Friday, 31 July 2015

Time for the off

We are lucky to be going on holiday again. Lucky to be going away at the exact time we need it. He is like a coiled spring and my head is so full of work, kids, health, house repairs, horses and the everyday - we need a little break.

We are all off to Romania to walk with donkeys.

We will walk in the Carpathian Mountains, with donkeys carrying our basic needs, up to 20km a day, trundling from farmhouse to farmhouse. There may be bears, there may be fierce mountain dogs protecting their sheep, there may be blisters and moaning, there may be hunger and winging but there will be space.

There will space to stretch our eyes, silence only for nature, walking with purpose to exercise those tired cramped muscles, there will be a mind able to wander, to glory in the now. From farmhouse to farmhouse, walking with donkeys, for 12 whole days with nearly nothing in my head.

See you on our return xx

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Fringe benefits

She had been asking for weeks. Can I get a fringe? She had been practising in the mirror, making a fringe out of her pony tail, staring at herself coquettishly, this way and that - deciding that a fringe would suit her very well indeed.

It changed her face entirely, her mannerisms and the view of herself. My baby girl is growing up.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Start of the holidays

A beautiful evening and the beach beckoned. Lets run to the sea when school is out. Six glorious weeks starting with paddling, rock finding, fish n chips and a strong glass of Pimms. The kids squealed, the parents sighed with relief and apprehension, the seagulls circled hoping for a something fried and I revelled in the now.

It's the best time of the year.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Cherries and chips

I cannot wait for the end of term.

It's been a whirlwind of sports day, the school performance, last assembly and leavers assembly (I missed both), open afternoon, school trips, school fundraisers, cake sale after bloody cake sale, school reports and a good old dose of the nits.

We squoze P's birthday in to all the chaos. An afternoon of cherry picking with friends amongst the idyllic Sussex countryside, followed by a pub meal and beers for us lot. It was a glorious summer evening, the kids sweaty with play and filth, and hyper with E-numbers and over stimulation. P enjoyed her day, her cake and presents. I allowed myself a brief look back at her entrance to the world, remembering the good bits and the funny bits - choosing to ignore the carnage.

Lovely little P, a big grown up seven year old now. Knowing your own mind and telling us how it is. I can't wait to have you back for six long, fun-filled, fabulous weeks when we can get to know each other again. A time when we can both realign ourselves with no rules restricting our discoveries.

I cannot wait for the end of term.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Kent County Show

We'd been building up to this for quite a while, training Dexter to walk and trot nicely and to stand like a good boy while the judge judges. We had bathed him three times, brushed through his mane and tail, oiled his feet and trimmed his face. We had manically run around Kent and Sussex as well as trawling eBay to collect the outfit necessary to take him to the competition. A strange tradition of tweeds and Victorian looking collars, culottes and navy tights - all to show Dexter off as a pony capable of teaching a small child to ride.

We had never done anything quite like this before, let alone at county level. P was silent as we dressed her in her finery, her quietness betraying her nerves. Dexter dozed in the hot sun as we waited to enter the ring, the woollen scratchiness of the tweed irritated my head and the heat of the day made our outfits hot and heavy. Fourteen ponies, their riders and leaders all entered the ring hoping for a rosette.

I have no idea what the judge was looking for but I know that Dexter behaved himself impeccably, P rode beuatifully and we all had a brilliant time.

We were 11th out of the fourteen, nowhere near the top but the judge gave us a consolation rosette anyway.

"I came 'special' " P exclaimed excitedly - yes my lovely, you came 'special' and a very proud mama I am too.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Brightling Park Horse Trials

We had such a great day at Brightling Horse Trials yesterday. We were all supposed to go as a family, enjoy a picnic and perhaps a beer or two but the day unfortunately started with rain, which put him and P off entirely. So as they went to the pub for a roast, A and I donned our waterproofs and wellies for a day of thrilling riding and the most beautiful English countryside.

Looking at the spectacular view over Brightling Park towards the sea, was a blanket of emerald fields, divided neatly with dark green hedges and dotted with follies. As the rains and the mists lifted the colours of the English summer shimmered with fertility and beauty - this was the Land of Hope and Glory, England my England, a Green and Pleasant Land. Not one to normally feel a great amount of national pride, I did yesterday. There's nowhere quite like Sussex on a glorious English summers day - and to top it off with horses and my pony-mad daughter, it was a day to make my heart swell. I felt well and truly blessed.

We watched the bravest riders and and the most courageous horses, we measured the size of the jumps compared to ourselves and we 'ooohed' and 'ahhhed' at their enormity. I wondered if I could do it, imagining myself up there flying the jumps, galloping along to the cheering crowd. I was completely and utterly inspired and will be entering a competition soon, bigger and bolder than anything I have ever done before.

This morning I woke up sweating with nerves and anticipation, having dreamt of riding cross country all night. 

I can't wait. I'm so scared. I love it. It terrifies me. I am so excited I am counting down the days. 

Pippa Funnel

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Me 'n' Fletch

We've been together two and half years now, me and Fletch. That's a fair amount of time for any relationship. We've had our ups and downs, we've had some big arguments (he usually wins) and he doesn't tell me he loves me even though I tell him all the time. There are little signs that our relationship is progressing, we have our set backs like any partnership but occasionally the communication is good enough to produce fireworks. Like yesterday.

He's getting on a bit now, but like any commitment I won't bow out just because he might not be up for it in the future, I will be there to the end unless of course I go first, I'm no spritely young thing any more. In sickness and in health they say, for better or for worse, lets keep this affair going - working at it everyday even when we sometimes don't feel like it.

What a privilege we were introduced in our later years - and as quoted by Torquato Tasso:

"Love is when he gives you a piece of your soul, that you never knew was missing"