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Ah, spring....

♥Feb. 19th, 2017 // 10:08 am
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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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Bloody animals

♥Dec. 8th, 2016 // 05:18 pm
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As we do, we rode the horses this morning. Even though it was a bit windy, Bugsy was very well behaved for me, and we started doing some (for him) fairly complicated sequences of movements. He did really well the first time through, and the second time was also going great until he caught sight of TWWOTV's two mares charging around on the side of the hill and took off after them.

In much the same way as Mike really needs to stop landing on the same shoulder every time, I really need to stop landing (almost) flat on my back. Trotting afterwards was incredibly uncomfortable.

"I'm starting to wonder if we should keep him," Mike said.

Still, I'm doing better than I was: I still can't bend over but I can now crouch down. Getting back up again is pretty horrific, mind. Pooch is wondering why she's not getting stroked as much as usual, and indeed why I keep making peculiar noises when she head-butts me to make sure I'm aware of the deficiency.

This will rather play silly buggers with plans for the next few days, including how long Mike manages to get to the office for tomorrow (rather depends on whether I can muck out; I couldn't today), the amusing scene of Mike attempting to get the Christmas tree into the car on his own on Saturday, and quite probably Mike having to porter Christmas presents and wrapping paper around the house on Sunday as I get things ready to send off.

Poor Mike's had to do everything today, including holding GB for the dreaded blood test of doom. Still, he didn't get smashed into the wall, so that's a win.
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WTF

♥Oct. 8th, 2016 // 08:10 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1180670.html]

This afternoon, while walking Jo, Mike and I came across a length of dark green cord, really quite hard to see in the grey, that someone had tied across the path at chest height.

We boggled slightly about why anyone would do that, untied it, and it was only as I was coiling it up to take away with us (annoyingly, or I'd have taken photos) that I made the connection to the fact that the hunt was out this morning (several miles away, as it happened, but I guess that the sabs had the wrong information).

It was just at the end of a lovely long canter - up a short hill and then a nice wide, open forestry road along the flat - and I dread to think what would have happened if someone had ridden into it.

Whether you agree with hunting or not, I really can't imagine the mindset that would do that. Lots of people ride, and cycle, in those woods, not just the hunt. A couple of years ago, I used to regularly bomb along there on GB.

I sent the hunt, and the Forestry lady, an email about it, and one of the masters just called to say he was going to speak to the police so that at least they'd have it logged. I'm seriously boggled.
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Things from the last ten days

♥Aug. 26th, 2016 // 07:37 am
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It's too hot. We had a thunderstorm last night, but not much actual rain: Jo was alternately terrified at being downstairs alone and then delighted when Mike went to fetch her up to our room. The trees are dropping leaves, it's been so dry.

Mike is on his third migraine day in a row, which is not so good.

As part of Project Get Bugsy Fit, I've been not having a chance to / being to hot to / putting off cantering him when he's being ridden, but I did so this morning and he was pretty much perfect, which is a relief: I was worried we were going to be back to titting about.

Jodie's been discharged by the orthopaedic vet, who was very pleased with her x-rays. She's still having swimming lessons, and she can start to go off the lead at the end of her walk in a couple more weeks. Yesterday at the vet, another dog owner said how pretty she was and then asked if she was a crossbreed. I was confused, and the other dog owner explained that she looked like one because the hair was a different length on her back and one of her legs. Pretty sure that that's not how genetics works....

We had a barbecue, and the weather was much better than it might have been, and people came and seemed to have fun. On Sunday, we have more family invasion: Mike's mother and aunt-from-America are coming to stay.

I've spent far too much time curled up on the sofa with a book, and must instead get on with gardening, making passata, and making Christmas cards and presents. Just as soon as it's less hot....

Almost inevitably, I'm feeling under-challenged by my new Pilates class. I'm going to a pole dancing try-out session next week, and am seriously considering trying out Physique 57, which seems to be BarreCore on steroids and has a lot of online classes, with a week of free access. (There is a barre class that uses my current Pilates studio space, and I think a couple of people in the class have been: I might ask them how hard it is / where the instructor trained.)
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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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Boys

♥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 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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Aaaahhh

♥Dec. 29th, 2015 // 08:27 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1130932.html]

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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Bits and bobs

♥Dec. 15th, 2015 // 04:22 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1127717.html]

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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Brrr

♥Nov. 22nd, 2015 // 11:08 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1122532.html]

It's been a bit parky this weekend. We had a little sleet on Saturday morning, but nothing more. We've had some very hard frosts (-3C and below), though (note to self: must get a cover for the stableyard tap...), and this morning Mike came back from having a look at the school with a shaking head, so we went for a little hack instead: lovely morning, very cold but sunny and not a bit of wind, so it was lovely. Particularly on the way back, when most of the ice on the road had melted, so the boys were a lot happier. Jodie, of course, was deliriously happy and had a lovely time charging around smelling all the exciting things.

On the plus side, it's going to warm up tonight. On the minus side, that's because it's going to rain all night and most of the morning, which isn't going to do the field any good at all. It's already looking pretty grotty.

Last night, we went to see (some of) the Oysterband doing Oysters 3, which was a mix of acoustic back catalogue and (variably) amusing anecdotes about the history of the band (turns out that they met and got together in the pub that was our polling station for the general election! We knew they were local, but not that they were that lovcal). Great fun, I would thoroughly recommend trying to get along if it hadn't been the last night of the tour.
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Felty

♥Nov. 10th, 2015 // 05:33 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1121091.html]

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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Another busy day

♥Oct. 24th, 2015 // 04:25 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1116242.html]

This morning, the decorator came to get ready for the Aga installation: taking off the old tiles and re-plastering (wow, he made that look easy!), chipping the bottom part down to the brick on one side to make the space slightly bigger, and levelling off the floor. All done by lunchtime, which was good, we just need to keep Jo off the floor for a bit.

While he was doing that, we rode (Mike's first time on Bugs since his Little Moment, all went ok but we did end up swapping because Bugs wasn't *quite* sound and I wanted to give him a canter. Didn't seem to make much different, but we'll see how he is in a couple of days) and I went to a local craft and (mostly) quilting show for a nose around. Some nice stuff, and some intriguing ideas, as well as a quilt made by Mrs Up The Hill, which I made sure to memorise a couple of conversation hooks from!

This afternoon, we've had a really big bonfire. We've burnt about half of the fence posts and panels, and none of the leylandii: in retrospect, we should have realised that trees that they removed with a digger would need chopping up before we could move them! We're now trying to decide if it's better to chainsaw them, or just to build the next fire on top of them.

(And now it's raining. That's annoying, it wasn't forecast to start for another few hours. Guess we'll get wet bringing the boys in. At least they've got their raincoats on, unlike The Horse Next Door.)
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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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Old pains and new

♥Oct. 20th, 2015 // 05:54 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1115368.html]

We're both feeling much better, now, and only a little achy. Unfortunately, Mike's decided to celebrate this with one of the worst migraines he's had in a while, with none of his usual triggers in anything he's eaten, which is odd and very unpleasant for him.

This morning, I Got Back On The Horse. He was rather nervous at first, even though there weren't any cows nearby (or possibly because he was waiting for them to pop up out of nowhere), but he did calm down eventually. I decided to play it safe, though, so we mostly walked with a little trotting, tucked away in the centre of the the school where it's safe(er).
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How do we stand the excitment?

♥Oct. 3rd, 2015 // 03:23 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1110616.html]

This morning, we went to the Country Store, because they were having a sale on horse and pet stuff. The car is now full of sacks of feed, which we keep forgetting to take out (Edit: yay, got most of them out. Damn, forgot to get the last one...).

