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♥Sep. 30th, 2017 // 08:04 pm
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We were going to go and look at a very nice-sounding horse yesterday, but then the Riding Instructor Spy Network reported that the (devastated to be having to sell his beloved horse because of a relationship breakdown) 'owner' used to work for one of these lovely people, and that his former boss is out of jail and back living in the same village as the horse. So we cancelled. Sigh.

In better news, GB's been very awkward about taking his pills lately but a little juggling of how he has his feed seems to have fixed it: he's cleaned his feed bucket at both meals today. I'm a little worried about this year's hay, though: they've both been leaving a lot of it this week (two different bales of hay), which I had put down to there being plenty of grass. It was a different bale today, though, and they've eaten it all up. I hope we've not got many dodgy ones.

I've been doing a bit more of the hand quilted cushion, so I guess that I am going to finish it. Didn't manage very much today, because my hands are bad, but I *think* that's more because of using scissors to cut up an enormous pile of chillies to make jelly from rather than the sewing. I got Mike to do half the chillies, but probably should have had him do all of them.

(I've also made apple and sloe jelly: Mrs Farmer thrust a huge pile of apples on me last week when I was at the house, so we didn't even have to go scrumping on the common to get supplies. Gosh, you get a much better set with cooking apples than with random wild ones!)
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Here are some things that have happened

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I realise now that that's probably the last time he'll ever be ridden.
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♥Jun. 1st, 2017 // 03:50 pm
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Jodie )

Horses )

Wrists )

Oh, and grandad got thrown out of an expedited discharge from the hospital because he was causing trouble, and it looks like he's about to be thrown out of the latest home as well.


The ducks are laying well and the horses are busy getting fat.

The tomatoes and tomatillos are flowering, and I'm expecting the veg patch to suddenly explode into life any day now.

Mrs Farmer gave me a couple of evergreen honeysuckle last week, which I've planted next to the front fence in the hope that they'll grow over it and look / smell lovely, and the dahlias that I thought had been lost by the courier have arrived and been planted out.

I've just realised that the Pilates book that I bought months ago and never actually looked at not only goes through the exercises but has some ready-made routines in it, which helps with my vague plan to give up on classes in favour of doing it myself at home with an occasional (monthly?) private lesson to check I'm not getting bad habits.

Even with the good things, though, I'm feeling rather brittle and balanced on edge, which isn't a good way to be if you then have a wobble.
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♥May. 22nd, 2017 // 06:41 pm
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So I may have got the garden weeded but I did it at the expense of my wrists, which have been very sore for the past few days. I've been trying to rest them, which is frustrating as I have things that I want to be doing!

It's also a pain for Mike, who keeps having to do things like follow me around the garden while I point at places where he needs to dig up weeds or plant out seedlings. Still, "we"'ve got most of the veg bed planted out now, so hopefully it will all get on with growing and making tasty food. About the only useful gardening that I can do at the moment is watering things and pulling up nettles, which means I'm covered in stings!

On the assumption that it was actually a combination of gardening and cutting out pieces for quilts wot done it, I've put aside the quilt I started last week until I'm doing a bit better. I did, this afternoon, have a go at making a block for a different quilt on the grounds that it's paper pieced and so involves less repetitive/precise cutting of fabric. I'm quite pleased with the results, but my wrists aren't. Sigh.

The whole quilt will have the dark blue and cream fabrics in the background, and then I've got a range of different blue and cream fabrics for the stars.

The Up-The-Hill's came for dinner at weekend, which was nice and (we think) went well. Various amusing but not unexpected things about TWWOTV, including the fact that she's already not speaking to them although they're not sure why!
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♥Oct. 11th, 2015 // 06:09 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1113304.html]

Today, I decided to start making the notebook cover kit that I got for my birthday. Happily, there was enough fabric to make one that (fingers crossed) will fit my five-year diary, even though it's slightly bigger and much thicker than the book that was supplied. I've made good progress but probably should have stopped before I actually did, as my hands are complaining a bit now. Oops. I just wanted to finish the bit I was on.... The rest of it is now mostly machine work, other than a couple of little bits like a few french knots for eyes, so I should be ok with it but I think it should wait for another day.

This morning, to some alarums, we put the muzzle on Bugs for a few seconds and then took it off again and gave him sweeties. When we went to do it for real this afternoon, he did complain a bit but was better than yesterday or this morning. Whether that's because he's given up arguing or because I wrapped a rope around his nose and dangled off it when he tried to get away remains to be seen. And he didn't manage to get it off, either because the velcro was in a different place or because we strapped his headcollar on top. Anyway, Mike's working in town again on Tuesday so, as I doubt that I'll be able to do the job on my own, he's probably only got one more day to cope with.

