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Theatre recommendation

♥Aug. 1st, 2017 // 10:06 pm
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This evening, we went to see The Play That Goes Wrong. It is well worth a trip. I don't usually like things that are very slapstick, but I thought it was hilarious.

And the set is amazing. I was sitting next to a theatre type, who was saying how much he'd like to stage it but couldn't imagine getting the set right.
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Overly optimistic jars

♥Jul. 2nd, 2017 // 06:23 pm
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To go with the jar of wild strawberries in vodka (much better crop this year than last, the jar's pretty much full), I thought I'd start a jar of cherries from our new morello cherry tree, on the patio (where the pointless grape vine used to be).

The books say that morello cherries do well on north-facing walls, which seems to be the case, and that birds don't eat the fruit because they're too sour, which seems not to be. After we lost the first few, we netted it and I've been picking the cherries as they come ripe.

I'd guess that about half of them are in the jar, now.

It's possible that a smaller jar might have been sufficient....

Yesterday morning, Mrs Farmer rang to say that Mr Farmer was on his way down to us, so now our field is nicely spread with little blue fertiliser granules. It would have been even better if last night's rain had actually amounted to anything, but as it was it was little enough to not help our field but enough (I suspect) to have caused problems for the hay that Mr Farmer had on the ground.

After he'd been, we headed northwards, carefully avoiding the M11 and associated 90 minute delays, where we spent a lovely afternoon sitting in the garden with friends, food and wine. I was a bit worried about how Jo would be, given that she's still rather clingy (a few days ago, Mike went to bed with a migraine and she refused to come out for a walk with me), but she was absolutely fine, even when she got left without either of us for a little while, and even said hello to another dog. The sausages that people kept sneaking her probably helped....

Mike mowed the front lawn today. Although much less colourful it does look vastly neater. In some ways it's good that it's too dry for it to grow much in summer, as he doesn't have to mow it so often, but it does end up looking a little odd when the non-grasses get going.

It seems to be a good year for squash: does anyone want some courgettes...?
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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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Good / bad

♥Nov. 4th, 2016 // 04:22 pm
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Last night, we went to see The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppets Do Shakespear, the last of the Canterbury Festival events that we had tickets for. It was tremendously good fun, easily our favourite thing this year, and I thoroughly recommend going if you get the chance.

(I have a vague memory there was a SFSP show at a convention some time in the last few years, possibly even Loncon even though I'd have thought I'd be less vague about it if so. Does anyone know if I'm right?)

Today, it rained all afternoon and the boys went out with their raincoats on for the first time they really needed them (they'd had them on a couple of times because it was just a bit chilly). Unfortunately, when I brought them in and put their night-time rugs on I found that GB was fine but Bugs was utterly sodden. I've sent a slightly stroppy email to the woman who cleaned and (in theory) re-proofed them. Mistakes do happen, and at least their thin raincoats will dry out quickly, and I can just order a can of spray and fix this myself, but my real concern is that some of their padded raincoats haven't been re-proofed, in which case the boys will be very uncomfortable and cold standing around in them and they'll take days to dry out before they can be used again....

Bugsy's leg was again not right when I lunged him this morning, and GB was a bit wobbly in his rear legs. I'm hoping that Bugs is having problems when he's lunged a lot, and that they'll go away if we stop doing it and just ride him instead. This might be wishful thinking, but it does fit: last year, we started Mike lunging him to get his confidence back and a few weeks later our riding instructor noticed a problem, and then this year I only started lunging him few weeks ago, when they moved back down to our field.... Wait and see.
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Dilly Keen

♥Nov. 1st, 2016 // 03:09 pm
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Last night, we went to see Dilly Keen (from Fascinating Aida) at the King's School, part of the Canterbury Festival.

It was a good show, but a bit downbeat for our tastes (most of the songs seemed to be about failed love affairs!). As an encore ("Usually we'd do a song, but we've got this fabulous piano..."), she and her accompanist did a piano duet: I'd forgotten that she can actually play serious piano as well as just noodling along to the songs.

Today, I've been to little quilt club, where I did some folding of squares for the quilt I've been working on for months (it's going to be very pretty, I think, but it's quite tedious so I'm doing a bit at a time) and then started a couple of Christmas decorations. It was nice to see people, and have a natter.

Yesterday when I exercised the horses neither of them seemed quite right: GB's bad leg was bothering him a bit and, more worryingly, I think that Bugsy's leg, which we'd thought was better, might have been a bit not-right as well. I'm going to give him a couple of days off and then see how it looks.
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New freezer

♥Oct. 28th, 2016 // 11:59 am
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Once the inch of faintly scary pale brown ice (studded with peas and the odd mini sausage roll) at the bottom has melted and been washed away, we'll be starting to fill it up. Whether we ever then empty it again is in the balance: Mrs Next Door said we should either keep or throw away what was in there, and we went for the latter when we saw the dates on things, as well as the fact that various of them were leftovers from our BBQ and, more worrying, Baby Next Door's christening party. Well, I hope they were from then, as the other alternative was Ex-Mr and Mrs Next Door's wedding reception!

This morning, while she and her dad loaded things into her car, I took down her electric fence because I'm nice like that she asked me to. Apparently, she and TWWOTV have been having full-on shouting matches, the most recent of which started last night after TWWOTV knocked on the door repeatedly, was ignored, and so let herself in anyway to demand to know why the move was happening so quickly, and then escalated from there.

Fortunately, I'd already told Mrs Next Door that we were going to be out last night, so felt safe in not returning the phone call she made just as we were leaving, or I'm sure I'd have had an earful about it.

We went out to see Marcus Brigstock, as part of the Canterbury Festival. The non-political bits were pretty good*, but a lot of the political stuff fell a bit flat and was what I'd class as the worst kind of left-wing nastiness-for-the-sake-of-it (about both left- and right- and neither-wing subjects and people).

* Except for the bit about gluten intolerance, which would have been both very funny and very true-to-life if it had only included the words "except for people who actually have coeliac".

An aside: I read an article a little while back about the differing attitudes of left to right and right to left, which boiled down to "the left are genuinely scarily angry at the right, but the right mostly go 'there there, you'll get over it' back at them", and thought it sounded accurate in my experience (and, indeed, it seems lately to be getting even worse with scary-angry behaviour towards slightly-different-left people). Then they discussed something similar on Thinking Allowed a couple of weeks back, initially in the context of the US (both sides loath each other, feeling worse about the other than they do about illegal immigrants) but then asking how it plays in the UK and the conclusion was pretty much the same: the left loath the right, the right are fairly indifferent to the left. Odd, and interesting.
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Bits, also pieces

♥Jul. 27th, 2016 // 11:27 am
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Yesterday evening, we went to see an outdoor production of She Stoops To Conquer. I think we were about the only people who hadn't got there an hour early to have a picnic, but they still managed to find us a spot to put our rug. Fun performance, if rather silly! It got bloody chilly towards the end, though.

