Diary of an Equine Mum

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

When Second Is Best (To Me!)

Well I was just thrilled to get second place at the dressage comp this morning. Shamus is a cracking horse to do this on and I did my best so was pleased with the score of 62.2%. I haven't done any dressage for about 4 years so I was pleased with my return.  I'm saddleless at the moment which is why Zeb stayed behind munching hay all morning. Hopefully I will get my saddle back tomorrow so I can get back training with him. Sue on Flik did very well too and he behaved himself in the arena this morning, unlike some of the horses there! A good morning, I enjoyed it....which is what it is all about!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Last Practice Before Tomorrow

Well I practiced the test for the last time this morning before my dressage tomorrow. I'm sure it will all be fine, just forgot how stressy it can all be! I will keep you posted.....
Remember enter at A with a smile.....yeah right!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Without Dad, But It Is Getting Better


I had my family over yesterday for a get together and some food. I can honestly say for the first time in two years, the family get together felt "right" again since we lost dad nearly two years ago. Since he died, whenever we had a get together, there was just a gaping hole and it didn't feel right with him not being there and the atmosphere was completely different. Yesterday, although we miss him dearly I think we have only now got used to the fact that he is not there anymore and that has taken two years. Mum came out with some stories about him back in his prime to do with drinking, pubs and more, but I'll leave the details within the family! Did make me laugh though, and that's what it should be now, his memory should bring smiles to our faces. As the old saying says - you never get over a death of a loved one, you just learn to with it. Very, very true.
The psychic side of me though did smile when I was sitting opposite mum and my auntie on the settee in the bay window, and behind my mum, a little white feather just slowly floated down behind her outside. To me, that is a sign that he was with us, to the skeptics a pigeons flew over and flapped a feather off! Well I have found feathers in the most oddest places, and again if it makes me feel better, that's the main thing....

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Saying Goodbye As More Friends Hop to Oz

I am absolutely knackered.com..... Very busy few days with baking and organising the cricket tea, running around the boys, drinks last night with the girls and riding lesson this morning. I have not long been in from the manic hour of feeding 25 hungry cricketers - it must of been OK as it looked like a plague of locusts went through the food in about 20 mins and then they were all gone. Just crumbs and empty tea cups everywhere!
I'm off out again tonight to say goodbye to some friends that I have known quite a while who are upping sticks and heading for Australia (western I think) to start a new life. Some great friends of ours, A&N, did exactly the same nearly ten years ago and have settled easily to the Australian way of life and I am sure they cannot imagine being back in old Blighty again..... Massive decision to make and I wish Jason, Louisa and their family all the best wishes in their new life down under. I am sure that it will be a very emotional night for them later, saying goodbye.... 
Must go now, the Nigella in me is calling me back to the kitchen, got to make a lemon cheesecake now as the family are over tomorrow afternoon for more food!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Boys Done Good

Billy and Miles have taken some GCSE's early at school this year and it was result time. Both boys had to do a 2 year course in one year and they have passed which I'm thrilled about. Billy also took Science early and has got A*. I'm sure that lots of hard work and studying took place to achieve these results....but they must be doing it secretly! The last minute homework that they are seen doing at 7.50am before catching the 8.10am bus seems to be the working method - but hey if they get results like these, who am I to moan! Well done - I am so proud and love you both X

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Oh No! I've Got To Do The Cricket Teas!

As I've managed to escape doing the cricket teas all summer so far, I thought I had made it with September and the end of the season on our doorstep. I have kept my quiet little head down as no one has yet asked me to do the cricket teas....until last Sunday. Billy came home and said that yes it's our turn - deep joy! Don't be fooled by the picture posted above, this is probably how I wish the cricket tea would turn out...but it won't. I've got such a hectic weekend ahead - I've got a night out on Friday night, drinking and gossiping with my girlies friends and then I have a riding lesson on Saturday morning, and then a party on Saturday night and then family round on Sunday! Just when am I going to fit in making a cricket tea for 25 men..... Do I make my own cakes or call on Dr Oetker? What sandwich fillings do I go for? Stephen I think is hoping for coronation chicken and smoked salmon, I was thinking more cheese and pickle and egg mayonnaise. So I have to produce this amazing spread this weekend and then serve it to the two teams on Saturday afternoon and then clear it all up - I cannot wait.......

