Saturday, 31 January 2015


The excitement could not be contained past 8 o'clock. Mummy, Daddy I have something very important to tell you, it's snowing! They drew back the curtains to prove themselves and we all stared in magical wonder at the silence descending on the Sussex soil. Great flakes, whirling, turning, spinning to the ground, layering the earth with just a dusting. Just enough of the whiteness to get the sledges out, holler and woop, to stare at the sky and demand hot chocolate and marshmallows to warm the noses and toes-es.

Before it disappeared as quickly as it came.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Are One Direction gay?

"Emma Weston* says One Direction is gay - are they gay Mummy?" A asked while colouring in a picture of some pixies.

A is nearly 9 years old now so I nonchalantly replied "I'm not sure darling, shall we look it up? I'm pretty sure that Harry Styles is not gay as I think Taylor Swift was his girlfriend once, I guess he could be bisexual, lets Google it!"

Of course I knew that Emma Weston was not actually referring to the sexual orientation of the band members in One Direction, she was actually trying to say that One Direction were rubbish, she used the word gay as derogatory and I was certainly not having that.

So we looked up Harry Styles and ascertained that he was not gay, I made sure that A and P knew what the word meant, that loving someone of the same sex was exactly the same as Mummy and Daddy loving each other. Of course they understood completely.

I was reminded of this little conversation when some good mates of ours updated their Facebook status, they had recently got married and changed their status from Civil Partnership to Married, although we were all at their fabulous weddings and have considered them married for over 10 years. Instead of another celebration they spent their day reflecting.

"We chose to reflect on the fact that three quarters of primary school teachers report hearing the word "gay" being used as an insult. That ninety percent of secondary school teachers say pupils in their schools are bullied, harassed or called names for being - or perceived to be - lesbian, gay or bisexual."
Source: Stonewall

We were asked to consider donating just £10 to the charity Stonewall to send a resource and training pack to a primary school, to reduce bullying and changing the lives of many young people.

It was just a pity that when I donated that I couldn't request the training resource pack goes directly to our primary school, it certainly needs to. I will have a word with the Head Teacher.

*Not her real name for obvious reasons

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Positive mental attitude

It took enormous courage and positive thinking to go to a show jumping clinic with Fletch this week. I've done it before, and many similar events like it, but Fletch scared me over Christmas. He's feeling fresh, as we say in the game, he's fizzy and spooky - for those with nothing to do with horses, he's like an unexploded bomb. It feels like you are riding an animal who at any given moment, with no prior warning, may catapult you into the air with only the crash landing to look forward to. A life with a horse is a roller coaster, a series of doubts to whether you can do it, you know, control over half a ton of animal. It's certainly not all red rosettes and summer days in cream jodhpurs at shows, it certainly does not feel posh or privileged when you have been dumped for the seventh time in 2 years, onto hard frosty ground. So I had to dig very, very deep to find my inner strength this week. By minimising all the risk and wrapping myself in an air jacket, a back protector and the best safety hat on the market I felt the assertive me rise - and we flew. 

And when it was over I felt that high which lasted all day proving once again that the mental strife I endure is all worth it, proving again the power of positive thought.


If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win, but think you can't,
It's almost certain you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you've lost.
For out of the world we find
Success begins with a fellows will.
It's all in the state of mind.
If you think you're outclassed, you are.
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster person.
But sooner or later the person who wins
Is the one who thinks they can.


    Maybe not looking so positive here - if only you could hear what I was telling myself

    Tuesday, 13 January 2015

    Tooth fairy

    The tooth fairy didn't come on Sunday night. Maybe she or he had a day off. Maybe it was because there were too many other children to visit that night. Or maybe it was because the tooth fell out so close to bed time that it didn't register on the tooth fairy's list.

    Bit slack if you ask me.

    Good job she apologised in a note the following night and gave 20p extra for the inconvenience.

    toothfairy2small.gif (796×861)

    Friday, 9 January 2015

    Looking forward

    Two thousand and fifteen has so far consisted of a stomach virus and a hacking cough, so there is nothing quite like planning an escape when feeling rotten and the rain batters at the windows. I'm such a dreamer, I know that, always planning a way out of Sussex, whether for a week or forever.