Before that, I headed off to the hospital for a smear test, which has been bewilderingly hard to arrange: I got my letter about a month ago, but learnt when I called my GP that their nurse only has appointments (I exaggerate not) at 9am, 9:20am, 3pm and 3:20pm on Mondays, or 9am or 9:20am on Fridays. Mondays and Fridays being the days Mike is most often on London, and first thing being awkward with the boys, the second time I called to rearrange it (Mike having had to go to work on the first attempt) I asked if there was anywhere else I could go instead. The receptionist pointed me at the hospital sexual health clinic, so I called them and made an appointment. The actual appointment took three times longer than it should: the nurse spent the first third explaining that they didn't actually do smear tests there, because they didn't get paid for it, but she'd do it anyway but had to refamiliarise herself with the forms and the third third telling me in great detail what would happen next (understandable, as I suspect she spends most of her time dealing with nervous teenagers). I did learn (after I said 'I remember it hurting more than that') that they use a nifty little silicone brush these days, rather than a wooden scraper. I remain boggled that the sexual health clinic isn't supposed to do smear tests, and am becoming even more inclined to change GP to one with a non-ludicrous appointment system: even if the other one I can go to has a crappy system, it can't be worse than what I currently have to put up with. I also learnt that having had the HPV vaccination doesn't get you out of having smears, which is a shame and (IMO) something that's not been emphasised enough.

The cows are out in the valley, as of yesterday, which rather buggers up Jo's rehabilitation walks. When Mike's not at work, we'll be driving her up to the woods but with another week before she's allowed to do hills it's a problem if I haven't got the car. Mutter.
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Bits and bobs

♥Jul. 8th, 2016 // 08:41 pm
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Duck seems fine.

Bugs had a visit from the 2nd vet, who wants to see him at the surgery. Which will be fun. And expensive. I've been texting around people that the receptionist said might be able to do transport for two horses for the day, because of course GB can't be left on his own....

No word from Jo's vet about a new surgery date, so they're probably still playing phone tag.

In the last week or so, I've had five emails (that is, half of what hits my gmail account's spam folder after going through initial screening on Mike's provider) that purport to be from someone I know, though not from their email address, and that address me in an appropriate way for that person. I suspect that if I emailed the people involved, we could figure out which service has leaked their address books (there are, for example, some yearoftheteledu addresses in the cc's, and an address belonging to someone who used to swap to a new free email address every year or so when he started getting too much crap in his inbox), but I'm not sure it's worth the effort.

We had been planning to go to the Kent County Show but thought we'd have to go tomorrow because of the vet. As it was, he was gone by 2pm, so we thought we'd go for it: it's much quieter on Friday than on Saturday. There were a few things missing: not many heavy horses, and about half the cages in the poultry tent (which is also where the rabbits are) were empty. The horses were apparently all busy haymaking, and based on the fact that all the people working the poultry tent were girls in their early teens I suspect that most of the competitors hadn't been allowed to skip a day of school to attend. On the plus side, the flower arrangements were all lovely and fresh and looking at their best, and the cakes hadn't started to sag in the heat. Plus, fewer people. We had a nice time, wandered the shop, watched bits of a handful of horse classes and saw the pig racing:

(Number five won the Grand National, which means that Teresa May will be the next Prime Minister. Previous predictions included Farrage to be PM after the last election and a Remain vote, so I wouldn't rely too much on their piggy predictive powers.)

We bought very little that wasn't edible, and I several times uttered the words "Oh, I neededn't have bought that on Amazon the other day". In reality, though, the one I bought on Amazon was probably cheaper. This probably has something to do with why the shows are all struggling a bit: once upon a time, they were a serious shopping opportunity.

We also looked at some new garden furniture, but didn't see anything that made us want to rush to buy. We were intrigued by the fact that two different places had almost identical stock. One, in a nice marquee, was more expensive than the other, which boasted of huge show discounts, all display stock must go, delivery this evening after we close. The latter had no proper signage or fliers, which made it look dodgy as hell, but also offered a 12-month payment plan, which was odd. But, I suppose, may well have involved a big bloke coming 'round to check you hadn't forgotten to make your payments....
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The first rule of Quilt Club...

♥Jan. 30th, 2016 // 04:34 pm
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... seems to be 'have a cup of tea'.

This afternoon, I went to the East Kent quilt group meeting, because Mrs Up The Hill told me I should and I couldn't think of a good reason not to.

Actually, I had a moderately good time, and went to four technique demonstrations, which I've come away from with a few ideas. (As with programme items at a con, some were unnecessary once you'd read the description handout, some were all over the place, and some were completely inaudible.) I've also signed up for some workshop days (and, indeed, paid to join the actual group).

Then there was a break for tea, to be followed by announcements and other business, but fortunately I had to leave to get back and help Mike with the boys.
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♥Jan. 4th, 2016 // 03:02 pm
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We've had a lovely New Year, but Mike is somewhat sick of cooking, and I am somewhat sick of washing up, running the dishwasher, and doing laundry.... I'm also incredibly knackered, but we're going out to see ISIHAC this evening, so that should be fun.

It's been rather wet, which is annoying: we've had to keep the horses in for the last couple of days, and I suspect that the next couple will be the same. They aren't very impressed by this, as you can probably imagine, but it really is horrible out there. The standing water in the stableyard yesterday was very nearly deep enough for the ducks to swim in. (It could, of course, be Much Worse.)

In the ongoing drama that is gategate, Mrs Next Door phoned a few evenings ago to ask for help: someone had re-hung Mrs Top Of The Hill's PGATRTIOTTAPINUTR, and then either the same or a different person had tied it shut with a knotted piece of baling twine. I drove up there with scissors to let her out and then, having thought about it a little more, drove back up with a chain and padlock to make sure it didn't happen again. It had been off the hinges still a couple of hours before, so the chances of two different people being involved are slight. That means that either someone helpfully put it back as a favour to Mrs Top Of The Hill and then idiotically tied it shut or they went to a huge amount of effort in an attempt to inconvenience Mrs Top Of The Hill (which failed because she's not here). It's all very odd. Anyway, I emailed her and told her what I'd done and she said thanks and she'll sort it when she gets back.
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♥Dec. 29th, 2015 // 08:27 pm
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Sofa. Gin. Tonic. Home-grown lemon. Happy pooch.

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

This morning, we had our somewhat disrupted riding lessons: I did twenty minutes on GB, and then our instructor spent half an hour seeing how Bugs did with being lunged (which she thinks will help him). As expected (and the reason we got her to do it first), as soon as she started he went "time to run around like a loon!", but she did manage to get him being mostly calm after a while, so we now just need to keep working on it: five or ten minutes each time we're going to ride him.
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♥Dec. 6th, 2015 // 10:38 am
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We were very astonished this morning to find that Esk and Esme had laid eggs, the first we'd had since the end of September. They have been a bit greedy for the last few days, but we didn't expect them to come back into lay until the spring.

Last night we went up to London for a lovely time at a party: many, many thanks are due to our lovely hostess, who made such a nice dog-friendly space for Jo that we ended up with a mini party out there as people came out to cool off for a bit! (And yummy sausage rolls! Nom!)
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♥Nov. 22nd, 2015 // 11:08 pm
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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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Walking in the rain

♥Nov. 19th, 2015 // 03:08 pm
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Last Christmas, I got Mike a voucher for a half-day falconry thingie at Leeds Castle (him to do and me to watch), and today (having planned to do it a few weeks ago then cancelled as Mike's foot was sore) we finally got around to going along. It was just us, so we got a lot of attention from the falconer!

(The falconer went to a falconry display when she was ten and got hooked. By the time she was thirteen, she'd convinced her parents that this really was what she was going to do with her life, and got her first hawk, which is the one Mike was mostly using today. After spending six years volunteering at various falconry places, she finally got an actual paying job in the field!)

First we met all the birds, and learnt various interesting things (New World vultures are a type of stork; in the wild birds of prey take about eight months to moult, as they have to keep flying in order to eat, but if you put them in an aviary and give them loads of food then they get it finished in about four; they mostly feed their birds on day-old chicks because the yolk sacks are full of healthy goodness; hand-reared birds tend to be very vocal), then we went out with a Harris Hawk for a walk through the woods. He was in his teens, and knew exactly what his job was: fly from tree to tree keeping an eye on the humans, not getting too far away, and every couple of hundred yards swoop down to eat the bit of chicken that the falconer had put on Mike's glove. He was very impressive!