This afternoon, we went to the opening of the new village hall. Unfortunately, we only arrived fifteen minutes late rather than, say, forty: we were early enough to get the speeches and the Cutting Of The Giant Ribbon by An Old Lady Who Was Born In The Village And Never Left, but too late to get the free fizz.

It does look very nice inside, though, and the new shop is hugely better than the old one (admittedly, that was in a small shipping container, so it's not much of a leap. You could now go in there and leave with the ingredients of a basic meal, though, and they had some nice-looking small-producer frozen ready meals). I picked up a leaflet for the WI, and I'm glad that I did: I've been thinking about going for ages, and meant to go last month but didn't because I had to pick Mike up from the station. Instead, I decided that I was definitely going to go this month but, as I've learnt that it's the AGM, I think I might wait until November!

The new fences are all done, and the dodgy gates fixed, and everything is nice and tidy other than the huge piles of Stuff To Burn, which we wouldn't let them set fire to as what little wind there is has been going towards next door. The forecast for tomorrow looks good for us having a bonfire, though. Igor's Minions are very hard workers, and very nice chaps; their English has vastly improved over the last two years, too, so no more three-way phone calls via Igor. I'd recommend them it would be useful to anyone reading this.

It was foggy this morning (at least that means we didn't get a frost, unlike yesterday morning), so we put off riding until this evening, much to Bugsy's disgust ("If you're going to make me come in from the field then I expect my dinner to be on the table in the bucket waiting for me then I get here!"). They were both good boys, though.

Actually, one vague bit of excitement: I had an annoyed text recently from Not Very Next Door Neighbour, complaining that the hunt had been up near her house and she'd not been warned. Today, though, I had a another text saying that it wasn't actually The Hunt, it was a disgruntled former huntsman, recently taken to court for illegal hunting, who'd been given permission by Bad Farmer to go on his land. All very mysterious. Apart from anything else, where did he get the hounds?
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Probabilities

♥Oct. 1st, 2015 // 11:35 am
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We've never seen anyone other than ourselves riding in the woods with a permit to do so (although there are apparently seven people in the area who have them, and I can only name two). We've also never seen the Forestry Commission person, although we did once see a car.

We were all rather surprised this morning, then, when we met her while we were riding in the woods: they're about to start some logging work up there (which I knew, because Not Very Next Door Neighbour had told me). Hopefully it won't be too disruptive for walking the pooch, and hopefully moving the machinery around won't do too much damage to the nice canter tracks....

(I think she was quite surprised to see people riding with permits! If they're going to be doing work up there, though, I dare say they'll be pulling people up if they catch them off the bridlepaths without.)
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Eventful day

♥Sep. 24th, 2015 // 07:54 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1108970.html]

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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Better than expected

♥Sep. 19th, 2015 // 07:34 pm
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This afternoon, I've addressed about a hundred invitations to the House of Lords. My wrist has borne up better than I expected (probably partially because I dug out my fountain pen. I'd forgotten how much nicer they are to write with, it's just a shame I don't hand write enough to be able to use it all the time), although I am getting an occasional twinge. Unfortunately, what I haven't done is any of the envelopes: they were supposed to be sent next-day on Thursday, but they've still not arrived here. I'm trying to decide whether I should do them all on Monday or just say "sorry, we're going to have to have printed labels for the envelopes".

(On Tuesday and Wednesday, Mike's going up to see his mother so I'll be busy. I might be able to get some done on Tuesday, but I'm not going to rely on it. And they really should have gone out a week or so ago, but Person A is Young and just assumed that the invites would be done by email, while Person B knows full well that no one would dream of not doing proper invitations to a do at the HoL.)

(I'd be a lot happier if Person B had looked in detail at the list of people to be invited that Person A compiled: about half the people have titles and half don't, so I've had to guess some and just use first names on others, and in some of them the woman's name is listed first, which I assume means she's the main contact, but, but!)

GB was a bit stiff again this morning when we rode. I fear that it's winter-related, and he'll be this way until late next spring (at best), but we'll see how it goes.

We also managed to get out into the garden. I didn't do what I'd planned (move the rest of the yellow flags) but I did something of about equal priority (split and move a big clump of lilies). I have a huge heap of bulbs that need to go in, as well, although some can wait a while yet. (The first of the bulbs are just starting to poke leaves up, but not any of the kinds that I'm due to put in.)
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Aga news

♥Sep. 15th, 2015 // 04:47 pm
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This afternoon, after our riding lesson* (postponed from first thing because the weather was foul), the nice man from Aga came to visit us. He was quite taken with our old Aga, and informed us that "she" (no, really) was from 1938-1945, which is older than we'd been told by a service guy and squares up with the story we'd originally been told about it being the only thing left from the old farmhouse after it burnt down. Slightly surprisingly, they will melt the chassis down and use it to make new Agas, rather than reconditioning it. He told us a sad story about a very old Aga that he once found, old enough to have "Patent Pending" across the front, which got accidentally melted down after the "save this for the museum" sticker got put on the wrong one in the warehouse.

It's going to be a tight squeeze, both to get the new Aga into the house and to fit it into the space, but it should be doable if we a) take the front door off the hinges and b) get someone in between the old one being removed and new one being installed to take down the tiling and chip away a bit of plaster. We're going to have to have it vented into the kitchen, rather than through the chimney, but on the plus side that means we'll notice if something gets left in the oven and burns!

After it's done, I'm going to have the wall behind the Aga painted to match the other walls, which will brighten it up tremendously, and have a splashguard put in at the bottom.

* We did the final round of our dressage competition today. I got 69% and Mike got 58%, but then I'd drawn the long straw and got to ride GB! Very respectable performances all around.
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Mostly grey

♥Aug. 30th, 2015 // 02:00 pm
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We went out for a hack this morning, with Jo. Bugs was a wee bit frisky a couple of times, but nothing too terrible. We're not sure how much longer Jodie will be able to come with us on hacks, although in her defence it was still quite warm, if not sunny.

This afternoon, we've been out in the garden. I did some weeding and tidying up (which I'd actually meant to do to before we had people visiting, oops) and Mike strimmed the orchard, slightly belatedly: I'd been assuming that we should wait until everything had set seed, but apparently that's not the case when you've got a first year batch of corn field annuals to make it look pretty until the meadow perennials get going, oops. On the plus side, we'd been a bit worried about not seeing any sign of the latter but now that it's been cleared a bit you can see things starting to get established down at ground level. Need to leave it for a few days and then rake the clippings away.

I'm currently torn about fabric for the next quilt: I have a 10% off voucher for the shop in Canterbury (on account of buying the fabric for the previous quilt there), but I've seen a fabric that I think would work really well and that I don't remember seeing in there last time I visited (although it is a brand that they stock a lot of). I guess I'll go along and have a look: I'm sure that there will be other occasions to use the voucher!
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Foggy! But then sunny later.

♥Aug. 13th, 2015 // 07:38 pm
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1) Riding lesson this morning, we're both (possibly all four!) a bit knackered now!

2) I interrupted some hot girl-on-girl action in the pool earlier. The duck's pool, that is: Magrat had once again cornered Agnes and climbed on top of her. What is is with us and gay animals?

3) I've got some saffron bulbs coming soon, so this afternoon I started clearing the places where they're going to go: I've got a whole long bed that's going to come out over the winter and be replaced with herbs and things, but the saffron wants to go in now, so today I pulled out some Lady's Mantle, a couple of boring grass/fern type things and a rather pathetic rose (which fought back). I've left a couple of things that I'm going to move to other locations to wait until the winter.
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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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I should update....

♥Mar. 7th, 2015 // 07:13 pm
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Um, yeah. Got out of the habit. Must do better.

There's been Stuff, of two varieties, of which more to follow, locked.

