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Picking up the pooch

♥Jan. 6th, 2017 // 09:35 pm
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After a rather rushed early morning (the farrier, and Mike being in London, meant I had a fair bit to do with the boys), I headed off to collect Jo from the vet.

Shortly after I got onto the A2, a couple of policemen, car parked across the road, waved me back off it, which made my heart sink: that meant I'd have to brave the Canterbury ring road to get back on track, and the Canterbury ring road locks up at the drop of a hat let alone the addition of all the traffic from the A2.

Fortunately, it wasn't actually too bad: getting to the ring road was slow, but it moved well once I was there, and I was only about ten minutes late to the vet.

Jo was, as ever, very pleased to see me, and nearly dragged the nurse across the waiting room. The poor dear looks very silly.

On the way home, I realised that I'd actually been incredibly lucky with the drive there: the car accident that caused the closure was just being loaded onto a flatbed, and there was a long line of parked cars sitting on the road behind it. When I got to where I'd been waved off the road, there were three police cars and lots of flashing signs: I must have got there very soon after they closed it, and was just too late to miss being stuck there for an hour or more and just too early to miss having the ring road full of diverted traffic.

Jo's putting a reasonable amount of weight on the leg now, but she's obviously sore and struggling to get comfortable when she lies down. Hopefully she'll feel better in a few days. I'd forgotten quite how silly she looked with her leg shaved!
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Backs. And forths.

♥Jan. 13th, 2016 // 03:22 pm
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Mike was in London today, so there was some to-ing and fro-ing between here and the station. The journey in the morning, when Mike drove there and then I went on to Pilates and then home, was fine (other than the fact that I'd not driven in a month). This evening was pretty horrible, with lots of sitting in traffic, often in the rain, and then (because we now have a weekly rotisserie chicken truck in a nearby village, and we'd asked them to save us one and then got stuck in traffic) driving along Strange Roads in the rain worrying that we wouldn't get there in time (we didn't, but he waited for us). Actually, I think Mike found that more stressful than I did. He doesn't like other people driving him, especially me....

In between, I ran around: GB's neck has started making a clicking noise when he turns his head, and I'd eventually managed to pin the Back Lady down but this afternoon was her best offer, so after I got back from Pilates and grabbed some lunch I went and rounded them up (they, naturally, were taking advantage of having the whole length of the field for the first time in weeks by running up and down the hill while I tried to convince them to come and be caught, and then as soon as I got one of them the other was off and so the first one had to join in).

"I can hear it clicking... let's see how many of the vertebrae I can get him to move through..." she said, as she poked his head until it was practically flat on his side facing his bum. "I don't think you need to worry!" The verdict was that she'd rather have clicking with movement than neither of them, the movement would be good in a horse half his age, and incidentally his back's in good nick as well. Bugs has come on nicely since she last saw him, which is good to hear.

Thankfully, she was on time, so Jo even got a walk before it got dark and I had to go out again. In fact, I even got half an hour to sit on the sofa and play trashing iPhone games: luxury!

Gategate: they're back, I took the padlock off, they've made it so you can fix it open or closed like before.

Tyregate: still there. Probably time to chase the council....
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Poor ponies. Poor ducks.

♥Jan. 7th, 2016 // 02:58 pm
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We managed to get the horses into the field yesterday, but then it rained again overnight / this morning, so they've had to make do with a couple of hours in the stableyard this afternoon. The ducks are unhappy about this, because it's keeping them away from their pond.... Still, the sun's out now and we've no serious rain forecast for the next little while, although I'm expecting a frost tonight (which will be fun in entirely other ways).

In gategate news, we walked up to the gate with Jo this afternoon and met Mrs Next Door driving the other way. The gate was shut. Whoever-it-is had snapped off the small tree I'd chained the gate to, closed it, and tied it shut with another manky bit of knotted string. I have now chained it to a significantly larger tree.