(Before we headed off he went and perched on the scales for a weight check: too low and he won't have enough energy to work that day, too high and he won't be interested enough in food to cooperate, particularly with a stranger.)

Every so often, he'd see (or think he'd seen) something to hunt, and he'd go off into the undergrowth: didn't get anything, but a few days ago he got an enormous rabbit and, last year, several pea-chicks. He's not allowed to fly near the peacocks any more.

It was rather a damp day (although I think less so there than at home), so the walk wasn't as long as it usually would be: he was getting soggy feathers and starting to struggle slightly, so we paused at his dinner-eating-place (the non-moulting birds are taken to the same spot each day for their dinner. It's always somewhere nice and open with a distinctive view (in this case of the castle), so that the bird can find it easily. If a bird ever gets lost, the first place the falconers check is the dinner place). He got two chicks today: usually he only gets one, but he'd been working and would need the extra energy to dry himself out, and wasn't working tomorrow so wouldn't be overweight for that. I feel as though I have a greater insight into the food habits of ballet dancers now!

Rather than send us off an hour early, the falconer put him back on his perch and got the buzzard out instead. After being weighed, the buzzard had a little homing beacon cable-tied to her leg, Just In Case she decided to go soaring off on her own, but actually it was still damp enough that she stayed close to the ground. We went to the area where they do their falconry displays, and Mike flew her a few times (bigger bits of chicken!) but she wasn't really very impressed with the weather!

Moving pictures! )

After that, we had a quick lunch in the coffee shop, a brief walk around the outside of the castle (we saw a pair of kingfishers flying over the moat underneath us, and one of them left a little trail of bubbles when it scooped something out of the water!), a slightly longer walk through the grounds to the car park, and then came home to Release The Hound. I would have quite liked to see the inside of the castle and the historic dog collar exhibition, but we don't like leaving her for a very long time, and we're unlikely to go back, as we've seen pretty much everything except those two bits and I can't imagine that they're £24-per-person good!

After which I went for another damp walk in the woods, this time with a different mighty hunter.

(Actually, the sitter took that last Saturday after another damp walk. Isn't she adorable?)

I drove up to the woods, because I was feeling knackered and it was wet, so I went in a bit I'd not visited for a week or so. The loggers have been very busy, but I really hope that they're going to put the bridleway back into some sort of order before they leave, or at least smooth out the foot-deep tire tracks that cut across it:

I had at least half an hour to sit down after that before we went to get the boys in, slightly early as the farrier was visiting. They are disgustingly muddy: we turned the hose on their legs to make it less horrible for him! Tomorrow, we're supposed to be having a riding lesson but the weather forecast isn't great. Tonight, they're wearing their thin cotton summer rugs. Tomorrow night, they'll be in their thickest winter ones....
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Oh, the excitement. With qualifications.

♥Oct. 23rd, 2015 // 02:44 pm
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This morning, I rode Bugs, who was a bit nervous to start off with but calmed down fairly quickly. (This is not the exciting part, by any means.)

While I was doing so, I tried to figure out what the small lorry that had disgorged a small gaggle of hi-viz-wearing people was doing, stopped randomly in the road a little way off. I did worry that it was the bin lorry, broken down, but eventually decided (and later confirmed, when they came further along and stopped near our house) that they were actually fixing the road! Very exciting, although we haven't yet had a chance to see what they've fixed it with. Given that, further along, they've cleared away a pile of washed-down-the-hill crap that I reported a little while ago, I have a slight fear that I might know what they've shovelled into the pot holes. Mike says I'm just being cynical, though.

(And, of course, the fact that they'd put a sign at the end of the road saying "Long delays likely" meant that the bin lorry crew went "meh, sod that" and didn't actually turn up....)

I was also wondering, as I rode and then mucked out, where the Aga Guys were: the Nice Man From Aga had promised me that we were their first job of the day, but apparently lied as they didn't get here until noon. Fortunately, this wasn't a problem: the decorator had already said he wouldn't come until tomorrow, and they and the electricians (who arrived at about the same time) were working in different places.

It turns out that Agas of A Certain Vintage are insulated with magic pixie dust. You can tell that it's magic pixie dust because it's so teeny tiny that it just goes right through the filter on a vacuum cleaner. It also hangs in the air beautifully, thus ensuring that the layer of pinkish dust that covers every flat surface in your nice big open-plan kitchen/dining room is even throughout. That was terribly exciting, in a sweary sort of way.

Not to be out-done, the electricians reported exciting rodent damage to some of the electrical cables running through the ceiling, as well as needing unscheduled emptying of part of not-a-loo, rearrangement of the study, and emptying of the fridge. On the plus side, they also temporarily took up some of the carpet upstairs and we have *lovely* floorboards. On the minus side, that's in the old bit of the house, so we still don't know what it's like downstairs or in the new bit, but it does lend encouragement to the vague plan to take up the downstairs (and, possibly, now, upstairs hall) carpets.

Pleasingly, behind the Aga is in much better shape than we'd feared, with barely any need to chip away plaster, so the decorator's job for this weekend will hopefully be nice and quick.

They didn't all clear off until gone 5pm, so by the time we'd (mostly) put things back where they belong and wiped away the dust we took an executive decision to go to the pub for dinner. Rabbit ragu was a bit of a win.

In between times, we've been reading the new Miles novel. That's quite exciting, too, but I shan't do spoilers.
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Mighty hunter!

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

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

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

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

♥Oct. 6th, 2015 // 03:38 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1111765.html]

You know what no one ever uses, or builds, buys, digs or makes in the Little House On The Prairie books? Now that I've realised it, I'm intensely curious....

Mike went off to London today, for a consulting job that looks like it could involve a fair bit more. Unfortunately for him, he was back shortly after lunch and, as none of the neighbours can make it, that means he gets to come to the ballet with me this evening. Poor Mike.
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The Martian

♥Oct. 5th, 2015 // 06:02 pm
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This afternoon, we went to the cinema for the first time in years, to see The Martian.

It's very good. I might have to re-read the book, now.

I was, however, utterly bewildered by the adverts beforehand. Particularly the one about putting horseradish in your macaroni cheese.

(It is about a decade since I've regularly seen adverts, so maybe I'm just not used to them any more!)
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How do we stand the excitment?

♥Oct. 3rd, 2015 // 03:23 pm
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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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Busy busy

♥Sep. 27th, 2015 // 03:14 pm
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We've had a lovely weekend of visitors, but I'm knackered now and have sneaking suspicions about Plague acquisition (this is what happens when you go to That There London, I'm convinced).

On Friday, we went out for lunch and then I headed into town: had a couple of hours of nice chat with my dentist, and then a couple of hours of deeply tedious charity meeting. After a little while, the Chair and I started playing 'we had this exact same conversation and action point at the previous meeting' bingo.... Too many very busy chiefs, no one actually doing the work. Managed to resist the urges to offer to do it myself so that it would be done and done properly.

I was late back home, but found the house full of people and a glass of wine waiting for me, so all was well.

Yesterday, we went to the Canterbury Food and Drink Festival, which was absolutely packed (and, in consequence, the car parks were all full -- I think we got the last spot in the biggest one -- and the traffic was snarled all around the ring road and beyond so that it took over twice as long as it should have done to get there/home). I can only assume that we went on the Friday last year, and possibly also that it's a lot more popular this year. They're going to have to do something differently next year, although I'm not sure what.

