Friday, 4 April 2014

One more sleep

I can hardly believe it is here. That's the funny thing about time, it comes, it goes, in the way it always has. Tomorrow we are going to India. We have hardly had time to discuss it and imagine what it will be like, India has just sort of crept up on us and this weekend we will be there. I've read a little in the Lonely Planet guide, checked out the accommodation on Trip Advisor, asked the agent if there are any horses I can ride (there aren't) and I am nearly there with the organisation and packing.

He is looking forward to a rest, some time away from the rigours and pressures of his work. And then I reminded him about India and quoted to him what someone said to me this week, worried there might not be too much time chilling.

"Ah, yes, India. You are never alone in India!"

Well, best get right in there then and soak up every last minute.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Challenges and accomplishments

I walked around the fences not taking any of them in, a sweet girl was chatting to me but I could only hear my nerves and feel my fear. I had already nearly fallen off twice in the warm up arena and now I was trying to remember the order of the fences - as well as the advice that I had been given in the last year.

Fletch and I went show jumping at the weekend. I had been looking forward to this for so long but now the time had arrived, my adrenaline was getting the better of me. I just needed to focus, to shut everything out around me, and to try and remember the god-damn order of jumps.

"And next in the ring we have number 133, riding Fletch"

I waited for the bell to ring while we trotted in. I told Fletch he could do it, I told him that I would love him forever if he didn't dump me in front of all these people and more importantly, I told him I had polo's - lots of them - if we got a clear round. I asked for canter and looked for the first fence, Fletch pricked his ears and we were off. Over the first, second fence, next the combination and then he wobbled at the fourth and nearly ran out at the fifth - suddenly my 16 year old self kicked in, and I growled at him to get himself over the fence and not around it. He leapt like ungainly giraffe and understood that I now meant business - we had a little uncertainty at fence nine, but that was my fault as I temporarily lost my way - and then we got it back to together to get a clear round.

Woop woop. A double clear....yeeeeeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

My grin was enormous, I might have just cried a wee tear, the relief was palpable and the feeling of accomplishment insane. I did it, faced my demons and at the grand old age of 40 I was flying fences and feeling fabulous.

Cross-country next. Gulp.

Thank you Fletch - you amazing horse you - and thank you to his owners for letting me have the privilege of climbing aboard His Royal Gingerness!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Summer's a comin'...

Okay, so we all had coats on while nursing our pints, and someone did order an Irish coffee to keep warm, but we managed to spend yesterday afternoon in the beer garden after school - staying outside until nearly 6 o'clock, which was just heavenly. The children were flushed with the outdoors, playing vigorously on the pub garden equipment which overlooked a field of spring lambs. The neighbours cat joined us to see if anything interesting was occurring. We ate 6 packets of crisps for our tea and grinned, for this was a sure sign that summer is on its way.

There is a rumour of a heatwave this year.

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Monday, 24 March 2014

My bezzie

My best friend is getting married, to a sailor no less. All the nice girls love a sailor and you, my bezzie, are certainly a nice girl, a freaking great woman in fact.

We met over 21 years ago, in freshers week at Leeds Uni. You mentioned you had just been in Brazil and I had recently returned from Africa - thinking ourselves worldly-wise we clicked over foreign lands and cows intestines. We smoked fags outside our long science practicals, ate chips in the refectory and chose Mars bars for breakfast. We were inseparable, me the Hippy Chick and you the Samba Queen. We danced the night away in 'Up yer Ronson', snogged dodgy fellow students and waited for dawn, eating cold pizza. We did get a degree, a pretty good one too, leaving behind the revolting shared house with its peeling kitchen surface, mouldy peach bathroom and carbon monoxide emitting gas fires.

I joined you in Brazil one summer. We rode with the cowboys all day, raced down the mall - me on Bakhana and you on Bonito. We rode one handed, smoking Lucky Strikes in the other - avoiding the armadillo holes and the rattlesnakes. And we giggled about your rat in your bedroom, the toads on the walls and the unidentifiable, crusty insect that stayed on the shower curtain for the whole 3 months.

I came to see you in Holland. A crazy glass-smashing fraternity experience. I think I puked that weekend.

I visited you in Switzerland, three countries in one day and trotti biking down the mountains. You came to see me on the organic farm where we made risotto on top of the wood burner polishing off a fair few bottles of red. You are the reason I live in Sussex, Gardeners Cottage always a welcoming place after the smog of Brixton.

And most recently I joined you for the best riding of my life - in Kenya, amongst the giraffes and the elephants. Gin and tonics at sunset after the fast canter across the savannah, huddling under a maasai blanket with my bezzie - it doesn't get much better than that.

I can't imagine a nicer person for you than your sailor - you deserve him so very much. I feel privileged to be following you down the aisle this summer and celebrating the next part of your journey.