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Mid-winter things

♥Dec. 19th, 2016 // 09:46 am
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We have both been poorly. Mike is still poorly, I ache horribly but think it's more horse- than virus-related.

In contrast to the last couple of years, when riding schedules have been messed up by rain, this year it's been mist that's the problem (as well as being ill. And sore). I had a go on GB last week but had to stop because a) it was painful and b) GB kept stopping and going 'I don't like this' because he could tell I wasn't right, and Mike hopped on GB yesterday while I lunged Bugs braced myself and clung onto the end of the rope while Bugs charged around the school in circles making occasional contact with the ground, but that's been the extent of it lately.

Ponies in the mist: like gorillas, but less endangered.


Our field is is comparatively fabulous condition, because it's been fairly dry: we're not only still using the steep gate, but we're also still letting the horses run down the hill on their own rather than leading them the long way around. Long may it last!

Still, we have managed to get the Christmas tree up:


I did initially think that this year's brown Amazon wrapping materials were a bit dull, but they go quite well with the decorations I've put on the tree this year, so that's nice.

In bad news for upcoming visitors, Mario Run keeps suggesting that I move to a location with a better mobile signal. On the other hand, thanks to a saga involving the new neighbours finding a water pipe in the way while widening their drive that would have been moderately entertaining had I posted about it while it was happening, our water pressure is now better than it's ever been, so that's a win for people trying to shower while we're filling the horses' water buckets.
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Ditto

♥Dec. 10th, 2016 // 03:02 pm
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This morning, Mike went out to give the boys their breakfast and found Bugsy happily eating the front lawn.

I must have not quite latched his door last night, and then he smashed his way through the chain that's there as a second line of defence (this was odd, as previously he's just gone under it).

In retrospect, this explains the happy horse noises I heard outside late last night: at the time, I just assumed it was TWWOTV's mares and a weird echo / sound reflection, which we get plenty of. I'm surprised that GB wasn't shouting, though. He had sweat marks on his coat this morning, and his stable was a complete state (for the first time since we've been here, I just threw away his whole bed and gave him a new one. Contrast with Bugsy, who gets this about once a fortnight), so he'd obviously spent the night being a big bundle of stress.

My back was feeling much better, if still sore, yesterday morning, which was fortunate because Mike was in London so I had the whole stableyard to do on my own. My back is feeling much worse today. I have learnt my lesson and Mike will be doing the mucking out for the next couple of days.

Some experimentation has shown that the ducks will neither eat nor use their pond indoors. When Mike moved the pond outside and refilled it this morning, they charged over to have a bath and Agnes (who has a bad leg and spends a lot of time in there) doesn't seem to have left it since except when they had their corn. We're being careful about getting rid of left-over food before to corvids notice it, but I don't really think that there's much else we can do: there's no point stressing them to death to avoid the risk of catching 'flu.

We went, with a certain amount of trepidation, to get a Christmas tree this morning. Last year, when we went on the equivalent of yesterday, we had great trouble finding one. Today, though, the little garden centre had a good dozen that were much nicer than the one we ended up with last year, and the one we bought seems to be very suitable: nicely symmetrical, branches not starting too low down, no enormous bald spike on top. Phew.

Mike seems to be coming down with another cold. I have explained that this is Just Not On, as it's currently *my* turn to be lying around feeling pathetic, but he's insistent on having it. Men!
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Where did the time go?

♥Oct. 25th, 2016 // 11:34 am
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I've been very crap at updating recently, probably a sign that I've not been doing anything very exciting!

There's been a fair bit of gardening going on, mostly weeding but also taking the finished plants out of the vegetable patch. There are still some tomatoes, peppers and aubergines in pots in the conservatory, but I don't think they'll be productive for much longer. Mike managed to mow the back lawn, for the first time since before our BBQ: it was in a bit of a state! I must get my sweetpeas started for next year, and think about the practicalities of my plan to turn the bee garden into a polytunnel for the tomatoes. The tomatoes did terribly this year, as in we've already finished the passata that I made (last year, it lasted until April!).

