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Jodie in useful guard dog shocker!

♥Jul. 30th, 2017 // 08:49 pm
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I was weeding in the back garden this morning, with the radio on, when Jo went into the house and started barking.

When I went to see what she was worried by, I found the postman in the porch wanting me to sign for a parcel.

I'm being very crap at updating, recently, aren't I?

I had my second session with my new Pilates instructor last week, and could barely walk the following day: I may have to ask her to push me a little less hard.... On the other hand, I'd done nothing but sit in a car and walk at museum-visiting-speed for a week, so maybe not so surprising.

Thank you to everyone who made it along to our BBQ at the weekend, it was lovely to see everyone (even if it did pour with rain the whole time and thus was more of an Aga than a BBQ!). We have excessive quantities of beer left in the polypin, creative suggestions welcome. Do you think it would be a good or bad for the plants if I used it to water them...?

Someone left a copy of A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas in the kitchen: anyone claiming it?
Link7 kisses // Who loves you?


♥Jul. 11th, 2017 // 05:49 pm
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It's raining! And the forecast is for it to keep doing so all night! (Maybe now the fertiliser that Mr Farmer put on the field the other week will actually get washed into the ground: radical concept!)

The swallows have fledged their chicks. We suspect that the wrens have as well, but they vanished fairly quickly. The swallows, on the other hand, are still around and learning how to fly: we keep walking into stables to be met by confused birds trying to avoid flying into us.

I'm a wee bit worried about Esk, who seems to be having some difficulties in the egg department: she keeps laying wonky ones, and a couple of days ago she produced two in one afternoon, the second with a rather squidgy shell that Jo was very pleased to receive. Mind you, that was the same day when we found one that Agnes had laid actually in the pond, so, y'know....

This afternoon, I had my first private session with my new Pilates instructor. I'm rather tired now. I think it'll work out, though: I've booked another session!
Link2 kisses // Who loves you?


♥Jun. 1st, 2017 // 03:50 pm
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Jodie )

Horses )

Wrists )

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


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

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

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

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

Even with the good things, though, I'm feeling rather brittle and balanced on edge, which isn't a good way to be if you then have a wobble.
Link9 kisses // Who loves you?


♥Nov. 18th, 2016 // 06:36 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1186533.html]

Novacon was mostly nice, and fairly quiet, but involved late nights (as ever).

I decided that I wasn't enjoying my pilates class enough to make up for the driving there and back in the dark part of the experience, so I've swapped to a different class (daytime), with a different instructor but at the same place. I had the first session yesterday and, even though the people in the class were generally creakier and less good, it was a much better workout. Fingers crossed.

TWWOTV is having various building work done. GB is unimpressed: he can hear it but not see it, so he's a bit stressed by it all, poor lad.

The house Up The Hill has finally completed on the sale, so we now have new Mr and Mrs Up The Hill, and two small girl children ditto. I'd better put together a little welcome hamper, though it's a shame the ducks are off lay.

I continue to be impressed with Freddie's Flowers. I've still got about half of the bunch from two weeks ago, and this is today's selection:

I've finished the little table runner I was making using English Paper Piecing. I enjoyed the actual EPP part of it but found hand quilting to be very tedious, fiddly, and hard on my hands; it is very lightly quilted as a result. Still, I'm quite pleased with it even if I did realise about three days ago that I'd cocked it up right at the beginning and have bought another pattern that I'd been vaguely admiring for some time.

For about six weeks now, I've had a plate full of this year's medlar crop sitting on a plate in the hall, bletting. Bletting is a bit like rotting only less so, and you have to let it happen for a couple of weeks in order to make the fruit usable. Today, I decided that they must have had long enough and took them to the kitchen to make jelly from. When I cut the fruit up, about a third of it looked like it was actually rotten, so I stuck that in the compost and put the rest on to simmer. An hour or so later, they were all still rock hard and the liquid was mostly colourless, which rang alarm bells: when I looked online, I discovered that actually my rotten ones were correct and the rest should have had longer to blet. Fortunately, they were only in the indoor compost bin, so I rinsed them off and stuck them in the pan with the rest and stuck them back in the Aga for another hour. The juice is draining off now, we'll see whether the jelly is actually usable tomorrow....

(Many of the recipes call for a mix of bletted and fresh medlars, if in the reverse of the proportions I ended up with, so it's hopefully not too much of a problem!)

It's definitely getting wintery, now, and we very much appreciated the fire this afternoon. On the other hand, my parents had about six inches of snow this morning, so it could be worse!
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Things from the last ten days

♥Aug. 26th, 2016 // 07:37 am
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1174446.html]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Almost inevitably, I'm feeling under-challenged by my new Pilates class. I'm going to a pole dancing try-out session next week, and am seriously considering trying out Physique 57, which seems to be BarreCore on steroids and has a lot of online classes, with a week of free access. (There is a barre class that uses my current Pilates studio space, and I think a couple of people in the class have been: I might ask them how hard it is / where the instructor trained.)
Link3 kisses // Who loves you?

Things unrelated to lame animals

♥Jul. 10th, 2016 // 06:07 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1168329.html]

A good one: this morning, I had a lovely ride on GB. He was going brilliantly, and it left me feeling very pleased with how we got on.

A less good one: my upper back / shoulders have been a bit sore for a few days, which I'd vaguely put down to being stressed about lame animals until I thought about it a bit more. I was sore in what I think was the same way about eighteen months ago, which is what lead to the hypermobility diagnosis, and which I eventually decided was being caused by something wrong (for me) in the way my then Pilates instructor taught. (And, indeed, this was a part of the reason I moved to a different one not long after.)

That instructor (as well as working where I used to go to her classes) works for the place I've just started at and, quite conceivably, had a lot of her training from my new instructor*, which makes me wonder if there's some bit of positioning that the new instructor likes but my body doesn't. I'll have a chat with her on Tuesday, I think.

* Who I am liking, although I am frantically Waiting Until The End Of The Six-Week Class Cycle before I say "I thought this was an advanced class?"

