Friday, 28 May 2010

(rough winds do shake the darling buds of May and summers lease has all to short a date... for me the most perfect flowers in the world. I never tire of them and they are with us such a short time - already the field looks like there has been a wedding with the scattered confetti petals.)

Since the move back to the old house we haven't stopped... there was moving - on the hottest weekend ever!! Which at several points I thought was actually going to kill me. To be honest it all went pretty smoothly. The old suite has gone- hurray! Donated to my sister for her new house because it will go with her decour. However the new one hasn't arrived yet so we are sofaless. Not that we would get chance to sit on them anyway.

(there are curtains you understand they are down for decorating)

The jungle is almost tamed- I'm not sure that MrPs bowling green lawn ever will be again though but I have scattered on aftercut and prayed for a light sprinkling of rain which mother nature provided for me through the night. I have weeded like a mad woman and put down weed control fabric and bark in the front garden (I have mentioned before my aversion to front garden gardening) so it is neat at least - if a little uninspiring- you can't have everything.

It has been decided for the purposes of selling that the veg garden is to be done away with (that's okay, I can live with that, so long as I have the greenhouse and my herb pots) and replaced with lawn. So there is more weeding and digging and raking to be done...

The pond is now clear and the remaining fish can breathe again-

(the big black one is Albert- he eats out of your hand- such a sweetie!)

they can't eat because Cairo ate all their food last night while we were at the stables- he says it wasn't him, it was Saffi, but I am pretty sure it was him and it is Cairo who keeps chewing grass this morning so I think my boy may have belly ache- serves him right!!

(who do you think looks most guilty?)

Then there is the painting. I'm not sure that there is much I can say about painting, especially painting in magnolia in a House Doctor style attempt to neutralize and depersonalise the house. Apart from one "feature wall" which I have done in a nice soft green.

I don't find it a personal house anyway, in fact I find it pretty soul-less. I'm a cottage girl, I'm beams and nooks and crannies, low ceilings and lower doors, not a straight wall in the place and sloping floors that make you feel drunk, wood-burners, mullioned windows, countryside, scrubbed pine and patchwork quilts, cottage gardens with veg growing between the flowers, tile floors and bread in the oven...
So a 1980s semi (especially a 4 bedroom one! which is way too big for just MrP and me) on a nice enough estate with a neat lawned garden, double glazing and modern fittings is my idea of hell- sorry if it's your idea of heaven I'm just talking about me and I'm a bit strange... but this is what we have to work with and it needs to be sold so that we can move to our happily ever after cottage in the country- and PDQ too! The vendor won't keep it off the market forever for us.

So I am sorry I am quiet and not getting back to as many people as I would like but there are walls that need magnolia-ing

Normal service will be resumed ASAP
Oh and there is no news, as of this morning, from bulging Poppy- the foal is officially due today though so watch this space...

(the girls this morning- now in adjoining fields just in case Poppy pops today)
Friday, 21 May 2010
Just so no-one is offended if I don't get back to them... this weekend is the move proper so once turned off and moved tonight I am computerless until BT get around to re-broadbanding me (they said anytime up to midnight Tuesday- so most likely to be 10 to 12 Tuesday...)

I leave you with a picture of my best friend's grandson George (the one in the stripey top) having an indepth conversation with their miniture shetland pony Dougal (the one falling asleep) just because it is the cutest thing I have seen all week!!

Have a good weekend all- not too many sausages on the barbeque and put your factor 100 on it's going to be a hot one! (Ooooohhh look I've gone all Rob Thomas now and started humming Smooth... go Carlos play your guitar...)

I'll be back next week if we are spared!
Thank you so much Amy for my award- I will polish it daily I promise.

I have to list 10 things about me, 5 things I don't like and pass it on to 10 bloggers

Okay I said that I wasn't going to do this until I had moved but I really need another coffee to kick start me this morning so here we go
10 things about me...
1. I ride horses
2. My 2 little section A welsh ponies are expecting foals soon
3. I love mashed potato sandwiches- yum!
4. I love watching the dawn break somewhere beautiful
5. I got married on Valentines Day - how romantic is that?!?
6. When I worked I was a computer analyst but now have no idea how they work...
7. My real passion is baking
8. I would love to write a book
9. My vocal cords are paralysed and have been cut at the back to allow me to breathe so people always think I have a really sore throat
10. I'm dreading moving back to the old house
5 things I don't like...
1 Moths!!!!!!!!
2 Avocados
3 Mowing the lawn
4 Ironing
5 Moving house
Passing this award onto Karen (The English Writer), Pebbledash, Driftwood, Dragonfly, Suie Juantit, Miss Pickering, The Hound, Poppy Cottage, Heart of Devon and Indigo Shirl
who else can't wait to hear the hound's likes and dislikes...?
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
This week we have the keys back to the old house- we have given ourselves 2 weeks to move stuff back there- we hadn't counted on MrP being soooooo busy at work that it looks like with the exception of the huge stuff like dressers and sofas I'm a one girl removal team. I started yesterday with plants (my little tomato seedlings so needed the sunlight of the greenhouse instead of the half light of a barn conversion windowsill)