We've had our first, very slight, frost of the year, the elctric blanket's back on the bed, and the trees are starting to look very pretty. We've also had our first (and second, third and fourth) mice in the barn traps, which I'm treating as a good thing because we didn't get so many last autumn when the rat was in residence. Still to come: first fire of the year, which I'm looking forward to!

In the house, I continue to be impressed with Freddie's Flowers (my second batch was cabbages and white roses, but I also still have a vase with some of the first batch in!). I've been making jelly and sewing various things that are mostly going to be Christmas gifts for people who read this, so no pictures of those, or aren't yet finished (this isn't like me, but the Christmas stuff jumped the queue). Mike's been busy at work, so it's just been me and the pooch more than usual, but we did have a house full of visitors at the weekend, which included going to the beach, looking at old churches, and seeing the Oysterband in Canterbury.

We were expecting the hunt this morning, but didn't see any sign of them (we did hear the hounds, off in the distance). The boys seemed entirely unconcerned about the noise, but we were quite glad that we'd already finished riding by that time!

We're having some issues with their hay this year, annoyingly: back when we first started using this year's batch, they refused to eat three of the first six bales, but then it didn't happen again so we thought maybe it was still a bit green. Over the weekend, though, they turned their noses up at two more bales, so I gave the hay lady a call. She says the culprit is false oat grass, which she's got in the corner of one of her fields (although though the internet seems to think it is palatable), so next year we'll be sure to take our hay from the other field (which is where we've previously had it from, which is why we've not had a problem before). She did say that later in the year (when there's less grass) they might be happier with it, which I'd also vaguely though, but I doubt GB will eat it.
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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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Trees, both in and out

♥Dec. 11th, 2015 // 04:28 pm
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We have had an infestation of Teenager this week, but she's gone home now. (Actually, she's been no bother as she's been doing Complicated Maths the whole time she was here.) Tomorrow, we're getting an infestation of Parents, which I suspect will be more stressful.

Shortly before lunch, the doorbell rang: it was the tree surgeons, team of four, come to get rid of the enormous conifer and the boring and shade-inducing maple. We thought it was a bit odd that they came when there were only three or so hours of light left, but in fact they were done in about two! Very interesting to see them do the conifer, which they did from the bottom up, particularly the bit right at the end where the bloke was standing on the stumps of already-removed branches, swaying gently in the wind, having a fag break (eCig, admittedly). Infinitely quicker, more professional, and safe-looking job than the one we had taken out just after we moved in.

Even late on a grey December afternoon, the garden was much lighter through the livingroom patio doors.



We're now down to only one remaining Enormous Conifer, and it's a less dense kind than the ones that we've had taken out, and about six or eight leylandii, which are right next to it: I suspect we'll have a think about whether it will stay or go when we've taken the leylandii out and have a better idea of what that does to the light levels in that corner of the garden.

Then, after we'd brought the boys in, we popped out to buy a somewhat less enormous conifer, although we struggled somewhat. We went to the place we usually use (a small garden centre), but all they had left was one that would have been just right but was reserved, one that was too tall, and half a dozen tiny ones, so we went to a place that just sells trees and traipsed around a field trying to find something that didn't have an enormous bare spike sticking up from the top of it (whilst we would be quite happy to get one like that and take the scissors to it, they sell them by height and we've no wish to pay for three feet of twig that we're going to get rid of). We did get an ok one, although I'm a little worried that we'll have to take off a couple of the lower branches as it's got a very short stump.

Not sure why the decent trees are getting sold out so early, though, and I'm glad we went today rather than over the weekend: last year we bought it on the 14th (which is the equivalent to this coming Sunday) and "they only had about half a dozen left".