This afternoon, I made a stripy top out of knitted fabric. I'm not madly keen on the fabric, but it was cheap (nominally seconds, though I can't see any flaws in it). The sewing went pretty smoothly, once I gave up on trying to backstitch my start and end points (which just resulted in the sewing machine eating the corner of the fabric; I was using a fancy stretch stitch anyway, so it was kind of backstitching itself), and apparently I am a high street size 16. Better go and buy a new wardrobe!

Lame animal update: we're going to be Firm With Vets, so tomorrow I'm going to call Jo's vet and ask if they have a date for the op and tell them that if they don't get me one by the next day then I'm going to go elsewhere (Mrs Next Door recommended a specialist ortho vets, who will probably be able to fit her in much quicker), and then I'm going to call Bug's vet and cancel this grand day out malarky at least until after Jo's op, and tell him I want him to come and give him the same injection as he's already had in the other leg to see if that cures it.
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♥Jun. 8th, 2016 // 06:32 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1159876.html]

GB still lame. Bugs still lame. First class with new Pilates instructor and she's the wrong bloody branch of Pilates so that's me in search of a new class again.

Link2 kisses // Who loves you?

Bits and bobs

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

The parents have been and gone. We had a fairly good time, although the weather wasn't terribly nice: at least it was mostly dry. I kept staying up far too late chatting, oops. It was Mike's work Chirstmas do on Monday, so they took me out for a lovely dinner at Deeson's.

I picked up my new glasses yesterday, and have been wearing them since I got home: no headaches, which is always nice, so I think they're ok. I also got a copy of my prescription: R -1.25, -2.0, 20; L -0.75, -3.0, 160 (was R: -0.5, -2.0, 25; L: -0.5, -2.75, 155, so the change is more eyesight and less astigmatism than I'd thought).

The splashback for behind the Aga arrived, so the decorator came back and fitted it (eventually: it was a tight fit!) and finished off the painting. It looks very nice, now that it's all done, so we're pleased with it. I must leave him some good feedback on MyBuilder: we'd definitely use him again.

I had a rather depressing riding lesson on Tuesday: it should have been Mike's turn to ride GB, but I've been a bit worried about his bad leg (I jumped on him for a quick fifteen minute ride on Monday, and he was fine until I cantered on the bad leg after which my very non-horsey mother could see that his walk wasn't right) so I rode him instead. Our instructor was quite pleased that we'd not stuck to the usual pattern because she'd been struggling to think of enough things that he was still able to do with Mike riding to fill 45 minutes. We did half an hour, and decided that he probably can't have lessons with me riding either (I might go back to just doing fifteen minutes, which we did for a little while last winter, but he's worse this year than he was then so it may not work). Just have to play it by ear, I guess. If I can get him through the winter, he should perk up again in spring, but it's still incredibly mild here (nothing below 8C on the seven day, 24 hour forecast!) so I'm very worried about what will happen if we have a bad January and/or February as they've been forecasting.

This morning, I had Pilates (we did Pilates circuit training, which was fun but a bit too (ie, at all) sweaty for my tastes), and this afternoon I've been boxing up the presents that need posting ready for Mike to take them to the Post Office tomorrow. I've also put the Christmas tree up, and now I'm really quite knackered.

I have a small pile of misc consumer electronics that are looking for a new homes (perfectly fine if annoyingly controlled microwave, digital radio that probably just needs a new power cable, Dyson that works but not as well as it should so probably needs a thorough service). Do charities take electrical goods any more? Any other ideas?
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New toy

♥Dec. 2nd, 2015 // 02:33 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1125643.html]

My new radio is here, hurrah! It seems to work, and is better than the old one because:
- it is smaller and lighter, so easier to carry around the house (although it doesn't have a handle like the old one did)
- I didn't need to figure out how to tune it and set the presets, because it was so obvious (the old one took a good thirty seconds of contemplation)
- it uses standard rechargeable (or, indeed, disposable) AA batteries (the old one had a proprietary Stack Of Batteries Wrapped In Plastic affair)
- it tells me what the name of the programme is on the radio!

I dare say that I'll find various ways in which is less good as time goes on.

No single legged squats in Pilates today, phew. I won the 'my legs were so sore after last week that...' contest, on the grounds that the class had to stop and laugh when I told them I couldn't get off my horse.

Only four leylandii trunks left, although the last one is a good metre or more from the fence so it's going to be a bugger. We had a bonfire this morning before I went out, and it went up again when I put three more trees on it after lunch, but in a slightly half-hearted way that makes me doubt it'll manage to do anything with the bigger trunks. Still, the stableyard's clear of piles of tree for now.
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Things for today

♥Nov. 27th, 2015 // 09:00 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1123678.html]

We've has a heron hanging around a bit, lately. Our fingers are crossed that the new pond cover is working, and it does seem that way: no evidence of fish being taken, although it's hard to tell when they're being sluggish in the cold.

(The blue tit was trying for the study windows today. Persistent bugger!)

My legs are considerably less sore today, thankfully. Not sure if it's helped or not but I did do a few gentle squats as part of my morning Pilate today. At least I managed to walk the pooch!

(My only consolation is that if I was that sore then I suspect that most of the rest of the class will have been unable to walk at all. I look forward to the conversation at the start of the next class.)

Earlier, Jodie produced a couple of exceptionally disgusting farts, which isn't like her: we did check that she didn't need to Go Outside, but she seemed inclined not to. Then, just as we were finishing dinner, Mrs Next Door phoned in a panic about her laptop having given her a scary error message as she was using IE: it was just a scam you-are-infected-call-this-number pop-up, but she couldn't get it to close so she brought it around for Mike to poke. As she was leaving, she mentioned that her lab has been incredibly farty all evening. Interesting. Apparently, TWWOTV's hideous rats pugs have been ill all week and had to have visits to the vet, so I suspect there may be something going around the local dog population.

(Mrs Next Door was looking for inspiration for a new hair cut, which initially struck me as an odd choice for nasty pop-ups, but actually makes sense when you think, statistically, of the level of IT security knowledge of the people likely to be looking at celebrity hair styles.)

Speaking of Mrs Next Door, I've finished the fiddly hand-sewing bit of Baby's quilt (thankfully: my hands approve), and pinned the quilt together: should be well on course to finish it in time for Christmas!
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I don't like Wednesdays

♥Nov. 25th, 2015 // 08:17 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1123061.html]

At least, I don't like Wednesdays when Mike has to go to London. Particularly when he has to be there relatively early....