Monday, 22 August 2011

Thank God - My Showing Gear Still Fits!

As I am off to do some stressage, sorry I mean dressage next week, I thought I'd better go and dust off the stock, jacket and breeches in the depths of the back of my wardrobe. I haven't been out on the show front for nearly 3 years and have only got back into this year as we now have a school at the yard. My last dressage test was ok but afterwards the kit was lobbed in the back of the wardrobe and forgotten about. Anyway the horror dawned on me this morning that what if it doesn't fit - what size was I three years ago?? Throughout the years I have ranged from a 12-16 pending from my running phase, to Cambridge Diet phase, to eating the biscuit tin phase AND the fact being 40 something does seem to expand the waist line with little control over it. Much relief was had when it all fitted, buttons done up comfortably and stomach contained in the breeches - hurrah! Now all I have to do is ride the test....correctly and most of all calmly!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Bouncing Billy

All those years that I have tried to drum "health and safety" into my two teenage boys and this how it repays me! Need I say more.....

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Memories Of The Family and Friends In The Garden

The sun came out this afternoon and I decided to venture into the garden. Some of the plants are on the turn already which is a slow sign that autumn will be knocking on our door soon. I have a little memorial garden which I have planted roses in memory of some dear people that I have lost in my life. My friend Jane died last March after a very short battle with lung cancer which took everyone by shock. I miss her, and still cant quite believe that she is not here anymore. I planted a yellow rose in memory of her and it has been a riot of yellow heads all summer. I planted two roses for my dad who I lost nearly 2 years ago and they have been a disaster!! He was so keen on his gardening - he must be looking down and shaking his head at me. The roses are covered in black spot and I've had about 3 blooms on both plants all summer. I've done everything I can from spraying them, adding manure but nothing and they were pretty poor last year too. I think I'm going to dig them out and replace them next spring.....
I couldn't believe how "my boys" trees have grown. My mum planted a chestnut seed the day Billy was born in 1995 and a pine seed when Miles was born in 1997. Well they are huge now. Here are the pics:

I have also a few raspberry plants that I took from my dad's allotment and they have been brilliant. Now he would be pleased with the fruits of my labour there. My daisies also look lovely and he gave me a pot of them many years ago which I put in the garden which have now spread. Amazing how many memories I have in the garden and I miss these special people every day.....


Dressage - To Be Or Not To Be....

Well as per normal I have to have some sort of drama around my much loved hobby!  After last year having a poorly horse with sarcoids and a horrible hoof abscess,I am now having saddle situations! (Yes very expensive situations...) To cut a very long boring story short, after having fortnightly lessons, my schooling has been affected with my very straight cut dressage saddle. After trying some different saddles, buying some off EBay,I am still no further forward and still have my saddle. My saddle fits me and Zeb, it just puts my leg in the wrong position. I've now decided to have work done on my saddle including some major re flocking and some knee rolls added to it.  One of the stirrup bars has also broken so on Monday I hot footed to my lovely local saddle fitter to sort. Time is of the essence as Zeb is meant to be at a local  low key dressage comp on Sunday. Anyway, my saddle is still in bits...four bits to be precise...
So this morning I'm off down the yard to decide what to do. My friends daughter Becky is hoping to ride and we may have to swap around saddles in order for him to go. If its too tight time wise, then I think he will not go. We shall see!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Looking Younger Than You Are - I Wish!

My boys favourite tv programme The Inbetweeners has had the movie version released this week. They have been so looking forward to going and I wondered what was going to happen with the age certificate situation. The film is a 15 - I have Billy who is nearly 16 who probably does look younger but he is tall and I have Miles that's just 14 who looks about 17! Miles and his two mates (also 14) went along on Thursday night to see the film and walked straight into the cinema without anyone questioning their age. Billy went with his mate and two girls today down to Eastbourne who are all 15 some 16 shortly and they were all refused entry. Billy has had this before on 15 film. Even though the tickets had been pre-bought and he reeled his date of birth off, the cinema was having none of it. Poor Billy, he was gutted...again.
So I am going to have to sort out some ID for him as this appears to be bit of a problem. I know he won't appreciate being told this but oh to look younger than your years is a marvellous thing....
especially when you are 40 something!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Technology Hit Miles!


