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Awkward to the end...

♥Jul. 14th, 2017 // 10:41 pm

It's very common to have a horse who spends his working life wearing shoes and then has them taken off for his retirement, on account of them not being needed when all he's doing is wandering around in a field.

GB's been happily barefoot for a decade, but today the farrier said that now he's not working we need to think about putting shoes on him for the two hundred yard walk up and down the hill each day to the summer pasture. It is true that his feet were a state, but I was thoroughly expecting to be told not to be silly when I mentioned shoes....

What I'll probably do is put booties on him, morning and evening, just for the walk. I ordered a set this afternoon, and they'll probably arrive before we go away for The Bloody Wedding so that I can check that they fit / he doesn't object too much before the sitters have to deal with him.

When we first took his shoes off, I bought him some ferociously expensive booties, which he hated with a passion. Now that he's had no shoes for so long, they don't fit him any more, so they've gone back in the box. Hopefully he won't complain too much about the new ones...
Link4 kisses // Who loves you?

Too hot....

♥Jun. 18th, 2017 // 08:15 pm
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I spent much of the day in the hammock. Jo is also too hot, poor thing.

The last couple of years, we've had a paddling pool on the patio for Jo to go in after her walks. It's not entirely satisfactory, as it's bigger and shallower than she'd like it to be, and takes so much water that I don't like to change it often, so it gets very icky. I did some noodling around online last week, and discovered the existence of something called a plasterer[']s['] bath, which is used to mix stuff up in and sounded like a very good size: 4'x2'x1' deep.

Jo does seem to like it, but it doesn't like being left full of water....

(It looks even worse now, the other side's also bowed out. I suspect it's going to die a death next time she climbs in!)

Bizarrely, GB seems to have bonded with one of the mares: when we brought them down the hill, he stood in the corner of the stableyard watching them, and when we put the boys to bed he was calling to her. Most unlike him, he's much too old to suddenly develop a taste for the ladies!
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Here are some things that have happened

♥Jun. 12th, 2017 // 03:59 pm
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Last Tuesday, it rained. It rained lots and lots and lots. Because he is a special snowflake, GB decided that it was nice weather for a walk and so Mike and I spent an hour or so walking around the stableyard in circles until the vet arrived and gave him some drugs.... I'm increasingly convinced that he gets gassy when the air pressure changes rapidly, because this is by no means the first time that he's had a colic in the pouring rain after a sunny spell. And then there was the time he did it in the snow.

Anyway, he was fine fairly soon after the vet did her thing, so no harm done! (It was also Little Quilt Club that day, so I missed going to that for the morning: bah. On the other hand, if I had gone then Mike wouldn't have had the car to go and collect people, so....)

While we were enjoying our lovely walk, our incoming visitors, who were cycling to see us, phoned to ask if we could possibly go and get them from where they'd spent the night. Once the vet had been, Mike did so, and shortly afterwards the rain (inevitably) stopped.

Still, we had a nice visit, including a trip to The Sportsman, which we'd never previously been to as we'd not got around to booking a table sufficiently far ahead. It was quite nice, but I'm not sure we'll be rushing back, and we weren't terribly impressed by the veggie-friendly-ness of the menu (which didn't have any veggie mains, although when we asked they were able to make two of the starters into mains).

We went to see a possibly horse (not Git Face; someone who managed to co-ordinate better with the owner's schedule got in before us and he's sold), who was terribly nervous of Jo. We put Jo back in the car, but he was still terribly nervous: not actually doing anything, but very tense. While the woman was riding him for us to watch, Mike said "I'm not sure I want to get on him," and I said "I'm not very sure that I do, either," so we said thank you and went home instead.

We've sent off some soil samples from our field for testing, in preparation for getting Mr Farmer to fertilise it when we've moved the boys up the hill to their summer quarters.

My hands seem to have got over their over-use, and I've been able to do some weeding and some sewing, which is a relief. I'm slightly concerned that the tomatoes in the polytunnel aren't setting fruit. We have been leaving one of the doors open, so there are insects in there, but it's possible that we need to open the other one for a few hours each day to get a bit more pollination going.

Today, we've had more visitors, but just for the afternoon. It turns out that iPads make small children much more easy to entertain than I had feared, and that running down our field is terribly fun but walking back up it in order to do so again is less interesting. Horses are a bit big and scary up close, though, which GB would probably be happy about if he realised: he was very grumpy this morning when I put his saddle on and rode him twice around the stableyard to check he would be up to a pony ride, but it turned out not to be necessary in the end.

I realise now that that's probably the last time he'll ever be ridden.
Link6 kisses // Who loves you?

Bits and coughs

♥May. 4th, 2017 // 10:10 am
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My post-Eastercon stomach bug turned into a post-Eastercon cold, which several other people have also been complaining about.

I'm getting better, I think, but I've thought that several times now and then woken up the next day feeling grotty again. This has led to quite a lot of lying on the sofa feeling pathetic and not very much actual getting things done. The weather has cooperated with this: we've finally had some rain, after an entirely dry month, which is very good and means that the grass is finally growing in the field. This also means that the weeds are taking over the flower beds, and neither feeling grotty nor the weather is conducive to doing anything about them.

And we still haven't planted up the polytunnel, but we have an excuse in the form of the irrigation system, which should have been here yesterday but isn't yet, and which probably needs to be in place before the plants go in, to avoid disturbing or damaging them when we try to get it figured out.

GB also got a bit neglected in there: going away and then being ill meant that he didn't get ridden for about ten days in a row, and I'm afraid that that might have been too long for him. We've had three goes on him since, most recently this morning, and he's not doing very well. A couple of times, he's also nearly gone down on his bum when trotting down the hill at bed time. I'm going to wait for a warmer day and then have a go on him in the afternoon, when he's had plenty of time in the field to get rid of any stiffness, but I fear it won't be much better and it'll finally be time to officially retire him.

It's not been all bad, though: in there we've had some visitors, both overnight and for the day, been out to Margate to see an exhibition that wasn't as much as we'd expected about textiles but was quite interesting anyway and gave me a few things to think about (coffmayhaveboughtanewloomcoff). We also hosted various fannish crafty types for a day of crafty things, during which staggering amounts of tea were consumed (at least until we ran out) even when you allow for the fact that Mike and I kept forgetting to ask if more was wanted....

Coming up in the next week: Quilt Club, and a workshop, and then Mike's Mother is coming to stay. So nice and recuperative, then.

LJ has reset my cookie, and I'm presuming that logging in will require TOS agreement, so I've stopped reading there.
Link2 kisses // Who loves you?


♥Apr. 9th, 2017 // 09:46 pm
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Yesterday evening, we took the fence down so that the boys can have the whole field.

(Fingers thoroughly crossed that we'll get some bloody rain some time soon so that it can get to work growing before they strip the new half to bare earth.)

This evening, GB is in an utterly foul mood, waving his teeth at me at every opportunity and not eating his hay. Can we say 'tummy ache'? I think that we can.

Sigh. I'm sure he'll be ok in the morning....

Still, polytunnel's ready to go for when we get back after Easter!
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Ah, spring....

♥Feb. 19th, 2017 // 10:08 am
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1200325.html]

It's amazing what riding GB on a warm, sunny spring morning will do for my mood, especially when he's going really well (for a geriatric!) and we get to have a nice session!
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Here are some things

♥Oct. 7th, 2016 // 02:54 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1180279.html]

We're back from our holiday, where we climbed belfries, went to museums, bought lots of chocolate and pate and other tasty things, and generally had a nice time (other than Monday afternoon, which was stressful and yuck). We even had pretty good weather, just a little damp at the start and a little chilly at the end. Eurotunnel was pretty horrible going, pretty chilled coming back. We were surprised, in both Bruges and Ghent, by how tricky it was to find some breakfast (we tend not to bother with hotel breakfasts, because we don't eat enough breakfast for it to be good value).

Hotels )There are lots of wind turbines in Belgium, or at least it looked that way from the motorway. Most of them were just sitting there, looking like wind turbines, but there were a few that were cunningly camouflaged so that they blended seamlessly into the surrounding countryside:

I especially like the subtle gradient effect.

When we got back, Jo was very pleased to see us, as ever, and we were very pleased to see her. While we were away, as well as the stuff that she'd told me about by text message, GB smashed into the chain that goes across his stable door and pulled the fixing out of the wall. I'm really quite gobsmacked by this, and the only thing I can think of is that she left him on his own in there and took Bugsy away to be exercised. Because, you know, that wasn't just what I told her to never do. I've complained to the agency, and said that we don't want her back. I'm still not sure if she just didn't pay attention to the instructions (about this and about the riding) or if she decided that she knew better, but I'm leaning towards the latter given that when we got back she kept making 'helpful' suggestions about things we should do differently. Anyway. No harm done, other than to GB's doorframe. Girl Who Rides For NVNDN came and rode him for me in the week, and I jumped on for ten minutes last night: he seems to be ok.

(Oh, reply to my email to the agency: terribly bland "we're very sorry to hear about that, here, have someone different". I wonder if they'll actually say anything to her?)

At the Canterbury Food Festival a couple of weeks ago, I was intrigued enough by the stall for Freddie's Flowers that I signed up to give it a try. Every week, they do up boxes of flowers that will look nice together and send them out to their subscribers (I think in London they deliver them themselves, mine came via DPD), although they're very flexible about how often you have them (you can set it on a week-by-week basis up to six months in advance). The spiel is that their flowers last up to a fortnight, because they buy direct from the farm. Because we were away last week, my first box has just arrived and I'm quite impressed:

I do like having flowers in the house, and there's not much that's pickable in the garden at this time of year.
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This is not what I want when I go on holiday

♥Oct. 3rd, 2016 // 05:13 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1179478.html]

(AKA, notes for my shouty email to the pet sitter agency.)

GB's an old shite, and I warn sitters about that (usually with the words 'don't be afraid to smack him *when* he acts up): there really is no point in trying to win him over with kisses and cuddles, he's spent too long with gaggles of kids doing the same, honing his sneak attack biting skills. What he really appreciates is consistence and routine, you aren't going to get that in a couple of days.