Today, we chucked the boys into the field and I did a bit of mucking out while Mike showered, then we headed off to Ashford and I left Mike at the station and went to kill some time at the Designer Outlet Village: his train was at 9:30ish, my Pilates class starts at 11 (but I like to be there by ten to because parking is a nightmare and you have to be quick to snap up the spaces that the previous class were using as they leave). I failed to know, and Mike failed to tell me, that the shops don't open until 10, so I spent a bit of time walking around and then went for a hot chocolate. As soon as the shops opened, I dived into M&S and bought some jogging bottoms, because it's kinda chilly out there and I was dressed for Pilates....

(My actual plan was to buy some nice Pilates-suitable clothes, but all the sports shops had was hideous fluorescent and/or pink-or-teal-or-purple running stuff. I know the sort of stuff I want, and indeed there are a couple of people in my class who wear it, but I have no idea what sorts of shops it comes from. Sigh. And, now that I think about it, a lot of it does tend towards the pink-or-teal-or-purple. But some of it's white and beige, so it must exist.)

Then I did Pilates, and discovered that I don't much like one-legged squats, a first impression that firmed up as the day went on. After Pilates, I came home, released the hound, had lunch while listening to the Autumn Statement, walked the pooch, and then did the rest of the stable jobs and tidied the kitchen. Foolishly, I sat down for ten minutes after that. It was a struggle to get off the sofa, let Next Door's dogs out to (fail to) have a wee, and bring the horses in.

Proper sit down came next, but falling asleep over my book sounded like a bad plan so I did some sewing instead before getting dinner ready to go and then driving back to Ashford to pick Mike up (yuck, I hate driving down the Roman road at that time of night: narrow and wiggly in places, no lights or cats eyes, and lots of traffic coming the other way to stop me seeing what's coming next. Made worse this evening by the fuckwit about 500 yards behind me with his full beam headlights on. He dimmed them every time a car came the other way, which was considerate of him, but then turned them back up again afterwards, which was not). Dinner, boys' bed time hay nets slightly early, collapse on sofa.

While I was 'making' dinner (dinner being frozen ragu, which I'd put in the oven before I went out, and dried -- the horror -- pasta), I called my parents, having had an answer phone message from Father while I was out. When he answered, he requested the complaints department. It turns out that last weekend Sister had been poking around in their fridge and found the bottle of ginger liqueur from last year's Christmas hamper. "What's this?" she asked interestedly, before saying "Oh, it's not been opened," and putting it back. My parents decided that they'd better at least try it before she came back and finished it off. (She has form for this sort of thing. I'm surprised she didn't just open it there and then, tbh.)

Now, I must confess that I've only ever had the stuff when it's about a month old, and it's pretty fiery. I don't know what happens to it if you leave it in the bottle for a year, but Mother took one sip and then poured hers back! (I suggested mixing it with lemonade next time.) Father seemed to be enjoying it, though, for all the complaints and questions about whether it was actually surgical spirits as a base.... He concluded that he would tell Sister to help herself next time she was poking around in the fridge, and have his camera ready when she took a gulp.

(Mother also got to score points on Father, as when he'd called and got the answer phone he'd hung up saying "Where are they? They can't be doing the horses at this time, in the dark!" and she'd replied "She's probably picking Mike up from the station." Father was ever so surprised to learn that Mother was right. Well, it keeps them amused!)
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Tired Flick

♥Nov. 4th, 2015 // 04:58 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1118869.html]

I was quite tired yesterday, but today I am really rather knackered.

Today, we did the horses and attacked some leylandii, and then I went to Pilates. While I was there, the horses' dentist came to check them both (and pronounced them both fine, which is always good to hear).

Then we had lunch, and I took Jo for her walk, and did laundry, and then I sat down for half an hour, and then we went out, groomed and rode the horses and then put them to bed.

Bugs was doing so well, until he had a small attack of the don't wannas when I asked him for a second nice canter. So after I got him back under control I made him do a much longer nice canter than I otherwise would have. I hope that this isn't going to be a permanent thing: in theory, if he keeps doing it and it keeps failing to achieve his objective then he should stop.... My back is still a bit sore from his Moment the other week (which probably isn't helping with the knackered), and I suspect that, small though they are, these little bucking fits aren't helping it to get better.

Then I did some charity stuff. (I've got out of going to the boxing night! Yay!)

And now I would like to just stay here on the sofa, please. Rather than going and emptying the dishwasher. Say.

Tomorrow, on the plus side, there will be no leylandii to drag across the lawn and stack up by the bonfire. On the minus side, that's because Mike's in town again. He'll be at the ton for a bit, though, so some of you will probably see him there.

Here, have a picture of a cute little moss-and-Jodie-hair nest that Mike found in a leylandii:
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Not Real Country People

♥Sep. 30th, 2015 // 07:42 am
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1109691.html]

Yesterday, we didn't do very much other than have a riding lesson and make a vague plan to go to the local ploughing contest today. We knew it was on, but we only found out yesterday (from Mrs Farmer) that it also included a little flower and produce type affair, which I would have quite liked to have a nosy at for future reference.

But then I remembered this morning that I had Pilates (which was very hard work; I need to get back into the habit of doing a bit at home as well), which means a late lunch, and then we walked Jo and it didn't seem worth going to something that (Country People) started at 8am.

Instead, we did some gardening: Mike finally got the back lawn mowed for the first time since mid-August, and I did some weeding. Tomorrow, I feel that the chainsaw is on the cards again. Hopefully, we'll get it done, and a nice big stack of dead stuff ready to burn, then have a few dry, windy days and *then* the wind will switch to going up the valley and we can spend a day burning it all.
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Ok, ok, I get the message....

♥Sep. 23rd, 2015 // 02:57 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1108378.html]

This morning, I went out to do the boys to find that Bugs had busted out of his stable and was merrily stuffing his face on grass. Ok, ok, you can start having morning haynets again, boys!

I had a rather uncomfortable pilates class, because I kept getting cramp in my feet. I mean, I always do at least once a session, but it was particularly bad today. I suspect that this is because my boots are still damp, despite having spent the night in front of the Aga, from when I walked Jo yesterday: it was so wet that there was water running down my legs inside my boots. They're back in front of the Aga now, and at least it's a nice day.