I'm still sore from Bugs' little Incident, but I did notice that I was fine on GB during Thursday's lesson, a bit sore on Baby in the canter transition ditto, and then really uncomfortable cantering Bugs in the woods this morning. I'm starting to think that I did (as I'd tried/thought) manage to land on my side when I came off, and the soreness around my tailbone (which I'm fairly sure is muscular, not the actual bone) is from bouncing up and down on the saddle before I actually came off him!

We've been doing lots of gardening the last couple of days: Mike's taken out some shrubs, one dead from the back garden (no idea what happened: we pruned it very lightly last winter and then it was dead in the spring. Don't even really know what it was, it was just growing over the path and needed tidying up) and three living from the border in front of the house. That border now looks very bare, even given the snowdrops that were struggling on under the shrubs, but it can having bedding plants this year and we've plans (eg, a grape vine) for it in future. I've mostly been weeding, and making a concerted effort to actually get rid of the bloody buttercups that are infesting some of the flower beds (rather than just pulling off the leaves like I did last summer). And Mike mowed the front lawn, and then concluded that the ducks must have been nibbling on it over the winter as he didn't actually get much off it.

I'm starting to think that I might have carpel tunnel syndrome. For the last couple of months, I've been getting slightly numb, slightly pins-and-needles sensations in my hands, eg when riding or when mucking out, as well as in bed. I did a bit of googling this afternoon, and CTS sounds like a fairly good fit, especially as it's apparently got a fairly strong hereditary factor: my mother had surgery on her wrists when I was about ten, although hers was caused by wringing out cloths. I did an online (NHS-Direct-linked-to) survey and it said I had a 50% probability based on history and symptoms, but then the GP's notes for same say to refer if the patient scores over 20%. I suppose I'd better go to the Doc, which I've been avoiding for complicated reasons related to birth control and my age. Sigh.

It's looking increasingly as though the boys' field domination games have resolved with Bugs being in charge. GB seems to be ok with it, though, so I think we'll live with it. He wasn't top boy at his old yard, and he managed ok, but there he had all the other boys to boss around (top boy was only interested in the mares, and GB is apparently gay so didn't care), so not sure how it will play out without Baby around. Today was all very peaceful, with GB and Baby at one end of the field and Bugs at the other.
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Brrr

♥Dec. 29th, 2014 // 05:56 pm
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Yesterday, we took the boys in the school. Not unexpectedly, it was a bit frozen, so I did my usual trick: get Mike to trot Baby around a few times, so that his enormous feet can break the surface up and make it more comfortable for GB to go around on.

Only it didn't work: it was frozen all the way down.... We had a fairly slow riding session, after that! Tomorrow, we're going to try riding in the afternoon, when things might have softened up a bit.

This afternoon, I was supposed to be going into Canterbury for waxing and suchlike. My usual car park was full, so I went over to the other side of town and tried the one near the station, which was also full. As was the one near the theatre, and the three little ones dotted in between. It took me ten minutes to get out of the one near the theatre, there were so many people driving around it looking for a space. I even tried the multi-story, which I loath (tiny spaces, with pillars between each of them). I gave up and headed for home, and passed the park-and-ride on the way. That had two whole spaces, the sign said. Fortunately, they fitted me in later in the day, so I'm just back now. It was still busy in the car park, but there were spaces. Bizarrely, the girls at the salon reported that the shops hadn't been all that busy when they'd had their breaks. Memo to self: don't try to go into Canterbury between Christmas and New Year in future.
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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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Bits

♥Nov. 27th, 2014 // 11:11 am
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(That's annoying: Firefox just crashed, and I've now been logged out of *everything*. Even Amazon doesn't know who I am.)

Yesterday, GB got into the garden: he nipped through the gate as the ducks were going the other way at bed time. He did just walk along the back of the garage and up the steps, before turning around and going back to the stableyard, but he has now seen All That Grass, which is a bit worrying: we'll have to be careful about keeping the gate closed when they're hanging around in there. (Esme, on the other hand, had just had to be removed from the garage and carried back to the garden: she knew it was bed time, and as the gate was blocking her from going the usual way she decided to improvise. I think we might have to put bird netting on that bit of the fence, as they can apparently just about get through the stock netting if they try hard enough.)

The day before that, we went to see Smokey, who was way too forward. I should have realised it wasn't even worth getting on him when we saw how much the woman was holding him back when she rode. New rule: if the rider is obviously holding him back, ask to see all three paces on a long rein. Another one tomorrow, just around the corner as it happens.

The day before *that*, I was coming back from walking Jo and -- wonder of wonders -- found that the stile was mid-repair. Have just sent a thank you email off to the council chap, who must have put a letter in the post the same day as my last email to him for it to have got sorted that quickly.

And before that, we had a lovely visit from S&C&W, who was a bit scared of Jo but then Jo is probably twice her size so it's not so unusual.

(Pedro, in the end, got approved by our instructor provided we didn't pay the full price but then sold (not sure for how much) to the person who was already booked in to come and see him the day after we did (as we didn't actually go with the intention of seeing that horse, it is absolutely right that the other people got priority).)

Our field is in a horrible state, although we're slightly hopeful that we can get them out for a couple of houses this afternoon after we've ridden: a combination of rain and waiting for a Tesco delivery scuppered the chances of riding in the morning. We have had a couple of frosty nights and cold, sunny days, but mostly it's just been moist.
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Bits and bobs

♥Oct. 18th, 2014 // 10:01 pm
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Still no sign of the road guys. V surprised. The electricity guys, on the other hand, are working away: they were even around on Saturday. Must remember to expect power cuts tomorrow.

Yesterday, we took the boys out for a hack. GB seemed to be doing ok until we had a canter along a flat but slightly slippery path: he skidded on his bad leg three times in a couple of hundred yards, so it's obviously not taking his weight properly. We took it very slowly after that, which did at least mean that we could have an enforced walk in the boys' favourite place for a blast.

Well, we'll see how he does in tomorrow's lesson, after three days of 'bute.

Still, it was very pretty and autumnal-looking (if not feeling: overnight low of 16, last night):


(I've got the time lapse camera set up, taking a video down the valley. It's been there for a couple of months, watching the leaves turn: I should probably take it down soon and see how it looks!)

After last year's not-terribly-successful marron glaces attempt, and seeing all the chestnuts lying around the woods, I started thinking bout having another go. As I looked around, though, I realised that all the recipes were variations on 'boil the chestnuts in sugar syrup for varying amounts of time, then put them in a low oven to dry out'. The recipe I followed last year, which involved bottling them in sugar syrup and then putting them in the aga avery day for a couple of weeks, is basically the same as the first part of that process.... There was still a jar left from last year, so I tried bunging them in the simmering over for a few hours and it worked! I then spent a week trying to find the recipe I'd used last year (I was convinced it was Mary Berry, but it was the other Aga book that we never use and that is mostly just lists of tips), partly to check if I'd missed a step or the recipe had (the latter, as it turned out) and partly to check the details of the instructions so that I could make some more!

(I also used a TKC tip for peeling chestnuts: make a slit in them then microwave for ten seconds. Three seemed to be the optimal number to do at once. They're not only easier to peel than when you boil them but you don't have the un-peeled ones sitting in the water getting soggy as you do it.)

A week or so ago, I chopped down some shrubby things by the side of the school, something that they'd obviously had done to them many times before. Yesterday, I sorted through the trimmings and now have a pile of different sizes of cane to use in the garden next year. I've also got a couple of sweet pea and a couple of mange tout seedlings poking their noses out of the soil, ready to use them, and yesterday I planted a second batch of seeds.

I really wish that I could retire icons. I don't want to delete them, as I want them to still appear where I used them in the past, I just don't want to have to scroll through them to choose an icon for a post. This is why I so rarely use anything other than my default icon....
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Leylandii wars

♥Oct. 3rd, 2014 // 12:21 pm
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This morning, I dashed around in a rush: it was poo picking day, and I wanted to jump on GB as well before going off to Pilates. Fortunately, I managed it, and GB was back to normal so I think we're ok for our lesson tomorrow.