(In doing that, I discovered an interesting new light on the car's dashboard, which seems to be some sort of non-specific 'take me to the vet mechanic now please' thing, which is a bit worrying. Ex-Mr Next Door is away until Monday, but we don't think we need it again until next week, so we'll wait until he's around.)
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Eventful day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edit: Oops. It appears that the things we failed to do today was put the ducks to bed after we'd ridden: the perils of breaking your routine. They'd gone in on their own, though, and nothing had followed them home. Phew.
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♥Sep. 3rd, 2015 // 04:57 pm
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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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It wasn't forecast to rain today

♥Sep. 2nd, 2015 // 04:12 pm
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But it did, starting with 'just as Mike dropped me off on his way out to look at cars so that I could walk home with the pooch'. I'm starting to get suspicious of this.

(It's been raining on and off all afternoon since, although it's been sunny in between and often at the same time. We just saw a fab rainbow, and can now confidently state that there's a pot of gold in Milo's field. Wonder why the metal detector guys didn't find it when they visited?)

The looking-at-cars wasn't hugely successful: the second one had already been sold, and Mike couldn't fact driving the Little Red Thing to the third. The first was a bit overpriced but I suspect it's the one we'll end up with unless something else comes on the market in the next couple of days (assuming, that is, that we are up for a new car: we still haven't heard officially).

I spent an hour this afternoon removing the seeds from a large pile of tomatoes, to see if the reduced requirement to reduce the resulting passata (try saying that six times...) was worth the effort. I've concluded that it wasn't, and that tomato juice is a poor hand moisturiser. After I did so, I read an email conversation on the @@ list about what a terribly year it's been for tomatoes, so I'm not sure what we've done wrong!

We've put (very thin) rugs on the boys this evening, as we're forecast to have a cool clear night so it'll probably get a bit nippy here. I'm not sure if this counts as the first time of the season or not: did the end of July count as the last frost of last winter or the first frost of this?
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Do three posts about the same thing = a post about three things?

♥Sep. 1st, 2015 // 05:09 pm
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Back from the hospital, and my that was uncomfortable.

Country roads: bouncy, squeaky and shaky.
Dual carriageway: juddery, shaky and not very nippy. If I'd done gear changes like that when I was learning to drive, I'd have had my wrists slapped.
Town: terribly over speed bumps, felt like it was about to stall when I pulled away from a roundabout.

I'm not sure what the intended market is for that car, but I don't think it's us. And now my back and arms ache.

Mike's off looking at cars tomorrow afternoon, and I don't envy him driving around the south east in it.
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Small red thing

♥Sep. 1st, 2015 // 02:01 pm
[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1101720.html]

Small red thing, thankfully, only has a semi-automatic mode, as well as proper automatic.

I'm also fairly sure it's actually a rollerskate.

(Mike drove it up to the woods, to see how it worked, then we walked Jo, then I drove it home. Longer trip to the hospital later.)
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Bye bye little car...

♥Sep. 1st, 2015 // 12:15 pm
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... will we ever see you again?

(We suspect not. In fact, the garage just called to say we might want to start window shopping.)

In exchange, they left us with a small red thing that Mike fears is a semi-automatic, which I rather thought was a kind of gun. I have my doubts about being able to drive it, which as I've two hospital trips and a Pilates class in the coming three days may be a bit tedious for Mike!
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Various things

♥Sep. 18th, 2014 // 01:54 pm
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On hotels (specifically, Americans coming to Europe in the late Victorian era) (The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett):
"The rich man demands something almost as good as he has left at home, the man of moderate means something much better."

The hop vodka has been decanted, and will be forced upon 'volunteers' this weekend.

This morning, I was late for Pilates. This was partly because Mike was late getting back from Bluewater (it's a good job he'd reserved his new iPhone, as the unreserved line was apparently enormous) and partly because of the woman in from of me on Stone Street who was driving at 30 mph, except where it was a 40 limit and she was driving at 20. It was a little misty, but come *on*! (On the way home, by contrast, I was stuck behind a tractor towing a load of potatoes. This didn't annoy me nearly as much, partly because tractors towing enormous trailers of potatoes are, by their very nature, slow but mostly because it was going faster that the earlier woman had been.) (Since we moved here, Mike and I have pondered slightly on the sign in Stelling Minnis pointing to the High Chimney Potato Store, but over the last month or so we have become aware of how very much it is apparently needed, as there are lots of potatoes being taken there.)