Very pleased with GB this morning: he'd been a bit stiff the other week, which we put down to cold and damp, but then better last time he was ridden, which we figured was because there had been two warm, sunny days. I thought I'd better jump on him for fifteen minutes today to get him moving, but actually he was fine, so hurrah. Guess he must have just knocked something in the field when he was stiff.
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Guess what?

♥Aug. 26th, 2015 // 02:58 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1099487.html]

Only 30mm of rain so far today, and it seems to have stopped for now!

(Dept of It Could Be Worse: heard on the radio about a place in Australia where they were evacuating people downstream of dams after 30cm in one day. Poor people.)

Off to Pilates this morning (the drive down the M20 was not nice due to masses of spray, particularly the idiot on the motorbike weaving through the lanes without his lights on), where I actually struggled a bit with some of it. This may be a sign that I need to start doing a bit at home as well.
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Rush rush....

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

One of those days!

- Did laundry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Walked the pooch.

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

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

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

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

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

- Put laundry away.

- Picked beans for dinner and tomatoes on principle.

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

- Heard Mike calling me to dinner!

- Hit post.
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Am boggled

♥Jun. 17th, 2015 // 05:31 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1091107.html]

This afternoon, I popped into M&S to look for some very light t-shirts and leggings: I'm pretty hard on both, as the former tend to be pale and acquire mysterious stains while the latter usually suffer crotch failure after a few months of hot-weather riding and Pilates. I did get a couple of t-shirts (one in the sale), and a pair of linen trousers (20% off), but was very unimpressed with the leggings: either much too thick and snuggly or in what I suspect could be called 'good for jogging and cycling' colour combinations.

As I had a few minutes to spare, I girded my loins and went inside Primark. When I left five minutes later, I had three pairs of leggings and five t-shirts, all 95% cotton, for less than a quarter of the amount I'd just spent in M&S. I presume that I have some starving Bangladeshi orphans to thank, but I'm really astonished that they're so cheap.

(In Pilates news, I tried the other possible class today and much preferred it to the Monday one I tried last week, and then afterwards had a chat with a woman who's in both and who used to be in my studio class, who was of the same opinion. I'm not sure how I can square doing it with Mike's monthly trips to London, though: either I'll have to do the Monday class those weeks or I'll have to drive him to the station on my way there and then pick him up again in the evening, which will be tricky with the horses at some times of the year. Hmm.)

Joyous news: today, we killed our first horse flies. Sigh. Poor boys.
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♥Jun. 8th, 2015 // 02:54 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1091029.html]

Baby's new people cam to take him away with them first thing on Saturday morning. We were very slightly concerned because they have a trailer, and we've only ever put him in a bigger horse box, but in the event he just walked straight in without even blinking: if anything, he sped up when he saw the hay inside!

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, he ummed and ahhed a bit and eventually decided that he was going to call my right wrist a grade 1 CTS case, which both keeps me on their books so that I can easily get re-tested when it gets worse and means that I can go into the ultrasound treatment trial, which I'll do when we get back from Finland: fifteen minute treatments five days a week for a fortnight and then twice a week for five weeks. Unfortunately, they are struggling to find enough people to do it: they need 40, and I'll be the 24th, so I probably won't find out the results (or even if I'm getting the placebo treatment) for a couple of years yet.
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♥Jun. 1st, 2015 // 06:50 pm
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Mike swapped the lens on my new iPhone back for the one on my old one, and now I can take pictures again!

(Well, I could always take pictures. It's just now they show something other than a pale blur....)

We've been busy in the garden, and now the fish pond looks Much Better:

And I've been busy on the sewing machine, making more animals for the quilt:

(Spot the deliberate error on the fox. Oops.)

The vet's coming to check Baby out on Friday, hopefully it will all go well and he'll be off to his new home soon, which is good.

I'm back playing hunt-the-Pilates-class, having finally got sick enough of the current one to email my old instructor in Bexley to plead for help finding one. She sent me the number of a girl she's trained, and I had a long chat with her ("You're never going to find anyone as good, Old Instructor is just the best ever, you should have kidnapped her and brought her with you. Have you thought about doing the instructor course in London?") that ended up with her giving me the number of someone else (as she's still new and currently just teaching beginner classes), who I also spoke to and it looks as though her best solution is to try to get me onto her class at the place I used to go to in Ashford, so she's going to see if she can find me space for a try-out. They do still owe me some sessions, but in a different category of class: not sure if I'll be able to convert one to the other or not. Of course, I'm now in a bit of a quandary about whether or not to go to the current class tomorrow: it's the start of a new block of lessons, which is £88 this time around. If I don't like or can't get permanently onto the new class for a month or two, I'll want to have paid, but if I do and can then I won't. Hmm.
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♥Jan. 27th, 2015 // 08:16 pm
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Second session ta new Pilates place this morning. I decided to stop being polite (especially as everyone assured me last week that they didn't all have their own favourite spots in the room, which I don't believe for a second) and snagged the mat next to the instructor so that I could see better what was going on. She really should get up more, though: the woman next to me was doing the shabbiest Oyster I'd ever seen, she was practically lying on her back. Tsk.

Then I came home and did some exercise: Mike planted the last of the fruit trees, and put stakes in for them, while I excavated the (inherited) compost bins to put a mulch around each tree. The compost bins were lovely inside. Given that I was finding fossilised horse poo at the bottom, it must be over a decade since they were last turned over! Then we took Jo out for her walk and, as soon as we got back, the last two trees arrived by post so we went back out and put those in as well.

Here, have a picture:

The orchard's the bare patch in front of the school. You can't really see the trees, even blown up, but the dark patches are the compost:
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♥Jan. 23rd, 2015 // 03:00 pm
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I've been a bit of a klutz, lately. In the last week, I've bashed one elbow cleaning the fish tank (spectacular bruise) and the other one on a bolt sticking out of the tack room door (whilst moving sacks of bedding). This afternoon, I got the sticky-out bit of my ankle on the dishwasher door while I was emptying it. Ouch. Enough now.