There wasn't Pilates last week: the receptionist phoned that morning to report that the instructor had tonsillitis. I had a slight niggle, because I hadn't explicitly asked her to re-book me for this week, but we had said 'see you next week' on the phone, so I thought it would be ok (and forgot to call and check). Unfortunately, I walked in and her face fell: the instructor *still* has tonsillitis, but because I wasn't in the book she hadn't thought to call me....

So, home earlier than usual, and we took out a few more leylandii before lunch:

Getting there! Bonfire tommorow morning, before the rain arrives.

(Bah, I let the LJ app update itself, after this morning's post saying it was fixed. I can now post, but it couldn't manage to upload a picture so I had to do it the incredibly slow way: hopefully, the old version will be re-available soon. Also, can't see a way of making posts default to anything but public on the new version, which would put me off even if it worked.)

I'm wondering if it would be beneficial, given how horrible they make the soil under them, to put a layer of horse poo on the bed there. It would be fresh, but would have the winter to break down before any new plants go in. Anyone have any thoughts on the idea?

As I got home, I noticed a pigeon in the garage. It didn't fly away when I drove in, which was vaguely odd. After Jodie had said hello to me, she went rooting around in the hedge and flushed it out into the road: presumably, it was injured, because it didn't just fly off. I told her to go and get it, and she brought it into the garden, where she spent a happy fifteen minutes doing a super job of plucking it on the lawn. Unfortunately, she omitted to actually kill it before she started, so I went and stomped it before throwing it for her to fetch before he got bored and ignored it (after which it went into the food waste bin; I think I've made a decision on that dilemma).

We saw a fox in the woods, after lunch (well, we saw the rear end of a fox exunting at speed when it saw Jodie heading towards it), which we don't often do. As we were walking down Next Door's field on the way home, the Horse Next Door came to say hello, and see if there might be a treat available (there was). Then two other little shapes started waddling up the hill to say hello as well: it appears that in the rush this morning I forgot to close the stableyard gate*, so the girls had decided to come and demand their corn earlier than they usually do. Thankfully, they followed me home for their feed, rather than making us have to chase them around the field!

* I'd gone to close it after I rode GB out through it, but then I had second thoughts and left it open in case I ended up riding in the field and wanted to come back in that way. But I didn't, so we didn't come back through it. I remembered it while were were up in the field poo picking, but then promptly forgot again....

This afternoon, I've made experimental cake (Victoria Sponge with strawberry powder in the mix) in the Aga (it stayed lit the second time, thankfully), set a batch of apple juice going (the not-a-very-good-Vinyard down the road with the quite nice garden centre often has enormous crates of apples at this time of year: you take a bag, fill it, and get charged £1.10 per kg. Russets and Bramleys, today), stripped last night's chicken, and made beds for this weekend's guests. And now I'm having a sit down, for the first time since I went out to start on the boys....
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GB

♥Oct. 2nd, 2014 // 11:21 pm
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'Tother day, when I rode GB for the first time in a week or so, I was a bit worried that his dodgy leg was being dodgy when I asked him to do something fast-and-hard that involved leaning on it. But only a bit, and I was having him make an effort.

Today, though, Mike was on him and, after a little while, Expressed Concern. I had a watch, didn't like it and so jumped on him myself, and yes: I could feel it dropping away on every step in the walk, which I've never noticed before (it's always just been in the trot, and just occasionally). We had a good go in canter, and he still wasn't right.

On the plus side, after I'd put GB in the field I went and got out the lunge whip and we got Baby cantering with Mike on board. On the minus side, I'm now less sure about this whole swapping horses thing: it won't work if GB goes lame without my riding him n times a week.

Supposed to have a side saddle lesson on Saturday morning; I'll jump on him for five minutes tomorrow and see if that's happening. TWWOTV is away, so I might take him for a blast and see if that fixes it: it used to, when it was just an occasional trot problem....

(I bought a second nest box for Esme, and popped some hay and one of the fake eggs into it. The next day, there was one enormous hay nest in the other box, the fake eggs had been carefully reunited, and there were -- and have continued to be -- two real eggs in it as well. I guess I'll leave the empty box there, as a support for their combined nest?)
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Almost Autumnal

♥Sep. 23rd, 2014 // 05:34 pm
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The swallows and the house martins are gathering into flocks, ready to head south. There was a big, mixed, group of them over a maize field this afternoon:


We're also starting to see impressive patches of fungus in the woods:


And (coff) I have new Autumn In New York nail varnish colours....

Mike has a peach tree, which arrived last week: it was a birthday present from his mother, and it's going on the front patio to replace the not-terribly-interesting climbing things that we inherited. Right now, it's been left to grow naturally, but in the spring we'll start training it against the wall.

We're just about to start another dressage series with our instructor, and this morning we had the first goes at our tests. We're swapping horses, so that should be interesting. I think that the Baby was knackered by the time I'd done with him. I was pondering, while walking the dog later, and now wonder if part of the trouble is that he's not liking his saddle: he has changed shape a lot since we bought it, and each time the saddler's checked him it's been "it should last another six or twelve months before you need to get him his grown-up saddle": if that time has now come, it would explain the bucks he throws when he goes up to canter for me (even GB does that when his saddle's pinching him), and possible also why Mike struggles with the canter: he starts to strike off then goes 'ow' and stops. Fortunately, the saddler's coming in a couple of weeks, so we'll see what she says. I hope he's not going to be a too-awkward (and therefore expensive) shape to fit.
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Ow, you bugger

♥Jul. 8th, 2014 // 12:09 pm
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Normally, when I complain about horse-related pains it's because GB is a git.

Today it's because I had a lesson on the Baby: my back is killing me now. I dread to think what it will be like tomorrow. Still, we made some good progress, and Mike did very well on GB, so I suppose that it was worth it.

When I was riding with Mrs Next Door, we were talking about side saddle and I was saying that I was thinking of sending mine back, as I never use it. She mentioned that she knows someone who teaches side saddle and lives locally, so: lesson on Sunday. That'll be painful, as well.

Yesterday, we went out to the wild flower reserve to walk the pooch.

Mike spotted a white admiral:


There were masses of pyramidal orchids in the grass:


(We're wondering what The Next Orchid will be. There only ever seems to be one kind on the go at once, so far.)
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Duck duck duck

♥Jul. 6th, 2014 // 03:23 pm
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Mrs Next Door and I went out for a hack, this morning: her horse is poorly, so she decided that she'd have a go on the Baby. It was nice, and she relaxed a lot when she realised that, really, the Baby is not mad like her horse....

When we got back, we found that the girls had wandered up into the field, and were half way up the hill pottering around:


They followed us back down, which was either getting away from the horses or in the hope that it was time for their corn (it wasn't).

Of course, the girls are lucky to be getting corn at all: we went to the beach with Jodie and added Alice on Friday, and when we got back the boys (who'd been left with the gate open so that they could go inside if it got too hot) had pulled their feed bin over and eaten the contents. I say 'the boys', I suspect that it was GB. Mutter. Fortunately, the horses weren't poorly after eating a huge pile of corn. Fortunately, most of the duck food is in the big feed bin, in the barn. We've now put a little stretch of (non) electric fence around the girls' house and pond, so that they can come and go as they please but (hopefully) the boys will keep out.

Yesterday, we went, with Jodie and added Alice, up to Cambridge, to [livejournal.com profile] dorispossum, where we had a lovely time and Jodie gathered a fine collection of special Cambridge grass seeds, which were obviously keen to find a new home in Kent.
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Bah.

