Saturday, August 30, 2008

And so the year turns

The cherry tree failed to produce a single fruit this year, ditto the pear which admittedly surpassed itself last year with a veritable orchard's worth on its own, and the apples have been poor. The plums - those that were not hijacked by wasps - were good, but yet again the hedgerows are where the real treasure is to be found.

I have been on my first brambling expedition of the year this evening. One bag for me, one bag for next door and ten stung and scratched fingers. The bramble and apple crumble, which I intend to smother in custard, will be worth it though.

Little gold and striped spiders have spun their webs in the bramble bushes and I felt guilty when I accidentally knocked one from his home. In the morning the webs will dazzle with dew.

The arrival of spun silk in the hedgerows adds to the whiff of autumn. The Grey Mare is readying herself for winter too and is starting to look slightly fluffy.

I remember summer. It's just a shame it hasn't
deigned to delight us with its presence for a couple of years.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What I did on my holidays

The majority of what I did on my holidays involved copious amounts of mud - both of the Northumbrian and Scottish varieties.

My week off started with a smile when the Grey Mare delighted me with her dressage. The competiton had been forced inside because the field where it was due to be held was wet, boggy and muddy.

My mud-free moment occurred when I bade farewell to my old Corsa and swapped him for a green machine. My new car is diesel, which I hope will cut the fuel bills. I had emptied the Corsa the night before going to the garage. The garage man still said: "Horsey girl are you?" I don't know if it was the Grey Mare hairs clinging valiantly to the upholstery or the pervading pong of eau d'cheval. I have been ordered not to turn the new car into a horse equipment depositary.

More mud was in order when I accompanied a friend who was showing two ponies at a big horse event in Scotland. We were towed onto the lorry park by tractor and towed off again the next morning. The lorry park henceforth became known as 'the swamp'. My friend did marvellously well and not only won her class but won the championship against the first and second-placed ponies in three classes.

And today, I returned to the muddy showground of Glendale. This year, I was under cover, serving tea and coffee to horsey folk for a couple of hours.

My holiday is over, the summer - such as it was - is drifting on towards autumn and it's back to work tomorrow.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The mysterious mind of the Grey Mare

I have always thought I had the Grey Mare pretty well sussed. We have a good relationship and a fabulous bond. I usually know what will worry her and what she will take in her stride. But sometimes she surprises me.

Today was one of those days where she surprised me big time - and in a fabulous way. Today we went to our second dressage test. And we came second!

After the fiasco of our first attempt a couple of weeks ago, and her naughtiness and 'I'm not listening' while schooling this week, I was prepared for more of the same. I was even more concerned about our chances because due to the sodden ground, our test was in an indoor school. The Grey Mare has been in an indoor school once in the six years I have owned her and that was three or four years ago.

However, she was in a gorgeous huggy mood yesterday and seemed pretty happy this morning. She warmed up well in the field outside at the venue, I managed to stop her seeing the pigs near the school (many horses have a pig phobia) and we went into the indoor arena, complete with its scary white boards. An initial circuit of snort-snort-snort while we dandered round before the test began, then suddenly, she switched into soft, lovely dressage horse mode.

She behaved beautifully, worked well and I was utterly, utterly delighted with her. And we got a lovely big blue rosette.

I adore that wee horse!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Holy Moly

It seems at the moment that people are getting caught by the tide and requiring rescue from the Holy Island causeway just about every weekend.

That's despite clear signs at each side, warnings and lists of safe crossing times.

Do people think those signs are there for a joke? Do they think in their arrogance: "Ah, it won't happen to me" and simply plough on regardless - and then get stuck?

Each rescue costs a fortune - and most could probably be avoided if people had read and paid note to the signs.

I have had a marvellous idea to stop people getting stuck. Put a little hut at each end of the causeway with a member of staff requiring that everyone who crosses signs a disclaimer and agrees to pay for the cost of their rescue if they require one.

I bet that would stop the stupidity in one fell swoop.