There were lots of interesting stalls but by the time it was lunch time they all also had enormous queues so that we decided to just give up and go into town for food where we could sit down. It wasn't a total loss, though: pork scratching, pork pies, ice cream and blue cheese were variously bought, and we got a free bag of incredibly cute little peppers from our veg box people (because I did a sad face about never getting them in our box -- they don't get enough, and I suspect they're expensive).

Lunch was at Salt, which we'd been meaning to try for a while, which is a tapas-style place. There were five of us, so we just ordered one of everything, and it was almost entirely really really good, with one of the dishes being a little dry. Mike and I came home to Release The Hound while the others stayed for puddings. (The festival website said service dogs only. In fact, there were lots of dogs there but it would have been much too crowded for Jo so it's probably a good thing we didn't take her.)

In the evening, we played Concept after dinner, which I'd got Mike for his birthday for just this sort of occasion. Very fun as long as you don't try to follow the rules too much.

Today, we've been to the Devil's Kneeding Trough and the King's Head, where we had their Sunday menu for the first time (although, pleasingly, they still offer most of their regular menu as well: I hate it when it's obligatory to have an enormous roast if you're not in the mood). V excited to learn that the new menu starts tomorrow, and the new scotch egg is pork and chorizo: I dare say we'll be back soon so that I can try it!

I am possessed of a laundry mountain and a small stack of washing up, but I think I'm just going to leave it until tomorrow and have an early night instead.
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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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♥Jul. 11th, 2015 // 08:33 pm
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As well as growing aubergines (and other things) from seed, I bought one grafted plant to see if it was enough better to be worth the money.

(In terms of growth, it and the tomato haven't get overtaken the seed ones, but it's early-ish days.)

It put out its first flower a week or so ago, and we were a bit concerned as none of the others are in flower yet: we'd just about written it off, but then I had a look underneath it today and there is a little purple blob in there! Turns out that they're self fertile, which is handy.

You'll have to imagine it, though, as apparently LJ Scrapbook is down.

(Still incredibly busy with guests. Other things include a new horsefly-blocking screen for the back door, which means I've been able to leave the door open today without filling the kitchen with the little buggers, although they are still getting me at least once a day when I'm outside; making cushions with pictures of her dogs for my sister for her birthday (see above re: imagining the photo); getting the neighbours' field up the hill ready to take the boys for a few months; and the Kent Country Show, at which we bought Jodie a very stylish chamois leather coat, which you soak in water so that it acts as a little portable cooler: seems to work!)
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London Town

♥Oct. 12th, 2014 // 08:00 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1045980.html]

This morning, we took the boys and Jo out for a hack (GB seemed ok, which is good. He seemed mostly ok yesterday, but started to be a bit off when he was getting tired), and then I headed off to the station to go to London.

I met up with Erik for (fishy, as it happened) lunch, and then we went to see a Steve Reich concert, which was pretty good. Clapping Music seemed a bit less crisp than the last time I saw it, but then that was a few years ago and was his 75th birthday concert, so I suppose he's allowed. The second of the three pieces with instruments was my favourite, I think.

In a 'not what you'd expect from me' moment, I was a bit miffed by something, though. I did vaguely think, part way through, that it was a little odd and a bit of a shame that there weren't any women in the six musicians (excluding the composer). I was then initially pleased and later rather annoyed when a woman appeared for the last piece: she was there to turn pages for one of the pianists. Given that only four of the musicians were in the final piece, it did rather look as though the two not in it felt that turning pages was beneath them and they'd better get a girl in to do it instead....

Horrible drive home, sheeting rain and in the dark. Still, made it ok, and now back with a pleased pooch!
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♥Jul. 20th, 2014 // 03:07 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1026676.html]

This morning, the Baby had a bath and GB had a hair cut, so now they're looking very smart.

(GB's mane wasn't as long as it usually is when I get sick of it and give him a trim, but his flysheet tends to squash it down and make it look silly.

Then, we went up to Brogdale, the national fruit collection, for their cherry festival. Not sure that it was worth the £8 to get in, but we did have pig in a bun and cake, and bought some cherries and plums to take home. We did also have a little wander around the orchards, but actually they're kind of dull: row after row after row of not quite identical apple trees... oh, now they're plum trees... cherries... etc.

We didn't bother with the cherry pit spitting or cherry pie eating contests. Or the miniature railway. I was quite amused by the teddybear zip wire parachuting that the local kite club was running.

I was also quite surprised by how crappy their garden centre is: I'd have thought that it would be more impressive, but it's very small and mostly just had a few dozen apple and cherry trees in it.

The weather's been odd: it's been dry today, but it's very misty and there are occasional rumbles of thunder. Jodie's a bit on edge after the last few days, and the internet is utterly shite (several minutes to open a plain text email). Bah.
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Oh dear.

♥Jul. 11th, 2014 // 07:10 pm
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It turns out that Mike was right about it being a bad day.

After he got kicked, I went off to Pilates, which was fine, but the rain as I was coming back down the motorway was terrifying. Even so, we went off to the Kent County show, hoping that it would cheer up a bit. It did in the sense that the cloud came down sufficiently that it was no longer technically *raining*. We weren't terribly impressed, but that was partly it looked as though today's horse showing was 50,000 Fractionally Different Hunter Classes, and anyway it wasn't fit weather to stand and watch the ponies going around in circles. Plus, we were vaguely looking for three or four things to buy, and didn't find any of them.

Jo wasn't terribly impressed, either: it was by turns scary and terribly exciting, and she couldn't go and sniff everything that she wanted to, and strange people kept petting her when she couldn't get away. She did like the crispy chicken liver strips from the overly elaborate pet food stall, though.

We came home, and spotted a fox running through the valley. I checked on the ducks, Just In Case: all ok.

Later, Mike started to make dinner. There was a crash. He's going to have to stop buying flavour shakers: they're great, but they just don't last. Later still, he got some wine glasses out. There was a crash. "What happened?" I asked, going to investigate. "All I did was put a wine glass down on the table, like--" there was another crash. Better get some more wine glasses. I don't know if we're just using them more since we moved (more people visiting, and so on) or if the new box we recently bought isn't as good as the old ones were: we had them as a wedding present, and the first batch certainly used to last longer.

As there was still some time before dinner, I suggested that we put the girls to bed. In came Magrat, in came Esme.... No Gytha. No Gytha in the stableyard. No sound of Gytha trying to find the others. No Gytha in the alley. No Gytha in the... oh, wait. Gytha lying down in the field. Gytha lying down with half her feathers plucked and a hole in her chest, where the buzzard's been at her.

We suspect that it was Act Of Horse, but have no idea if it was Baby trying to play or GB getting annoyed. A fox would have eaten more, and possibly taken her away. I'll have to phone the Duck Man and see if he can let me have another trout.
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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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♥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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♥Apr. 7th, 2014 // 02:00 pm
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Yesterday, I went up to town and had a long and rather boozy lunch with Erik. I'm feeling a little fragile, today, which combined with the weather meant that we just threw the boys in the field and left them to it.

(I'm decidedly not complaining about the weather. The grass needs some rain!)

I've just come back from a (shortish) walk with the pooch. Before I went out, I opened the gate to the field, to see if they wanted to come in. They were still up there when I got back, so I guess that they're not.