♥Jun. 27th, 2014 // 08:22 am
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As promised, I took the Baby out for a blast yesterday. I always seem to forget this, but I do now have a greater understanding of why Mike always ends up sitting wonky in the saddle.... I've Done Something to my back, presumably trying to force him to let me stay sitting squarely. Pilates this morning was a bit of a pain, literally. Still, he got a goo run out of it.

Which reminds me: could someone coming over from the US to Worldcon bring me a big bottle of Advil Liquitabs, please?

We went to the theatre last night to see Hay Fever. It was the same high-end am-dram people who did Wyrd Sisters, so I'm going to be kind and assume that it's one of Coward's weaker plays, but it still wasn't terribly good. In particular, I'm fairly sure that you're supposed to be able to tell the difference between the way that actress plays the woman who is an actress when she's being her normal, somewhat hysterical, self and the way that she plays her when she's being an actress acting out a hysterical woman. Nice Mexican dinner, though.
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Here, have some pictures of plants

♥Jun. 25th, 2014 // 07:20 pm
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Lately, I have been Far Too Busy with Worldcon stuff.

And we painted all the bits of the outsides of the stables that don't require drastic sanding and re-rendering.

This morning, we took the boys out for a hack, for the first time in ages. GB was a spooky little bugger, culminating in breaking into a canter on the road when I made him go past some cows. Sigh. Note to self: must take Baby out for a good long hack and blow some cobwebs off him.

The hop is continuing to 'not show much growth in the first year', although it does keep trying to make a break for freedom and head up vertically, instead of going along the top of the window: Mike has to keep getting up there on the ladder and pushing it back into place. Odd, because I thought that that was how they grow them commercially: up a vertical and then along. Possibly it needs to be higher before it's happy with the concept of 'along', or possibly the wall is fooling it into thinking that there's something there for it to grow up. (The sunflower's doing pretty well, too.)


Tomatillos are, it turns out, self fertile: we did have two, but I went to water them one day and found that something had apparently eaten through the base of the stem of one of them. The internet give conflicting advice, but there are at least three fruits on it, and lots more flowers still to come:


Up in the woods, on the other hand, some of the Willow Herb is now taller than I am:
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Bloody animal....

♥Jun. 14th, 2014 // 07:37 pm
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The horse flies have started.... I should have realised, when Ang's eyes went all manky. I've been very careful about putting his fly mask on every day, since.

Yesterday, I made an attempt to put Baby's fly mask on. He broke the baling twine the first time, and half pulled the tie-up ring out of the wall the second time.

Today, I used a different tie-up ring. When I went to spray him with fly spray and he broke the baling twine and buggered off into the field: wouldn't have been a problem except that I was going to ride him, so I had to go and get him.

When Mike rides the Baby, he sometimes struggles to get him to trot. Today, I had the same problem in the other direction.... He did go a bit bronco a few times, but his buck is almost as ineffectual as GB's, so it took me a few times before I realised.

On the other hand, I took advantage of his friskiness to run through the dressage test that I'm currently working on with GB. He didn't do too appallingly, but I wouldn't have liked to be marked for it!
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♥Apr. 15th, 2014 // 04:28 pm
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It's been another lovely day, although colder than the last few: we had a frost first thing this morning, and I was glad of a jumper during our riding lesson:



We've been busy with K&M staying for the last few days, which was lovely but I'm tired now! There was much walking around the woods and admiring the bluebells, which are very fine.

Here are some less fine bluebells, from when we went for a hack a few days ago:


We went into Canterbury for dinner last night, as the pubs all seem to close on Monday evening. Much to Jodie's relief, the Belgian beer place allows dogs, so she just went to sleep on Mike's feet. Before we ate, we had a little wander around town. There's a very peculiar tree in the grounds of the cathedral:

It has little fuzzy red flower balls on it, and what looked like the remains of last year's seeds were brown balls about an inch across. No idea what it is!
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It didn't rain!

♥Jan. 2nd, 2014 // 06:43 pm
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Well, not until about 5pm. I suppose that's an improvement (although the boys had to stay inside anyway, as it's like a swamp out there).

I had a thoroughly unpleasant night, last night, feeling rather feverish and meh, but today I seem to be ok other than achiness.

Both of which are good, really, as we had our fortnightly riding lesson this morning. Look at the pretty pattern I made:


(Mike pointed out that I really should have decreased the time between images, so there's something for you to look forward to in a couple of weeks!)

Seemed to go well, and Mike was getting the Baby moving along reasonably well. Next time, we're swapping. Lucky Mike, poor me....
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New year

♥Jan. 1st, 2014 // 05:36 pm
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Happy new year, everyone! We had an infestation of Cabal, so I've not really been online very much and have a stack of emails to catch up with.... I'm just pretending that I don't know about the laundry mountain until I've had a decent night's sleep.

I'd quite like for it to stop raining now, if someone could sort that out for me? Each storm seems to be causing a new leak to appear. The other day, it was the dining room ceiling, very slightly, and this evening it's the door into the store rooms. There are new trees down every time we go in the woods, too:



I think that I am going to have to give up posting photos, because most of the ones I've taken lately are just a greenish blur. I could post videos of what the horses have been up to, if you like?

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And relax....

♥Dec. 18th, 2013 // 06:51 pm
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Today was a lot calmer! I even managed to start it with a little lie-in (7:50! Woo hoo!), which meant I woke up just at the right time to see the pretty sunrise:



We had our delayed riding lessons first thing. I think we're going to stick with this instructor. She's twice as expensive as the local competition, but then she's only here every two to tree weeks and she seems to be good.



After lunch, we took the pooch for a tremendously exciting walk to a New Place, where she bounded lots and flushed several pheasants. It was, however, a rather steep and muddy walk, so I'm not sure we'll be doing it often at this time of year.

Here's to a continuation of no animal, medical or structural emergencies....
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Portents, mysterious objects and divers alarums.

♥Dec. 14th, 2013 // 04:47 pm
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Yesterday morning, there was a very faint rainbow in the sky, just after dawn. Which was odd, as it was not remotely precipitating. I speculate that there was something going on with ice crystals in the very high cloud. I did take a picture, but I'm really not convinced that it's actually visible, as opposed to something that I can see because I know that it's there.


This afternoon, we took the pooch out along a different route to the usual one, mostly so we could see if Mike could find my favourite whip (spoiler: he did. Yay for depth perception!). Along the way, we passed a field containing three more of the mysterious blue objects that I previously found in the woods. They were spread out in a line, that roughly pointed towards the one in the woods:


When we passed the one in the woods later, I climbed up and checked. I could just see another one, back towards the field, through the trees. Very mysterious! Seriously, what *are* they? I was tempted to open one and see: Mike said I shouldn't, as it might be Science, but surely if it was Science then there would be a label saying so?

But wait a moment, we had to go back to collect my whip? Well, yes....

This morning, I ummed and ahed about riding, mostly because Mike wanted to hack on his own and I couldn't decide whether it would be more annoying to have to listen to GB standing in the field complaining the entire time or to take him in the school / for a hack on his own and have him be a fidgety sod when he got back and the Baby wasn't there. In the end, I decided to take him for a little hack, so I collected the pooch and off we went, with her happily sniffing around and trotting along behind us. Until, that is, we got to the end of our road, at which point she came out onto the slightly larger road that ours meets and sat down in the middle of it. I eventually managed to coax her onto the bridle path over the road, and she started coming after us, but then she stopped again.

This is not normal behaviour, so I was worried that something was wrong with her leg*. So I got off and fastened GB's reins around a convenient tree then when to check. Her leg was absolutely fine, so I gave her a pat and a bit of a telling off and went to get back onto GB. As soon as I unbuckled his reins, the little shite headed down the hill for home, and as the reins were undone I couldn't actually give him a yank on the bit. He pulled me down the steep, leaf-covered hill for a bit, then pulled me off my feet and dragged me a bit further flat on my back. I gave up and let him go when he fell over my legs, deciding it would probably be safer all around.