The out-going tenant looks like lawn mowing wasn't her forté (I'm estimating 12 inches long) - or weeding- or watering (and yes that is a dead fish at the side of the pond but MrP will have to move that!! The pond deck is raised by about 6 inches by the way and the right hand photo is what used to be my beloved veg garden!!) or keeping greasy kiddy fingers off walls - it's no wonder it's not selling!! I have my work cut out over the next few weeks to get it back to where it was... oh well it keeps me out of mischief I guess!

On a brighter note we had a glorious weekend (well after MrP had finished work on Saturday afternoon we had a glorious weekend) I had popped into Tesco on my way back from getting horse and chicken food and there was my favourite wine (normally about £9 a bottle) as part of their finest meal deal (2 eat in for £9) so basically you buy a bottle of wine and get a free meal- so I did! I don't normally do ready meals as I love cooking but this was lovely and it felt like a night off. We also took the dogs for a walk in the woods near the cottage- bluebells are so beautiful aren't they?  I managed to pick some wild garlic too, so when I get 5 minutes I can make some wild garlic and walnut pesto...

It set us up for being up with the lark on Sunday; horses and chickens seen to, dogs fed and emptied we polished our wellies and set off for Chatsworth International horse trials. We had a fab day browsing stalls, getting bored with dressage, people getting carted off to hospital in show jumping and MrP getting scared out of his wits on the CC course, when we were looking at a very ordinary looking (quite inviting) log jump (not the one on the left)- then I pointed out that it had been positioned so that to the horse and rider it looked like they were jumping into thin air and it would take a heck of a lot of trust from the horse to go for it. We walked it as though we were walking the course and MrP used some very naughty language to describe his awe for the people doing it, then the competitors were flying past on 17hh horses at a flat out gallop and I don't think he has ever been close up to anything quite like it!! The camera batteries died so I only have a couple of photos- grrr I could have got some brill ones too! Oh saw Ian Stark!!! The hero of my youth, he was one of the course builders and was doing an interview. I also saw Mary King warming up in the collecting ring. Sausage and bean toasties for breakfast and Chatsworth pasties for lunch, yummy! We walked absolutely miles following the cross country. MrP's favourite bit was the Pony Club mounted games with fearless kids on even more fearless ponies galloping everywhere but where they were supposed to like a complicated Thelwell jigsaw...We did a bit of shopping and I got the limited edition print I have wanted for ages directly from the artist (it's for my birthday so I wasn't being spoiled MrsC!!) We got home exhausted and had homemade scones with clotted cream then went for a ride on Darcy and home again to just about manage homemade lasagne before we fell asleep.

So all in all not a bad weekend. Just a shame it's back to the reality of moving and work now...

What is your perfect summer's day out?

Thursday, 13 May 2010
I heard a cuckoo this morning in the woods at the bottom of the field! The last time I heard one was that amazingly hot summer in the 70s (was it 76 or 77? I can never remember? Anyway it was the year Elvis died...) so maybe, just maybe it's a good omen for a hot summer. I did actually hear it the other night but couldn't quite believe that I had so waited to hear it again to confirm to myself it was there. The swallows have also returned to their nest in the eves of the stables where they raised two lots of chicks last year. They make a bit of a mess but are so beautiful that I'm honored to provide them with board and lodgings for the summer and our beautiful Jenny Wren was spotted in the hedge last week too. Mr Robin hasn't yet left us so with all these the black birds, chaffinches, blue and great tits, wood pidgeons and pheasants we have quite a full house bird wise.

Daisy and Bluebell are providing us with daily eggs but Sweetpea seems to have other things on her mind and hasn't laid for a couple of weeks- despite having her wings clipped she is frequently to be found on the stables roof- I was asked how she was doing it and last night while I was riding she gave me a demo... there is an upturned plantpot in the run she hops from there onto the fence top then onto the henhouse roof- a good flap gives her just enough lift to get to the top of the feed shed door - then onto the feed shed roof and onto the stables roof- and they say chickens are stupid!! My worries include that she may be laying up there and we are going to find piles of eggs in the gutter- I have moved the upturned plant pot- lets see if that stops her!
No news from the expectant mint imperial...

Its a beautiful day so I'm off to walk the dogs and start potting up the plants ready to move house

Wednesday, 12 May 2010
We had tea on the hoof last night as Poppy had us all in a spin!

This is her first foal, so we don't know how she is going to go on with it and she is such an angel. So when last night she wouldn't eat, then started pawing the ground and lying down then getting up and swishing her tail about we got all over excited! Well it would be early but it is her first so maybe just maybe??

