Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Fletch's at it again

"Well done! Shame about the jumping!" the judge smiled as she handed me a fluffy pink rosette. That's fifth out of five. I grinned, knowing the horse as I do, having being on his back for nearly two years now.

Fletch didn't feel like jumping that day, it was easier to go round them - so he did. I had to do the walk of shame from the ring, elimination at a fence because he ran out three times. He knows I am as soft as butter and that he was going to get loved anyway. Everyone commiserated our efforts, made comments at Fletch's cheekiness saying he should know better at his age and we all agreed that I need to be more assertive with him. They say horses reflect your emotions and that is certainly true in the assertive-ness stakes.

We tried the jumps again in the lunch break. I tried being more positive but Fletch DID feel like jumping them this time. He didn't feel like going round them, he sailed them all not batting an eyelid and wondering what all the fuss was about. I'm sure he grinned an inside grin.

"Ohhh, he's so cheeky isn't he?" they all commented again.

Yeah. You never know what you're going to get with Fletch. Beautifully composed and red rosettes all the way, a meeting of the ground, fly bucks up the fields, reluctance to move forward and a reserve champion of the show. Because we have had it all this week. Onwards and forwards Mr Fletcher, onwards and forwards.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Forty one

I've never liked my own birthday - or Christmas for that matter, perhaps I am just a miserable old fart - but turning 41 has to be the most dull of them all. A slight trough from the peak of being forty. All that self-centred searching due to becoming a decade older, the realisation of your own mortality, the panic that  sets in because there's not much time left, the lists of ways you plan to use the next forty years and the promise to yourself of not wasting a moment. Everyone has a crisis at forty but it kind of fades by the time you reach 41, it's just another year.

So I am going to do some of my favourite things:

1. Have coffee in bed
2. Ride my favourite horse of all time and feed him carrots
3. Go to the beach rain or shine and marvel at the sea
4. Drink champagne, a really good one
5. Eat prawns, you know those huge ones which are almost sweet and so good with garlic mayonnaise
6. Be with friends and loved ones

I think that's a pretty special birthday after all.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A holiday in the holidays

Today has been my first day off this holiday, it's been a crazy-busy summer so far, but at last nothing at all was planned for today - perhaps a little pre birthday celebration but Hurricane Bertha soon put pay to that. I was supposed to be continuing my eventing career by entering another One Day Event, 5 cm higher this time, but I sensibly decided I hadn't had enough time to prepare - Mark Todd wouldn't have done that, but I guess that's why he's an Olympic champion many times over and I am not.

Anyhow, a day of nothing does not sit well with me. OK, the sheets were washed, lunch and dinner prepared and a blustery welly walk accomplished - but it seems I would rather be busy to the point of bursting than having a cosy day inside. Let this day be just a blip in a long and exciting summer - I couldn't bear to think it is already the beginning of the end, although I did smell autumn a few days ago and the blackberries are already ripe for picking.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Cluck cluck

What a fantastic weekend of fun, laughter, grown-up partying with plenty of soul searching and heart-felt issues discussed. A hen weekend in your forties is a rare treat, to be able leave the kids at home and escape with some female friends. I don't do it often enough.

We had lunch out with no one needing a poo or saying they don't like tomatoes. We drank prosecco at lunch time and were the loudest in the restuarant. We rode horses of the ex-race-horse- kind and whooped though the woods - jumping logs as if we were on our hairy ponies 30 years before. I still get a rush of excitement mounting a new horse, hoping I stay on. I chose an orange one called Jaffa - Team Ginger all the way I say. He looked after me like a true gentleman with hay fever and horse flies bugging him along the way.

We nosed in people's gardens, pondering on the house prices of Surrey with its immaculate villages and perfect ponds. Stopping for a quick drink and struggling to get back on we cantered home, twisting, turning, ducking the branches and grinning madly at each other like pony-mad kids. It was a shame it had to end.

Horses will always be a part of all of our lives and it was so wonderful to be able to share the enthusiasm with others. These women get it. The addiction.

And on to the evening of a warm swim in the disappearing sun, a glass of champagne in hand, toasting a friend of many years and wishing her happiness with her soon husband-to-be. It was all quite emotional and held so much more meaning than the hen parties of a decade ago - although even at 40 plus we still drank through penis straws and giggled.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

40 positives

There's a meme going round on Facebook at the moment, I think it's called a meme, to write 3 positives daily for 5 days. No one has asked me to do it but here's my positives anyway, for the summer holidays so far:

1. Sun in the morning
2. Sun all day
3. Gorgeous sunny evenings
4. Glorious views over the Sussex countryside
5. A fabulous beach trip to Pett Level

6. Watching young seagulls being released by the RSPCA
7. Swimming in the sea
8. Taking the cousins riding on Ashdown Forest

9. Eating outside
10. Cherry picking
11. Pub lunch
12. Sleepovers
13. Tree climbing
14. Mud pie making
15. Picking our own salads nightly
16. Lizards
17. Freddie the shetland
18. Fletch being a total-utter-super-star
19. Chipmunks
20. Eton mess
21. The Black Mountains
22. Tawny owls calling at night and buzzards by day
23. Belly laughter with friends
24. Stinkhorn fungi finds
25. River swimming in icy cold welsh mountain water
26. Picnics with dogs

27. Hill walking
28. Raving to old skool toons
29. My cats are so fluffy and squidgy and gorgeous and purry
30. The garden looks ace
31. I've been exactly the same weight for 4 years and my blood pressure is low in my annual check up
32. Beautiful butterflies on budleias

33. Running across grassy fields
34. Really cold beer
35. Late nights and dirty toe nails
36. Chilli plants fruiting and not even in a greenhouse
37. Home made rhubarb crumble with home grown rhubarb
38. My bezzie's Hen Weekend
39. Spinning yarns with Dad and A
40. Selfies