(She's giving him 'lots of reassurance when grooming'. I have never known him be remotely concerned by who is grooming him, except for wondering if he'll be successful at nipping you when you do the ticklish spots. Either she's doing something very odd to make him nervous of her or she's misreading 'grumpy old shite' as 'timid and skittish', neither of which is reassuring. Or she's also ignored the verbal and written instruction to never take him out of sight of Bugs, which is worse.)

He's also got a bad leg, and he needs to be ridden regularly and in a specific way to keep him ticking over. It describes what to do in the notes we leave for the sitters, including the line "do not lunge him: if you can't / don't want to ride him, let us know and we'll get someone in". When the sitter came on Saturday morning, I explicitly checked that she was happy to ride and I didn't need to get someone else in to avoid her lunging him.

(As we drove away, I said to Mike "I hope she's not to heavy for him", and have now resolved to be less polite in future and ask people what they weigh.)

I asked the sitter to ride him on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. I texted her yesterday evening and said "how is everything? How was GB when you rode him?". She replied and said that he was a "work in progress" and that she was "working through his arrogance", which is a bit wtf.

This morning I replied and said "you're not going to change his personality and I don't want you to. How was he when you rode him yesterday?", and she eventually fessed up that she'd tried to ride him, decided she was too heavy, and lunged him instead which "wasn't very successful" but she'd try again tomorrow. If I'm lucky, "not very successful' means 'glared at me until I flailed around enough to him enough to make him take a few steps in walk'. If I'm not, he'll have a bad leg for the next couple of weeks at best.

There may have been some ALL CAPS in my reply when I told her not to try to exercise him again, and that I'd get back to her when I'd found someone else to ride him.

Mrs Next Door was my first try: working all day today and tomorrow. Did she think her mate who used to give me side saddle lessons (and so knows GB, even though she's never ridden him) might be able to? She's flat on her back at present.

Ok, what about the girl who rides for my not very next door neighbour? She's never ridden him, but I've seen her ride and she's good.... Fingers crossed.... Girl is riding for NVNDN on Wednesday, would that do? Yes if it's all she can manage but if Tuesday was possible, here have money and petrol money and more money, ok, that's sorted, phew. NVNDN even agreed to pay her and I can drop some money up to her at weekend. Sent epic text describing exactly what she should do when sitting on him.

And that's the best part of the afternoon gone, what with waiting for text messages to zip around the place, and I'm now horribly stressed and worried. And looking at the photo she sent of Jo and thinking "that's not a happy, chilled out pooch". I've asked Mrs Next Door to poke her head into the yard when she gets home to see how things look / the boys seem. Hopefully we won't be as delayed going home as we were coming out, and I'll be back in time to ride him myself.

I've got the same sitter booked for Novacon, which I guess can stand (if I ride him the day we go then he'll have two days off), but I'm going to have to ask them to find me someone else for the bookings I want next summer. With a weight limit, this time.
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First, perplex your vet.

♥Sep. 5th, 2016 // 06:44 pm
[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1176184.html]

This afternoon, the vet was mostly perplexed.

She was perplexed because she wasn't visiting Bugs, on account of how he's not showing any signs of lameness (maybe, she said, his sore bones have already fused together unusually quickly?).

She was perplexed because (while we were here anyway, I had her take a blood sample from GB) a horse with such high (when unmedicated) levels of the-thing-they-test-for as he does has no symptoms, other than being very keen on his winter coat and a little slow to heal.

She was perplexed because, when she had a look at GB's eye, she was completely convinced that there would be a thorn or similar inside the lump, but actually she just found a lot of goo. (He should be fine, with antibacterial eyedrops and keeping his hat on while the hole closes up. As an added bonus, while she was checking to see he hadn't scratched the cornea she checked his cataracts, which are still barely there.)

And, finally, she was perplexed because she noticed the scabs on GB's face, and I said "he has them on his feet as well, but they're only there for about six weeks of the year". When she looked at his feet, she said "this looks just like mites, only that's not on the face and it's all year around". My theory is that there's some sort of small seasonal biting thing in the grass, and she agreed that it was as good as any.

Still, at least there wasn't anything particularly worrying that was perplexing her!
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Swallow news

♥Sep. 5th, 2016 // 10:52 am
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1175856.html]

We were very pleased when we realised that swallows were nesting in one of our spare stables*. We were rather worried when we went to get ready for the hay delivery** and found, as well as a small pile of poo under the nest, half a dozen dead chicks, but the parents were still around, still going in and out of the stable, so we figured they'd had a disaster and started another clutch.

* When I saw some flying around, going in the barn and the duck's house, I opened the door of the stable the previous owner said they sometimes use and the swallows made themselves at home in there.

** We keep some of it in that stable so it's not such a squeeze in the barn. I've put a sheet of plastic on top of the hay that's under their nest!

It was indeed another clutch, and we've been seeing the whole family flying around the yard recently, as well as occasional heads poking out of the nest. This morning, the no-longer-babies were lined up on a rafter waiting for the drizzle to stop so that they could get some flying practice in:

I dare say they'll be off south soon!

GB has had what looks like a sty on his eye for the last week or so. I've been keeping an eye on it but not being terribly worried, but yesterday it had got bigger and gone an icky shade of yellow. The vet's coming this afternoon, hopefully it won't be a problem.... (He has a fairly poor immune system these days, as a result of age and his pituitary condition, so I'm always a bit nervous about infections, and it being near his eye is even more worrying.)
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♥Jul. 31st, 2016 // 10:25 am
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1172208.html]

That, with the addition of a veg-box aubergine, a jar of passata, and some pasta looks a lot like dinner. (Sadly, our aubergines aren't yet doing more than flowering and I'm still at the 'look! a ripe tomato!' stage rather than the 'better make another batch of passata' one. There are no plans at all to make pasta any more from scratch than Mike already does!)

We had our first visit from the new farrier today (the old one having retired for the sake of his back). He is approximately twelve but seems to be competent. Bugs didn't have a hissy fit, and GB didn't bite him (although the last of those says more about GB's mood than the farrier!).

Speaking of, GB has (sigh) started growing his winter coat, so here's a picture of him in his three-weeks-of-the-year summer best:

Bit more white every year....

Jo's also growing her coat back, and now looks a lot less silly than she did.

She's doing really well, and has her first swimming lesson on Wednesday. However, I could almost suspect that she's been reading ahead on her aftercare notes, because she's not supposed to do the spinning around in circles on the spot exercise for at least another couple of weeks. She thinks she's better, poor thing. We are up to twenty minute walks, though, which she enjoys except when a squirrel crosses her path and she's unaccountably not allowed to go and chase it.
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Things unrelated to lame animals

♥Jul. 10th, 2016 // 06:07 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1168329.html]

A good one: this morning, I had a lovely ride on GB. He was going brilliantly, and it left me feeling very pleased with how we got on.

A less good one: my upper back / shoulders have been a bit sore for a few days, which I'd vaguely put down to being stressed about lame animals until I thought about it a bit more. I was sore in what I think was the same way about eighteen months ago, which is what lead to the hypermobility diagnosis, and which I eventually decided was being caused by something wrong (for me) in the way my then Pilates instructor taught. (And, indeed, this was a part of the reason I moved to a different one not long after.)

That instructor (as well as working where I used to go to her classes) works for the place I've just started at and, quite conceivably, had a lot of her training from my new instructor*, which makes me wonder if there's some bit of positioning that the new instructor likes but my body doesn't. I'll have a chat with her on Tuesday, I think.

* Who I am liking, although I am frantically Waiting Until The End Of The Six-Week Class Cycle before I say "I thought this was an advanced class?"

This afternoon, I made a stripy top out of knitted fabric. I'm not madly keen on the fabric, but it was cheap (nominally seconds, though I can't see any flaws in it). The sewing went pretty smoothly, once I gave up on trying to backstitch my start and end points (which just resulted in the sewing machine eating the corner of the fabric; I was using a fancy stretch stitch anyway, so it was kind of backstitching itself), and apparently I am a high street size 16. Better go and buy a new wardrobe!

Lame animal update: we're going to be Firm With Vets, so tomorrow I'm going to call Jo's vet and ask if they have a date for the op and tell them that if they don't get me one by the next day then I'm going to go elsewhere (Mrs Next Door recommended a specialist ortho vets, who will probably be able to fit her in much quicker), and then I'm going to call Bug's vet and cancel this grand day out malarky at least until after Jo's op, and tell him I want him to come and give him the same injection as he's already had in the other leg to see if that cures it.
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♥Jun. 18th, 2016 // 06:06 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1162551.html]

This morning, we rode the boys. Mike went on GB, and I briefly lunged Bugs and then rode him as the vet instructed.

They both seemed fine. GB was a little reluctant to stay in the canter, but whether that was because he was sore or because he's lazy is hard to say. Mike reported that Bugs looked very good, and he didn't feel at all lame to ride, so fingers are crossed.

(Although, as I said to my riding instructor, and never mind what the vet says, my current plan is to work Bugs every day for a week so that next week I can go back to the vet and say "right, he's lame again, please will you come and see him when he's not just had a week off?")

One of the things that the vet was muttering about yesterday was sacroiliac, which is some variety of gubbins in the back - a nerve, maybe? It's not a terribly common problem. This vet has been in the area for about six or eight months. He also diagnosed it for The Horse Next Door (wrong) and for Not Very Next Door Neighbour's horse (has had the treatment and is now having the summer off, after which we'll see if it worked). This does rather make it seem as though it's his pet diagnosis.

Jo seems to be hobbling less today. Whether that's because of the laser treatment that the vet did or because we're trying to get her to rest it is a mystery. She's feeling enough better that she's doing that 'hang behind when the humans walk off so that I can run to catch up' thing that she does when walk-deprived....
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Good news?

♥Jun. 17th, 2016 // 11:21 am
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1162160.html]

The (different) vet's been out to see Bugs, and thinks he's basically going to be ok. He wasn't lame today, although I showed a video of him hopping around the school last week.