Also on the way out, I went and got the post: although it's lovely and helpful of the postman to just sensibly leave parcels in the plastic box by our letter box, and helpful of him to sign for things for us, rather than making us have them redelivered, in weather like this I really would rather he got out of his van and walked a few yards to the house, rather than stacking them all up so that they overflow the box and get rained on.

On the way to the post, I stepped in the pond that's reappeared at the end of our drive, and was reminded that my left boot had started to leak. When I brought the post to the house, I also swapped into my old pair of boots.

As we walked around the woods, it became apparent that, as well as having a dodgy lining, the right one of my old boots also leaks slightly. When they've all dried off, I'm going to see if they're identical enough that I can just mix and match, but I've also got the new pair that I bought in the sales out from the cupboard: time to start breaking them in!

The bluebells are still coming out, in the woods. I did notice that the one or two white ones we saw the other day is now a definite patch, but I didn't take a picture because my phone was getting wet!

This was quite odd: there was a little patch of at least half a dozen trees with blobs of foam at the base of their trunk. It looked like something was being washed down the side of them, so I guess it's sap, or something insect-related, but it was very odd:
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Bright lights, big city, soggy trains

♥Feb. 22nd, 2014 // 11:04 pm
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(Has anyone else been getting masses of spam over the past few days? I'm wondering if someone's having a go at one of my domain names. They're coming in waves of a few dozen of the same subject line, every six hours or so.)

Yesterday, I headed up to the Big City for a convention. It wasn't Picocon, though, it was the @rchers @narchists, and it was (deja vu ishly) in the Melton Mowbray. Unfortunately, on Friday the train line from Canterbury to Ashford (and thence to London) flooded, as a result of the once-in-a-century occasional river: got to love ground water, still causing new chaos after an almost entirely dry week! It was only going to be a flying visit anyway, arriving twenty minutes before the 7pm start and leaving at about 9pm, but then my train was half an hour late getting in, so I had a good time but didn't really get to talk to people much. Still, it was fun. Coming home, I got the train before the one I'd planned, but then it left at the same time as the one I'd actually been going for. Poor Mike had to drive me too and from the station: if it'd been Canterbury, I probably would have got a taxi home. In retrospect, I possibly should have stayed in London: I had half a dozen offers of a bed as soon as I said how early I'd have to leave, but then I would have had to get up early this morning to get home....

(I had thought about popping into Picocon for a bit, as I was in town anyway, but Mike would have had to bring the boys in by himself, and they've been being Difficult lately. Plus, South Ken is so far away that it barely counts as London!)

Today, Mike mowed the lawn, after we'd gone round and scooped up all the mole hills. Really must find a mole guy to come and sort them out. I dragged Mike to the woods that I like to walk in, too (he doesn't normally want to go that far). The bluebells are going to be really spectacular in a couple of months: there's no grass in this picture!

Here's another shot of the house, from over the valley. You can see that the boys are steadily working their way across the field, and I'm quite pleased with how well it's coping given the weather. (They had new grass this morning, which they've been diligently munching away on. When we went to have a look at the field after they came in (nicely, hurrah!), there was just a little patch of it right at the top. We attribute this to the fact that GB is too lazy to walk all the way up the hill, so it only started to get eaten when the Baby got sick of being nagged and went off up there alone.)

(Aww: Jodie's wuffling in her sleep. She must be chasing bunnies! Normally, she wakes up as soon as I move enough to try and video her, but she must have been very tired today, so I managed it. But it's apparently going to take an hour and a half to upload a minute of video, so maybe you'll get it later instead.)
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Some pictures

♥Jan. 8th, 2014 // 09:50 pm
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This is the dodgy tree in the Farmers' field:

(Or, at least, that *was* the dodgy tree the other day. I didn't go up there today. Mr Farmer is apparently waiting for half of it to come down before he takes the other half off: he's worried that, at the moment, it will just fly off in a random direction and be dangerous if he tries to chainsaw it.) It is definitely more split now than it was when they first put the signs up, so I dare say that it will go down eventually, hopefully not when I'm walking past it, as the pooch does find the base of it to be very interestingly scented.

Yesterday, I went up to London: I was (over)due a checkup at the dentist, and then afterwards we went back to her house in Barbican for some supper. I even got a bonus appearance from her husband, whose surgery night had been swapped, so that was lovely. It's been too long since I'd seen them.

This morning, the pooch came hacking with us for the first time since she disgraced herself. She seemed to have a grand time of it, and we had no problems whatsoever with her other than the bit where she wiggled off the path (to avoid the horses as we went through a gate) straight into a patch of burrs.

(I think I counted six of them.... On the other hand, the Baby got himself in the same patch on the way back home and got them in his mane and, bizarrely, right under his chin! Rather blurry as we were all moving along at the time. And yet, isn't it still a lovely, non-blurry picture with the new lens cover? Mike says that this one should be better....)

I figured that that counted as her walk, so I just took her for a run in the field after lunch. We're letting the WWOTV's dogs out for a wee at lunch time, at the moment: the little ones just came outside, looked around pathetically and went back in, but Bruno looked soulfully at me and sat down for scritches, so I took him with us. I was a bit worried, as he was stiff and limping when we left the house, but by the time we got back he was knackered but trotting nicely along.

As we went along the field, he kept looking at Jodie (up ahead, sniffing in the hedge, taking advantage of being on home turf and having a good line of sight to go for a proper bound) and then back at me as if you say "Really? I can keep going? Wow!" before running after her. Poor little lad, stuck walking around the same field every day with just a collection of small yappy things for company.

This evening, I went to look at Next Door's horse. It was apparently very lame yesterday (she called to summon me, but I was out), but when she trotted him up for me he just looked a bit careful about one of the fronts. I was quite horrified when I looked at his feet, though: they really are as flat and crappy as she and the farrier say! All four of them were hotter than I would ever accept for the boys, which is apparently normal, but the one that seemed to be hurt was literally steaming, and it's not cold out there tonight. My best guess is that he scraped it on a flint or similar (there is a bit of a red patch), and it's now had time to get mostly better so will be absolutely fine tomorrow. Might also be mud fever, especially as that's a white foot, but there was no real sign of any scabs. In my vast knowledge and experience I told her to hose it and put sudacreme on it, but I think I might try and have a feel some other time and see if they really are always that hot, because surely it can't be right.
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♥Dec. 16th, 2013 // 04:12 pm
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Mike's brother and his family have been for a flying visit (the brother with the angelically good children). Yesterday, we had dog walking in the rain, pony rides in the rain (much to GB's annoyance), card games and tasty curry for dinner.

Today, the kids helped us to walk the dogs around the field (for which we were very grateful: this was the first time we'd had both the Next Doors' dogs, the WWOTV's dogs and the WWOTV's ex-husband's dogs, and nine was a bit of a handful! I really should have taken a picture, but am an idiot and didn't think to) we went up to the Devil's Kneeding Trough, where there was a lovely view of the cloud that we were in the middle of, and then had lunch at a nice, and very dog friendly, pub in Wye: we'll go back there, the food was lovely if a little slow to arrive.

It's just possible that went into Plokta Cabal mode when preparing for the visit: the fridge is still rather stuffed, even though they've now gone back to Dublin....

It seems to always rain when we have visitors, annoyingly. It was better than the forecast, though, so that's something.

Tomorrow, we have more rain on the forecast, and we have our first proper lessons with our new instructor. At least if it's raining GB will be up for doing some work!

(Peter O'Toole (rose_gialle) and Joan Fontaine (clanwilliam). They're now joint second.)
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♥Nov. 23rd, 2013 // 03:31 pm
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Today, it finally stopped raining! Plus, Mike fixed my phone camera, so I've been doubly able to wander around taking pictures.