Fortunately, none of those was likely to cause me any problems at Pilates this morning. Unfortunately, Pilates this morning was boooooring. She seems to be determined not to let me do anything other than stretches; if I happen to be there when no one else is, I'll speak to her about it, but I think I'm just going to use up the sessions I've paid for and then stop. I think the problem is that it's got to the stage where everyone who goes to her session was there because they have something broken, except for me. Then my shoulder was bad, so now I'm broken too (even though it's absolutely fine now - I do keep an eye on it!) and thus must do granny exercises, which is not what I do Pilates for. (Whether or not I am just very slow to realise this is an open question: it might explain why the non-broken people have drifted away since she took over the class, although it may just be that the old instructor is teaching somewhere else now and they've followed her!)

This afternoon in the woods, Mike asked what that red stuff on Jo's face was. I had a look and realised it was blood: I carefully wiped it all off, and determined that it wasn't coming out of Jodie, which was a small mystery. Which was solved shortly after when I realised that my hands now stank of badger.... Washed the blood off in a puddle, and dried them on my jods (needed washing anyway) but had to do the rest of the walk without putting my hands into my pockets to avoid contaminating my coat. (I guess she was sniffing in a hole that an injured badger had gone through.)

Saudi royal succession? Boggle.
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Jo in the snow!

♥Jan. 20th, 2015 // 06:10 pm
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It's been snowing for much of the day, here, although it got a little above freezing for a few hours this afternoon, so there's not too much lying around (probably just enough, and just slushy enough, that the yard will be an ice rink tomorrow...).

Pictures )

This morning, I went to try out this new Pilates place. It is, as I told Mike when I got home, a suitably hard workout for me at present, having not done mat classes for a year and a half. Whether I'll still feel that way in a few months, when I've learnt the exercises, is another matter.... Certainly, I can feel that my abs have done some work!

I personally feel that the instructor spends too much time on her mat, which is a particular problem when the room is arranged with two parallel lines of mats and she's on one in the middle of one line: I couldn't actually see what she was doing, and had to guess based on what the people I could see were up to. On the plus side, she did say that they were hoping to set up a higher-level class if they could get enough people interested. On the not-sure side, she made a comment in passing to a particular set of exercises being this term's focus, which explain why I didn't try them out when we first moved: there was at least one studio I didn't bother to contact because their website said they took a two month break over the summer (and places that do that also tend to have several weeks off over Christmas and Easter), and I'm now wondering if that is where I've ended up....

GB's most recent blood test results are in: 49, which is still higher than it should be (20) but vastly better than it was a could of months ago (130-odd). The vet had spoken to the specialist at the testing company, and we're going to try pre-emptively increasing his dose next August in the hope that his levels won't spike like they did this year. I'm also going to have another test done in March or so, to see if we can take his dose down between then and August.
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On the off chance....

♥Jan. 15th, 2015 // 06:10 pm
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I recently read an article about a garden, which featured a lovely picture of a row of dogwoods, shading in colour from dark purple at one end through red, orange and yellow to green at the other. I'm pretty sure that it was in the garden of one of the Queen's houses, which (given the residence times) probably means Sandringham. It was almost certainly in Country Life. Annoyingly, I can't find it on the CL website, and there's a dogwood called rainbow. It seems deeply unlikely, but did anyone else see it? It looked really pretty, and I'm wondering if we could do it in our garden where we've taken the leylandii out.

Last night, it was very wet and windy. We're not sure how wet, as this morning Mike reported a glitch in the weather station, which was claiming 6 inches. I discovered why when I dragged GB into the school for a bit of exercise: the cover had blown off the rain gauge, so it had been flapping around in the wind and over reporting. The boys have been in for three days now; I do hope that we can get them up to the top of the field tomorrow, but even that was still a bit squelchy at sunset when we checked it. All the time I was in the stableyard this morning (and waiting for the vet to come and give the boys their jabs), I kept thinking that I could hear a car coming down the hill, but it was just the sound of the stream gushing down the middle of the road.

(GB managed a spectacular prat-fall yesterday. One minute he was standing on the concrete looking annoyed that the grass was so soggy, the next he was lying flat on his side flailing his legs as he tried to get up. I think he must have spooked and slipped. He's fine, thankfully!)

This afternoon, for no obvious reason, Mike decided that he was going to change the batteries in the external sensors of the house alarm, so that we could use that as a doorbell instead of the plug-in one we have (which occasionally goes off for the fun of it). Looking through the notes that we'd been left, we decided that the code had been set to 1234. As soon as Mike unscrewed the covers on the sensors, the internal alarm went off with a tamper warning. I dashed to the kitchen and entered 1234... and then tried it again... and then went out to Mike to tell him to make it stop.... When I came back in, though, I realised that the sticky label on the alarm contains the name of the company, their phone number, and a different four-digit code, which thankfully worked. I'll gloss over the bit where Mike accidentally self-tested the external alarm, and just say that it still doesn't work but at least no longer has a row of flashing lights warning of battery failures. (We're mystified by the fact that there were four of them, as we can only think of two external sensors. This is the alarm that just does the property perimeter, not the actual house.)

Oh, and we had the garage door fixed. Busy day!

Tomorrow, we've got a man coming to quote for cleaning the windows and emptying the gutters, and my parents are coming to stay. Oh, and I have Pilates, where I am Getting Bored Again to the extent that I've found a place in Canterbury that does the right variety of matwork classes and will be hopefully starting there next week if they can squeeze me into the advanced class.
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♥Oct. 24th, 2014 // 04:39 pm
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I was pleased to be seeing the physio today, because my shoulder was even more sore this morning than it was yesterday....

Her conclusion is that my joints are a bit hypermobile, and because of something I didn't entirely follow this means that some of my muscles are too strong and others aren't doing enough (eg, when she had me my raise my arms over my head, I was actually doing a lot of the work with my neck muscles instead of my shoulders). And my shoulder joints aren't quite properly in the sockets (not sure if that was cause or effect.) It's been building up for a while, and just finally got to the point where my body couldn't compensate enough any more, hence the pain.