I've just bought a new microwave, because Costco had one with good reviews at £30 less than Amazon or Tesco in their Christmas deals. We've neither of us ever liked the one we have at the moment, which was a quick grab off the shelf in Tesco job when we moved and left the old one behind: it has a dial to set the timer, for example, which is horrible. If anyone wants it....
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Death! War! Doom!

♥Dec. 4th, 2015 // 03:28 pm
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Ahem. We've finished the leylandii in the front garden! Really quite pleased, now just need to see if I can rope Mike into taking out the last few in the back garden: when I mentioned it, he said "We'll do those next year", and that's only a few weeks, right?

As predicted, the last one in the corner was a bit of a bugger. Now that it's gone, there's a very conspicuously empty patch, and I'm thinking that a little tree might go well in there. It's on the corner of the drive and the road, so nothing that's going to get too wide, and it potentially shades a big chunk of the garden, so nothing too tall or too dense. Any ideas?

In the afternoon, to celebrate, we took Jo to the beach, where she had a marvellous time charging around and chasing seagulls. Even with my sunglasses on, I struggled a bit with the glare on the outward part of the walk: fingers crossed that the new glasses perform as promised.

This evening, I did some Christmas present sorting and wrapping, mostly to be sure that all my ducks were correctly aligned and I didn't need to order any extras for anyone (I did. I have). Now I just need to glare at Mike a bit more until he finishes signing the cards. He's done most of them....
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Mighty hunter!

♥Oct. 7th, 2015 // 04:56 pm
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Today, Jo got a nice plump hen pheasant. Sadly, she did so on Mrs Top Of The Hill's land, and I decided to do the decent thing and hand it over. Good job I did, as from where she was when I got to the front of the house Mrs TOTH must have been just on the other side of the hedge and heard it happen!

This afternoon, I have been busy with Brewery (see also: Piss Up) stuff. Last week, I sent (as requested) a list of unpaid invoices to the professional events organiser. Today, I got confused emails from her saying that the people she's been chasing said they'd already paid. "Were they on the list?" Well, no, but a list in a file named "Receivables" was a list of the money we'd already received, and the invoices not on it were the unpaid ones, right? Right...?

This year, after last year's Mysterious Case Of The Vanishing Chocolate Coins, I've decided to assemble the hampers upstairs in the library. And keep the door shut, just in case. Boxes have been assembled, and contents are beginning to be gathered.

Last night the ballet was lovely. Even Mike didn't hate it. TWWOTV was there, so it's probably a good job that Mike was with me rather than one of the neighbours!
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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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Umm... hang on...

♥Dec. 24th, 2014 // 09:07 pm
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So, there I was, doing the usual evening check-and-feed on the boys. It's chilly outside, slightly frosty. Earlier, we watched the International Santa Sleigh pass overhead.

As I picked up GB's haynet, I flashed the torch into his stable to wake him up (he's an old man and although all that waking him up usually causes is for him to have a wee, I don't like to risk surprising him) and there was an unexpected sparkle on the bench outside the barn. I flashed the torch back to have another look and found we'd acquired a few more ducks....




Also, for anyone who's both a fan of The Archers and Tom Robinson, a Christmas treat!
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Decorating

♥Dec. 22nd, 2014 // 06:56 pm
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It's been fairly windy here over the last few days, and today while I was walking the pooch I noticed that there were quite a few small fir branches down. So, I picked some up and brought them home, then went around the garden with scissors, then got out some florists' wire, and:



It's a shame there aren't any berries on the holly, but there aren't more than one or two berries on *any* of the holly around here, the birds have eaten them all!
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Tree!

♥Dec. 18th, 2014 // 02:31 pm
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Lots of planets have a North

♥Dec. 14th, 2014 // 09:30 pm
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We went on a flying visit to family this weekend: my parents, lunch with my sister (and her New Man; she seems very happy), Mike's mother and brother. For the first two of those, Mike spent a lot of time muttering "It looks very Northern up here...."

