Diary of an Equine Mum

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Just doing a quick blog post to celebrate the last year and welcome 2012. I have looked back over the last 12 months and have come to the conclusion that 2011 was a good year. 2009/10 were just awful so it was time to have a year  that was on the up!

Writing this blog also has made me look back over the last six months when I started Equine Mum. It is such a good record to look back on and I seem to forget what I did yesterday, let alone what I was doing six months ago. I would never have believed that starting Equine Mum would lead me to starting my own Equine Blogging Network - Haynet and the quick success it has been so far!

So I look forward to 2012 with a lot of optimism and sometimes I believe you make your own luck with positive thinking. I definitely spent 2009/2010 in a gloom with losing my dear dad and it's taken a lot to rise out of that never ending sadness. I entered 2011 in January thinking that it is now onwards and upwards and it has been. I definitely think by being more positive in your outlook, then the more positive things happen in your life. Your life is what YOU make it.

So there is my pearl of wisdom for 2012. I am going to celebrate New Years Eve tonight with good friends at the Blackboys. I wish all my lovely friends and family a Happy and Healthy 2012 - may it be a good one!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Billy's Birthday & Xmas Noodles For Tea

Well it's Christmas Eve but I've been doing the birthday thang! Yes Billy is sweet sixteen today! Stephen got in from his 10 day hard stint of working at the butchers about 2pm and then after Jacs and Adi came round to collect their turkey we hot footed it up to Tunbridge Wells.

We wanted to take Billy out for something that was far removed from Christmas so we headed off to Wagamamas for a bowl of noodles. It was so nice to have a light, fresh full of vegetables bowl of noodles. The stuffing of the rich food this week and then the huge turkey dinner looming tomorrow, it made a such a nice change. We wondered up to the town to have a quick look round, the shops had marked everything down and the sale signs that were already up were having even larger percentages being knocked off.

So we are now sitting here chilling out, Stephen desperately trying to stay awake and looking forward to tomorrow. I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and I will be raising a glass (or two) to the loved ones that are missing from the Christmas dinner table tomorrow. I know a certain someone will be looking down though - love and miss you dad xxxxx

Friday, 23 December 2011

The Usual 3am Alarm Call on Xmas Eve Eve!

It happens every year, I am up at the very early hours on the 23rd December.... Why I here you ask?! It's because I am married to a butcher, that's why!
Stephen always takes time off from his Meat Inspectors job to help his good friend in our local butchers. Its a week of extreme hard work and long hours in the run up to Christmas. Today though is THE day in the butchers trade as everyone comes in and collects their turkeys, hams, beef joints etc etc This is no joke, customers start queuing at 5am to collect their orders. Its all a bit mad really...

So Stephen got up at just before 3am to go off to work. I heard him get up and for some reason I cannot get back to sleep and as I said it happens every year.
So spare a thought for everyone working hard this year to make your Christmas, shop owners/staff, supermarket staff and many many others...but especially for those BUTCHERS out there!

Monday, 19 December 2011

A Trip To Olympia

Well after a busy few days, I have finally got a little time to blog about my fab trip up to Olympia on Friday. I woke to bitter, icy conditions in the South East yesterday and catching the train at Haywards Heath watching the snow come down. I suppose it all adds to the Christmas atmosphere but didn't really fancy being stuck in London due to ice on the rails! Isnt it funny how you can tell just by sitting on the train up to London, those sitting with their Toggi bodywarmers and their Dublin boots that they were off to the London International Horse Show!!
Well the atmosphere certainly lifted after walking through the doors of the show! It was packed with people. We hit the shopping village first and I had a good look round all the stands. They all seemed busy and money exchanging hands so the recession didnt look to be stopping people buying their horses anything! I obviously made a small purchase for  my horse (well me actually). I bought a lovely sheepskin seat saver. Well getting on in years now, we do feel the cold so I cannot wait to put my backside on that sheepskin cover when I next  ride out! 
We went into the hall to take a look at the carriage drivers warm up their horses. Such wonderful animals working in a team, a joy to watch! After a quick bite to eat we went back in to the arena to watch the Extreme Carriage Driving.
It was just brilliant! Not a sphere of horse riding that I am familiar with, but a total skill that is just fantastic to watch! Hats off to these carriage drivers!
After the carriage driving has finished it was the dog display team, so we thought we would nip out back to the shopping as my friends had some things to get. I'm afraid we got so side tracked in the shopping that we then missed the Lusitano Horses, Shetland Grand National and Lorenzo the Flying Frenchman......How bad are we!