She's given me a few exercises to do over the next week (which mostly consist of keeping my shoulders back and down, so that the joint is in the right position), mostly to get things back in the right place, and then I'll go back next week to get some exercises that I should then be in a position to do. And that, plus her speaking to Pilates Girl to make some changes to my routine, should fix it. Hopefully.

The farrier had a poke at Baby's foot, cut a bit off and confirmed that he had just torn it a bit (probably on some flint): keep doing what we've been doing for a week or so and it should be fine.

I was hoping to ride GB, on the off chance that it was daily gentle exercise that made him a bit better yesterday. But it's grey and raining and my shoulders hurt so, yeah.

I changed Mike's plaster this morning, which may have been a mistake. We're going to leave it for a couple of days, this time, and hope that it scabs better....
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Bits and bobs

♥Oct. 10th, 2014 // 04:22 pm
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Yesterday, I had a go at Jo's pheasant with a sharp knife and a carrier bag for the feathers. Didn't go too badly, I think, and there's now a bag of meat in the freezer and a pot of stock made up. Also, both Apple and Apple & Sloe jelly has been committed.

This morning, I went to Pilates for the first time in a couple of weeks: the instructor is still poorly, but they'd got someone in to cover for her. I'm pleased to say that she mostly just left me to it (I think she was pleased to be able to, as she didn't know what anyone usually did so was taking longer than normal to get people sorted out). She did have me do two new exercises, but they were pretty good once I got into them, so that was ok. (Much hilarity from the others, though: I don't normally like more than one new thing ever month or two!)

We took Next Door's dogs out with Jo this afternoon, which was tiring: given how little they listen to Next Door, I didn't want to have them off the lead, and they really do pull. Quite a short walk for Jo, then, but she seemed happy enough to be going at all: we were late, because the boys were having their backs checked. Having been completely unable to get hold of the usual Lovely Back Lady, I eventually gave up and got someone local (recommended by my side saddle instructor and, as it happens, she was also here yesterday doing Next Door's horse). She was competent enough, but I wasn't terribly impressed. No particular suggestions for GB's bad leg; he's due a blood test soon anyway, so I think I'll have the vet next week and see what she says.

Distant Next Door Neighbour reports that the Hunt will be around tomorrow morning: something to keep an eye on, but the boys seem to be fine with it and it's not when we'll be walking anyway. (Come to think of it, though, we probably would have been hacking up in the woods at about that time if Mrs Next Door hadn't declared that she was giving Mike a lunge lesson, so it is good to know!)

I've also learnt that ISIHAC is coming to Canterbury. Tickets on sale next Thursday; we can't decide if website or in person will be the better way to go, having only tried for London venues before. Hmm. Anyone bought non-London tickets and have an opinion on how quickly they shift?

And, finally, Mike learnt via Twitter that they're resurfacing our road on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Well, I say via Twitter: the tweet said that our road (calling it by name, which not even the Post Office does) will be closed between Road A (which no one calls by that name) and Road B (which doesn't meet out road). But we think that we know what they mean. It would have been nice if they'd told us. Presumably, they're going to do it in two, or even three, sections so that people don't get trapped in their houses.... Two would be most logical (do the flat bit at the bottom, then do the hill and the flat bit at the top, so that there's space outside Next Door for people to turn around and so on) but the people at the top of the hill are unlikely to approve that, and he really can't walk very far up (or down) the hill right now. It will be good if they do a proper job of it, as it really does need it.
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Leylandii wars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♥Jun. 6th, 2014 // 01:41 pm
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Yesterday, we took Mike's mother and aunt out for some touristing.

We seem not to get poppies in the fields around here, but over near Wye they do:

Then we went down to Dungeness, where it was incredibly windy. I continue to fail to see the attraction, I'm afraid:

For posterity, as last night was hopefully the last time she'll wear them before they're burnt consigned to the bin, Jodie's sexy trousers:

(We're off to the vet in a bit, to have taken out the stitches that the vet missed when he took her stitches out....)

I Pilated this morning, for the first time in a fortnight, and am absolutely wiped out now. But then, I've also not been riding or walking much, so....
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♥May. 2nd, 2014 // 03:42 pm
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Although it is very sad that someone died on the M20 at 1:30 this morning, I'm a little bemused about why that meant that I sat in traffic for an hour at 10am. I could understand needing to keep the road closed for that long if there'd been wreckage on the road, but there wasn't. Even after they reopened it, after half an hour mostly with the engine off, the traffic was still terrible because they hadn't taken down the signs saying that only one lane was open. Sigh. Rather late for pilates, which I suppose is an advantage to not going to a scheduled class. (The traffic from when the motorway was closed was diverted through Ashford, so pretty much everyone was late. It was all a bit chaotic. It was only when someone who arrived after I did said "Right, that's me done" that the instructor and I realised I was over time and hadn't actually done my stretches yet.

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

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

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

Mike's been getting ready to Cook:

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

The snowdrops are looking lovely:

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

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

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

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

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

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

We went to Broadstairs, which we've now decided isn't a good enough beach (at least, two hours before high tide) to be worth the drive. Even if there is a Soup Dragon on the roundabout as you come into town.
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♥Jan. 17th, 2014 // 02:57 pm
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Remember that thing where there were several whole days when I didn't complain about it raining...?

It's lovely, the way that all the water flows off the saturated fields, down the lane and stops in a small pond at the bottom of our drive, it really is. When we took the dog out for her (soggy) walk, Mike had to walk around through the stable yard, as the pond was deeper than the waterproof part of his boots is high. The boys have had to stay in, much to their annoyance (it's not the staying in that they really object to, more the fact that there isn't a conveyor belt bringing All The Hay directly to their mouths).

Today, I
- left the house In Plenty Of Time, in case of rain
- got there early, in the sunshine
- pilated (good session. I'm going to pay for another batch of sessions and see if she can keep it hard work, but today I actually sweated slightly!)
- took some things back to M&S in Ashford (wow, that's a crappy shopping centre that they have!)
- drove home, through the torrential rain, getting stuck behind a chap trimming a hedge and in front of a bin lorry
- sighed loudly when I realised that the sheep had been moved from the usual field, which has fences and everything, to the field on the other side of the road, which doesn't: pause, twice, to open and close gates, in the rain
- sighed even more loudly when I realised that the bins hadn't been emptied: gosh, I can't imagine why they couldn't be bothered to drive down our road on today of all days....
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Soggy doggy

♥Sep. 20th, 2013 // 04:13 pm
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We just took Jodie out for a longer-than-planned walk, and the sun came out part way through it. We did find a couple of puddles as we went around, but I wasn't surprised when she (after flopping down for a rest immediately inside our garden gate) asked to be let out into the back garden, where she headed straight for the fish pond. I was, however, slightly surprised when she had a drink and then got in....