(Later, when we went back, I took a picture:

)

So, I had a quick look for my whip, failed to find it (bugger: favourite whip!) and then we followed him down the hill, and along the lane, and as he got close to the house the WWOTV came running out in a panic, closed her gate so he couldn't go any further, and came and got hold of him. (She was very impressed that he hadn't injured himself, or broken his reins, or done anything other than walk down the road at a moderate pace, stopping to free himself whenever he got tangled in a rein: it was mile or so, and he was only about 200 yards ahead of me by the end. I didn't bother to point out that, had she done nothing at all, he would have just walked into the stables and started eating grass!)

So, pooch in house, in crate because a) muddy and b) our bed wasn't covered over and c) all her foot care stuff is on her favourite windowsill and d), damnit, *bad* dog putting all three of us at risk, then back out, new whip, back on horse, back to the woods, not a bad ride (but then he always goes well when he's in trouble!).

I have a nasty feeling that I will be very sore tomorrow.

* Leg update: we were back at the vet yesterday, when he had planned to finally take the stitches out. He didn't. It seems that the wound is healing, but it's doing so with the edges not quite lined up, and he's worried that the sticking out side will catch on something and rip it back open. She's still got two of the stitches at the edge in, and we're still on the keeping-it-covered-with-gamgee-and-bootie (when outside)/vetwrap (when in bed), now with added washing three times a day with hibiscrub as well.
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The usual

♥Dec. 10th, 2013 // 05:55 pm
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This morning, it was lovely and frosty-misty in the valley. I took this a bit later, when the frost had mostly gone and the sun was just appearing over the valley side:



Unfortunately, it's hard to be sure how much is mist and how much is camera.... I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and get the Apple Store to replace the back with an official one. Anyone know how much it is? (Mike says $29 in the US but more here.)

That was as we were on the way back from a little run in the woods. Mike only came with me as far as the end of the lane, as he's tired from being up in the night with work. Jodie came around the woods with me, in the end, when it became apparent that she was just going to sit in the road waiting for me if I didn't let her come with me. She was ok, though, and didn't manage to, eg, get her bootie off and rip her stitches open.

Much to her confusion (and sad face), we broke with routine by going off in the car, without her, at the usual after-lunch walkies time. We were only gone for half an hour, though (buying a Christmas tree), and she got walkies just as soon as we got back, took a chainsaw to the bottom of the tree and stuck it in a bucket of water.

Walkies involved chasing two squirrels up trees, and so were terribly exciting:


Sadly, I was just too late to capture the shot a about five seconds before this, when she was jumping up at the tree, or the one about three seconds before, when she fell over backwards on the way back down....

I suspect it's going to be another misty-frosty night, tonight. It was lovely and warm when I was walking the pooch (GB only went out in his waterproof today, not one of his warm coats), but as soon as the sun hit the valley wall and we started bringing the boys back in it got very chilly, and the mist had already started to gather by the time they were tucked up in bed.
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A small revelation....

♥Nov. 3rd, 2013 // 03:39 pm
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I was thinking, "I'm just going to upload the pictures from my phone today, and then edit the post to put the text in. The iPhone keyboard is too fiddly for writing long stuff," when I realised that if I was doing that then I could also make the initial post to DW, and solve my lack of cross-posting mehness! And resize them (which, I guess, means right-click to see the bigger version)!

(Any DW only people: see LJ for the last few posts, I've been trying to find a simple was of getting pictures up here and, scarily, the LJ app seems to be the best method!)

So, here we go!

We took the boys out for a nice long hack this morning, past the Agricultural Equipment Of Doom (which turned out to be a grass roller. No, I've no idea why it was so frightening, either), which GB was a bit distressed by but -- after backing up a couple of dozen yards and being told not to be silly, he did go on past it. We had thought that the Baby would then just follow him, but he was firmly heading off in the opposite direction. Fortunately, Mike managed to get him turned around and caught up, so we could go for a ride in the woods. It's very pretty up there at the moment. It's also tricky to take non-blurred pictures from the back of a moving horse.



After lunch, we took the dog to Kingswood, which had been recommended to me by a passing dog walker as being really nice and having deer in it. It was also busy, which we probably should have expected on a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon. We decided to follow the sculpture trail, along which we saw a mushroom foraging guided walk, three small shelters that I suspect were built on a course of some kind, and absolutely no sculptures. Admittedly, we did skip the last bit of the walk, on account of how it absolutely poured down, but even so: bizarre. When the rain cleared, the sun came out again, which was nice: I was rather damp, on account of having not taken my hat with me on such a nice day when there was no rain forecast until the evening....



These are some of the flowers that randomly sprang up in the bit of grass we had re-seeded. They're remarkably cheery, considering it's November!
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Minor crises

♥Aug. 27th, 2013 // 11:14 am
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We had two minor crises before breakfast, yesterday.

First, Mike came back up to the bedroom after he'd fed the horses and said I might want to go and look at [livejournal.com profile] vgrumpybastard's nose.

This is a little icky )

The other drama was that I had a phone call from Ikea, saying that they were outside. "No you aren't," I said. Turns out that they were outside our old flat. I've only previously had one order with Ikea, and it came here. Utterly boggled about how they even had that address, but they had a van doing SE London and Ashford today, so it should be here in a couple of hours.
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Rural Quietness!

♥Aug. 18th, 2013 // 08:05 pm
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So, we figured out the cause of Psycho GB the other night: the Woman Who Owns The Valley had moved her two mares from the nearby-but-out-of-sight field to the field immediately behind our stables, and both GB and the Gelding Over the Road were both being nutters because of this. He was a bit of an arse the following morning, but seems to be settling down now.

Drinkies with the neighbours went pretty well: they were here for a lot longer than I expected, the WWOTV is a very cheap date and the other neighbours made snarky comments about her when she wasn't in the room, which was quite amusing: it seems that they have the same 'you don't own the place, well, ok, only mostly' issues that we do, with added 'but we do rent our flat from you'.

Here, have some photos:

photo 3-1

Our new dining table is pretty huge to start off with, and has two extra leaves to make it even huger. As far as I can tell, no one makes table cloths for expanding tables: I guess you're just supposed to have three different (and all hard to get hold of) ones. So I made my own. This is it in the non-expanded position, and it's got (imo) cunning folded up bits at the ends that mean that you can make the table cloth longer but still the same length of drop around the edge when you put the leaves in. I'm very slightly unhappy that you can see the raw edges if you look closely in the open corner, but I'm generally pleased with it as first attempt. The sewing machine's been getting a lot of use this last week, and there's more still to go: the inevitable slight gap where the bottom of one of last week's sets of curtains meets the windows sill is crying out for some sort of bolster affair to block the light properly, and we have a couple of bench seats for extra seating when the table's opened right out, and I got enough table cloth fabric to make cushions for them. The foam pads are sitting accusingly in the dining room, but I used pretty much all of a 100m reel of cotton on the cloth, so that will have to wait until I next get to Dunelm Mill (depressingly, the only conveniently visitable place for this sort of thing. God lord, they sell some hideous tat).

photo 2-2

We had another explore of the local woods today. There are woods on both sides of the valley, but one side looks to have much better riding than the other. Unfortunately, getting out of the valley either involves a long flat road or a short steep one, and the latter is sufficiently steep that it's only viable to ride up it. When you do get up to the top of the hill, you can turn off onto this thoroughly strange bit of bridleway, right through the middle of a field of beans. It's a little like being in the middle of the ocean.

photo 1-2

The road does, however, have remarkably little traffic. Grass is quite common in the middle of it, but I thought I'd stop and take a picture of the brave little flowers. Then I had to restrain GB, who assumed that they were there for his own delight....