We did however see the Christmas Cracker Showjumping Competition (which I loved). Such fantastic showjumpers dealing with a tricky course and massive jumps! Well done to Manual Anon who won the competition after an exciting jump off.
The Christmas finale was as usual a great Christmas tradition at Olympia with Father Christmas coming out in his sleigh which the crowd loved. It certainly put everyone in the Christmas spirit! All in all Olympia is a fab day out. I did what I believe is called a bit of "networking" and spoke to a few interesting people about Haynet. So let's see what 2012 will bring!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Perhaps Flippers Will Be On My Shopping List This Week

Well what a day I had yesterday! After my teenage sons driving me insane by not finding anything this morning and then missing the bus to school, I arrived at the yard looking like a tsunami had swept through it.
The wind and rain last night was pretty relentless. Our fields are steep with the stables situated at the bottom of them. The drainage is normally fairly good but I think the rain was so bad, the fields were still firm it just swept down the hill into the stables!
The yard itself was covered in a brown silt everywhere and water. Shamus and Zeb whose stables sit adjacent to the fields were swamped with water. Shamus stable was worse, full of water and he had been standing in it all night. Zeb's stable too was pretty grim and my main grumble was that I had used 3 new bales at the weekend to give him a nice fluffy bed. This was all now ruined.
The feed room was full of water with new bales of shavings sitting in the dirty water...... The hay barn also had some damage with some newley delivered hay was wet which had to be thrown out. Luckily we had some of the bales on palletts so that was ok.
So deep joy all in all! Took us 3 and half hours to clear the boxes of the wet shavings, clean all the drains out and then sweep up muddy silt. Their stables need to dry out so they are going to have to cope out in the field with the next bout of wind and rain forecast for tonight....
I can't tell you what I must of smelt like - Eau De Drain. When I got in and looked in the mirror it was an alarming sight, mud splattered face with wild hair. This time last year we were coping with a frozen iceland and minus 7 deg - this Christmas its storms and flooding! Poor Zeb and Shamus - perhaps flipper and a snorkle could be on the Olympia shopping list on Friday! Ooh I love having horses in the winter!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

A Christmas Trip To Borough Market

Stephen had a final Saturday off before the big Christmas push that he has working at a butchers over the holiday period to help out. He will start this Thursday and I won't really see him until Christmas Eve....

So as it was such a super weather wise day yesterday, we decided to catch an early train and go up to London. (The boys said no to trip with their mum and dad and lunch out...they look at me like I had two horns growing out of my head when I asked them...) It was bitterly cold yesterday only about 1 deg but there wasn't a cloud in the sky just bright winter sunshine. Borough Market is only a short walk from London Bridge Station and it was heaving with people! It was so Christmassy though - lots of Christmas trees for sale, mistletoe everywhere. Lots of stalls had chestnuts roasting, mulled wine and whiskey bubbling away. You couldnt smell a more Christmassy aroma and have an atmosphere like this market was yesterday!

We bought some lovely goodies to take home but the most interesting thing we bought was some wild buffalo and ostrich burgers. We are going to cook them today for dinner so very intrigued to see what they taste like. We stayed about an hour and half at the market and then did the long walk along the Thames up to Covent Garden. That again was so busy but what fantastic Christmas atmosphere!
What a great day we had, we ended up have a glass of wine and a pizza then decided to catch the afternoon train home. This has been one of the best Christmas days out that I have had in many years. You can bring Christmas on now as I am officially looking forward to it!!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Well It's December - Where Did That Year Go??

Well 24 days to Christmas! I cannot believe that we are in the final month of 2011. Where has this year gone! I have still bought the boys advent calenders and will still give them stockings. I think as long as they are under our roof I will continue with the kiddies Christmas traditions. Is there an age when you should stop?

Billy is 16 on Christmas Eve, so Christmas always brings me special memories as that was when I was in hospital having my first baby. I was the only one in there, two weeks overdue. Pushing and shoving while the midwives had their Christmas party complete with wine and twiglets. I won't go into too much details but my memory of giving birth is seeing baubles and tinsel wrapped round the midwives head! They wouldn't get away with it now, health and safety and all!

So I am off Christmas shopping tomorrow to Ashford. I have whittled the Christmas present list down as it was getting all a bit too much. The boys are now older and the purse has fewer coins in it..... I still have to finalise whats happening over Christmas with family but I will cook a big old bird none the less!

I have posted my boys (when they were little) favourite Christmas video by Raymond Briggs - Father Christmas - watching this brings back lovely memories, so watch and enjoy!