By the time we left, my mother was almost visibly twitching with the urge to get the vacuum cleaner out and get rid of any sign of Jo. In contrast, Jo charged into Mike's mother's house and left a line of black footprints across the carpet; "Oh well," she said, "I'm sure it'll vacuum up when it's dry."

Long weekend, but we got through it, and the boys / ducks seem to have coped ok with having four different people doing various bits of looking after them! Jo's glad to be home, though I suspect she'd rather have been with us than not.

Tomorrow, I'm back at the dentist for tweaking my tooth, and the day after that I think we'll put the tree up. (We just got back from buying it, and it's a good job we didn't leave it any later as they only had about half a dozen left!)
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Oh, Jo Jo....

♥Dec. 6th, 2014 // 12:03 pm
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At about this time last year, Jo sliced her leg open in the woods and so prevented us from going to Ilford for partyage. A couple of days ago, Mike noticed what looked like a really nasty spot on her leg, next to the scar from the lump she had removed. The internet seemed fairly sure that it was a sebaceous cyst, so I resolved to keep an eye on it and think about the vet next week. Yesterday, I had a look and it looked as though it had burst and scabbed over. Yesterday, I also started making some crystalised orange and lemon slices: the hampers are almost done, with all the bits and bobs tucked inside the boxes, and just need a couple more bits adding. (I'm almost done with the wrapping, too: feel free to hate me.)

We had a lovely hack this morning, in the frosty sunshine. The boys seemed to have fun, too, although they got a bit over-excited at one point and we rather went off the bridlepath as I tried to get GB slowed down. It was quite a long hack, too, so Jo was very pleased to see us when we got back.

Also very thirsty. This is because we locked her in the house with only a big bucket of tap water, and that as far as possible from our bedroom: when I got back, she wasn't in the kitchen bouncing with excitement, so I went in and called her, leading to an enormous thud, a lot of scampering, and a black blur appearing round the bottom of the stairs.

As I finished mucking out, Jo came over to demand tummy tickles and I noticed that her leg looked red in streaks around the whatever-it-was, and it felt a bit warm. It might just be that she's been scratching it, but when we got in I stuck the crystalised fruit back on the Aga hot plate to start its second simmer and called the vet to make an appointment, in case she needed antibiotics.

I went through to tell Mike (3:45: just about doable if we bring the boys in five minutes early, dash off to the vet, don't have to wait too long and then dash off to Ilford) and noticed something glinting on the floor of the study. I'd thought I'd tidied up better than that after doing the (almost) last of the wrapping last night, so I doubled back to find that the floor was covered in the foil from chocolate coins. Two nets of them. As scrabbled out of two of the hampers. It could have been a *lot* worse, as there was plenty of other chocolate in the hampers and in other packages around the room, but even so. This may explain why she was so thirsty, too. Sigh.

Mike grabbed the vacuum cleaner, while I quickly re-wrapped the things she'd torn the tissue paper on and put replacement coins in (note to self: get more coins, as those were the ones for our stockings!). Phew. All sorted out.

Then I noticed that the air in the kitchen looked a bit smoky. Remember that pan of sugar syrup I'd put on the boiling plate for a couple of minutes to heat up before I moved it to the simmering oven....?

Sigh. One of those days. Hopefully we'll see people this evening!
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Experimental

♥Nov. 24th, 2013 // 08:20 pm
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Today, I finally got around to picking some rose hips for syrup:


tbh, it just tastes like sugar water to me, having just tried some neat from a spoon. Will have to see what it tastes like when diluted: the flavour may come out more when there's a bit less sweetness to it.

Pooch has lost weight. I'd feel better able to cope if it weren't for the fact that we can't get her to touch her breakfast until after lunch time, but I gave her more dinner and she scoffed it down. Admittedly, dinner did involve that tastiest of foods, tripe.