Yesterday, while we were out riding, we got mobbed by some dogs whose owner (when she'd eventually managed to get them under control) asked if we'd seen her elderly collie, who'd been missing for a couple of days. TWWOTV had apparently reported seeing him late on Tuesday night, but nothing since. I very much doubted that she'd find him but, on the way home, I passed her walking up the road, presumably out looking for him again, so I stopped to see if there was news and there way: she'd just found him, and was on the way home for the car and a wheelbarrow (I'd have offered her a lift, but she was only a couple of hundred yards from home and I wasn't sure how many dogs she had wither her: I only *saw* two, or maybe three, but...). He was stuck in a barbed wire fence, dehydrated and covered in blowflies, but seemed as well as could be expected otherwise. The field he was in? Belongs to TWWOTV, and contains sheep owned by The Farmer. Just think, if the fences were actually looked after, he might not have got stuck. If The Farmer checked his stock properly, it might not have been two days before anyone found him....
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♥May. 2nd, 2014 // 03:42 pm
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Although it is very sad that someone died on the M20 at 1:30 this morning, I'm a little bemused about why that meant that I sat in traffic for an hour at 10am. I could understand needing to keep the road closed for that long if there'd been wreckage on the road, but there wasn't. Even after they reopened it, after half an hour mostly with the engine off, the traffic was still terrible because they hadn't taken down the signs saying that only one lane was open. Sigh. Rather late for pilates, which I suppose is an advantage to not going to a scheduled class. (The traffic from when the motorway was closed was diverted through Ashford, so pretty much everyone was late. It was all a bit chaotic. It was only when someone who arrived after I did said "Right, that's me done" that the instructor and I realised I was over time and hadn't actually done my stretches yet.

*And* I accidentally took Jo for her walk with my new boots on. They're not broken in, yet, and now I've got a blister.

Poor GB looks, as Mike observed this morning, rather threadbare still:

The black patches are slowly spreading, though. He'll look lovely in a couple of months....

Mike's been getting ready to Cook:

I presume that there will be other ingredients to the dishes as well!
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♥Feb. 21st, 2014 // 08:37 pm
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I've been terribly slack about posting. A few days offline with guests, and I get out of the habit....

The snowdrops are looking lovely:

(With added Jodie: "Human is interesting in that thing over there! I must go and see what it is!")

Not far from us, the daffs are already out. It's too cold here, though, they're barely showing buds.

So, what have I been up to? Not terribly much, I suspect. We had a riding lesson, on Wednesday. I somehow got stuck not only on the Baby but also spending most of the time in sitting trot. Combined with a much-longer-than-lately hack the previous day, I was quite stiff afterwards. The hack was lovely, though: we went up to a field on the far side of the woods, and had a few lovely canters. The boys seemed to appreciate it, too. They have at least been in the field for the last few days (other than yesterday), but there's not much space to run around in there once we've fenced off the soggy bits.

The Next Doors came for dinner last night, which was nice, and Mr Next Door has now replaced both of the front tires on the car, and put the surviving old one onto the spare, which is very good of him.

(I was a little worried, driving to Pilates today: I got to very nearly the same point in the journey as I was at when I got the puncture and met a lorry with a huge load of stone, coming up the hill. That was very much my one to reverse, but I know the road and knew it was a good half mile to the next place where I could pull over, with no convenient hedges to guide me along. I went onto the field margin instead, and found it somewhat difficult to get back off again.... Would have been embarrassing to fail to get to pilates twice in three weeks due to car issues!)

When I got home, we took the pooch out to the beach, where it only rained enough for there to be a rainbow:

We went to Broadstairs, which we've now decided isn't a good enough beach (at least, two hours before high tide) to be worth the drive. Even if there is a Soup Dragon on the roundabout as you come into town.
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Ah, plans....

♥Feb. 7th, 2014 // 01:31 pm
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The plan for today included mucking out, going to Pilates via the vet to collect GB's medication, walking the dog, popping the boys in the school for a bit of fresh air, washing my hair and getting a hair cut.