The provisional conclusion is that his back is sore from trying to avoid the pain (now solved) in his leg, not helped by being out of work for three months or so. I'm to bring him back into work gradually, and get the back lady out to check him ASAP (which might be the harder part, as she's hard to get hold of at times).

As that went so quickly, I asked him to have a quick look at GB, who obligingly trotted one way down the school then threw his heels up in the air and charged back again like a loon. "Yes," the vet said, "you can get back on him!"

Jo, on the other hand, is feeling very sorry for herself. I'm not sure how much is pain and how much is the thunder we've being having. (The vet nurse went and got her dog out of the car, because he was also scared, but not before he'd ripped the headrest of one of the seats in his panic.) At least the vet was here during a lull in the rain!
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Busy busy....

♥Jun. 10th, 2016 // 07:32 pm
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With impeccable timing, the vet could only come out on a day when Mike was in London.

That meant that this morning I was out early, to ride GB before she got here for her first appointment (he comes out of his stable each morning looking ok, and only starts to limp when he's done a bit of exercise or spent time wandering around in the field). She was puzzled by both of them, which meant I spent a lot of time running up and down the school so that she could see them in action, and didn't really get much less puzzled as the time went on.

GB is indeed lame on his 'good' leg, but she can't find anything obviously wrong. There was a choice of lots of nerve blocking injections to try to narrow it down or just waiting and seeing, and we decided on the latter. "You could try giving him a week or two off," she said, but then I pointed out that the bad leg would seize up if I did. "You could try 'bute," she said, but then I pointed out that he was already on that for the bad leg and she looked a bit worried that it wasn't helping.

Bugs is also lame, on both the leg that hasn't yet been done and the one that has. She did offer to do the injection in the un-done leg, but worried that the as-yet-unidentified other thing wrong with the done leg would be there with the un-done one too so she preferred to get a second opinion: we've got another appointment, with a more senior vet, next week, so he's off work again until that happens.

And then I did the usual horse-related jobs, washed my hair, had lunch and walked the pooch, and this afternoon I did a bit of sewing, finishing the current quilt top, and a bit of gardening, managing several whole meters of the front border in an hour (all the seeds that have been sitting there going 'bloody leylandii' have now gone 'wahay!') and watering the veg and various new plants (and, bugger, I still haven't potted on those bloody penstemon plug plants that are sitting in the conservatory, maybe I should just throw them to their doom in the garden), and then I got ready for the quilt class I'm going to tomorrow, and put away the laundry, and then it was time to get dinner ready, and there was some fannish stuff I'd had to abandon when the internet got crappier than usual yesterday and forgotten to go back to, and now that I've eaten dinner and washed up I'm just going to sit on the sofa, I think.

Well, once we've put the boys to bed.

I might have found a Pilates class, though. It's an evening one, but I'm starting to think I'll just have to put up with that. It's the first time I've seen anywhere actually listing an advanced class in Kent: I'd been hoping I could find an intermediate, and am now slightly wondering if I'm up to it!
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♥Jun. 8th, 2016 // 06:32 pm
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GB still lame. Bugs still lame. First class with new Pilates instructor and she's the wrong bloody branch of Pilates so that's me in search of a new class again.

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Animal magic

♥Jun. 7th, 2016 // 07:09 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1158891.html]

Jodie: unsettled*
Swallows: impatient**
Ang: grumpy***
Bugs: long-suffering****
Cow: confused*****

* We had a lovely big thunder storm this afternoon. When Mike was half way through mowing the lawn and I was in the middle of potting on veg plants.

** The pair of them have been spotted flying in and out of the spare stable, beaks crammed full. While we're mucking out, however, they sit on the telephone wires, alternately preening and wishing we'd get on with it so that they can get back to feeding duty. We are in fact tremendously pleased to see them: Previous Owners always left that stable door open with good results, but we'd never seen any interest in previous years. Then I caught them checking out the inside of the barn and the duck's stable, neither of which we can leave open at night, so we opened the stable up instead.

*** Ok, not much different to usual there then. On Sunday evening, he came in from the field limping: probably just had a spat with Bugs. But then he came in limping last night, too. We trotted him up this morning and he looked ok, but Mike reported that it came back / got worse as he was ridden. This is Ominous, and will hopefully go away before the vet comes on Friday. Even if it has, he'll still be grumpy because he's due for a blood test.

**** He was very well behaved when I lunged him today, even though he was hopping along like a hoppy thing in the canter. I got Mike to video it, just in case he's sound when the vet comes, and later booked her in to see them both on Friday. 95% sure it's the same thing as he just had treated in the other leg: there were signs of it, and now that the other leg isn't sore any more he's suddenly noticed that it hurts.

***** As am I: how the hell did it get through a closed gate and into our garden? Or, alternatively, what kind of idiot drives along a road, goes 'oh dear, some previous person left the gate open and now a cow has wandered through' and then carefully shuts the gate as they go through, leaving the cow on the wrong side of it, without saying anything?
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Updatey, and Xanth, and clothes

♥May. 6th, 2016 // 08:36 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1154767.html]

This morning, I rode GB, taking it quite gently: both of us seemed to be fine with our bad legs!

Later, the vet came back to see Bugs. She sedated him and had one go at the injection he got worked up about last time then, when he got worked up again, went on to try the next part of the sequence. He wasn't having that, either, so she doped him up even more* and just gave him the medication, after a bit of woozy complaining on his part. Now we wait another couple of weeks and see how he is: if the medication works, we have a diagnosis.

* She couldn't just do that for the first two tries because he would have needed to be able to trot around afterwards so couldn't be too heavily sedated. He was very doped, and kept drooling on my shoes....

In the mean time, GB was hanging around the stableyard stuffing himself: when I just went out to give them their evening hay, his dinner haynet was still conspicuously full. On the plus side, the field looks better just for having a day off, so we're going to keep them on other bits of grass again tomorrow, so that hopefully the grass can grow a bit more and get enough of a head start to stay ahead of them! (On the minus side, the flies have woken up and started pestering them. It really does seem to have gone from winter to summer in a week.)

When I got my new phone, the one thing that didn't transfer over was my local ebook library. It's not a great hardship, as they're all stored elsewhere, but is slightly annoying because I couldn't just scroll through it and go 'oh, I'll re-read that next'. Mike suggested that I start at A and work my way through and, indeed, I re-read HHGG for the first time in years, as well as trying Watership Down (which I'd never read). I got to Anthony, P, and started on the Xanth books: I know that they're tosh, but I did love them when I first read them, and knew I hadn't actually read all of them. I got into the low teens, and then ploughed through Isle of View, aka the-one-where-he-wrote-in-a-kid-who'd-been-in-an-accident. I don't think I'd read Question Quest before, and found it rather odd: a re-cap of the history of Xanth, that added in a few background details about Magician Humphrey's life / take on events (with a bit of random retconning), and I was sure I must have read The Color of Her Panties but didn't really remember (or enjoy) it and whoa mega retconning going on there.

I've skipped on ahead to Asimov, now, but has anyone actually read all the Xanth books? Is he just having a tedious and sexually charged patch that coincided with the realisation he was running out of ideas so needed to put some more back-story in, or is it just not worth bothering to carry on (given that I did quite like the early ones: I know there are those who would tell me that it wasn't worth carrying on after page two of the first book if I even got that far!)?

I went into Canterbury this afternoon and, amongst other things, popped into Primark and got half a dozen lightweight tops (to replace the ones that I took out of winter storage yesterday and went 'hmm, that's a bit manky'). Then I did the obligatory walk around M&S without seeing anything much that I liked other than a single lightweight top, almost identical to one of the Primark ones and the same price as the total for the ones I'd already bought. I'd like to say that I'm sure the M&S one would last longer, but the ones I threw away were a pretty even mix of the two brands so I'm not sure it's true.

What I really want is a nice, longish, snuggly-but-lightweight sweater, but I didn't find anything that fit the bill. Bah.
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Invaded and battered....

♥May. 4th, 2016 // 04:53 pm
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We've had repeated incursions of visitors, some significantly more enjoyable than others, over the last week or so, which is why I've been so quiet.

On the plus side, Mike manfully removed the less enjoyable ones when he could, so I managed to get all of the background of the flying birds quilt quilted. Now I just need to decide what to do with the actual birds: the background is quite dense, so should I do something similar for the birds but in a different pattern, or should I leave them as oases of calm?

It has been very cold and miserable, but now it's nice and sunny: hopefully this means that our grass is finally going to start growing, because I'm getting quite worried about the state of the field (and, indeed, the prospects for the hay crop). This time last year, the boys were coming in when it was getting dark and only getting one hay net in the evening; this year, they're still on full winter rations and we're bringing them in before dinner because otherwise they're ravenous and grumpy when we let them in.

(We do at least think we have enough hay to last even with the late start, which is good as I've been getting friend-of-a-friend 'do you know anyone with any hay' queries and that suggests we'd struggle to get more. I'd much rather throw away (or onto the garden) half a dozen bales than be scrabbling around looking for more.)

(Actually, they're still pretty ravenous and grumpy, and would much rather stay in the stableyard and stuff their faces on slightly better grass for a while before they have their actual dinner. On Monday, Bugs was doing his usual trick of refusing to let Mike catch him and spooked GB, who ran off in panic. I was mid-way through putting GB's headcollar on at the time, and so unfortunately his pre-emptive wave of the back legs in Bugsy's direction got me instead. I have a truly *spectacular* bruise, and am finding walking up and down hills to be almost impossible, which is tricky around here. I--whisper it--skipped Pilates this morning, but at least now I have a good excuse for not going to London for a boring meeting tomrrow.)

Bugsy has had the vet to visit, trying to narrow down what's wrong with his leg (or rather, trying to confirm that the problem is what we think it is). He was a very good boy about it all, right up to the point where he suddenly decided that he'd had enough. She tried sedating him a couple of times, but he (quite politely) made it clear that he wasn't having any of it, so she's back again tomorrow for round two, which will (just in case) not involve the exact (long-shot) thing that she was trying to do when he stopped cooperating. In the mean time, he's getting to swan around in the field doing no work: I would say he's getting fat, but he's not because no bloody grass.