We flew home and ate under-cooked jacket potatoes and goulash, I made a flask while MrP got the camera and video camera together and checked the batteries and within 10 minutes of getting home we were back in the car armed with flask, chocolate, biscuits and an ancient book I have about foaling (oh and with just a touch of indigestion).

Back at the stable we set about laying a thick soft straw bed and making sure she had everything she could possibly need - we sat huddled in the back stable so as not to disturb her but to be there if needed, outside it poured with rain. I am going to state the blatently obvious now and suggest that reading a 30 year old book about all the things that can go wrong with foaling when you think your precious little mare is in labour is not the best idea.

Anyway at about 8:45pm after a huge groan and much more tail swishing she broke wind, then her head dropped and she went off to sleep. So it appears that she just had a bit of indigestion too.

I didn't sleep well last night- could be worrying about Poppy, could be undercooked jacket spud... but I was at the stable at the crack of dawn this morning (which came as a bit of a shock to the horses) fully expecting to see a wibbly wobbly baby stood with Poppy. But no she still looks like a furry mint imperial on legs and went on to demonstrate how not in labour she is by galloping about the field and rolling (mucky madam!). All the signs are there though so watch this space...

Not a lot else happening really - I'm still trying to put our wedding album together, slowly (these things can't be rushed) and list the growing mountain of stuff on ebay (even more slowly) and get around to packing for the move back to the old house - which isn't going well mainly because I don't want to go... not to the old house anyway- please someone buy it so we can move to our little cottage...
Saturday, 8 May 2010
I had to go and get my new specs yesterday, the time I'm afraid has come to admit that my arms are no longer long enough to read menus in restaurants, or letters, or maps and that squinting to see the computer screen with my eyes screwed up and my mouth open is not an attractive look... It was quite a shock though to find that I'm not only long sighted but short sighted too, how does that work? So basically I'm blind?!?! I need some for reading and close work, well I had gathered that, and another pair for driving (I'm still within the legal limits without but...) and watching tv. So I went to pick them up and invested in a new teapot at the same time (no, not from the optitions, just while I was in town.)

I returned to find one of those depressing red cards from the royal mail saying that they were holding my parcel hostage as it wouldn't fit through the letter box and I had dared to leave the house. There is nowhere to park near the sorting office and they have started opening at odd times (7am-11am on a Saturday??) - anyway that was worth the trip this morning as it was my new sewing box, not that I had an old sewing box but I couldn't resist this one- now I just need to learn to sew... I need help! I used to think people were kidding when they said they couldn't bake or couldn't cook- it's easy- just follow a recipe!! Then I tried to learn to sew. How hard can it be? You follow a pattern, you put two pieces of fabric together and sew... right?? I'm starting with a peg bag- what could be simpler? Why then can't I do it? What on earth is going on here?? (this is the underside - the top looks fine- it sews for a few inches then snares up and grinds to a halt- sorry about the rubbish photo my macro setting isn't working properly- technology is just getting the better of me today!) I have tried altering the tension in both directions and it just gets worse!

This however was all made up for as I had a parcel that did fit through the letter box...

What could it be?

Oh yummy all beautifully wrapped in pink tissue

Thank you so much Karen x (I love the postcards too! Very useful as book marks...) I know I said I was going to save it for Marrakech next month but I couldn't resist (I am now in trouble for reading instead of paying attention to Dr Who on iplayer...) but it has softened the blow of having to wear specs.

So, cheered up no end with my parcel - I made chicken stuffed with mozzarella, basil and tomato with new potatoes and salad and a lemon drizzle cake for tea- and Mr P and myself put ourselves on the outside of a lovely bottle of red wine and I read while he watched Dr Who. Not such a bad day after all. What is your favourite good mood food? Have a good weekend!
Thursday, 6 May 2010
I promise my posts are not all going to be horsey from now on but just wanted to share my feelings at the moment. I didn't realise how much the face thing (I had a wrong time wrong place accident with the boys just before Christmas that resulted in 36 stitches and an operation on my face) and recent events had knocked my confidence. Not until we started looking at new horses. I am determined to get my nerve back however so here is day one with Darcy.
I'm not saying its boring- heck no! Its just the little demons in my head keep asking when she is going to do something wrong- I feel her breaking into a trot and wonder is it a trot or is she going to buck or tank off with me never to be seen again. She is being very forgiving and happily walked around doing serpentines and changes of rein, bless her as though she knows.
Has anyone else been here and got through it? I need success stories- lots of them!

I want to get to know her. I was saying this to MrP last night. I want to know what she does if something frightens her, I want to know if she puts in a mini buck when she goes into canter, I want to know what she does when she is on her toes, just so I can be prepared for it. I think I have ridden one too many naughty horses- we will gain each others trust and she will give me my confidence back I can feel it - then there will be no stopping us! Also I am riding in the brand new Barefoot saddle- which she has never been ridden in before and in the half hour that I rode her the girth straps had given that little bit and I could feel it wobbling- once I trust the saddle it will make a difference!! I'm really not making excuses here it wobbled - a lot!