But it didn't work out like that. Instead, I sat in the car for 45 minutes until I got a SMS (from the garage First Direct had given the job to), telling me that they would be another hour and a half. Given FD had told me it would be about an hour, I was unimpressed. I cancelled it and told Mike to start walking (it was only a couple of miles; the neighbours were all out), and then thought I'd just try SMSing Mrs Next Door to see where she was. She phoned me a couple of minutes later: "What's up?" "Waah, my car broked!" "Oh, bloody hell. Where are you? Hang on, wind your window down... I thought I recognised your car!" She was just on her way home from yoga-for-pregnant-women, which she is loathing and only going to out of a grim sense that she paid for it so she is bloody well going to do it.

She called Mr Next Door for advice and, after I expressed strong views about the advisability of women who are eight months pregnant changing tires on cars, went and collected Mike, who'd not got that far from home. Unfortunately, it turns out that the place we bought the car from gave us a packet of random car wheel nuts, rather than the locking nut, so that was a non-starter. She brought us home again, and Mike called FD again to get them to send a tow truck to bring it here: Mr Next Door hasn't got the right nut, so he'd going to just chisel it off and we'll buy a new set.

Rarely have I been so bloody cold: I was dressed for Pilates, with a not-terribly-thick fleece on top.... I am, however, very grateful that it happened in a place with mobile reception. And that I realised something was wrong (other than the road just being covered in crap) before I drove too far and buggered the wheel (hopefully).

Anyway, the boys are currently in the school. They immediately took advantage of the nice flat space:

and then they went and stood by the gate with an air of "That was nice. If we go back inside, will there be food?"

I did take the pooch for a run in the hay field, as she'd already had a bit of a walk with Mike on the way to rescue me. It was only when we got to nearly the far end of the valley that I realised she'd brought Squeaky Ball with her. I took it off her, thinking she wouldn't want to worry about carrying it, and she immediately went "Throw it! Throw it!" at me, so I rather unexpectedly spent the walk back playing chase (we're not quite up to 'fetch', I fear, although she came close a few times).

Hopefully, the towing people will be calling shortly, and then we can go out and get the car. And then I might manage to get my hair washed, although I've postponed the hair cut to next week. The occasional river's flooded the road out anyway, so I'm not entirely certain how I'd have got there even with a car!
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The Letter Of Last Resort

♥Jun. 5th, 2013 // 05:09 pm
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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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Out and about

♥Aug. 15th, 2012 // 04:04 pm
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I seem to have been doing a lot of driving to strange places for side saddle reasons, lately.

The other week, I went up to Addington, in darkest Buckinghamshire, for the national side saddle show. We were just watching, not taking part, and it was very interesting. I now actually know what the jumping position is. Not sure I'm actually going to use it any time soon, but I know what it is. Gorgeous venue: I'm incredibly jealous. Two huge indoor schools, overlooked by the cafe and the bar, three (four?) outdoor dressage arenas and two (three?) outdoor jumping arenas, oh and it's in a country park for hacking. God knows what the livery fees are like!

Today, I went to Headcorn, in darkest Kent, for a side saddle lesson with my instructor's instructor, on her schoolmistress. As predicted by my instructor, I got on the horse and she immediately started going in tiny circles until I Got It Right, which I think I was starting to do by the end. Very useful, I just need to actually do more side saddle (been a bit slack lately, at least partly because of GB's impressive collection of bites. Which thankfully has not increased in number lately).

Today I also went into Boots to talk to the pharmacist: something bit me yesterday (I really need to stop thinking 'ah, sod it' and hacking out in leggings after my Pilates class because I can't be bothered to get changed and it's hot), and I have an enormous lump on the outside of my left (fortunately, else I doubt I could have done today's lesson) knee. I took an antihistamine last night, else I'd probably be unable to walk or something. She said "I could give you some hydrocortisone cream" and I said "oh, shall I put some HC45 on it?" which made her look utterly bewildered (she actually said "no, hydrocortisone is a steroid": how can a pharmacist not know what HC45 is?) but eventually she agreed and told me to try it. We shall see. At least it hurts less now than it did this morning.

I have a new phone, which was remarkably painless other than the half hour wait for my appointment at the Apple Store. ("The battery tester says that there's nothing wrong with it. On the other hand, it also says you'd get ten hours of standby and two hours of use, so there obviously is something wrong. Just a minute and I'll get you a new phone.")