Poor Miles has had a bad week with his high technology lifestyle. He has broken his laptop again! He has broken the second screen in 6 weeks, the first repair costing £90.00 and now another £90 is needed to fix it again. As if that wasn't bad enough, he went fishing this week and had his Blackberry phone then fell out his pocket and fell in the lake!!
He came back home with a face on and didn't quite know what to do with himself without a mobile phone and a laptop! I told him that the Bank of Mum and Dad is in the middle of the recession so use the land line or write a letter!
I told him when I was his age, that's all I had, use of a phone box or land line, or write letters. Do you know what his reply was?! "You were weird!" I had to laugh. Unfortunately I am sounding more like my parents everyday by repeating "when I was your age" but we didn't have the technology that everyone has now and they are lost without it. To be honest, I rely very heavily on this technology - look I'm writing this blog with the use of the internet, before I had a diary and biro! I used love writing letters and recently found some letters in mum and dads attic that my friends had sent me and I had kept them. Its a permanent reminder, texts and web chat isn't. You forget those memories. If I wrote a letter to my friends and didn't text now - yes they would think I'm probably being a bit weird! 
Me and Stephen are still deciding what to do to bring Miles back into his Top Tech lifestyle. The phone is currently in the airing cupboard in a bowl of rice drying out. The laptop is, well still broken but he has got use of an ancient old laptop that it so slow that I couldn't even be bothered with it. We shall see........

Monday, 15 August 2011

What A Difference A Tabard Can Make!

I rode out on Zeb in my new tabard this morning - as shown above. Well what a difference, the traffic virtually came to a standstill! This range has been approved by the police and after some near misses in my time of riding out on the roads, what a way to slow the traffic down. I did feel a bit of a plum riding out in it - must look like the nutter who thinks she is a policewoman, but it worked. Just call me PC Hobden!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Alan Carr - Very Funny Night

I went with Billy and Miles to see Alan Carr last night at The Congress in Eastbourne. Very funny night and well worth seeing. He was using this as a warm up gig for his big tour next month around the UK so testing gags and new material on us. Stephen didn't fancy it, not sure why?! Very mixed audience of all ages which is why I like him so much. Good night out.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Blast In The Woods


Me, Sue and Bev have all bought passes to ride in Mayfield Woods recently. Bev and Sue have been a couple of times and ridden over there already. Today Bev had to work in the surgery, so early this morning me and Sue got the trailer ready and boxed up to Mayfield with Flik and Shamus. (Zeb hasn't got a pass for the woods which is to do with insurance, but I wont bore you with that story!)
We parked in Southmead and then dodged the nippy traffic and lorries which are on those lanes. Well once we hit the woodland, Flik, bless him couldn't contain his excitement and Sue had a mini fight on her hands! We did a couple of canters and gallops up hill and I lost sight of Sue each time as she was going so fast. Lucky Shamus is a bit more steady and takes it a little easier up those hills. It was lovely and quiet in the woods. Funny that I started taking up riding again because I used to ride Shamus in those woods when he lived at Rhondas all those years ago.
The last canter was very windey, rutty and fairly narrow in places. Poor Sue had Flik dancing and prancing and then an explosion of legs and she was gone. Shamus was fast in places, came back to trot when asked and then galloped to the end where I found a startled Sue. She said she nearly came off as Flik slipped and with that we decided to make our way back to the trailer. Well I say we jogged and hopped all the way back to the trailer, as they were so full of it and covered in sweat!
We were absolutely knackered when we got back, it really is an exhausting trip out!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Lunch and Lunch and Lunch