She is lovely to ride though nicely forward going off a squeeze with your leg but not so much that you feel out of control- I really dont know what was going on with my hands- maybe a couple of lessons wouldn't do me any harm after all. MrP was saying "bring her head in like you did on Saturday and make her canter..." I could tell you what I said but...

Then I got MrP up on her and led him round, he fidgeted, and grumbled that the saddle wasn't straight , then that his stirrups were too short, then not the same length, wriggle wriggle fidget fidget, then that his hip hurt! Darcy was an angel and just walked with me on a leadrein. I told him to pull himself together and that I would have noticed if the stirrups were odd... but sure enough they were a hole out (so much for experience!!) then we had the whole rigmarole of getting MrP off (Darcy could yet become the first ever horse to be sainted!) He says that having his legs in that position hurts his hips somehow (thank god men don't give birth then!) and that however far forward he leans he can't swing his leg over the back of the saddle and he doesn't know what to do with his hands while he is leaning forward. I was tempted to say hold onto the reins to stop your horse wandering off, but being as he had done the whole thing just holding the pommel (Blackpool donkey style) and just the very end of the reins I thought it best to keep my sarcasm to myself (see I am growing as a person) So MrP scrambled off in a very undignified manner I think teaching him to ride could be a long process- at least he is trying and he's keen (but he better not spoil my horse in the process...)

As for the fat broad that he took pictures of... I will be keeping a very close eye on her! I told him last night, it's not so much his having an affair that bothers me, as him letting her ride my horse!! ;O)

Poppy thought it all looked such fun she wanted a ride- and got her hat on ready- but I told her she's not allowed in her 3rd trimester

Next post will return to baking and my early attempts to master a sewing machine and Cairo's 15 minutes of fame on ShopDogs blog and how it went to his head- tch!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010
I haven't put a new post on for a while.

I have been doing a lot of soul searching, my life is going through such a lot of changes- getting married- finding the happily ever after cottage- my old dog (Loulou) dying - selling our little foal Willow (she was much bigger than the photo you understand when she was sold...) and so many other minor things too. I always find that periods of change like these lead onto more and more change.

It was this soul serching that made me look long and hard at the horses- I love them so much- especially Romeo whom I have owned since he was weaned from his dam and Riley has wormed his way into my heart with that cheeky freckled face and the ponies, what's not to love about the ponies?? (less than 4 weeks until Poppy's foal is due now)

I, however, am no spring chicken and my love of horses over the years has taken its toll on my body with the odd break here and fracture there, stitch this bit back together, a week in hospital every now and again on drips and the wonders of old wounds aching at the slightest sign of rain or cold. So, when Riley decided to have an all out bucking bronco tantrum one evening when he objected to going through the gate (I stayed on in case you were wondering- by the power of sheer gritted determination I stuck in the saddle) I had an "I'm too old for this" moment.

"What riding? Horses?" MrP looked shocked. I say those words so often, especially when faced with a muddy winter ahead of me or 4 filthy stables to muck out, but I think he detected from the tone of my voice that it was different this time - I really meant it!! Not altogether you understand. I was just so fed up of everything being a struggle and a fight, 20 years ago I would have loved it but now all I want is a quiet life and to enjoy my horses.

While the mood was upon me I drafted the adverts- having resisted "Two totally spoilt bratish Arab geldings" as an opening line and I put them online expecting it to take weeks to sell them. (the girls are not for sale) Within 3 days they were both sold and I was going about the exciting business of looking for a new sensible horse for gentle hacking about country lanes without being in fear of my life and going to the odd show and maybe even sensible enough for MrP to have lessons on. We looked at loads- we rejected even more without going to see them. There was one advert I kept on going back to - she looked so stunning! Too good to be true!! I'm not a big fan of mares nor of cobs for that matter but this one was glorious!

Meet Darcy, my new girl. Sensible without being a plod. A real beauty in a sturdy girl way. She arrived on May Day. I am totally besotted with her!! (So is MrP!)

Yet another big change in my life, my two beautiful boys are gone to their new homes with younger fitter riders to adore them and have lots of fun with them, (it was the right decision for the boys too) and I have my black beauty- the sort of horse that little girls dream of. But for me this was about growing up and realising I can't do what I did when I was 20 and letting go of my boys for everyone's benefit...

So you see I have been a little busy with one thing and another- I got through selling my boys by adopting that plain vanilla beige numbness that I have found serves me well for getting through tough patches and now things seem to finally be slotting into place.

More soon- off to make some scones for later then get ready to go for a gentle ride on Darcy...