Today, I also attempted cherry cordial, with some very-nearly-on-the-turn cherries bought at the roadside. I thought I'd just halve them and leave the stones in, as I'd heard that they add a nice almondy note, but unfortunately that was the only particular taste there was, although it is a lovely colour. I think that the next try will involve mashing up the fruit more thoroughly.

This evening, the boys had carrot tops, courtesy of our first veg box delivery. Even Jonny, who his not known for his love of carrots, seemed impressed and scoffed them down along with a few extras that Mike has over-eagerly chopped for dinner before looking at the size of the roasting tray. Apparently, veg box carrots are tastier than 5kg-for-£1.50 carrots from Tesco: who'd have thought?

I believe that there are currently only two remaining pieces of flat pack furniture to be assembled!

Yesterday, I placed another Ikea order....
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Ouch.

♥Aug. 16th, 2013 // 08:21 pm
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So, what have we been doing?

We had our first visitors, [livejournal.com profile] coth and family, en route to a very early morning ferry to France. As part of the prep, I spent a day running up pairs of curtains so that they'd actually be able to get some sleep. (Today, I went and bought Even More fabric, to have a crack at a table cloth that will not only be big enough for our enormous table but will also extend with it. Watch this space.)

We invited the neighbours 'round for a drinkie on Saturday evening: we had been thinking about a BBQ, but the forecast is a bit poor so drinkies it is instead.

We got a delivery of Even More Flat Pack Furniture. Mike is complaining that his wrist hurts from all the screwing, which I'm sure isn't the way around that such things normally work for men. We also got most of the bedroom furniture, which meant that we could actually unpack clothes. I'm looking forward to wearing a different pair of trousers tomorrow.

We took the boys out on a longer and much less road-filled hack in the woods on the other side of the valley this morning, which was nice. I jumped on the baby at one point, because he didn't do as he was told when Mike tried to get him to canter up the hill without (but towards) GB. He did as he was told for me, and Mike even managed to hold onto GB and stop him from following us up the hill....

Which, ouch, was more than I just managed. There's a somewhat nutty gelding in the field over the road, currently being turned out at night to stop the flies from bothering him. I just went to give the boys their first haynet and rather than go 'ooh, food' when I opened his door, GB decided to barge through his stall guard (a chain across the door, basically) and me to go and run around snorting and glaring at the gelding over the road. Sigh. I went and got a headcollar on him and coaxed him back to his stable, where I hit a snag: Mike hadn't got around to putting the top bolts on the stable doors, so they only have kickplates (at the bottom of the door) on them, which is why the stall guard was up. With the stall guard ripped from the wall, and me not having four-foot-long arms, I couldn't actually shut the door. So off he went again. Sigh. This time, I tied his haynet up *before* I went and dragged him back into his stable....

I'm not actually sure if it was tGOtR that was setting him off or something else: the Baby is very worked up as well, and when I was bringing GB back up to the stable he kept stopping to stare up the hill, in the opposite direction to tGOtR's field. It's possible that they were all smelling something worrying in the trees, I suppose. Either way, my leg hurts from being barged, thankyouverymuch.
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We are moved.

♥Aug. 11th, 2013 // 06:48 pm
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And we even have our internet connection, finally if rather slowly.

We seem to be settling in ok, even if Mike can't find anything int he kitchen after I unpacked it, and it's starting to feel more like we actually live here and less like we're visiting someone who isn't actually around much.

The horses arrived earlier in the week, and they seem to be settling in ok as well. GB in particular spent a couple of days being very clingy, and he keeps going to stand by the gate at about 4pm waiting to come in for his dinner and thus failing to realise that he's surrounded by all the food he can eat, but he's calmed down a bit now.

I had a nasty moment on Friday, when his eye had swollen up and filled with icky stuff overnight, but he submitted as well as could be expected to having it rinsed out a few times and the swelling's pretty much gone now. I suspect a fly bite, but it could have been anything, really. They're now going out to the field decked out in full-on KKK outfits, which does seem to be working to keep the flies from being too annoying.

(This morning, we went out for our first little hack. There was almost a Moment when we got to the end of the lane to find a farmer unloading some very vocally pissed off cows from a trailer into the field, but with a little coaxing they walked past calmly enough. I thought that that was a good sign, being the most scary thing we were likely to encounter by a long shot, so I wasn't really prepared when GB caught sight of another horse in a KKK outfit, being led along the road, and promptly did a 180 to try and get as far away from it as possible. I have no idea, as he's not bothered by Jonny in the same state.)

The neighbours met thus far seem like nice people, although the woman who owns the valley seems occasionally to not remember that actually, she sold this house a decade ago and doesn't have a say any more. We've not yet met the people who live a bit further along, but have had it reported that they're a bit odd.

(We did have the odd experience yesterday of watching from our kitchen as some of them cleared ragwort from one of the horses' fields. They were merrily trundling around with their wheelbarrow when suddenly their dog started running around madly, followed by his owner. Then the owner's husband took his shirt off and started running around, waving it in the air over his head, and they all dashed back to the house at great speed. We speculated that it was some sort of strange foreplay ritual, but when we saw them this morning it turned out that the dog had disturbed a wasp nest, and the husband had been badly stung where they'd got inside his clothes. Fortunately, he's not too much the worse for it! Something similar having happened to a chap at our old yard just before we moved, Mike is now a little paranoid about it happening to us, too.)

We're in an annoying state of being as unpacked as it is possible to be, but on the other hand we have two big deliveries due for tomorrow, of bedroom furniture and stuff from Ikea, so that's a few more days of unpacking for me and flat-pack-assembly for Mike.

I still haven't managed to get my job to let me quit, either, so I'd better catch up on that now that we're back online....
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Hot!

♥Jul. 24th, 2013 // 07:47 pm
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Weather: do not like. Had enough now. Actually had enough about a week ago. Really hope it stops soon, as we're, y'know, moving house next week. Eep.


I have been terribly slack about posting. The previously mentioned has something to do with that, but other factors include:
- having a slacker husband who's now only working a couple of days a week and so is Underfoot (it's fortunate that we're about to move into a new house with more rooms, really)
- going up to Ripon and York for a few days, for a family thing and a break (nice, but how come York has no restaurants? It has masses of pubs-that-do-food, but even seemed under-supplied with chain Italian places. Lovely hotel, though, with a nice restaurant)
- going to the Kent Country Show, where it was hot. We didn't actually buy anything, although we did collect several leaflets from sellers of potential house things
- making pizza, with the gels from work, on a day out / social type thing. I keep trying to quit, on the perfectly reasonably grounds that tomorrow is the last day I can possibly go into the office, but I don't seem to have managed it yet. Must make more of en effort, tomorrow
- going to two events that could reasonably well be called garden parties: one fannish, involving the talking of toot and the discussing of gossip, the other with the future near-ish-neighbours, involving lots of people asking 'and do you hunt?' (more, we suspect, as a way of making conversation with the random strangers, and a general test of views, than as an actual request that you go along)

GB continues in his usual way, added to by the fact that he doesn't much like the heat. The Baby is being a bit of a naughty bugger lately, added to by the fact that I don't like the heat either and so haven't been riding him and making him behave. He had the farrier on Monday; we weren't there, but he was apparently a little shite and broke two tie-up strings. There may be walloping in his future.

The house move is going reasonably well, we think. I've made contact with the horsey neighbour, which has in turn lead to arranging farrier, muck removal and hay; the delightfully named Igor The Builder is digging things up and laying concrete in the stableyard this week; I've spent an absolutely fortune on my credit card over the last few weeks (to the extent that I had to do a transfer mid-month to clear the balance for more spending), but bewilderingly (and pleasingly) haven't had any Security Phone Calls; and I do in fact have the spreadsheet of doom: you can't actually be surprised by this, though. It has been Entertaining arranging everything so that it gets delivered on Day Zero (which I will spend doing the last of the packing wile Mike sits in does various odd jobs around the new house).