GB, on the other hand, has maybe gone slightly backwards in his spring-time improvement. I'm hoping that this is just because I was pushing him a bit too hard in my delight at his getting better, and a time when I'm not really able to ride seems to be a good one to test the theory!

Today, I have mostly been gardening: there were a batch of seedlings that needed potting on, and then I was running out of space on the conservatory shelves so I figured that, if I sat on the walls around the beds, I could plant out some bedding plants I'd grown that were getting a bit sad at being tuck inside. Then I thought I could probably manage some hoeing, but mostly ended up contorting into strange positions so that I could dig out blobs of grass from the flower beds: one of those 'it's lucky I'm strong' occasions, I think. Really need to do more weeding.

Text messages with my sister:
Sister: [a date, next summer, presumably for her wedding]
Me: Do you want a quilt?
Sister: What kind of quilt?
Me: One for your bed. If you do, I need to start it in plenty of time.
Sister: No thanks, I have a nice throw on my bed.
Me: Ok then, let me know what you do want.
Sister: Just having you there will be enough, we don't need presents.
[a short pause]
Sister: I really like that stuffed rabbit you made for mum.
Sister: Here's a photo of my living room decor.
Sister: Here's a close-up of my tartan feature wallpaper.
Me: Yes, I was already going to make you a rabbit for your birthday....
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Foiled you!

♥Apr. 21st, 2016 // 02:08 pm
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I'm pleased to say that our mighty human intellects (and ability to use a hammer and some chicken wire) seem to have foiled the ducks. It's nice to know we're smarter than some of the animals....

GB, despite his best attempts to bite me on the head (ow) is also foiled, or at least his bad leg seems to be, for now. He's doing really well, so much so that I think Mike will be usefully able to have lessons on him again soon: we've got through another winter, that's the main thing!

I've been quilting, which has gone both more quickly than I expected and less quickly than I'd been led to believe by the throw-away comments of Chap From The Sewing Bee. I am at least generating fewer 'go back and fix that by hand' instances than I was, which is also good.

I also seem to have a new laptop: as ever, I wasn't really listening when Mike said "so, do you want a new laptop?", and vaguely thought I was agreeing to something that might happen in a few months. It was a little surprising when he handed me an Apple Store bag when he got home from work this evening. Tomorrow, I shall play with it, for tonight I'll struggle on with my unusable keyboard!
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Coff (one of an occasional but intense series.)

♥Apr. 11th, 2016 // 08:26 pm
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I'm, finally, much better: basically fine other than occasionally trying to cough my guts up. Annoyingly, that's still happening most often when I lie down to go to sleep.

We've had a lovely weekend full of visitors and bluebells: there would be a picture, but the LJ app is failing to upload it. See Mike's Facebook instead.

This evening, I saw the first bat of the year.

The vet phoned this morning (damn, she's keen: I was still getting dressed!) with GB's blood test results: very slightly over what they should be, so she's happy to say it's ok. No more tests until June, now, and then it will be every few weeks in the hope of catching it before his levels of whatever-it-is skyrocket and we have to increase his medication for a few months. He's shedding, which is always a bonus and a sign that we've got the levels about right. (New Vet still needs training in his ways: she will keep going on about laminitis, which he's (unusually) never had a problem with.)

Bugs was looking quite perky as he trotted along the edge of the field this evening, so the drugs are probably working: we'll see what happens when he comes off them again.

A little while ago, Mrs Up The Hill told me that they were moving. We (and Mrs Farmer) been speculating for a few weeks that they had in fact already moved: the car was rarely there, and when it was it looked like it was being loaded up; the pots had gone from the front patio. I saw her today and they have indeed gone, and the house will be going on the market next month. If the price is right then we'll buy one of their fields, but we suspect it won't be.
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Good animals!

♥Apr. 3rd, 2016 // 09:11 pm
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This morning, we went out for a little hack on the boys, and took Jo along. They all did wonderfully: GB only balked slightly as he went past a Scary Thing, Bugs didn't get himself worked up about anything and, just as we were nearly home, both of them went very calmly past a terrified lamb that was in the road, on the wrong side of the fence. This last was very fortunate, because Jo was Rather Interested, to the extent of starting to slink towards in until I got her attention and brought her back to heel. We're not sure if she was hunting or herding, but either way we're glad she stopped. (I sent Bad Farmer a text to let him know....)

This afternoon, we have been in the Potting Shed Conservatory: we've been a bit slack about starting new seeds in the propagator, so we're rather behind on last year. On the other hand, I think we were a bit early with some things last year, so it should be ok in the end.

This evening, just as I was on the phone to my mother, there was a big crash of thunder. A quick look at the rainfall radar and I said "I'll call you back" and dashed out to give the boys their supper before the rain arrived. Not that much rain, in the end, but lots of thunder and lightning, to Jo's misery. She's mostly calmed down now, but it's a measure of how worried she was that Mike's let her lie in front of our sofa, In The Way. Seems to have stopped now, thankfully.
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The drugs do work....

♥Mar. 22nd, 2016 // 05:21 pm
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"Give him two or three ml," the vet said.

Knowing what GB's like when he's sedated for colic, I went for two.

Tomorrow, I think I'll go for one.

He did manage to walk in from the field without falling over, but he was a bit wobbly when I was doing his feet and then he nearly tripped over the sill of his stable door.

On the other hand, he didn't freeze with terror, run off in a panic, stand with wide eyes staring around, or do more than lift his head up and shrug when Bugs spooked at a pigeon. So that's a result!
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Hello again

♥Mar. 21st, 2016 // 03:34 pm
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I've been very remiss at telling you all about the exciting things I've been doing, haven't I? Must try harder, probably not helped by the fact that I'll be away from home at weekend!

Recently, I have:
- taken Bugsy's saddle to the saddler, to make sure that he didn't damage it when he rolled in it (he didn't)
- done things with seedlings, including putting some of them outside to harden off (they're back in now, though, as I expect a frost tonight)
- worked on my little quilt, which is very nearly done other than embroidery. I still haven't figured out how to do the geese without them looking crap.
- heard rumours that a very large red deer stag has been spotted at the top of the hill
- got a blister on my heel (spent the whole riding lesson lunging Bugs, in my riding boots), which finally (after a week) now no longer needs plasters
- tidied the barn and (with Mike) moved the hay we had been storing in a spare stable into it. We now have enough pallets that we don't need to balance the stacks of hay bales on a grid of old fence posts, which will be vastly more convenient
- rescued a bumblebee from the front porch, and moved her to inside one of the crocuses so that she could have a nice breakfast
- got various things ready for the Eastercon newsletter
- watched the lambs.

Bugs is doing very well, and last Monday we tried lunging him with side reins for the first time. He'd obviously had them on in the past, inevitably much too tight, but he seems to be relaxing a bit now that we've used them a few times. He's also had a Proper Ride, because it occurred to me that he's either just been lunged or been lunged and then ridden for fifteen minutes a lot recently. I think it was a bit of a shock to his system, but he did very well.

I'm rather concerned about GB, though. Other than the day when Jodie stayed in the garden while I rode him (when he was spooky as a spooky thing until I went and got her, after which he was fine: I don't know if he was worried she was going to jump out from somewhere or if he just missed her), he's been fine to ride, and his leg seems to be doing ok. Unfortunately, for the last week or TWWOTV has been having building work done, replacing water pipes, and he's very unhappy about both the noise of the machinery (which echoes oddly around our stableyard and makes him nervous because he can't see what's causing it even though it's All Around Him) and about the changes that mysteriously happen each day while he's in the field, which he only sees as he's coming in.

Add to that the fact that there's Something Worrying (possibly the stag?) up in the woods, and the fact that Mrs Next Door has been away, so The Horse Next Door has been bored/lonely/cold and so running along the fence as we walk down the road (asking to come in for dinner as well) and bringing him in from the field hasn't been a whole barrel of fun. He's getting really worked up and stressed, which isn't usual and can't be good for him At His Age. I called the vet today, and they've posted me a sedative to try (one that's usually used before clipping nervous horses). I have to go out and feed it to him half an hour before he comes in, but if it breaks the stress cycle then it'll be worth the hassle. Hopefully the landscape plumbers will be done by the end of this week, but she's talking about having a new drive put in as well....

(The landscape plumbers are rather terrifying. I'm forever seeing one of them in a hole in the ground while the other one is digging it with a back hoe. Plus the one in charge not only looks 'im from from Twin Peaks but apparently is called Bob as well....)
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Bloody animals

♥Mar. 10th, 2016 // 02:17 pm
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This morning, Mike being at work, I groomed the boys (took a while to get a certain blue-eyed boy scraped clean, as ever) and then took them round to the school to ride. It was a five-sigh session.... )
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Nap time

♥Mar. 3rd, 2016 // 07:34 pm
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I'm unable to decide if I should be worried about this or not, as GB never usually lies down in the field, he just stands and dozes. (This to the extent that, when we got back from Loncon, Mrs Next Door told us with concern that she's seen him lying down. We diagnosed at the time that it was because his bed wasn't being done properly, and he doesn't like to lie down on dirty bedding, so he was having to catch up on his sleep in the field.)

He's been doing it, on and off, for a few weeks, and I had thought that the cold might be keeping him awake. It's warmer now, though, so I worry that it's a sign his leg (or some other ache or pain) is bothering him.

Mike's work have been asking him to do two days a week in London (again: when he first started they wanted him to do two days and offered to pay for a hotel room in between), so he's trying it as an experiment for the next couple of months. He's been there today and was going to go to the Ton until he had a migraine start: he's had to give in to the inevitable 4am waking up and has taken himself to bed.
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Things for today

♥Mar. 1st, 2016 // 01:57 pm
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My parents have been to visit this weekend: we set my father to work doing DIY, and my mother was discovered cleaning the kitchen windows about half an hour after she arrived, so I guess they had a good time...?

