknowledge and be in liminal, otherwise the something new on the other side cannot manifest in its unique quintessential beauty.  Time itself is irrelevant in the liminal.  Things shift all in good time.   So too, French made horseboxes, ones imbued with such magic, synchronicities, epiphanies and memories, old and new, as Lakota’s horsebox, morph and materialise in good time.


Images created by Susan Johnson using Adobe Express with generative AI and own images.

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Medicinal and veterinary herbalist, dormant artist and Highland dancer, crazy aunt, and captivated by all things related to Irish mythology.

Join my animals & me on our journey as we discover first-hand life travelling in a Theault Porteo 5 Switch.

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