We took Jo to the beach this afternoon, where we met what seemed like half the dog owners in eastern Kent. She did very well with the company (even a pack of four small white yappy things that descended on her) until she got tired, and then she just slunk away from everyone except us. I'm pleased to report that she seems to be less stiff when she gets up, so the drugs are working. Not sure if that means she's on metacam for life or if they'll give her something else instead, but we're back at the vet on Friday to find out.
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Better than expected

♥Sep. 19th, 2015 // 07:34 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1107135.html]

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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♥Sep. 3rd, 2015 // 04:57 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1102367.html]

We've just got back from Mike's birthday dinner, at The Ambrette, where the food was as lovely as ever (although the slight vagueness to the service that's always present seemed worse than usual on a very quiet Thursday evening). We had been booked in for tomorrow, which is The Actual Day, but Little Red Thing is being taken away in the morning, and Mike's not picking up the new car until Saturday so we thought that tonight was a better bet than taxis both ways.

(Poor Mike: had to be driven home by me, in the LRT, at night. I'm surprised he made it!)

This afternoon, I had my last ultrasound treatment at the hospital. I'd completely forgotten about it until I sat down with my laptop after lunch and noticed the little banner on the screen saying "Hospital in 1 minute". Oops. They fitted me in ok, though, so it wasn't a problem. Just have to go back in six and then twelve months for follow-up tests, now. As I got to the hospital, I started to rain. "Aha!" I thought, "For once it's started raining just as Jo's being walked and I'm not out in it," but Mike said they didn't get any here. Typical.

The swallows have started to gather on the telephone wires, getting ready to head south for the winter. Probably a good plan, as I've a sneaking suspicion we might get a frost this weekend....
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And yet...

♥Aug. 25th, 2015 // 06:38 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1099076.html]

Another two inches and counting of rain today. The fish pond is now very topped up!

Back to the hospital again (only two more visits), via Canterbury. On the way there, I broke a nail wrestling with gates in the wind and rain, on the way back my brolly bit the dust. Took the exit for the hospital when I wanted the one for the station (to buy chorizo from the food place next to it), so had to fight through Canterbury traffic, then popped into M&S on the off chance as I was passing and got some there, so I could have parked on the original side of town in the end.

The rain was supposed to have stopped earlier, but it didn't so we got rather soggy bringing the boys in, and I dare say I'll get soggy again later putting the ducks to bed and giving the boys their late-night hay.

And yet: so much better than yesterday!
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And so it begins

♥Aug. 17th, 2015 // 05:37 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1097161.html]

1) Off to the tip this morning, to get rid of misc stuff, much of which was a small sample of the flints that litter our garden.

2) Off to the hospital this afternoon, now about half way through the ultrasound trial and not really noticing any differences that can't be explained as "I'm paying more attention to symptoms because I know I have to write them down".

3) Mike's brother and family are here for a couple of nights (well, the kids are here for a couple of nights: the parents just for one night. It's a good job that Mike was reminded of this by email last week, as he'd forgotten about it and not told me!).
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ha ha ha

♥Aug. 11th, 2015 // 11:48 am
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1095667.html]

1) Last night we had fajitas made with tomatillo passata. They were tasty, but possibly a little too sharp. I've just made a batch of half tomato, half tomatillo passata, so we'll see if that is a better balance. We picked our first aubergine yesterday, too, and I roasted it for my lunch: yum!

2) Mike's been off to France, taking a gamble (which thankfully worked out) on Calais being calmer than it has been lately. We're now back to being stocked up on wine!

3) I did some hedge-trimming of weeds around the edges of the property this morning (the strimmer wouldn't have managed some of the head-high nettles, or the brambles encroaching on the riding school: we really need to do something about them). Good to get it done, but my hands have been shaky ever since. I think I may have to give up on power tools entirely.
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Rush rush....

♥Aug. 5th, 2015 // 07:30 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1094078.html]

One of those days!

- Did laundry.

- Up and rode GB, who continues to do spiffingly well (we shall see what happens when the weather turns cold again), while Mike rode Bugs (who is coming on very nicely, and had a bit of lightbulb moment recently: hurrah!).

- Poo picked (we're having to do it every day just now, a combination of the gate to the summer field being at the top of the field, so you have to move all the poo up the steep hill, and the grass being incredibly long and plentiful while having almost nothing in it, so they're eating constantly (which is very good for them)) and mucked out.

- Said hello to the solar panel guys, who've now done most of the installation: just the electrics to hook up tomorrow.