Last night, we went to see Thomas Dolby in Canterbury and got the neighbours to dog sit while we were out (we had asked if we could put her in their kitchen, but they offered to come to us). Jodie apparently settled down fairly quickly and then flopped on the floor and went to sleep, same as usual. She is, however, a crap guard dog: when we got back, we came into the house, took our shoes off, walked through to the living room and spoke to the neighbours for a minute or so before she woke up and started bounding around!

(We've been back half an hour. She's still panting.)

Sadly, I was too busy laughing when she was actually in the pond, and worrying she'd get stuck under the cover. Here she is later:

Tomorrow, we're off to that their London, so we've got an Animal Aunt in to stay with her, and sort the boys out. I do hope that the boys will behave, and when I say "the boys" I mean (guess who?) GB. I went into the office on Tuesday, and Mike was supposed to take him in the school for a ride. He managed to bring him in, but couldn't get him to stand still to have his feet picked up because he was too busy trying to get back to the baby. When Mike tried to adjust the rope, GB pulled away and ran off up to the field gate. I experimentally brought him in on his own on Wednesday, and he was a git then, too, although I did manage to get him to stand still and he calmed down a bit when I gave him a quick brush. I'm going to have to work on it, though, because we can't be having him go nuts every time he has to be alone for five minutes.

The boys had blood taken, yesterday: GB was himself, and slammed me into the wall (ouch, nice bruise on my shoulder). Jonny didn't seem to notice it happening. I'm getting them tested for Cushing's, as the test is currently free. It's almost certainly not worth having Jonny tested, but it was only the cost of an extra blood draw to do it, so I thought I might as well, Finger crossed that they're both clear.

We've also been laying some grass matting at the field gate: it's on a hill, and the work we've had done on the field means that a lot of it is bare clay, so it's not very good footing. We're hoping that the matting will let the grass get re-established before it stops growing for the year, but I'm a little concerned because the matting itself is quite slippery. Might actually have to use headcollars to bring them in this evening, rather than just opening the gate and shouting for them to come and get their dinners.

And, to round it all off, I tried a new Pilates place this morning. I think I liked it. It's an equipment class, rather than the mat classes I've been used to, and it worked on a kind of conveyor belt system: there were six people in the class at any time, and two left/arrived every fifteen minutes, which meant that everyone got some time on each bit if kit as the instructor put them through their routine. Having to count my own reps was a bit odd, though, and hard work for some of the exercises with multiple steps!
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♥Apr. 19th, 2012 // 03:09 pm
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I've been a bit slack about riding, lately: not going up as often as I should, and spending too much time pootling in the woods instead of doing proper schooling work. (The Plan: one lesson, one side saddle schooling, one cross saddle schooling, one hack. The Reality, for the last month or so: one lesson, one hack, one more hack.)

That meant that, when I had my side saddle lesson on Tuesday, I'd not actually used the side saddle since my previous side saddle lesson a fortnight before. And then my instructor seems to have decided that I need to get on with doing more than just pootling around working on my position for the big show*, so she seems to have worked me harder than usual.

But I really don't think I deserved to wake up on Wednesday morning feeling like I'd been thoroughly beaten (the fact that I strained something in my arm/back trying to hold on whilst a certain little shit bag dragged me around the field on the end of a rope probably didn't help, either). But, I am trying to do better and ride more, and anyway exercise would help, so off I toddled to the yard, carefully timing my visit for the forty-five minute gap in the rain that the Met Office and Meteox both agreed was going to happen, and everyone laughed at me for believing the weather forecast and then gave me a funny look when it stopped raining and the sun came out for half an hour before the rain returned. And we had a good schooling session, but gosh did I ache when I got off, and even more so when I got home and tried to get out of the car and walk up the stairs....

So it was that, this morning, I still felt like I'd been thoroughly beaten, but I thought I would be good again, so off I toddled to Pilates, because exercise would help, and the instructor 'helpfully' threw in some exercises to stretch out my aching muscles, and then I went to the yard thinking I'd ride. But the school was busy, and the woods would be muddy, and anyway the heavens opened about ten minutes after I'd decided to be slack and just put GB back in the field to replace his layer of mud, so it was probably the right decision to come home and sit on the sofa, wondering just who it is that keeps beating me up while I sleep every night.

(If it weren't for the fact that I feel otherwise utterly fine, I'd say that I must be coming down with something. But I feel fine. It's very odd.)

(Grr. When I started working, I made my loan swap her day from Thursday to Monday, which was much less convenient for her mother. I asked her last week if she wanted to change back, and she said she did, so today I swapped my Pilates class to Wednesday. I just sent her a sms asking if she wanted to swap back from next week or the week after, and she's replied "well, my mum wondered if I could just keep Monday?" Grr. Particularly coming, as this does from the incident at weekend when I got dragged into the middle of the two of them having a mother vs teenaged daughter bitch fight.)

* I don't think I mentioned the big show. I should do a post about that.
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February books

♥Mar. 3rd, 2012 // 11:19 am
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here )

Pilates on Thursday was much better than the previous week, now I'm in my proper class: I'm still a bit achy today, so it must be doing something right! Also on Thursday, GB and I went out for a nice gallop on the golf course, much to the surprise of the two old men having a mid-game wee in the bushes by the side of the bridle path....
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Healthy exercise!

♥Feb. 23rd, 2012 // 02:50 pm
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It's a lovely day! Such a lovely day, in fact, that I thought I'd see if I could entice GB out to the woods, rather than stay in the field, even though I didn't really have time for a long ride.