This morning, we finally sold (almost certainly: it's going to be MoT'd first) the old car. After having it sit around outside for three-and-a-bit months while we didn't get around to it, we had the bright idea of asking the mechanic next door if he knew anyone. Next day, we got a phone call: it's going off to be a lad's first car, which I think it'll be great at.

After that, we went for a nice hack, for the first time in ages. The trees are a lot less leafy than they were, but they're still very pretty in the sun:

We also went past the mysterious bit of the woods where all the trees have numbers on them. Presumably, the Forestry Commission are planning on chopping down some or all of them in the not-too-distant future, but it is very tempting to go out there one night with a can of spray paint and confuse them!

Afterwards, the boys were pleased to get to go in the field: they've not been out there in three days, as it's just been too soggy to risk the damage they'd do to the grass.

This afternoon, Mike bizarrely opted to stay at home while I took the pooch for a walk. We had a nice hour and a half out in the woods, and found The Biggest Puddle Ever at just the point when she was starting too look in need of a drink:

(Given how she was behaving when we saw the (recently-done) boy from up the lane in the woods yesterday, she's nearly done with being in season. Of course, this is now the dangerous bit, but I'll be glad when it's over!)

She's asleep now, and Mike and I are both a bit knackered too, which may be unfortunate: we're off out to see Fascinating Aida this evening, which I'm looking forward to a lot.

(On Thursday, I went to the Big City for a visit to Gauthier with my Gentleman Friend. We had the autumn lunch tasting menu, which was a very reasonable £40 a head, including a glass of fizz, if you pretend to forget about the cost of the two bottles of wine that we also had.... Well worth a try for this menu, if you've never been.)
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Wyrd Sisters

♥Nov. 6th, 2013 // 10:52 pm
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This evening, we went to see Wyrd Sisters, put on by the Cambridge Players.

The traffic was horrible enough getting there to make us dubious about mid-week theatre, so we ended up eating int he theatre cafe, which was pretty good.

The theatre was the same one that we saw The Invisible Lighthouse in a couple a months ago, and it was even less full tonight. As far as I could tell, all of the audience were close personal friends of the cast, or possibly occasional members of it for other plays, and none of them had read the book, so god knows what they made of it.

As we were leaving, the people behind us were asking in confusion what the turtle had to do with anything when it wasn't used in the play:

It was quite fun, though, and not many fluffed lines. Very long, though: 7:30 until very nearly 10pm, with a shortish interval. That meant that the pooch was on her own for getting on for five hours, and she was really very pleased to see us when we got back!
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♥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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How does that work?

♥May. 19th, 2013 // 06:43 pm
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Izzat Ibrahim ad-Douri has freckles and a ginger 'tash. Is that common in Iraq...?

This morning, Mike and I did a dressage competition. GB was utterly terrified of the judges, which was somewhat irritating. Jonny did very well, and wasn't phased by it all, which was very good. (Jonny has also progressed to the stage where Mike can rest a set of running clippers on his neck without him freaking out, although we've not yet managed to tidy up is mane and get it out of the way of his saddle. On the minus side, it took Mike five minutes to get on him the other day, and that would have been longer if I'd not gone over and glared at him....) As it happens, there's another dressage comp, doing the same tests, at the other end of the lane next Sunday: I'm considering doing it in the regular saddle to see how much of a difference it makes.

That top I was muttering about sizing on arrived: I bought a size 10 in the end and it's not a bad fit. It's certainly not inches too small. I might even get something else from the same designer.

Does anyone have any experience of M&S furniture? Specifically, are the drawers nice and smooth or do they stick in an annoying way? There appears to be something of a gap in the market: lots of places do cheap fake wood stuff with drawers on tracks (eg, Ikea) and lots of places do cheap-ish actual wood stuff with drawers not on tracks, but actual wood and drawers on tracks suddenly becomes fiendishly expensive.

We went to see Travels With My Aunt at the Mernier, earlier in the week. It's really quite good, I do recommend it. Very silly, but rather fun.

We're now even more likely to having the new house from 31 July: the Scottish paperwork the next step up the chain has been signed with that date, so all we have to do now is get a structural engineer in to say "Nah, your surveyor was just worrying about nothing" and we're sorted.

I'm looking forward to that: at the moment, I'm not allowed to buy anything bigger than a duck*, but Mike says that once we've got that bit out of the way then I can start buying things as big as a greyhound**, which is very exciting. The bit where I get to start working out the optimal dates to order furniture so that the delivery times mean it arrives when we're moving in is even more exciting, but that's a little way off yet.

Next Friday is my work summer fun day. I can hardly contain my excitement. I'm not sure how they will top the fun-packed wonder that was the Christmas outing, but I'm sure that they'll manage. (It's all a big secret, I think: the gels keep asking me if I've paid any invoices that might give them clues. I haven't. Well, not unless we're going to a printing factory, or doing a bit of redecorating.)

* But not an actual duck. I have a mean husband.
** Ditto. I have pointed out that *he* bought something that was in fact as big as a horse, but he says that it doesn't count because it doesn't have to be stored in the flat. Hmph.
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Busy week!

♥Apr. 21st, 2013 // 03:30 pm
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Mike's back at work tomorrow, I'm almost relieved....

We went back to see the horse on Wednesday, and he did pretty well in a sand school given his age and experience (he'd been in one for probably the first time that morning, as they wanted to make sure that it didn't freak him out, and when I did a circle on him the dealer said "that's probably the first time he's done that!"). He's a bit wobbly on changes of direction, but only for a couple of steps before he sorts himself out, and it takes him a little while to settle into a trot or canter but it's pretty good once he does.

Mike was back down to Gatwick on Thursday, as there happened to be another horse being vetted that morning and we piggy-backed on the visit: passed with a clean bill of health, so Mike now has a horse of his own! As he's been living in a field all winter, we thought it was worth asking at my yard to see if he could just go in with the field ponies there (they're phasing them out as stables come free but, on current knowledge, the next free stable will be GB's) and got told that he could, so he'll be arriving on Monday week. The field ponies are on the same bit of the field rota as GB, which is good as they'll get to know each other a bit and, if we're really lucky, actually make friends before we move. He'll have a bit of a hectic day, as he'll be going in a box, driving around the M25, arriving at a new home, getting his shoes and saddle done and getting the grooming of his life, but hopefully he'll be ok with it. We might even be able to teach him what a carrot's for!

While Mike was doing that, I was at work, and in the evening it was out office warming party, which featured a band with an average age of about fifteen and lots and lots of PR people and clients who I didn't really know: I was quite glad Mike made it along to keep me company!

On Friday morning, we headed out to the new house and had a bit of a chat to the owner (they're still slightly hopeful about a house they offered for on Scotland, but she was also going to look at three places to rent that afternoon) and then spent some time with a guy from a company that does equestrian work, looking over what needs doing on the horsey bits of the property. He was pleased with the stables, unimpressed with the fence posts and terribly impressed with the sand school, the one thing he didn't really think needed any work. I was a little concerned that the rabbits who've been digging holes in the school has damaged the membrane layer under the sand, which would be a huge job, but he thinks we're safe from that. Being unimpressed with the fencing was almost a blessing: we had thought that we'd re-use the existing fence posts if they were in god condition, but as we're having to replace them any way it means we can change the orientation of the fence dividing the two paddocks, which will make the layout much better. We headed over to Bexley after that, where Mike rode and I told people about the new horse, as I was feeling too knackered to ride especially as I was out that evening.