    I had vague thoughts about my New Years resolutions and goals. I'm going to further my career and study to become an Excellent Practitioner, yes it really is called that, I am going to study to be excellent. I am going to be more assertive - I've been saying that one since 1989 - and I'm going to push my riding further, to as far as Fletch allows me to go. I don't feel like being more specific than that this year.

    I do have terribly itchy feet again though. I long for a life on the road, discovering together as a family and schooling along the way. I have an awful feeling I'm going to regret not having taken off and done the year away with the girls. I'm not sure what stops us really, financial constraints aside. Actually it's all financial and the fear of not finding work on return, if we returned.

    Putting the big dreams to rest for now, I have settled on holiday planning in between the mundane. The journey through the Internet today, just to find a few weeks away for 2015, has been thrilling. I have travelled through Finland by car, staying in cabins made of wood in forests next to a thousand lakes. I have been to the Troodos mountains in Cyprus and met Androula, a wonderful host apparently, who prepares traditional Cyproit fayre and recommends walking routes for the family. The journey to the Canary Islands was brief and expensive, I soon flew out of there and popped into the Cape Verde Islands, too package-holiday, and sailed on to The Azores. I like the look of these islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with their Portuguese heritage and whales basking off their shores. Kalamata at Easter looked appealing, full of olives and empty beaches, a touch of Greece before the hordes arrive. I dismissed Morocco and Tunisia, perhaps I shouldn't but I might wait, you know, until things settle down. I've been to Turkey and Italy, to Greek Islands and to Cornwall - and then I let myself look a little further. To Mozambique. Yes, Mozambique is where I would like to go, to swim in the sea on a horse inspired by the book One Hundred and Four Horses.

    It's just a matter of planning now to make those dreams a reality.

    slider_mozambique-horse-safaris-swimming_2.jpg (660×350)

    Sunday, 4 January 2015

    Looking back

    It was a good one, two thousand and fourteen.

    I achieved my equestrian goals of competing in a show jumping competition and a Novice dressage test - doing quite well in fact with lots of fluffy rosettes to show for it. I pushed myself further and into scarier realms than I thought possible. It would be easy to sit on my laurels from now on and enjoy the ride, pardon the terrible pun, but I think I will kick on, reach higher until one of us can do it no longer. Fletch being 21 years old and me pushing 42.

    Fletch gave me some incredible highs over 2014, and some scary lows - I guess it is all about the yin and the yang and finding a natural balance with your horse. One thing I know for certain is that my parenting, my work, my home life and relationships all benefit from having this huge ginger beastie in my life. He puts the small stuff into perspective for me, settles my jumbled mind by blowing sweet hay-breath on to my face, he keeps me on my toes and never lets me take anything for granted, he's hard work but the rewards are worth more than gold, he keeps me calm and reflective, he soothes my adrenaline and is the cause of it - thank you Mr Fletcher for 2014, undoubtedly the most successful horsey year of my life.

    We travelled far and wide giving ourselves a little more adventure than we thought we could manage. We challenged the children to a couple of weeks in India, a colourful experience in Kerala amongst the elephants and saris with stories of leeches and tactical pukes on the side of the roads, between the rickshaws and mopeds. We all loved India, really loved it. I will go back.

    The children grew fast, as they do. A has elongated, has an oval face and still the wide blue eyes. Something has clicked for A in 2014, she dances how the others dance, she can tackle maths homework without a tsunami of a meltdown, she uses better vocabulary, she can do the rising trot, she remembers and loves her travels. Still she is kind. P grows too fast, provocative and scary when let loose in H & M. She delegates, ie gets her sister to do it, she does the least amount of work possible to be on the 'best table', she learnt to ride a bike and swim properly. She was the narrator in the school play doing a sterling job - I can see her on the stage in the future.

    Perhaps most significantly we decided to stay in Sussex. Dreams of travelling and home-schooling were laid to rest, an organic small holding in Spain was disregarded and a city-life in Barcelona rejected. We decided to stay on the hamster wheel of life, work hard, have small adventures which fit into the school holidays and decorate the house. It felt good when we came to that conclusion in November. 

    But now it's January - and I'm not sure that's the best decision I've ever made.