We did reasonably well, other than having to pause for five minutes at the point where the route goes from being "we might just be going to have a lesson" to being "nope, we're definitely going into the woods", but he was reasonably ok. I did have to actually give him a proper smack at one point*, but we managed ok. We were only in the woods for about half an hour, but we had a few nice canters, and he did enjoy it once he was out there, other than the muddy bits. I was going to take him over the short, steep hill-with-jump that he likes, but went we rode past the top of it on the way there, I saw that someone has added to the jump (a pile of loose branches in a dip, easy to swerve safely around and anyway likely to fall apart if something goes wrong): there's now an entire (admittedly fairly slender) tree entirely over the path, about a foot off the ground. Er, no, I think I'll pass on that. Bah.

* I hit my horse all the time with the whip. 90% of the time, it's a tiny tap of the order of tapping someone on the shoulder: he can barely feel it. 9.999999% of the time, it's something that would make a person go "ow!" and for him is like, well, being tapped on the shoulder and told "oi!". The rest of the time is like today. Then, of course, there are the times when I hit him with my hand. That's mostly when he's just tried to bite me, though, so....

It's such a lovely day that I almost put him back in the field without his rug on, but I was in a rush and I didn't have time to canvas opinion around the yard. I need to get on with getting him a non-stuffed waterproof rug for dreary summer days, as it would have been ideal for today as well. Ah well.

Why was I in a rush? I had a slightly-inconveniently-times pilates class. I was a little worried about this: I hadn't realised, when they booked me onto it as a fill-in until I can join the one I wanted to be on, that it was "mixed ability" rather than "beginner". Their website says that you have to do a beginner or intermediate class for six months before you join a mixed ability one, which was slightly concerning. Also concerning was the instructor (not the one I had my assessment with) saying "you've done lots of pilates before, yes?" when I arrived and wasn't on her list. More relaxing was the instructor saying "oh, yes, I heard about you" when I said I'd just had my assessment, and the sight of the rest of the people in the class: mostly over fifty, by the looks of things, other than a couple of people who were just generally unfit looking for other reasons.

(To be fair, this isn't that surprising for a class at noon on a week day! I shall be a little concerned if this is the sort of level of the beginner class I'm actually going to be doing, though. I know it's not competitive, but that kind of thing does affect the level of the exercises generally. The class was much less hard work than my assessment was!)

Anyway, class went well. Other than showing me what I was actually supposed to be doing in a couple of unfamiliar exercises, she seemed happy with what I was doing. We'll see how it goes, and in particular whether the traffic will actually let me get there for the class I'm signed up for!

(Bah: I was supposed to be going out for booze'n'tapas this evening, but I've been cancelled on! I suppose I'll have to spend the evening with my beloved husband instead.)
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I think I'll be stiff tomorrow....

♥Feb. 21st, 2012 // 03:35 pm
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I went riding this morning, but only for half an hour or so: GB was, whilst willing, not seeing terribly able. No energy and he was rather stiff at first. I suspect that this may have had something to do with his 'flu jab yesterday! So, it was probably a good thing that my riding instructor was on holiday this week!

It was probably also a good thing that I didn't ride for too long given that I had an assessment session at a proper pilates place at lunch time. My rib is making itself known, now, and, yes, I suspect I'll be stiff tomorrow. Still, it seemed to go ok: it probably helps that I'm generally pretty fit at the moment. It's the same place as my riding instructor goes, and I had to smile a few times as I thought "I've heard that description before...". So, signed up for regular classes there, see how it goes!

(Work yesterday went better than I'd feared. I will be getting my own way about fixing things, or at least that's what I've been told. Of course, this would be easier if I had a computer, so that I could install the accounts software, so that I could take over from the bookkeeper and start fixing things....)

I need a Healthy Exercise icon. Hmm.
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Bad websites...

♥Jan. 3rd, 2012 // 01:06 pm
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So, in the spirit of Getting On With It, I've signed up to do online booking at the nicer-sounding local leisure centre.

First, I was presented with:

Yes, only *men* can have the rank of Captain!

Then I got to the bit of the form that looked as though it was going to do a postcode lookup but didn't, and then I got terribly confused about why I would be entering my mobile number via a dropdown box labelled "select site"....

Then, oh joy, they sent me an email to confirm that I have signed up. My username, I am solemnly informed, is 110085[XX]. They have provided me with a temporary PIN to use with it, but recommend that I change it to something more memorable when I have logged in.

(Hmm... "Yogilates". That sounds good for me. I wonder why it doesn't appear in the "Yoga and Pilates" section of the booking site...?
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♥Jan. 3rd, 2012 // 12:08 pm
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So, I've been vaguely thinking for a while that I should either re-start yoga or I should start doing pilates, on account of it will help with the riding and so on.

(I did briefly re-start yoga on the Wii Fit, but then I had my little accident, and the astonishingly procrastinatory way that I've been putting off re-re-starting ("Ooh, my ribs a little bit sore today..." "Oh, but I'm riding later...") suggests that it probably won't be terribly successful.)

I had a look online at pilates, and discovered something very peculiar: apparently, the most popular, nay, often *only*, time for mid-week, non-evening, not-before-work classes in this area is... during my weekly riding lesson on a Wednesday morning. Sigh. I'd really like to find something on a Thursday (as that's a day I know I can't ride, due to the loan, so I know I'm not going to say "sod it" and go to Bexley for a ride if it's a nice day), some time between 11am and 3pm. The only place I've been able to find is... in Bexley. Sigh.

I shall keep looking. Below the cut, tedious notes for my own reference.

I would say "Back to yoga, then", but I didn't really see anywhere that looked that good for that, either.

(I should note that it is true that our local leisure centre offers both yoga and pilates classes. I'm pretty sure that they're shite. I may give them a try, although I note that the pilates class is at - haha - 11am on Wednesday. There is something called "Power Pilates" on a Thursday, but I have no idea what that means. They also have Hatha yoga on Tuesdays. It's £10 a session unless I pay £8 a week for a membership £8 a week if I pay £60 a year for a discount card.)

A List )

Edit: Mike points out that we have *two* local leisure centres: I didn't realise that the Docks watersports centre did anything other than, well, messing about on the docks. It has a much more appealing range of classes at much better time, although I still have my doubts about the quality. They do Tai Chi, too! And More Than One Kind Of Yoga! This reflects the differing social mix between the two halves of the area, I suspect.
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