I went to Gauthier, which I love, with Erik. We had the eight-course tasting menu, which was fabulous but rather long: we sat down at 7pm and, just as I was about to suggest one last glass of wine before we left, suddenly it was 11pm....

Saturday morning I did ride: we went out in the woods, where it was lovely and sunny and hardly muddy at all, which was a welcome change. In the evening, we went to a party at Dr Johnson's house, for a friend's birthday, where there were an array of gorgeous jellies, including some shaped like St Paul's Cathedral. There wasn't actually much other food, though, so we had a quick dinner in Taz before coming home.

Today has been very much a day for sitting on the sofa, doing more bits of new house planning and listening to the marathon go past. I needed a quiet day!
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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.)

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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.)
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♥Apr. 14th, 2013 // 08:33 pm
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Mike's off work for the next week (and actually off work, not just free-in-working-hours-but-otherwise-on-call), so we've taken the opportunity to get away from London for a few days, even if I couldn't make him leave his laptop behind....

Horses, driving, wandering and hotels of the commie and church variety. )
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I seem to be busy lately....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♥Oct. 6th, 2012 // 09:06 pm
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I'm pleased to say that, other than being a bit bored, GB seems to be much better. Admittedly, he's still on anti-inflamatories, but his leg seems to be going back to normal. He has another few days off, and then I'll try getting on him. I may have to take the superglue (actually, I may just get the sidesaddle out: see if you can make me fall out of that, you bugger).

He has seemed rather bemused, this week: I keep going to see him, getting him in from the field, grooming him, completely failing to ride him, letting him have some grass and then putting him back into the field. It's all very odd. I enlivened this a few days ago by lunging him. Well, trying to. I managed to get a trot out of him, but he's never really been very good at lunging, and when I tried to get a canter he just sped up and trotted really really fast until I got dizzy and gave up. Hours, or at least twenty minutes, of entertainment for everyone else on the yard!

Last night, we failed to see Charlie's Aunt at the Mernier, on account of migraine.

Today, we went to the South Of England showground's Game Fair, which was (at least as far as we were concerned) unique and unusual as a Game Fair due to the complete and utter absence of any game products whatsoever. The nearest thing was a stall selling farmed duck; we were bemused, having expected to come away with a boot full of meat to freeze. Nice day out in the sun, even so, and I got to watch the Flying Foxes, a sidesaddle display team, as well as looking at things like leeks that would in fact feed a family of four for a week. I have to wonder what they do with the ones that aren't perfect enough to show....
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Busy busy

♥Jul. 23rd, 2012 // 02:46 pm
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The basketry course got better, thankfully. The second and third days involved far more doing and far less waiting for the instructor to demonstrate, so it was a lot less annoying.

On the first two and a bit days, I made a green basket with yellow spikey bits, which I don't like at all. (When she was showing us the things we could make, I thought 'ew, no, not that style', but then it grew on me. Then it un-grew. Plus, they're not really my colours, much too bright.). On the rest of the third day, I made a nice curve-shaped basket in various shades of dark green, which I like much much more.

Picture with really bad colours:

(It's not actually the same colour as our carpet!)

I completely failed to see a dance performance on Thursday evening at Tate Modern: I woke up in the morning and was utterly knackered, so I cancelled.

I was feeling better by the weekend, though: garden party on Saturday evening, Marcus Brigstock doing a practice gig for Edinburgh on Sunday, and we went out to ride both mornings. GB wasn't terribly happy with the heat on Sunday, though, so this morning I headed off bright and early (or at least, once the bloody torch had cleared my route) before it got too hot. But he still wasn't terribly happy. He's been very clingy, and keeps snuggling up against me: I think he's missing his boyfriend, who moved to a different yard on Saturday. It's slightly cruel, but I hope the boyfriend doesn't settle: if he doesn't, he's coming back to us and getting a stable instead of living in the field. I wonder, only semi-jokingly, if one can get prozac for ponies?
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Death list

♥Jun. 30th, 2012 // 08:02 pm
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Yitzhak Shamir gets points for [livejournal.com profile] drplokta and [livejournal.com profile] nwhyte, but I'm still in the lead!

Mike quite liked One Man Two Guvnors, but I thought it was pants: every single character was a pretty cruel stereotype, including but not limited to The Stupid Welshman, The Dumb Blonde, The Sexy Secretary (actually, bookkeeper, but), The Loves-His-Family-But-Breaks-Your-Knees Gangster, The Elderly Waiter Who Drops Things, The Black Man and, indeed, The Embarrassed Audience Plants, and the basic gist of the play was that the audience were encouraged to laugh cruelly as the stereotypes caused people to get in trouble. Lovely.

(I've seen various reviews that say things like "a pantomime for people who think they don’t like pantomimes". I think that this just reinforces my view that I wouldn't like pantomime.)

Also, Texas Embassy has closed down. Sad face.
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♥Jun. 28th, 2012 // 02:40 pm
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Today, we had a visit from the saddler.

GB had been a bit unhappy with his saddle for a while now, somewhat compensated for by putting a big foam pad under it, but it took a while for me and the saddler to synchronise our diaries.

The saddler was very confused: GB hadn't changed shape particularly since the last visit (when I was surprised that the saddle got the all clear, as it had been bashed around rather at the riding school), so it should have all been fine, but it obviously wasn't. After a bit of delving around inside, he concluded that my air bags had leaked....

(Saddles used to be stuffed, to shape them to the horse's back and provide padding, but some of the newer ones, including mine, have replaced that with airbags, which have the advantage of moulding themselves to the horse better.)

Whilst it would be possible to replace them, it would cost more than the saddle is worth, and nearly half the cost of the latest model of that saddle (which I like anyway), so. Still, as I said, it wasn't terribly unexpected. And the new saddle is lovely and squishy and well padded, so we should both enjoy it. (And the airbags have a five year guarantee on them!)

I've been very crap at updating, lately. Here are some things I have done recently:
- been to a lovely wedding reception, and seen lots of people I hadn't seen in a decade, which was both nice and nerve-wracking;
- done a dressage competition in the side saddle. Didn't win anything, but my scores were pretty consistent: sixes and fives, with a couple of sevens, in Intro B (59.56%), and fives and sixes, with one four, in Prelim 7 (54%). The arena for the latter had an enormous, tiger-filled pile of bits of jumps next to it, which GB naturally had to a) keep an eye on and b) keep as far as possible away from as possible, so this wasn't that surprising. The arena for the former had a cross country fence near one end, but other than giving it a stern look and having a little buck to make the point that he wasn't doing cross country in the side saddle it was safely ignored. Pics/pics, all terribly small so that I can't tell if there's one where I'm not pulling a silly face / don't have my eyes closed, which I might actually want to buy. Someone forgot his camera;
- been to see Democracy, at the Old Vic, which was very interesting if rather long and, in places, slightly wobbilily acted;
- been to a lovely sunny-day party-in-a-garden, at which I got to catch up with various people I don't see often enough;
- been for a ludicrous long (Mike came and collected me from the pub on his way home from work, and ended up having dinner with us) and fancy lunch at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon for Erik's birthday, which featured lovely food but slightly bizarre service: they weren't all that busy, but they kept throwing the food at us, with about two minutes between courses. Then, when they offered coffee and I said "could we have five minutes?" they went away and ignored us for twenty minutes. Most odd. Just to balance the scales, we had pudding (spag bol, because you have to really) at Cafe Ciao, which Erik had never heard of.

Tonight, we're off to see One Man Two Guvnors. Phew.