My father has an Android tablet, which he waved at us in a 'make it work' sort of way. I've put an ad blocker on it for him, but was stumped by an email problem. He has two accounts set up on it, and if he creates a new message then he has a drop-down in the from field where he can choose which account to use, as I'd expect. If he's replying to or forwarding an email, though, there's no dropdown and he can only send it from the same account that the original email was sent to. Was I missing something, or is the default mail client crap and, if so, what's a better one for him to use?

Last night, we went to the Granville, which used to be run by some people whose *other* pub had a Michelin star. It's changed management, though, and is now serving food that is (by local standards) just perfectly ordinary pub food: rather disappointing.

I was pleased that it was dry while they were here, as it meant that the kitchen floor stayed reasonably clean. Today has been making up for it, however. Bugs, who had been looking positively clean, was covered in mud within about a minute of going into the field. We poo picked the field this morning, and when we'd finished GB saw us heading for the gate and came charging down the hill (Bugs came too and beat him to the bottom) before skidding to a halt against the gate and looking pleadingly at me. We left them out there, but I looked up a bit before noon and saw them both standing by the gate looking pathetic, so now they're tucked up in their stables again. (It has actually stopped raining, now, but there's a nasty wind and (Mike's in London) I don't fancy bringing them in through the mud for a second time on my own, so I think they can just stay inside.
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Not bad for an old man....

♥Feb. 26th, 2016 // 05:27 pm
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(It's a good sign of general physical fitness when horses can still roll all the way over. Even though he can't manage on a slope any more, GB's still got it in the school!)

ION, Jodie has successfully vanquished the vacuum cleaner, for the third time in six months. And my parents arrive tomorrow. Oh, how we laughed before sending a frantic text to Mrs Next Door.

Given that this is the second Gtech AirRam (which we bought to replace the very sickly Dyson) that has died in the same way, I think we might be saying 'refund' when they offer to send us another new one. Does anyone have any recommendations...? We are liking the cordless and lightweight thing, but it's not essential.
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Diversions and alarums

♥Jan. 28th, 2016 // 12:32 pm
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Mike's in London working so, as I often do on such days, this morning I led both of the boys down to the school to put them through their paces.

Whenever I do this, I stop outside the school, let them both go, close the gates to stop them getting out, and then reclaim the one who's going first and take him into the school. I do this safe in the knowledge that they will go "ooh, grass" rather than "ooh, the chance to ESCAPE". This morning, for reasons best known to my subconscious, I took them into the school before letting them go.

They looked at the floor, briefly, to check for grass, and then Bugs wandered off to the other end of the school to stare down the valley. I sighed, started to go after him, and then got diverted by the fact that GB, ignoring the fact that he was wearing a saddle, had decided that this was a good time to lie down and have a nice roll. Then Bugs decided that the view down the valley wasn't sufficiently diverting and decided that he'd like to perform a complex series of acrobatic manoeuvres, preferably without touching the ground.

GB, by this time, had realised that something was interfering with his rolling, and so performed his own aerial acrobatics in an attempt to remove the obstruction. After a little while, he stopped and lay down on the other side to see if that worked better. It didn't, so he joined back in with Bugs.

I sighed and went back out of the school to close the gates.

Round and round they went, until GB got tired of it and came to stand apologetically by the gate. Bugs, however, was enjoying himself too much, so he came charging back to the gate himself and off they went again. And again. And again.

Eventually, I was quick enough to nip in and remove GB before Bugs realised I was spoiling the fun and, by the time I'd taken GB's saddle off and reattached it on the top of his back, rather than under his belly*, Bugs had also come to stand by the gate and look innocent.

* Bugs was going first, so I'd left the girth very slack, but I was still quite impressed.

I started off lunging Bugs (still not riding him when I'm on my own, Just In Case) with a certain amount of trepidation, in case he decided that he'd been having such fun that he wanted to carry on, but actually he was good as gold: I guess he'd worked his fidgets out. When I was done, I put his rug back on and discovered that he'd managed to break the clip on one of the straps. This was particularly impressive given that (as he was only supposed to be wearing it for a short, sedate walk to the school) I'd not actually fastened that strap.

There was also a little trepidation when I go on GB, in case he'd done himself an injury, but he seemed to be fine and, given that he'd recently been charging about the place like something a tenth of his age, I figured he could work a bit harder than usual and we had a good session.

Note to self: just leave them outside to eat the grass next time, ok?
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Animal update

♥Jan. 24th, 2016 // 11:15 am
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Another promising session with Bugs this morning: it was foggy here, and fog is frequently Scary, so I decided I'd just lunge him and not risk climbing on board, but actually I think we would have been ok. Even before we got to the school, a pheasant flew out under his nose and he just looked at it worriedly, rather than throwing himself around in panic. In the school, he directed a couple of suspicious looks down the valley at the fog but then settled down quite well. We had one unauthorised canter, but only three or four steps, and another where something worried him and he was about to go but didn't, which is really good: he's starting to use his brain. The halts were vary variable: two or three were spot on perfect, two or three (especially towards the end, when his brain was getting tired) were really ropey, the rest were somewhere in between.

Mike rode GB, and wasn't terribly happy with him. It's harder for me to watch him when I'm lunging than when I'm riding, and what I did see was pretty variable. I'll have a short lesson on him on Tuesday, though, so we'll see how he is then.

Three of the ducks keep getting into the field, which is annoying. Esk is a good girl and stays in the stableyeard, squawking in an annoyed tone at being left alone. (Actually, I suspect it may just be that she's the biggest of them and can't fit under the gate.) I did put another piece of chicken wire on the gate yesterday, but they got back through it anyway. Mike's muttering about hooking the chicken wire up to the portable electric fence energiser....

And Jo is her usual lovely self, if slightly badger-y at present!
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♥Jan. 15th, 2016 // 09:36 pm
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At least it's stopped raining, and the sun has come out! I would express the hope that the kitchen floor will now manage to remain non-filthy for more than a day at a time, except that the logging in the woods has now come over to our side so the entire place is a swamp and there's no way at all of keeping Jo clean. At least now she might have a chance to dry off so that I can brush her?

Mike keeps telling me that it's not actually all that cold, for the time of year, but then he watches in amazement at the number of layers I take off when I get back into the house. Yesterday morning, when we rode, there was more frost in the school when we finished than when we started. Tomorrow, I think we'll be riding in the afternoon: there was ice on the water troughs when I went out a couple of hours ago, so I think the school will be like concrete first thing.

(In fact, it isn't all that cold, but the wind is bitter and it's been so mild that it's rather a shock to the system.)

I'm keeping GB wrapped up well, and (on the basis of sticking my hand under the rugs to see how warm they feel) am keeping him at about the same temperature as Bugs by layering his rugs up. He's actually been doing really well with his leg recently, which I think means that it's not the cold that's a problem but the standing in his stable for longer overnight. Very pleased that it's dried out enough that they can go in the field again.

We've even managed to do a bit in the garden: the wisteria and budlia are pruned, and the fedge has had a hair cut and some tidying up now that the lack of leaves has revealed the places I made mistakes when I tied it into shape over the summer. We (in the distinctly non-royal sense) do have some digging to do, however: my new trees have arrived and are waiting in the garage.

(I am, and have been for a week or so, generally a bit under the weather: vaguely upset tummy, tired, feeling a bit feeble. I'm blaming that plus a new iPhone game on the lack of posting.)
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♥Dec. 29th, 2015 // 08:27 pm
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Sofa. Gin. Tonic. Home-grown lemon. Happy pooch.

(We've just got back from dinner out, as Mike was feeling Sick Of Cooking. We went to the Mexican place in Canterbury, which was absolutely rammed when we got there and barely less so when we left: they had people waiting at the bar for couples tables. If we'd known, we probably would have just gone to the pub but, in fact, the food arrived so quickly that I assumed they'd brought it to the wrong table and it never took more than about thirty seconds of staring at the till/kitchen entrance before our waitress dashed over to help, which I was very impressed by given that she said they were as surprised as we were by the numbers.)

This morning, we had our somewhat disrupted riding lessons: I did twenty minutes on GB, and then our instructor spent half an hour seeing how Bugs did with being lunged (which she thinks will help him). As expected (and the reason we got her to do it first), as soon as she started he went "time to run around like a loon!", but she did manage to get him being mostly calm after a while, so we now just need to keep working on it: five or ten minutes each time we're going to ride him.
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Stupid animals

♥Dec. 23rd, 2015 // 06:49 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1129317.html]

Both of the boys have been idiots, today.

This morning, we managed to get them into the field but only in the top part. After we'd let them go and put the fence across the middle to keep them up there, I was standing keeping an eye on Bugs while Mike squelched down to connect the fence to the power, just in case he decided to make a break for it.

We think that he didn't realise I'd closed the temporary 'gate', and thought he could make a break for it and get to some tastier grass: all of a sudden, he came charging down the hill towards me, which meant that he was going much too fast to successfully slam the brakes on when he realised he was going to hit the fence.... It bowed out in an alarming way when he skidded into it, but fortunately the tape didn't snap. It was probably also fortunate that Mike was still a few seconds away from turning the power on, because Bugs was already terrified enough without getting zapped!

This afternoon, we decided to ride them down the lane and back before taking them for a spin in the school (partly because Jo had only had a short walk, as we were worried about the light going). GB was a bit fretful as we went out, being worried about something in the woods, but nothing too bad and Bugs was as happy as he ever is. We got to the turning around point, and I pointed Bugs back towards home. Mike got about three quarters of the way through turning GB when he suddenly took off and fled up the field: most uncharacteristic behaviour! Fortunately, Mike did All The Right Things, and I managed to keep hold of Bugs so GB stopped fairly quickly (he doesn't like to run off on his own).

We've no idea what set him off, but I do note that he's been looking fretfully at that patch of woods for a few months now, and we've had an occasional spook when he's been on the way in from the field and turned to corner to face it. One of Mrs Next Door's dogs got very fretful about going outside after dark, around this time last year, and she thought she'd seen glowing eyes up there one night. I do wonder if there might be a wild boar up there. I do rather hope that there isn't.