In my usual sickening way, Christmas prep is proceeding well. Other than the three gifts whose purchase I've delegated to Mike, it's pretty much all wrapped, and the cards are not only made but signed by both of us. I've gone monochrome this year, but I don't *think* it's too funereal....

This afternoon, Mike tried out the chainsaw. He still appears to have a correct number of limbs.
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Ah, Christmas...

♥Dec. 25th, 2012 // 03:00 pm
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The day so far:

- Wake up. Realise it's Far Too Early. Go back to sleep while Mike wanders around the flat.
- Wake up. Ditto. Thunder storm.
- Wake up. Try to ditto, get poked by Mike.
- Open stockings. Debate with Mike about who - given we have three horses to take care of - will ride two and who will groom two; with some doubt, accept that Mike will ride two.
- Drive to yard. Be relieved that not only has it stopped raining but there's a gorgeous rainbow to admire as we head down the A2. Arrive at yard in lovely sunshine.
- Groom GB. Feed him treats from his Christmas stocking (what can I say, I'm a soft touch).
- Watch Mike start riding. Groom Scrape mud off Evil Bitch horse. Wonder idly why Mike is getting back on horse. Hurriedly throw raincoats onto horses still to be ridden. Learn that Mike fell off horse; speculate, /wildly/, that he forgot to tighten her girth when no one reminded him: her saddle has a habit of sliding off sideways.
- Take off several layers, in the hope of having something dry to put on after riding (I'd rather do that than ride in a waterproof, which is all sweaty and ick). Put tack on GB. Start riding him, as Mike puts first horse away and goes to gets EB.
- Ride GB. Arena is sodden. Mental note to go nice and slowly. Do really quite well, practising New Trick (renvers) from yesterday's lesson to good result, although not too much as bloody wet and thus cold, so don't want to spend too long in walk.
- Wonder what Mike is doing with EB. Mike finally turns up of second horse. Object when Mike says he's going to put her away after ten minutes. Make him do fifteen and then offer to swap.
- Fail to see as tired, cold GB objects to Mike's existence by bucking, on account of being too busy telling EB off for bucking.
- Sigh and make EB canter around the school several more times in penance. Get even wetter whilst doing so. Mike given up by this point. Wonder how I managed to end up both grooming and riding two horses: sure that wasn't the deal.
- Change into dry clothes. No appreciable difference five minutes later.
- Put drying-off rugs on all horses; slip someone skint a fiver to swap them for their usual rugs once they are no longer actively dripping wet.
- Throw food at horses.
- Home. Shower. Ah, shower.
- Bucks Fizz and smoked salmon blinis! Nom!
- Speak to parents. End call at point when father starts making racist jokes. Am impressed that this took a good ten minutes of speaking to him.
- Presents!!!! It terrifies me to say this, but Aunt not winner of Worst Present Award. Actually, winner of Worst Present Award is what really terrifies me. And it's a large present given by someone who visits the house. Am terrified. It's staring at me. I may have to post a photo.
- Foooood! Mike has once again produced Best Chicken Ever. It's impressive the way that he does this every year. It's a damn tasty chicken. May have continued to nibble bits as I washed up to R4 Rumpole play.

And now, Mike is comatose napping, I am sipping the rest of the lunchtime bottle, we have sticky-toffee-and-date-pudding-with-caramel-sauce, and left-over sausages-in-bacon, for dinner, and all is good. The sun even came back out, for a little while. It's gone again now, of course.

Merry Christmas!
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I seem to be busy lately....

♥Nov. 18th, 2012 // 04:11 pm
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Last Thursday - Country Life Christmas Show: overdose on orange and cinnamon scent, bought a few bits, thought "I could do that" about many bits, thought "I would do that" about slightly fewer.

Last weekend - Novacon, lovely. I really enjoy Novacon, these days. Lost of nice chats. Contrary to popular opinion, I did not spend the entire weekend sitting in the same chair, and most certainly had not in fact been there since last year.