- Taken the Tesco delivery and put it away, asked Mike to hang out laundry as I ran out of the house.

- Dashed off to Pilates (annoyingly, arrived there on time but then had to hang around for ten minutes waiting for parking: note to self, must get there early), which I'm continuing to enjoy at the old-place-with-new-instructor.

- Back home (hurrah! No Operation Stack making me drive cross-country!) and a quick lunch.

- Walked the pooch.

- Sorted out The Horse Next Door while he had his back done (an hour's notice, grr, and amreally not impressed with what Next Door's Back Lady was doing: trying to figure out if I should Say Something to Mrs Next Door).

- Finally managed to have a shower, dodging solar panel guys as I did so (the fuse box is outside the shower...)!

- Made tomatillo passata (experimental, but there's only so much salsa verde we can eat and it seems like it should work instead of regular passata for things like chicken fajitas).

- Went to the hospital for my ultrasound (now only twice a week).

- Sat down! With a Healthy Fruit Drink, no less!

- Put laundry away.

- Picked beans for dinner and tomatoes on principle.

- Brought the horses down the hill and put them in the stableyard for a bit (this seems to work better than bringing them down the over-shadowed road when it's getting gloomy, although the ducks object to being shut in the garden when they usually go and hang out outside their house in the evening.

- Heard Mike calling me to dinner!

- Hit post.
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♥Aug. 2nd, 2015 // 04:29 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1093477.html]

I've now finished my second week on the ultrasound trial, and don't seem to be having problems as a result of it. Next week, I only have to go twice, which is nice and would be more flexible except that the guy doing it is only there on Monday and Tuesday. Which is when our hay is being delivered. Joy.

I spent a few hours out in the garden yesterday and the day before, taming the fedge (which had indeed pretty much managed six feet in the first year). I've not taken any of the length off it, just moved it around a bit (the fist picture is mid-way through):

(Annoyingly, there are a couple of places where it's not growing so well, because it's competing with other stuff or where the soil is poor. I have tied it in there, but it looks a lot less neat and tidy.)

This morning, Mike was going to use Magrat's giant egg for breakfast. Fortunately, he cracked it into the bowl first....

(It didn't smell, but then we deliberately didn't break the membrane on what I can only call the second yolk. We have no idea at all.)

Edit: Thanks to clanwilliam: it's this, I'm fairly sure.
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♥Jul. 20th, 2015 // 02:23 pm
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Off to the hospital this afternoon, to start the (double blind) ultrasound trial on my wrists. Before we started, the consultant did more measurements and said my nerves were at 11mm on the right and 9mm on the left. This was with a different machine to last time (when I got 9mm on both), and it usually gives results that are about a mm smaller than the other one does.

Then I had goop poured on my right wrist and had it ultrasounded for fifteen minutes. I suspect that we're going to get low on small talk by the end of this. It's a bit stiff now, but that could just as easily be because I had to hold it still while someone rubbed it with a lump of plastic for fifteen minutes....

On the pony front, since GB got his hat off (twice: I left it on him overnight to try and stop him from rubbing his eyes) I've been deliberately tangling it up in his headcollar and leaving them both on him all the time, which seems to be working: he's not had it off again, and while they're still a bit sore-looking and weepy they're not nearly as bad as they were either on Saturday or for a large chunk of last summer. I think Bugs may have had a lightbulb moment, because we've gone from "fight for a couple of circuits of the school to get me to loosen the reins before grudgingly doing three steps with his head in the correct position" to "hold head up in the air for a quarter of a circuit and then go all the way around with it correct, only stopping when I let go". He's coming on really well.
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♥Jun. 8th, 2015 // 02:54 pm
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Baby's new people cam to take him away with them first thing on Saturday morning. We were very slightly concerned because they have a trailer, and we've only ever put him in a bigger horse box, but in the event he just walked straight in without even blinking: if anything, he sped up when he saw the hay inside!

They later reported that he's called a bit for the first couple of miles and then settled down for the rest of the journey, and he seems to be settling in and making friends with the other horses.

GB was a bit worried, with lots of calling but no panicked running around the field looking for him, which is good. Yesterday, there was also a bit of shouting, but it sounded less agitated and didn't go on for as long. Today, we've not heard him at all, and both nights he's been fine and eaten his dinner as normal, so I think it's going to be ok (phew!).