(As a general rule, horses are scared stiff of pigs, because wild boar are dangerous. GB is actually ok with pigs, as he used to see them on the farm, but it's the only thing I can think of.)

ION, my parents kept talking up Lee Child's Jack Reacher books, and in the end I said "send them to me, then". They are absolute, unmitigated, implausible tosh, full of ludicrous conspiracies with even more ludicrous foreshadowing (none of which is remotely relevant to the even *more* ludicrous leaps of intuition that Our Hero takes in order to solve the case), and have the unfortunate habit of starting the climactic scene about three quarters of the way through the book, which has resulted in severe damage to my sleep patterns lately. (I was really quite glad to spend a few days reading the less compelling books I'd bought with my Amazon credits, as it let me catch up on my rest.) While they were here, my mother reported that one of them ended on a cliff-hanger without you knowing if he was dead or alive (although the presence of a further five or six books does rather give the game away). We also worked out that she was reading them completely out of sequence, though, so I didn't really think much of it. I've just finished that one and, on going to Wikipedia to check what the next title is, discovered that that was the last of the ones that they gave me.... Fortunately, Amazon has provided.

I had been assuming that "K-turn" was an OCR error for U-turn*, but it's very consistent: is it American for three point turn? (Mike says not, and either he or my father suggested it was an OCR error for J-turn, being a reverse-fast-then-use-the-momentum-to-swing-180-and-accellerate-away, but the K-turns don't seem that urgent, and anyway there is one of those and it just gets described and then has admiring noises made about the driving skill involved.)

* Some of them are a little dodgy, although infinitely better than some old SF books I've read OCR copies of. The best is the one where 'Glock' has been consistently rendered as 'Clock'. The bad guys keep making me laugh, when they pull out their Clocks and wave them threateningly at Our Hero.
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♥Dec. 18th, 2015 // 05:34 pm
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I tried to use my laptop without my glasses on, this morning, and couldn't read until I poked my nose up to the screen. Guess I've got used to the new prescription, then.

Rode GB yesterday: we just went for a little wander down the lane and then into the school for a few minutes. I did have a canter, but only on the good leg. All seemed ok.

Also yesterday, the boys had their 'flu jabs (which went fine), as a result of which Mike actually looked at GB's passport: it turns out (that it says) he's a couple of years younger than we'd always thought, so he's not actually 30 yet.

Today, I have mostly been tired. Not sure what's going on there, but I've been tired for a few days now. Hope I'm not poorly.
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Bits and bobs

♥Dec. 15th, 2015 // 04:22 pm
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The parents have been and gone. We had a fairly good time, although the weather wasn't terribly nice: at least it was mostly dry. I kept staying up far too late chatting, oops. It was Mike's work Chirstmas do on Monday, so they took me out for a lovely dinner at Deeson's.

I picked up my new glasses yesterday, and have been wearing them since I got home: no headaches, which is always nice, so I think they're ok. I also got a copy of my prescription: R -1.25, -2.0, 20; L -0.75, -3.0, 160 (was R: -0.5, -2.0, 25; L: -0.5, -2.75, 155, so the change is more eyesight and less astigmatism than I'd thought).

The splashback for behind the Aga arrived, so the decorator came back and fitted it (eventually: it was a tight fit!) and finished off the painting. It looks very nice, now that it's all done, so we're pleased with it. I must leave him some good feedback on MyBuilder: we'd definitely use him again.

I had a rather depressing riding lesson on Tuesday: it should have been Mike's turn to ride GB, but I've been a bit worried about his bad leg (I jumped on him for a quick fifteen minute ride on Monday, and he was fine until I cantered on the bad leg after which my very non-horsey mother could see that his walk wasn't right) so I rode him instead. Our instructor was quite pleased that we'd not stuck to the usual pattern because she'd been struggling to think of enough things that he was still able to do with Mike riding to fill 45 minutes. We did half an hour, and decided that he probably can't have lessons with me riding either (I might go back to just doing fifteen minutes, which we did for a little while last winter, but he's worse this year than he was then so it may not work). Just have to play it by ear, I guess. If I can get him through the winter, he should perk up again in spring, but it's still incredibly mild here (nothing below 8C on the seven day, 24 hour forecast!) so I'm very worried about what will happen if we have a bad January and/or February as they've been forecasting.

This morning, I had Pilates (we did Pilates circuit training, which was fun but a bit too (ie, at all) sweaty for my tastes), and this afternoon I've been boxing up the presents that need posting ready for Mike to take them to the Post Office tomorrow. I've also put the Christmas tree up, and now I'm really quite knackered.

I have a small pile of misc consumer electronics that are looking for a new homes (perfectly fine if annoyingly controlled microwave, digital radio that probably just needs a new power cable, Dyson that works but not as well as it should so probably needs a thorough service). Do charities take electrical goods any more? Any other ideas?
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Home alone, again

♥Dec. 1st, 2015 // 08:10 pm
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I'm not sure if I least dislike the days when Mike is in London for a normal working day, when I have to do the yard on my own but am generally kept busy while he's out, or the days, like today and yesterday, when he has an evening meeting, and so goes out after the yard is done: less work for me (although I do have to cook my own dinner, which is shocking), but I'm used to him being here in the evenings. And I suspect he's going to be exhausted tomorrow, after two late nights.

Still, we had a riding lesson this morning, before he left. I was on GB, which is probably a good thing as he was in a foul mood. We started off with some trot work, and he was doing some lovely stuff - swapping between medium, extended, collected, all on an inner track - but then he had two stumbles in half a circuit so we stopped that and switched to laterals instead. At the end, I asked him if he wanted to have a run but he wasn't very interested. Gave him an extra 'bute in his dinner, just in case.

(His stumbles are odd. He never used to stumble, and when he does it's always the bad leg. It might be nothing, but given the bad leg we're pretty careful not to do anything that triggers it.)

Mike was on Bugs, who seemed to be being a good boy. I didn't watch all of it, but when I popped over between mucking out he was going nicely.

Jo Jo was in disgrace, earlier: not only did she find some badger poo in the woods but she rolled in it even though I told her not to both before and during. She got The Ultimate Punishment for ignoring me calling her back: "Bad Dog", a tap on the nose and being ignored for ten minutes. Fortunately, it wasn't very fresh so she's not actually too stinky.
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Oh, Bugs, you were doing so well....

♥Nov. 29th, 2015 // 04:43 pm
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Yesterday, we took the boys out for a little hack. It's rather muddy, so we went a different way to the usual one, more on the roads. Bugs was a bit nervous once we got past the places he's been to before, and started a couple of times at dust motes, but he didn't work himself up and calmed right back down once he was back on familiar ground.

Today, we took them in the school. It was very windy, so I didn't have high hopes for his behaviour (indeed, it was really Mike's turn to ride him but we thought it best to swap), and he was rather nervous at first but he settled down eventually so I thought I'd risk a canter. Absolutely perfect: instant reaction to the aid, lovely transition, nice steady pace, all the way around once and then a creditable circle at one end, didn't break down to trot until I asked him to. Brilliant.

We had a little rest while Mike cantered GB (I'm still being a bit careful with keeping Bugs under control and out of the way when GB's having a run) and then tried again in the other direction. Pretty good transition, started to get a bit fast at one point but came back down when I asked, all the way around nicely, asked for the circle and woosh. Up in the air, charging across the school. Sigh. On the plus side, this convinces me further that it's happening when he has a case of the don't-wannas, not because he's in any discomfort or struggling to actually canter. He doesn't like doing circles because his balance isn't quite there yet, I know that. I also know that he has to learn, so once I'd got him back under control we did another five, rather than the one he would have done if he'd behaved himself.

I also finally got around to giving GB a hair cut, so he looks much better now. I had tried last week (it had got to the flopping over stage) but couldn't find the big clippers, and the little once just aren't up to that enormous mane. Eventually, I asked Mrs Next Door if I could borrow hers, kinda hoping she's say "Yup, I'll get them, here you go" rather than the "Sure, I'll get them for you later" that was what I actually expected and got. When that hadn't done any good after a couple of days, I told Mike that we'd have to have a better look in the barn for them. "Here they are," he said. "Those are the little ones!" "No, they're the big ones. I wonder where the little ones are...?"

That bloody blue tit's still around, and he's got a mate to join in as well, now. Fortunately, they seem to be splitting their time between the living room and the study, so at least it's not continuous!

Baby Next Door's quilt is very nearly finished, I just need to do the hand-sewn side of the binding. However, my hands are objecting to the fact that I used the clippers and then did an hour of neatening up the quilting around the animals, so I think that will have to wait for another day.
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Novacon and coming back home

♥Nov. 16th, 2015 // 04:22 pm
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That was Novacon, that was.

I had a nice time, although some of it involved drinking too much. I did have some epic lie-ins, though, so result there! Very glad we left before people started plotting Eastercons and Worldcons, though. Got a reasonable amount of sewing done, which was good. I even went to the art show and bought a book from a dealer!

We had a very good run home, so somewhat surprised the sitter before she was ready for us. Jo was, as ever, very pleased to see us, though. "It sounds like she's eating you!" the sitter said as she put her boots on to come outside and say hello. Today, I am somewhat grumpy with her (the sitter, that is), though: she's obviously not actually read the notes we left her, just done stuff based on what she remembers having done before, some of which has changed and some of which she's mis-remembered. I don't think that the bird feeders have been filled while we were away, but the ducks had a big pile of nicely mixed poo and corn on their floor where she'd over-fed them but not cleaned up the poo properly, for example. I also suspect that she's not included the weight of the nets when doing the boys' hay, because the ones I put in last night felt heavy and GB didn't finish his. Sigh. We'll have to Have A Word next time she's here.