Monday - new job, first day, sort of. Seems to be doable. Proper start this week.

(An observation: About six months ago, one of my big toes started hurting (ultimately, I think, due to a single side saddle lesson in which I Did Something Wrong and kept scrunching my foot up). It got randomly better and worse, until Mike made me go to the GP who gave me a leaflet for a foot clinic, which I never got around to going to. Then I was jumping up in the air trying to read a price tag in Costco when I landed, hard, on the ball of that toe, which was excruciating. Ever since, it's been pretty much fine: I remember thinking, as I walked down the road on the Thursday, that it seemed to be better. I wore Proper Shoes on Thursday, Saturday and Monday, as opposed to the usual yard and riding boots. My toe hurts, now.)

Tuesday - went riding in the woods, in the sun. It was lovely. We have very pretty colours this year. At one point, a small tree has fallen annoyingly and (bottom of a hill, just after a corner) dangerously across the path. As I was later planning on coming around that corner and up the hill at speed, I jumped off and moved it. GB happily stood and ate the bits of leaf growing out of the tree stump I'd thrown his reins over. The horse I was with was utterly terrified by the crashing noises. C'est la vie. GB, incidentally, has been a little out of sorts this week: grumpier than usual, although I accept that most people can't tell. Not sure what's up, hopefully it's just the change in the weather, or something.

Wednesday - side saddle: getting better at making him listen to the cane, but the grumpiness didn't help.

Thursday - stayed at home. Was Domesticated: I'd decided to make bath balls and bath fizzers for people I want to give small presents to (eg, woman who cleans up my horse's shit). Made them all, much to my pleasure, and put them in the spare room to dry out without stinking the flat up. Went to check on them a few hours later and decided that it was probaly worth, for the sake of avoiding the risk of damp in the books, putting the heating on in there a little: the bath bombs were fine, but the ones that were supposed to fizz up as soon as they went into the water had, um, fizzed up. I should have taken a photo, it was quite impressive....

(Relatedly, I've had terrible trouble buying peppermint essence. I tried in Tesco last week, and found the empty place on the shelf where it should have been. Tried again a day or two later, hoping they'd have re-stocked, and found that they'd rearranged the shelf and got rid of the label. No job in Lidl, or Holland & Barrett, either. Gave up and bought it from Amazon, which feels somehow wrong, but there we go.)

Friday - felt distinctly crappy (someone at Novacon is to blame, I suspect: coff, choo, sniff), so went to see GB but didn't ride him. Came home and lurked on the sofa.

Saturday - went to France and Belgium. Failed to get preferred brand of dishwasher tablets. Refuse to go to Germany just for dishwasher tablets, have set Mike back on the web searching. On the way home, sms from Teenage Girl's mother saying there was a problem, could I call. Later, found out that Teenage Girl has been having "trouble" with other Teenage Girls at the yard, and is too upset / scared to go, hence a morning of sobbing and she didn't go to see GB today. I shall start making enquiries at the yard but I think it's too late; wish Girl had said something to either me or her mother sooner. On the one hand, I could find something else but, on the other, I think I'll just let GB have two days off a week, instead of one, and this means Mike and I can have more flexibility about which weekend day we ride.

Sunday - went to the new Horse World Live show, at ExCeL. Crap. I can't imagine there'll be another next year. Dealers were all going mad with boredom, there was pretty much no one there. Stayed about an hour. Came home. Lurked on sofa.

On Friday, one of our fish died. Given that it was one of the five still-live members of the batch of ten glowlight tetras that were the first fish we put in the tank (after we gave up on the manufacturer's instructions and just set it up properly) three years ago, this is pretty impressive. Looking at the others, I note that one of them is rather lying on his side and another looks worryingly skinny, but the rest of the fish seem to be doing ok so it's probably age, not a water problem. They've had a pretty good run.
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