How can I complain about my dwindling bank balance and expanding waistline when I've been out to eat three days on the trot! On Tuesday night I was with my supa dupa friends Ju and Paula for a catch up. We went to Cafe Rasoi in Heathfield for a curry. Chicken Tikka and Sag Ponir, my favourite! Great to see them as always and catch up with whats going on. Yesterday I had lunch at The Star at Waldron with more supa dupa friends Jo, Jac and Sally. Had an antipasti board which is another favourite. It was lovely and sunny so we grabbed some coffees and then sat outside in the gardens. We never seem to be lost for words and chatted for hours. Today I have been out with another lot of supa dupa friends, Gail who I see alot but today was bit of a reunion. I got together with Collette and Doreen who I worked with nearly 16 years ago at Goldwell. We lost touch over the years but through Facebook have got in contact again. Anyway we finally managed to get together after all these years and had lunch in Prezzo in Eastbourne. Again we chatted for hours catching up over the last 16 years and what we have been doing with our lives. We reminisced about our Goldwell days gossiping with who we used to work with. It was lovely to see them again (over my mushroom risotto!) and we have said we will get together again before Christmas. Tomorrow starts a fruit detox I think and thank the lord I get paid next week!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

London Riots

Well I watched in puzzled shock at the horrifying images from London last night in the grip of these awful riots. Billy travelled up to Harrow school yesterday to play cricket against them. Wasn't too worried about it but then heard on the news last night spreading west into Ealing and then Harrow train station shut down. Got a text from Billy and he does know what was going on. He main moan was not the riots but the food was horrible and the bed was too hard! Oh well Billy only one night to put up with it. He won the game against the straw boaters yesterday and has another game today. He then has to travel across London to get home. I think he has an interesting journey ahead.
I cannot repeat what Stephens solution is to stop this rioting. Its probably not deemed to be politically correct. Such bladdy mindless idiots....and I'm being polite!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Bracing Walk On Beachy Head

Cricket was cancelled today against Mayfield so me and Stephen decided to go for a walk and ended up on a very blustery Beachy Head. Haven't been there for years and forgotten how lovely it is up there. We walked right along to near Belle Toute but kept away from the cliffs edge as it gives me the heeby jeebys! Saw the chaplain in his 4x4 driving around checking for jumpers together with loads of adverts to contact the Samaritans. Was sad seeing the memorial crosses at the top of the cliffs.... Lots of Japenese and German tourists there too. We said why would you want to go away when we have places like these on our door step. Treated Stephen to a 99 when we got back to the car - £2 each now for a small single cone! Talk about inflation.....

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Seagulls First Game @ The Amex

Well I played the very supportive wife and mother today and went along with my boys to the first Brighton & Hove Albion football game in their brand new stadium in Falmer. Stephen has been waiting for this day for so very long as a life long supporter. I must admit, even I got a little lump in my throat with the atmosphere and especially seeing his dad's commemoration stone that we did for him. Stephens dad Ivan took Stephen to watch Brighton play when he was a boy which started his lifelong love for the club. Billy and Miles are now full supporters too. Football is definitely not my cup of tea but the atmosphere was absolutely amazing. A great end was the 2-1 win over Doncaster. Came home shattered but now off to my friends Janets for a birthday party for Peter. I think I might need a glass of something to finish of today!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Lunch In The Searing Sunshine!

I had Jo, Jac and Sally round for lunch today. We used always get together in the holidays with the kids and go swimming, picnic in the park or just go round to each others houses while the kids trashed it! Anyway those days seem to have to have disappeared as our teenage kids are now making their own plans for the school holidays, which doesn't include their mums! So I decided to have a nice civilised lunch and the weather was searing hot today - 26 deg with not a cloud in the sky. 
I decided to cook something quite quick and easy and did the Jamie Olivers "Jools Pregnant Pasta" which was very simple to make. It was nice to use sausage meat for a change as we seem to live on mince in this house. I did a cheesecake for pudding, a recipe from Sue and what a foolproof pudding. Again very simple to make and just yummy...... Can't keep my spoon away from it!
It was lovely to catch up and have a moan. We are now talking about hitting the beach next week. Lets hope the sunshine stays :D Happy days x

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Bladdy Boys and Their Phones!

Just someone explain to me why I pay a substantial sum of money per month for my boys to have these "smart phones"?!!! Why do they have them turned off when you need to get hold of them? How come when you don't need to contact them the phone is pinging and dinging all day with it permanently attached to one of their limbs.... Yes we had words with the older sibling yesterday.... if you disappear for nearly 11 hours on a jolly with your mates have the decency to ring home, at least once...grrrrrr