She said GB felt a bit off when she rode him, which was worrying. She didn't ride Bugs (we'd told her she might be safer lunging him, and it was very windy so he would have been hard work anyway): he had a terrific time leaping around and throwing his heels up in the air, so I think she made the right call. When we went to poo pick this morning, GB looked very lame in his bad leg, which worried me even more. I think he must have just tweaked it shortly before we went out, though, because I got on him this afternoon and he was a little stiff but basically fine. After I'd decided that, we swapped horses and I gave Bugs a bit of a run: no problems, thankfully.
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♥Nov. 10th, 2015 // 05:33 pm
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This week, one of the "done a bit before" women didn't come to the needle felting class, so I suspect she's decided it's too noddy and jacked it in. The instructor remembered that there was a form we were all supposed to complete last week. Just as we were packing up, she remembered another one and promised we'd do it next week. It's only a three week course, so I hope for her sake that that's all the paperwork....

Today I finished my birdie, and made the little spherical robin I'd been originally planning to do as well:

It took about a quarter or fifth as long, and I much prefer it!

This afternoon, we rode (thankfully getting it done before the rain arrived). It wasn't a terribly positive session: GB's dodgy leg was dodgy, so I was worried about him, and then Mike couldn't really get Bugs to canter on a circle (Bugs doesn't like cantering on a circle-- his balance isn't quite up to it--so it's hard work to get him to do it. Because his balance isn't quite up to it, he can't go running off, so Mike feels safer that way and wants to work up to going all the way around the school when he feels he can trust Bugs to behave on a circle. It's a wee bit Catch 22-ish) so I jumped on him for the last five minutes. I had to give him a bit of a kick to get it, but he did as he was told. Then I tried in the other direction, and got what was very definitely a "don't /wanna/" buck out of him. Made him do it anyway, trotted for a bit, asked him to canter again and he did with no bother, so I told him he was a good boy and stopped on a good note. I wish I could figure out what's going on in his head. We're going to suggest that the sitter lunge rather than ride him this weekend....
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Trees and things

♥Nov. 1st, 2015 // 04:14 pm
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This morning, after some mist first thing, we decided to take advantage of the lovely weather (riding in a t-shirt in November!) and walk the boys down the lane and back before we took them in the school. I'm pleased to report that Bugs was only a little nervous, trying to see if there were any cows around. Then we took them in the school for a bit, which went almost entirely well: for reasons best known to himself, on his second canter Bugs decided to throw a couple of bucks and then try to run away with me. They were, as I told Mike, very *smooth* bucks, and my bum never actually left the saddle. I think that it was just high spirits: we've been being quite careful with him, and when we *have* cantered him since his little Moment we've been quite careful to have him very firmly held back. Today, though, I was letting him have his head, and he decided to make use of that! Still, no harm done.

This afternoon, there has been a raking of leaves and a chainsawing of leylandii (Mike did indeed console himself over his loss by buying himself a bigger one). The first one was very tricky, because Mike had to cut his way through to it, but the second and third, which he did today, went much more quickly and were removed in much bigger chunks. Interestingly, two of the three he's got out, and at least the next one along, are completely rotted through the main truck, which does make me wonder if the whole hedge isn't on the verge keeling over anyway.

Given what a lovely sunny day it was, I had planned on taking a nice picture of the house, on the way back from walking Jo, to show the recent changes (and the relatively tiny bit of leylandii hedge that's no longer there!). But then the mist came back down, and indeed kept coming: we moved the electric fence for the first time this evening, and couldn't actually see from one end to the other to check that the line was straight.

So, instead, have a nice picture of his grumpiness that Mike took this morning:

And duck bath-time:

(Which reminds me: I've been steadfastly refusing to upgrade the LJ iPhone app from 1.2.3, because the newer version was so horribly broken the two times that I tried it (and I've seen so many reports of it doing bloody stupid things, like removing all the apostrophes or capitalising the first letter of each word in a post). However, for the past several months I've been unable to upload images to scrapbook using it. Given that's the only thing that I do use it for, does anyone use the current version? How is it, these days?)
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This may not bode well

♥Oct. 22nd, 2015 // 06:31 pm
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This morning, Mike being off in London, I took GB in the school. (Even though the cows are now finally gone, I didn't want to risk Bugs having another Moment when I was on my own.)

I noticed that he didn't have quite the stamina in canter that he usually has. It's probably related to the loss of muscle on his back that the saddler noticed last week, but I don't know if that physical change is cause (he is, after all, in ludicrously good condition for his age) or effect (possibly because I've been schooling Bugs a lot lately, so he's not been worked so hard). Or, indeed, if he was just able to tell that I'm still rather sore (as opposed to actively aching) from Saturday's Moment, and that was making him less happy about going on (he is very good about looking after people, Riding School Legacy). Something to keep an eye on, anyway.

Tomorrow morning, we're having the old Aga removed, at ludicrously short notice (I think I failed to mention this: it is roughly when the Nice Man From Aga originally said it would probably be, but they didn't actually confirm it for ages because -- sigh -- there was a note on our file that Someone Else needed to check if the short notice would be a problem, which Someone Else failed to do, thus making the notice Even Shorter). (Sufficiently short notice that the electrician is coming in to put the new power cables *after* the old one is removed, tomorrow afternoon, the plasterer/decorator will be working the weekend, and the Nice Man From Aga will have to come for the site inspection on the evening before the installation, rather than several days in advance.)

This evening, as his last, nice-and-quick job of the day (he only lives around the corner, relatively speaking), the engineer from our local Aga servicing place came to quickly cap off the oil pipe so that it was nice and safe for the removal tomorrow. This, I note, is Exactly What The Nice Aga Man Told Us To Arrange, down to the company we booked to do it. As it happens, it was the same guy who combed all his mates' old plumbing supplies to find the right size nut that got the old Aga coaxed back into life last autumn. He's a lovely chap, and I will miss having him in to service the Aga.

There followed a fair bit of explaining, use of torches, inspection of pipes, and contemplation of the practicality of removing the cupboard from the wall to give him better access, but he eventually concluded that, actually, there was no way he could do the job that he'd been booked for when the Aga was still there and, even if he did, we'd still need to get a heating engineer in to finish the job off. Naturally (see above re: last-job-of-the-day), I couldn't get hold of Nice Aga Man after hours.

At present, the oil is turned off by the valve, at both ends of the pipe (but needs to have caps fitted on them and -- for which we need a heating engineer -- the oil in the pipe flushing out to prevent a fire risk). This isn't strictly safe, because "some idiot could turn them both back on and then you'd have a kitchen full of oil", but should be ok in the short term. There's a Special Box that goes between the Aga and the pipe, which is almost certainly full of oil, so that will make a horrible mess tomorrow when they take it off, but, fingers crossed, they will still agree/be able to do the removal....
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Eventful day

♥Sep. 24th, 2015 // 07:54 pm
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This morning it was moist, so we put of riding until the afternoon and, after we'd done the yard jobs, I retired to the kitchen: spiced elderberry cordial, sorting the boxes of apples and tomatoes with subsequent passata and apple juice, general tidying.

Mike, meanwhile, was upgrading my iPhone to iOS 9, as he'd already got it downloaded and wanted to do it before it started requiring 9.1 (or whatever the never version is). It seemed to be taking a terribly long time.

When we got in after walking Jo, the phone rang and a nice young man said he was calling from the bank. I pointed out that my phone was showing a different number to the bank's, and he said he'd leave a note on my account with his extension number. A quick call to Mike's mobile Just In Case and I was soon speaking to him again: First Direct is running a reward scheme for long-term customers, and they're sponsoring the Northern Ballet this year, and they're doing Wuthering Heights in Canterbury next month and would I like to go? Two free tickets, drinks receptions before and after, talk from the director, Meet The Cast. Oh, go on then. I don't think Mike's very keen but I'm sure I'll find a taker (anyone fancy it? I have asked Mrs Next Door as well, but she doesn't strike me as the ballet type).

(Mike is in a small huff, because he's been a customer for much longer and they didn't offer him tickets to a thing he had no interest in seeing. I pointed out that they may be deliberately offering them to women. Then I remembered the time they gave me a case of wine for being a good customer, too!)

Around this time, Mike learnt that there was a known bug in iOS 9, fixed in 9.1 (see above), that left it hung at the 'swipe to restart' stage, and started downloading 9.1 (ditto) in the hope he could just overwrite it.

A bit more faffing in the kitchen, and sticking a cake in the oven, and going Harvesting in the garden (the tomatillos in the ground have done much less well than the ones in pots on the patio, which seemed odd. But suddenly they've gone mad with enormous fruit since I took out the tomatoes plants next to them!) and it was time to take Jo to the vet for jabs and a general check-up. I got about two miles from home and the car started making A Noise, which I thought might be a branch under the car: I pulled into a parking space and had a look. Couldn't see anything but, oh, wait, that corner of the car seems to be lower down than it should be: flat tire. Better call Mike. Oh, wait, my phone's both bricked and at home. Just as I started to swear, a dog walker came back to his car and let me borrow his phone (I think he was a bit worried I was going to ask him to change the tire!). Mike remembered, as I had not, that there was an electric pump in the car, so I got the tire pumped up and made it home. One quick tire change later (he's had practice, recently!) and I was re-booked at the vet and on my way again.

Jo was her usual good self, even if she hates having the Kennel Cough vaccine up her nose, and was long-suffering when having her bum squeezed (she's been itchy lately). She didn't want to lie down and roll over for the vet to check where she had the cancer removed, so in the end I just picked her up and sat on the chair with her on my lap, facing out. The vet was bemused and impressed, particularly when Jo stayed in the same position to have her claws trimmed! ("I'll have to remember that trick... although I can't imagine many dogs would stay in that position while I did their claws...") Jo'd not been brushing her teeth properly, though, and needs them cleaning. The vet sternly warned me to keep an eye on her weight until I get it done, as the price for sedation goes up at 35kg and she's currently 34.45.

We did manage to ride, after I got back, which was good except that GB was favouring his dodgy leg a little, which is always worrying. There seemed to be an awful lot of washing up when we got in, though, and that plus cleaning the kitchen floor (shocking state, simply shocking. Please don't listen to anyone who tells you I'm house-proud) occupied the time until dinner, and now that I've written this I'm off to give the boys their evening hay!

Edit: Oops. It appears that the things we failed to do today was put the ducks to bed after we'd ridden: the perils of breaking your routine. They'd gone in on their own, though, and nothing had followed them home. Phew.
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Ok, ok, I get the message....