Last week, we did actually get a delivery here: 224 boxes.

photo 1-1

As of today, the pile has gone down rather, and the bathroom (not the one we actually use much) and spare room are looking like this:

photo 2-1
photo 3

Did I mention that it's too bloody hot...?
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The Letter Of Last Resort

♥Jun. 5th, 2013 // 05:09 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/901795.html]

This is rather good (available for anther three days):

The Letter of Last Resort is a hand-written letter from the Prime Minister to the commanding officer of each of Trident's submarines. It contains instruction on what action the commanding officer of the submarine should take in the event that Britain is obliterated by nuclear attack and all those in authority deceased. The letter can only say one of two things: retaliate, or, don't retaliate. Each new British prime minister must write the letter upon taking office.

Set in the near future, David Greig's brilliant play is a conversation between the new prime minister (in this case a woman) and the Head of Arrangements, John, at the end of her first day. It unpacks the arguments around nuclear deterrents - and the surreal position a new prime minster must find themself in.


Yesterday, I took GB out to the water meadows near the stable: I'd never been before, mostly because I didn't want to just go on my own but had never managed to get the timing right to go with someone else. The bad part was that I let myself get talked into trotting down the narrow road through the village: I try to avoid too much trot on the roads, because I don't want GB's legs to have trouble, and they were indeed swollen when we got back. Fortunately, they don't seem to be bothering him today, so Ill just keep an eye on it.

The good part was that he had a lovely time charging around on the grass, and splashing in the river. He was very dubious about going in it, but I convinced him to try and, once he'd looked confused and had a big drink, he wandered around quite happily. I swear he was deliberately making as much of a splash as he could! I'll have to take him back, without the trotting down the road part. Maybe we'll take the baby as well.

Life seems to be terribly hectic right now, which is at least partly because Mike was around during the day last week: we were down in the new house twice, for a start, and the horses had massages. Plus I had to go to work. That's just rude. Also, Mike broke the car, which not only meant that I had to go to a breakers yard and hang out with the strange men there on Monday but (as that hasn't fixed it) also means that I have to faff about pumping one of the tires up every time I go anywhere. Bah. Yesterday, I was being primped, and today I had two riding lessons (dashing back to the stables in between to swap both horses and saddles: this may have been foolish) and am out for dinner.... And then I have to go to work, *again*.

(I'm bored with work, now. I've fixed it all, so it's just day-to-day stuff, and that's getting dull. Well, fixed it all other than my usual problem with companies I work for: this one is, ahem, showing all the signs.)
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The rest of the holiday

♥Apr. 16th, 2013 // 06:56 pm
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I had thought that God was at a disadvantage in not having a bar, but it turned out that they were more than happy to serve drinks in the library, complete with lovely squishy sofas. I think God won.

(Oddly, though, God and the Commies use the same brand of toiletries. This probably says something deeply significant.)

Yesterday, we headed back towards town and went to see the ponies in the morning. Afterwards, we went to the Museum of Kent Life, where we fed the lambs and didn't really get value for the tickets on account of having been there recently enough to make it not really worth going into the buildings as we remembered what was in them. We thought about going to the National Fruit Collection, but in the end just wandered around the shops ("Tiddly Pom" is a great name for a cider seller) and didn't pay to go in: may be worth doing so later in the year, when we can better see which kinds we might like to plant in The Garden.

We did go for a wander in Canterbury Cathedral, though (God got us free passes), and then went out for a really fabulous dinner at Deesons, which I suspect we'll be going back to after we move. The food was lovely, and they produce lots of it on their smallholding, and the wine - Chapel Down Bacchus - was really rather fabulous; I'm not surprised that they served it at the Royal Wedding. I think I last had a bottle of Chapel Down about seven years ago, and the quality's really come on.

This morning, we were back in Bexley, where Mike had a jumping lesson: I figured that we really should take advantage of having a HOYS-winning showjumper running the place and get Mike at least the basics before we move. He was on GB, who really is a spectacular horse for learning to jump on. I got on first, both to make sure he was actually moving properly (I should probably say "spectacular horse for learning to jump on provided you can make him move"...) and because he's done very little jumping since he's been in Bexley and, in particular, since he had that problem with his leg. I needn't have worried, as he was in an 'ooh, good, jumps!' mood: I just popped him over it twice and then said "Ok, carry on".

For his first time, Mike did very well, and by the end of the hour he managed a very creditable stretch of canter with two times over the jump and no breaks.

We're back home, now, but Mike's still off work for the rest of the week: we're off to try out Jonny in the school tomorrow (after my riding lesson), and we're off to The House for a meeting with a guy who'll look at the horse-related work that the house need on Friday: fingers crossed that it won't cost too much. My real fear is that the membrane on the sand school will need replacing, as it's had a bit of interest from the local rabbit population....

(GB really needs a hair cut: his mane's starting to go all floppy. Must do that, and get his feathers off, now it's warmed up.)

This entry was originally posted at http://flick.dreamwidth.org/882701.html, where it has comment count unavailable comment(s). Add comments here or there, if you feel like it.
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The rest of the holiday

♥Apr. 16th, 2013 // 06:56 pm
[Tags|, , , , , ]

I had thought that God was at a disadvantage in not having a bar, but it turned out that they were more than happy to serve drinks in the library, complete with lovely squishy sofas. I think God won.

(Oddly, though, God and the Commies use the same brand of toiletries. This probably says something deeply significant.)

Yesterday, we headed back towards town and went to see the ponies in the morning. Afterwards, we went to the Museum of Kent Life, where we fed the lambs and didn't really get value for the tickets on account of having been there recently enough to make it not really worth going into the buildings as we remembered what was in them. We thought about going to the National Fruit Collection, but in the end just wandered around the shops ("Tiddly Pom" is a great name for a cider seller) and didn't pay to go in: may be worth doing so later in the year, when we can better see which kinds we might like to plant in The Garden.

We did go for a wander in Canterbury Cathedral, though (God got us free passes), and then went out for a really fabulous dinner at Deesons, which I suspect we'll be going back to after we move. The food was lovely, and they produce lots of it on their smallholding, and the wine - Chapel Down Bacchus - was really rather fabulous; I'm not surprised that they served it at the Royal Wedding. I think I last had a bottle of Chapel Down about seven years ago, and the quality's really come on.

This morning, we were back in Bexley, where Mike had a jumping lesson: I figured that we really should take advantage of having a HOYS-winning showjumper running the place and get Mike at least the basics before we move. He was on GB, who really is a spectacular horse for learning to jump on. I got on first, both to make sure he was actually moving properly (I should probably say "spectacular horse for learning to jump on provided you can make him move"...) and because he's done very little jumping since he's been in Bexley and, in particular, since he had that problem with his leg. I needn't have worried, as he was in an 'ooh, good, jumps!' mood: I just popped him over it twice and then said "Ok, carry on".

For his first time, Mike did very well, and by the end of the hour he managed a very creditable stretch of canter with two times over the jump and no breaks.

We're back home, now, but Mike's still off work for the rest of the week: we're off to try out Jonny in the school tomorrow (after my riding lesson), and we're off to The House for a meeting with a guy who'll look at the horse-related work that the house need on Friday: fingers crossed that it won't cost too much. My real fear is that the membrane on the sand school will need replacing, as it's had a bit of interest from the local rabbit population....

(GB really needs a hair cut: his mane's starting to go all floppy. Must do that, and get his feathers off, now it's warmed up.)
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