Saturday, 23 May 2015

Dress rehearsal

We've been dressing up a bit in our house. Him and I are off to Ibiza tomorrow, partying hard in white with a hint of silver.



The kids are going to their first gymkhana on Dexter on Monday, Granny will be taking them.


The juxtaposition is too hilarious.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

First of the season

I am still aching all over, perhaps my nose and my toes are ache-free but the rest of my body has seized up. It's stiff as I crawl out of bed in the early morning and it feels old and wobbly. There was a great relief about Monday yesterday, I got round in one piece and I don't have to do it again until August. It's supposed to be fun, and my God it is once I'm there and flying the fences, but the build up and anticipation is extraordinary, I'm not sure my 41 year old self can stand the pace. The adrenaline that floods my body before I head out across country, to jump solid fences at speed, is enough to make me cry. In fact I thought I was going to shed a few tears and throw up but I managed to keep it all together and settled for severe hand-shaking and jangling nerves instead.

Eventing. The ultimate of the equestrian sports; dressage, show jumping and cross country. Trying it for the first time last year had me excited to have another go. We did it Fletch and I, Fletch the old pro and me just old - but we did it and we learnt a lot.

And after we had flown fence 12 I had a ball, started to finally enjoy myself and kicked on into a gallop. The thrill of cross country riding is insane - I can't wait to do it all over again.

Sort of.


Dressage


Show jumping


Cross country


Finally enjoying the gallop


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Clams

I had my first experience of killing my prey to eat last week. I was no Ray Mears and no blood was involved, except metaphorically on my hands.

The clams looked inviting, in a foreign kind of way, sitting there on their bed of ice in the new farm shop Eggs to Apples. They reminded me of a sexy weekend in Catania, Sicily, sitting in a humming restaurant overlooking a black, volcanic beach. Linguine vongole, romantic as the weekend itself. All hot and steaming, sloppy to eat, but simple and satisfying - with a crisp white wine that the Sicilians are wise not to export.

The man at the fish counter spent time explaining how to cook them, he told me about tapping them to make sure they close and discarding the ones that didn't open in the cooking process. It was quite complicated, the kids asked many times how to do it - so did he, making sure we had got it right as one bad clam and we could be very ill indeed. Oh the excitement!


Alive

I kept them alive in the fridge for a whole night and tried not to think about them shivering in there, missing the sea bed and filtering for food.


Dead

They were delicious, they did not die in vain, every clam was eaten except one, who died in between the sea and the plate. The performance of eating them was perhaps a little more fun than the tiny creature itself, being masked in parsley, white wine, garlic and chilli - transporting us back to Italy, to a different time altogether.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Jack in the Green

May Day celebrations in Hastings are like no other, the town fills with thousands of people to see in the spirit of summer. Hordes of motorbikes power down the A21 to converge on the sea front, revving over-sized machines, loud and irritating as bikers stride full of swagger, leather and a healthy dose of tattoo's, eating chips and talking petrol no doubt. All ages, sexes and sizes, converging because of a passion - I get that.


The more gentle side of Hastings May day is the releasing of Jack, a parade and drumming of the most beautifully decorated people, full of green leaves and real ale. It's the closest to religion I feel, celebrating the seasons with dancing, horn blowing and booze.


The atmosphere was one of community and fun and we will definitely return next year, with an ivy leaf garland and perhaps some pheasant feathers. Welcome summer! The spirit has been released - but perhaps a little winter still remains, maybe Jack wasn't fully slain as the wind howls, the rain lashes and we all pull our coats a little tighter around us.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Er, I just bought a pony

I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened. One minute he was staring out of a friends Facebook feed and the next he was in the garden, mowing the lawn. In fact he was cheaper than a lawnmower.

His name is Dexter. He is five. He has a huge floppy fringe which hide knowing and friendly eyes. His muzzle fits neatly into my hand and his ears are always alert, looking for people to play with. His feet are the size of dainty saucers and his bony legs feel like they may just snap. Dexter is not very big at all but he will be perfect for P and A. 

He was half the price of an iPad and will cost less to keep a month than the cats, but I still feel the weight of responsibility that I er, just bought a pony.