This morning, I went to try a new pilates class, at the place in Ashford I used to go to. It was so nice to have a good instructor, who gets up off her mat to correct you, and to be doing the forms of the exercises that I'm used to. It was maybe a touch on the easy side, but a) she did say that all the more advanced people happened to be away this week and b) I'd rather be doing something slightly easier with a good instructor, I think. I'm going to try another of the classes there next week (one that's been going on for longer: I'd considered it when I last changed class but decided against it because it was the wrong brand of pilates, but the instructor's apparently done a conversion course. It's a Wednesday, though, so inconvenient on the weeks when Mike's in London.

After the class, I dashed (literally: I hadn't realised it was a 75 minute session rather than an hour!) up to Canterbury to go to the hospital for a repeat of the carpal tunnel tests: this time, I passed the nerve conductivity tests by about the same amount as I failed last time. The consultant also had a look at my wrists with the ultrasound: CTS makes the nerve swollen, and indeed my nerves were about 9mm2 at the wrist and about 4mm2 in my arm. Unfortunately, the normal range is 4-10mm2: I just have very narrow nerves!

(I've actually had very few symptoms recently, but this is apparently not uncommon: lots of people are worse at certain times of the year, and I may be one of those who's worse in cold weather.)

Anyway, he ummed and ahhed a bit and eventually decided that he was going to call my right wrist a grade 1 CTS case, which both keeps me on their books so that I can easily get re-tested when it gets worse and means that I can go into the ultrasound treatment trial, which I'll do when we get back from Finland: fifteen minute treatments five days a week for a fortnight and then twice a week for five weeks. Unfortunately, they are struggling to find enough people to do it: they need 40, and I'll be the 24th, so I probably won't find out the results (or even if I'm getting the placebo treatment) for a couple of years yet.
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The Curse Of The Middle Stable

♥Apr. 24th, 2015 // 11:39 am
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1085560.html]

We have three stables (well, actually, we have five, but one of them is full of wood and the other is where the ducks live). GB has the one on the end, which is partly connected to the one in the middle: there's a hole in the wall, with metal bars in it.

Baby used to be in the middle stable, and we used to often complain about how messy his bed was by the morning, especially compared to GB (who is rather meticulous with his: he's so gay*). When Bugs came along, and moved into the stable on the other side of Baby's (without a connecting window), his bed was a mess as well at first, but we made allowances for the fact that he'd been living in a field for the last however-long, and indeed after a month or so he was nearly as neat at GB.

* In the 20th century sense, rather than either the 19th one (ha ha, yeah, right) or the 21st one. Seriously, we think that he is.

Then, as part of the process of weaning GB off his reliance on the Baby, we swapped their stables a few days ago.

Baby's bed is now really quite neat, Bugs' is a horrible mess.

My current theory is that GB snores, or does the horse equivalent of tuneless whistling and/or creepy staring all night....

ION, just back from the GP: partial win, in that the form has been completed and signed but then they had to keep it so that it could be scanned onto their systems. Fingers crossed.

(It occurred to me last night that I actually have a pretty easy way of making my test scores worse: just stop wearing the splints.... I don't think I will, though.)
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Ham ham ham!

♥Mar. 24th, 2015 // 03:54 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1078796.html]

Our local(ish) Lidl has 6.5-7.5kg legs of Seranno ham for £44 each. Ordinarily, I'd just be mentioning this as you might like to check your local one but a) they had a good 20 or 30 of them and b) (as it happens) I'll be back nearby tomorrow morning, so if anyone wants me to pick one up for delivery at Eastercon....

I was there, and will be there again tomorrow, because that's where the other bit of our GP surgery is: the local bit is only open in the mornings, which is a bit of a PITA. Having woken up at 3:30 this morning to begin fretting about having to go to see the doctor, I thought I should probably get it over with and, actually, it was ok: she asked me a few questions, all actually relevant to my wrists, agreed that she'd refer me and said she also wanted me to have a blood test to make sure my thyroid was ok. When I told the receptionist that, she went "ooh, might take a while... could you go to the hospital in Folkestone?" but then found a cancellation tomorrow morning (hence, I'll be back there again). So, yes, much better than I'd feared. Now I just hope that the referral actually happens, and is to the right place.

(On the wrist front, sleeping in the splits seems to be reducing the frequency of problems but, I think, the severity is increasing as it progresses: I'm not getting numb fingers at night, but I am getting occasional shooting twinges down my wrists. Fingers crossed for getting it dealt with quickly.)

The girls have just had their spring moult, and Magrat's developed some fetching blue bits at the ends of her wings. We weren't sure if we'd just not noticed them before, but I've checked and they weren't there last year: must be her adult plumage!

(We're still getting pretty much an egg per day, so they've done very well this winter. Need to place an order for a couple more!)
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I should update....

♥Mar. 7th, 2015 // 07:13 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1075229.html]

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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