Here are some pictures that someone else took at the Big Show, later in the day when my hat had melted and my horse become a ravening beast due to cold and boredom. I love the way that it's raining so heavily that it looks like it's snowing....
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Well, that was embarassing...

♥May. 13th, 2012 // 03:26 pm
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Last night was the @@ convention, and as usual we had a team twice the size of any of the others for the quiz: no one minds, because we always do so badly. Only we won. Oops....

Today, I went to see my beloved little shit bag, and he wasn't quite right. Not sure what's up with him, but he was very unhappy about being tacked up and, when we went out in the woods, he really wasn't really interested in anything other than plodding along in walk, even when we went for a canter on the golf course and I asked him if he wanted to go over the jumps that he likes. Not sure what's going on there, but fortunately he's having his back done on Tuesday, so I'll find out if there's actually something wrong or if he was just having a bad day. He has had a busy week (including both my usual lesson and an extra lesson with the side saddle, and a slow-but-over-two-hours-long hack on Friday), but on the other hand he had Wednesday and yesterday off, so... I dunno. Hope he's ok. Needless to say, he's not off his food, which would be really worrying.

I've just finished reading the Clarke winner. It's a bit disturbing, isn't it? [shudder]
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Oh, right, yeah, you have to actually make updates, I remember.

♥Apr. 17th, 2012 // 06:55 pm
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Things that have been happening:
- Appendix appears to have decided to shut up and behave itself. This is good.
- Leg is still numb. Riding side saddle today made it neither worse nor better, so I'm going to declare it to be ok to carry on riding!
- I'm becoming increasingly concerned and annoyed with the place I took a shirt into to get it taken in (for The Wedding): the woman must have had it for a month, now, and is *still* being vague, slow, overworked and taking at least a week between communication. Hopefully, this is going to stop soon: the last fitting seemed pretty much done, to me, and I've told her I absolutely have to have it by Friday. On the other hand, I told her that last Wednesday, at which time she said she'd do some work and want me to come in today for the honest, promise, last fitting. When what she actually did was phone me this morning to say that she'd been really busy and it would have to be tomorrow. Sigh.
- [livejournal.com profile] erikvolson came to see me! Yay!
- There was an Eastercon. I seem to have done even worse than usual in the not managing to actually speak to people stakes, which I put down to a) lack of proper bar and b) being busy on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. On the plus side, although I was moderately busy with it, manning the Chicon table wasn't exactly a busy and stressful thing to be doing. The Hugo nomination reception seemed to go ok, even if Costco failed me on the cake front.
- I went to Sheffield, where it is really bloody cold. And not terribly organised [g]. Still, at least we mostly managed to dodge the rain. Interminable train journey, on a Sunday, though. Mike has deeply suspect plans for split site Eastercons.

[livejournal.com profile] vgrumpybastard continues his delightful mix of charming sweeties and vicious bastard. I must confess that he seems to be leaning a little more than usual towards the latter, lately. I have had complaints mutterings about his behaviour when he's being mucked out, for example, although in his defence on that day T's Mum had unilaterally decided to tell the staff not to turn him out, because it was *raining* (oh, poor didums... also, he has a bloody mountain of rugs to choose from! Also also, not made of sugar!), so I'm not surprised he was pissed off; I have had words, but I suspect it may be a duck's back situation.

I think he may be a little bored. I've not been schooling him as much as I like, frankly, quite apart from the fact that I've not been riding him as much as I'd like. Must do better. Quite convenient, this quitting one's job thing, then.
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Things I have done

♥Mar. 11th, 2012 // 08:59 am
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We went to see My Life Story last weekend, in the end. It was, as ever, a cracking gig, but after half an hour of hanging around and being moved from one sanitised part of the venue to another, we gave up on staying for the after-gig-gig and came home. Still, worth going. I just wish the Astoria was still going!

I finally got something to do at work. This made work better. I am now no longer on the verge of walking out, instead I'm just quietly waiting for it to go belly up.

My friend Toni brought her horses to the same yard as me. This is generally good, as it's nice having her there, but I fear it may get a little wearing having her mum there all the time. On the very much plus side, Mike likes riding one of them very much, and did so today: I suspect he'll be riding her a lot, which is good for him.

I, on the other hand, have been riding GB, as ever. I had a good but hard work lesson, I took him out for a nice ride in the woods (in which we slightly-illegally scooted out of the woods and into some land owned by a farmer; GB immediately perked up and started strolling along at a cracking pace. He is much happier out in the open than in the woods, bless him. I need to figure out other open places I can take him), and I got the side saddle out for a ride (hadn't been on it in weeks, and I have a lesson with it next week! Bum hurts, now, worryingly only on one side, so I must have been wonky), and today we had a good session in the arena, with -- as he obviously was dying to have a go - a couple of little jumps at the end.

On Thursday, I did pilates (still enjoying it; much better now I'm in the right class!), rode, and then we went to see Comedy Of Errors at the National: very good performance, with the slight niggle that the guy playing the Duke, who was obviously trying to be Gene Hunt, didn't manage to pull it off.

On Friday, I was walking out on the way to an early dinner with Erik when - horrors! - I saw a girl throwing stones into the dock. As I got closer, I saw that she was throwing them at the swans! As I got closer still I saw that she was throwing them at the just-starting-to-breed pair, who'd managed to pen a year-old cygnet behind one of the emergency escape ladders at the side of the dock, where it had wedged its wing between two of the rungs and thus made itself a very easy target for being beaten up. A couple of quick phone calls, and the swan rescue van was on its way, with me and the girl under instructions to try and keep the adults clear and try and stop the cygnet from pulling itself free. We managed the first but sadly not the second, and of course as soon as it was free again the adults decided it was back to being a threat and started after it again. My long scarf made quite a good swan repellent, as did a small group of schoolgirls who stopped to watch the drama. Eventually, after being stuck behind a broken-down car in the tunnel, the swan man drove up and came out of his van with a telescoping pole with a U-shaped hook on the end, which he got around the cygnet's neck (it was cowering under the bridge, shivering, by this point) and used to lift it straight out of the water by the head, much to my surprise. He got it sitting down, told us to hold its wings against its body, and dashed off to get a duffel bag, into which he strapped the rather bemused cygnet before carrying it off, with its head poking out of the top of the bag, to taking it to the sanctuary. I really should have taken pictures. (On the plus side: it does look like we might get cygnets of our own this year, for the first time in a while!)

So, I was rather late for dinner, but I did have the best excuse ever, followed by very tasty food (other than the pudding: we went for tapas, and I quite fancied a Creme Catalan for pudding, but it was utterly over blow-torched and was completely liquid when it arrived. I sent it back and was informed that the chef said it was supposed to be like that: er, no) .

On Saturday, we ate even more tasty food, and saw a traveller from afar, in Reading, and then today we went to the yard, decided we couldn't really be bothered to trek out to Hammersmith for the Douglas Adams thing, and went to Bluewater instead (shopping list: new riding bras, shoes for wedding, wool, new Soda Stream gas thing. Items bought: wool, Soda Stream thing, baking trays, trousers, on-sale thermal tops, an entire new set of cutlery. Oops. Does anyone want some cutlery? Knives, spoons and forks, twelve of each except there are only eight forks and the range is discontinued, which is why we needed a new set....). After Bluewater, we had a little drive around Kent looking at possible places to live (I've decided that I don't want to move GB again, so if we move while he's still around then it will have to be somewhere out that way. As Mike points out, this means that our choice of place to retire to is being fixed by my refusal to drive through the Rotherhithe Tunnel...); there are some nice little towns out there, though, and it's good for the M25, and there's topography, so....
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