I also have a hair cut, which looks remarkably the same as it usually does, and I went to the Unicon last weekend, where I played what I can only describe as the board game version of the first part of Spore. It works better when the computer does the adding up for you, I fear, but it was quite fun.

This weekend, we are actually at home. And not doing anything! I suspect we'll be bored by Saturday afternoon.

(Phil the Greek's been taken to hospital in an ambulance. Radio 4 is stressing that it's just a precautionary measure, but as it's doing so between programmes, rather than waiting for the news....)
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Riddle me...

♥Jul. 4th, 2012 // 10:51 pm
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A few days ago, Mike sent me to Tesco* in search of (amongst other things) pancetta. I went to the bacon-and-sausages place, and I looked and looked and eventually found a single brand of same, that wasn't the same brand as wot Mike usually buys.

Today, I was buying completely unrelated things but hungry, so I was idly looking for tasty and interesting Smoked German Hams, which Mike doesn't like*** and so I have to buy myself****, and there, in the middle of the section labelled 'cooked meat', with a little tag saying 'cook before eating', were three or four types of pancetta.

Which is just a bit bemusing, really. For a simple country girl like me, who doesn't know about how supermarkets work....

* I freely admit that I'm Not Very Good at supermarkets. I didn't go in anything that would today be recognised as one until the age of fifteen, and have spent the time since avoiding them where possible, alternating (when I had to go in one) between "Argh! Too big! Too many people!" and "Ooh, shiny! Must by snacks that I won't eat!"** Lately, I have got Much Better about it, which I put down at least partly to Car, which means I don't have to Carry Stuff, and also to general Sanity Levels.

** It's ok, the snacks get eaten. Several days later, this leads to "Ooh, I just fancy an X... Miiiiike! Waaaaah!"

*** Oddly, despite my general loathing of anything that can reasonably be described as German Food, I like the processed ham and the processed cheese. Basically, I like the breakfast, but nothing else.

**** It had totally never occurred to me to just ask Mike to buy it for me. Wow, shopping has uses!

Have just seen the test laser beams shining off the Shard.

I ache. This may have something to do with a) not making it to pilates yesterday due to traffic hell, combined with b) new saddle meaning that I can actually make GB do some work, leading to c) having a bloody hard schooling session yesterday that left us both knackered and sweaty followed by d) joining in a group lesson with the side saddle today. I was planning to ride tomorrow morning, but based on current communications I fear my legs may refuse. Plus, I have what I strongly suspect is a horse fly bite, delivered thought a pair of more-than-chino-weight trousers and awkwardly placed on the inside of my knee.
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Driving adventures....

♥May. 24th, 2012 // 05:29 pm
[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/873683.html]

This afternoon (having gone to see GB first thing, before it got too bloody hot to ride), I was off up to Loughton.

I was very brave, and drove through the evil Rotherhithe Tunnel. As I got back into the daylight, only hyperventilating slightly, a police man waved me into a side street and asked me to park up. Eep: what did I dooooo?

Turns out they were checking insurance, in a moderately clever way: they run the plates as you go into the tunnel, and then by the time you finally emerge they've got a list of which ones have no insurance. Which we were apparently on (I suspect it may be personalised-plate-related).

"Do you have insurance, madam?" Er, well, I bloody thought we did. I rooted around in the glove box, didn't find anything that looked right, called Mike to check where the paperwork was, and then apologised for not having it.

"That's ok, madam, we can run it through out system."

(At this point, I realised that Mike was probably sitting in his office muttering "Oh, god, what has she done to need the insurance documents?" and sent him a reassuring text.

"Are you in a hurry, madam? Sorry, it's taking a long time. You're third in the queue." Well, I wasn't in a hurry but I will be now... why, were you going to let me just go if I said I was? No, didn't think so. Sigh.

Eventually, someone on the other end of a walkie-talkie read off the details, and I was on my way again.

Got up to Loughton, only five minutes late for my appointment and - glory be! - there was actually a non-disabled space in the convenient car park. Odd, it has red paint lines rather than the white ones over there. Ah well: in a rush, buy ticket, dash over the road, amuse everyone in Tony and Guy by saying "Sorry I'm late, I got stopped by the police!"