♥Sep. 23rd, 2015 // 02:57 pm
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This morning, I went out to do the boys to find that Bugs had busted out of his stable and was merrily stuffing his face on grass. Ok, ok, you can start having morning haynets again, boys!

I had a rather uncomfortable pilates class, because I kept getting cramp in my feet. I mean, I always do at least once a session, but it was particularly bad today. I suspect that this is because my boots are still damp, despite having spent the night in front of the Aga, from when I walked Jo yesterday: it was so wet that there was water running down my legs inside my boots. They're back in front of the Aga now, and at least it's a nice day.

Very pleased with GB this morning: he'd been a bit stiff the other week, which we put down to cold and damp, but then better last time he was ridden, which we figured was because there had been two warm, sunny days. I thought I'd better jump on him for fifteen minutes today to get him moving, but actually he was fine, so hurrah. Guess he must have just knocked something in the field when he was stiff.
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Busy busy

♥Sep. 6th, 2015 // 05:05 pm
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I've been a busy bee today (sorry, have apparently been infected by an edition of Poetry Please about bees that I had on in the background: anything's better than Football Sports Hour...).

This morning, spurred on by there being a frost last night, (you may wish to look away now) I started on Christmas shopping. My, but it's amazing the stuff you can get for £1 on eBay from random Chinese sellers if you're prepared to wade through all the random stuff in their stores. I think I have my colour scheme worked out, and a Plan for cards.

This afternoon, we took Jo up to the common and acquired four big bags of apples (looks as though last year the abnormally bad for apples, rather than the year before being particularly good), as well as a bag of blackberries and one of elderberries. Those last two are now washed and in the freezer, a quarter of the apples are in the steamer, a quarter dripping quietly away in a jelly bag, and the remainder Awaiting Developments.

"I think," Mike just announced dolefully, "I may need new slippers before Christmas...." Conveniently, I'd come to the same conclusion a good six months ago, so I just had to go upstairs and get him the pair in the cupboard.

GB's been a bit twitchy coming down from the field lately, when it's been gloomy, and the last few days he's got to the edge of the sunny bit of the field and refused to go forward into the shade of the trees until Bugs did so (despite beatings). I remembered last night that I'd had his eyes checked, a few years ago, and the vet concluded that he had cataracts but that (she phrased it more delicately) he'd be dead before they caused him a problem. I'm now wondering how long she thought he had in him, and if I should get them looked at again.
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Who'd have 'em?

♥Aug. 7th, 2015 // 10:54 am
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Last night, we went out for dinner, for no reason at all and just the two of us. They've opened a branch of Byron in Canterbury: if they just opened a Wahaca as well, I'd be very pleased with the casual eating options! We should do it more often, it was nice.

Before we went out, we brought the boys down the hill to the stableyard, so all we had to do when we got back was put them to bed. When we went into the yard, though, GB was lying down, which he doesn't normally do. When we went in, he was flat out on his side. Then he sat upright. Then he lay down again. Then he sat up again. Then he lay down again....

After a little while, I coaxed him up to his feet, worried that he was colicing, but he just stood there, resting one of his back legs and not wanting to put it down. So then I worried that he'd hurt his leg, but I couldn't find anything wrong with it. I led him up and down a few times, and he had a poo (phew, not colic), and then Mike trotted him a few times so I could have a look: nothing wrong with the leg. Most peculiar.

Put him in to bed, and he didn't go for his dinner, which was odd. Checked him again a couple of hours later, and he'd still not eaten anything and was pawing at the floor a bit (and had been lying down). I kept checking up on him every so often, and even took him out and walked him around for twenty minutes in case it was colic after all, but I could hear his tummy working away, so.... Eventually, at a bit after midnight, I went out again and found him having a nibble at his hay, so I left Mike a note to check him as soon as he got up and headed off to (not very good) sleep.

Mike found him looking fine, and having had a couple of poos, and he ate his breakfast as usual and seems to be ok, but we've given him the day off and kept them down at the house so that we can check up on him just in case.

Not really sure what was going on. I spoke to the vet, who thought it probably was just a bit of tummy ache, although given what a drama queen he is when that happens I'm a little dubious. The only other thing we can think of is that he had a little stroke or similar: I'll be keeping an eye on him for the next little while.
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And so it begins....

♥Mar. 30th, 2015 // 03:33 pm
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(Even GB's started shedding, a little! He must be trying to avoid getting a dodgy late clip again this year.)

Are we clothes swapping at Eastercon this year? I have a load of stuff that was left over last time but Too Nice To Charity Shop.
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Bits and bobs

♥Mar. 26th, 2015 // 06:27 pm
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Today, we saw the first bluebell of the year, up in the woods. It was a bit pathetic, but there are some better-looking flower spikes poking their heads up. Still not much sign of anemones, though, which is odd.

I've just ridden GB, because when Mike rode him yesterday he was a bit off. Fortunately, he was fine so it was probably just a result of the walloping kick that Some Bugger planted on his arse yesterday, taking off a big patch of skin in the process....

Jo's been a bit under the weather. Yesterday, she was a bit pathetic and giving an occasional little whimper/yelp as she moved about. I gave her some Magic Cheese (take cheese, add metacam, roll up and insert into moth of dog), and she perked up for a few hours then was a bit stiff-looking. More Magic Cheese today, but I think she was better even with that: hopefully we won't be off to the vet tomorrow, as I think it's going to be her age and thus difficult to do much about.

My boots have been looking a bit tatty for a while, and I kept meaning to dig out the new pair for, eg, going to the pub and initial breaking in but never got around to it (I always try to have a pair in the cupboard, if only because I refuse to pay full price for them). Yesterday, in the waiting room, I noticed that a seam had gone on one of them, so I went and got the new pair. And discovered that they're the wrong size. Sigh. Not sure if it was my mistake or the seller's, but I've had them in the cupboard for six months so there's not much I can do: I've ordered a new pair, hopefully in the correct size this time. If anyone wants a pair of Dublin Rivers in a UK size five, shout. They're very comfortable, and last really well: the fact I get through a pair a year is because I wear them pretty much all the time unless it's really hot, in which case I just wear them half the time!
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In promising news....

♥Mar. 21st, 2015 // 08:19 pm
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GB's latest blood test (my ear is still sore from when he headbutted me, but the other side of my head, which he slammed into the wall in doing so, is fine now. Fortunately, I a) noticed that he'd managed to pull out my earring in the process and b) found it in his bed later...) had very pleasing results: it was completely normal, to general surprise.

(Aside from Mike: "There's no point posting about his blood test results. No one will believe that he's normal.")

We've reduced his medication from 2.5 to 2 pills per day and we'll re-test in a few weeks. I'm hopeful that we might end up keeping him on a low-level dose (say, 1 or 1.5 pills per day) and just bumping it up to 2.5 or 3 for a few months from August, which seems to be when he has a problem.

Fingers crossed: if nothing else, it'll save a fair bit of money, as it's costing me about £1.25 per pill! (Hmmm: in checking that, I've just discovered that I can buy it online for just under £1 per pill, if I get a prescription. The vet will charge me for the prescription, but it might be worth doing. Note to self for next time.)
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GB update

♥Mar. 2nd, 2015 // 09:23 pm
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Still groggy, but he's had a poo so I think we're alright!
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I'm sure it's nothing personal....

♥Mar. 2nd, 2015 // 02:35 pm
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The last time the saddler came to see the boys, GB's leg was particularly bad, so she just popped the saddle on his back and said that it looked ok.

Today, the saddler was due to come and have a proper look at Bugs and a quick check on the other two. I was filling haynets while waiting for her, and I could hear GB stamping around in a peculiar way. I went to see what was wrong and he had a cuddle and then stood quietly. Five minutes later, he was at it again. And then again five minutes after that. Mike, who was mucking out, reported that he looked like he wanted to lie down. Alarm bells began to sound. I let him in his stable to see what he'd do, and he went straight down but didn't start rolling. His belly was very quiet, though, so I started walking around the yard with him just in case. He managed a poo after about fifteen minutes, but I still couldn't hear any signs of activity in his tummy so I called the vet.

After a bit of help from Mrs Next Door, we got him and the Baby over to the school (we were churning the grass up something chronic, apart from anything else), and then recaptured the Baby after he decided to run madly around the outside of the school instead of just quietly munching the grass as he usually does. Mike went back and got Bugs, and Baby's tack, while I carried on walking around in less squelchy circles.

Inevitably, the vet and the saddler arrived within minutes of each other. "Stop him so that I can have a look before I start on the injections," the vet said. After we'd dragged him back to his feet, she went to start getting the injections ready. Once he'd realised that it wasn't a blood test, he was ok for the jabs, which kicked in nice and quickly and left him swaying slightly and trying to stand with one of his back feet on top of the other. The vet's slightly bemused verdict was that it was just a gas colic, even though he looked much worse than that usually makes them: she couldn't find any sign of a more serious problem. Then again, I don't think he was as bad this time as last time (possibly because I spotted it quicker and the vet was there in half an hour), so I guess he's just a bit wussy about tummy ache!

While this had been going on, the saddler had looked at Bugs and re-padded his saddle a bit. When Mike climbed on, she pronounced herself happy for now with the understanding that she'd need to fiddle with it again in a couple of months when he's muscled up a bit. Baby was also fine, which is a relief as his saddle is currently as wide as it will go.

GB then staggered back to his stable, weaving slightly along the road, following after the other two, and then went back to bed for a bit of a lie down. Mike's just given him a haynet, which he seemed to think was at least worth standing up for, so I think he's ok again now.

I guess that the saddler will just have to check his saddle when she comes back to see Bugs!

(And, randomly in there, a friend of the family called to offer me a job. I was a little distracted, though, so he's going to call me back this evening. It's something to do with a newly-formed charity, but I'm not sure what.)

Jodie was a little bemused by how short her walk was this afternoon. We did explain that she could have had a nice long walk in the morning if she'd just followed GB around for an hour or so, but she didn't seem impressed with the idea.
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