An hour and a half or so later, I headed back to the car and found... a penalty notice on it. That's odd. Double checked that, yes, I had paid for two hours. Opened up the ticket. Apparently, the red lines mean that they're reserved spaces, not for pay-and-display use. Which is not entirely obvious. Drove over to one of the (naturally) huge numbers of now-free spots and went back to look at the one I was in. And, yes, there are a couple of smudged and chipped patches of yellow paint, which I hadn't noticed in the sun. If I squinted, I could just about make out that the first letter was an "R" and that the word was the right sort of length to say "Reserved". Have taken photos. Will be appealing, I think.

Crappy journey home, most of it sitting in traffic. Still, on the plus side, I didn't get stopped by the police again....
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Traffic update apps

♥May. 1st, 2012 // 05:39 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/871387.html]

(It took me an hour and a half to get home from the yard today, on account of spending a lot of time sitting on the A2 until I'd inched forward far enough to go through the emergency vehicle gate and emerge on a housing estate, after which I sat in the traffic on Eltham High Street caused by all the people who'd done the same thing and, eventually, ended up on the A20 route home. Inevitably, I'd been contemplating the A20 route anyway as I wanted to go to the saddlery: I didn't because I was hungry and wanted to get home....)

Given that I pretty much drive the same route all the time, I rarely use the sat nav as I don't really like it. Getting it out for five minutes at the start of each journey to check traffic seems silly, especially as it's a bit elderly and (today at least - after about twenty minutes I got it out to see if I could see how far the traffic went on for) doesn't actually reliably connect to the traffic servers.

I've just downloaded the Highways Agency traffic app, but I'll have to remember to check it.

What I'd really like is an iPhone app that's similar in function to things like Tube Deluxe, which lets me select tube lines and times of day and gives me an alert when they aren't working. That way, I could just have a blanket "tell me if the A2 is borked between x and y," and go the other way when it is. Does anyone know of such an app?
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♥Feb. 2nd, 2012 // 04:12 pm
[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/862607.html]

Today, after what was probably my last yogilates class, I got out the sat nav for the first time and attempted to go and get the result of a While You Were Out card (I suspect it's my contract: who does that? Bad enough for a part time role, but what about people who work full time...?). As expected, I struggled with the whole left and right thing, but I also had more trouble than I thought I would when the woman came out with things like "in one hundred yards, turn right" rather than "take the second right". Still, I managed to get there, through the water main roadworks, and parked in a place that was probably not entirely legal but was on a private road, so [shrug], and went inside, and... no letter. Not been brought back by the postie, presumably, yet. Sigh. Drove back home again, through even more roadworks, washed hair, sat down, fixed nails (doing nails in the morning before lunchtime yogilates not a good plan), made a few phone calls, shivered, realised I had to go out again in half an hour.

Have just used my hairdrier for the first time in several years. Brr. I think I needed it. Right: laundry, dentist, pub.
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♥Jan. 15th, 2012 // 01:27 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/858421.html]

I don't know why, but I quite often have trouble getting the car out of the garage when Mike's put it in there: presumably, he puts it in a slightly different position to the one I'm used to. Today, I got more stuck than usual, and, um, scraped the paint on the side. Oops.

On the plus side, I did get a lovely ride out of it: I went out early, in the hope of getting the school to myself before the kids started jumping, and it worked. Seriously frosty out there in the countryside, which was nice because it made it less muddy, and I was slightly worried about the school being solid but, once the Nice Chap had been out with the quad bike and harrow, it was really nice to work on. GB was being a very good lad, too, so we had a nice schooling session followed by (when the kids finished warming up and started putting the jumps up) a wander up towards the woods, behind some other horses, in which we just went far enough for GB to start going "don't wanna!" and then came back, in the hope that he'll realise that going up the lane isn't always going to lead to nasty muddiness. (I did think about going into the woods, on the assumption that it was cold enough to not be muddy, but I decided not to risk it being absolutely frozen solid!)

Nasty drive home, took me an hour, most of which was right by home due to a road being closed: unfortunately, there's no other practical way onto the peninsular, although I did see some people taking an entertaining short-cut through the McDonalds and Lidl carparks to cut off a corner of queues!
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